For every iteration of Football Manager, the question of whether Football Manager is too easy comes up. You might have experienced your team is on a winning streak and you are overachieving in the league compared to your expected league finish.
Today I’ll look at how to make Football Manager 2022 harder by increasing the difficulty level of your saves. These tips and tricks cover everything from essential tasks you do when setting up your save to specific Football Manager challenges to take.
So let us take a deeper look at how you can make your Football Manager saves harder for yourself.
10. Disable Attributes Masking
Attributes masking is a concept where certain player attributes are not visible by default. In fact, when starting a new save Attributes Masking is turned off by default. By keeping it unticked, you will ensure certain attributes are not visible or displayed through ranges. The concept is similar to certain strategy games ‘fog of war’.
You, the Human Manager, will naturally have more knowledge of players in a similar division, players in the starting XI of an upcoming opponent, or within nations and regions, your scouting team has knowledge of. Then your reputation in the game will decide on how much knowledge you got of a player’s attributes, or whether they are displayed in ranges.
How to gain knowledge of player attributes level?
When players’ attributes are hidden, you need to scout or interact with the player (or the team he’s playing at) to increase the knowledge level. You can increase the knowledge level of players within a region or nation by setting up appropriate scouting assignments. Another trick is to schedule friendlies against a specific team that got a specific player in their squad you want to learn more about.
When attributes masking is off, the player’s attributes are displayed as is, making it easier to assess his skills; strengths and weaknesses.
9. Select Difficulty Level when setting up your manager profile
When starting a new save, one of the necessary steps you need to go through is to select your managerial style by selecting the level of coaching badges and reputation. In some ways, what you select at this point will determine the difficulty level of your upcoming save.
My recommended option if you want to make your save more challenging is to refrain from ticking the ‘suggest coaching badges and past playing experience’ buttons. Instead, I’d recommend first and foremost selecting a lower past playing experience than the playing level you’ll be managing at.
You can even select a coaching badge at the lower levels (e.g. National A/B or Continental B/C), but your level of reputation will have the biggest impact on relations between you, the Human Manager, your players, external players outside the club, the media and agents.
What the reputation level affects?
The reputation level will determine how much you basically know about the footballing world. It will affect how fans, media, players and the board looks at you. A manager with a high reputation at a lower league club will have more expectations on his shoulder and might get an easier way to success since he’s better at attracting better players to the club. On the contrary, a manager with a lower reputation at a bigger club will struggle to get the players to work for the team. Not only will the players and the board doubt your abilities as a manager, which will immediately raise questions in the media if you’re not able to deliver the results.
It’s not only dealings with your squad and human relations at your club that might be negatively affected. Also, recruitment and player signings might be affected – actually making it harder to sign the players you want. They might be uninterested to play under your leadership as you’re of lesser repute.
Since a manager with a higher reputation will see players at the club more inclined to work harder and act more professional towards you, the players will remain more easily happier and not question every little decision you make. Apart from player happiness and the relationships with you and the players will be affected by your reputation, it can generally influence the squad dynamics negatively. Player’s might not want to extend their contracts and hand in transfer requests quicker. Players might even react more negatively to how you handle certain situations, such as team meetings, press conferences and what’s being said in personal chats. It’s not only the board and the players who will be more suspicious towards you. The media and its journalists might come across harder to you in press conferences to question your abilities.
A dip in form will have a dramatic effect if you got a low reputation. If the team leader turns against you because he has lost faith in your abilities might make you lose the dressing room entirely and effectively seal your faith as the atmosphere at the club is poor. Just look at the situation at Manchester United with Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
As you’ll discover, the reputation level will have a great impact on your save. The only way to win them over is to deliver the results on the pitch and gain their trust by carefully addressing each situation as they arise.
Personally, I tend to reduce the reputation level I select with a minimum of one level from the playing level I’m at. Ideally, if you’d like to increase the challenging level select two to three levels lower.
3. Hide Player Attributes entirely
For some advanced Football Manager gamers, it’s not enough to keep attributes masking on. Some might even want to make scouting and recruitment more challenging by hiding the player attributes entirely.
This means you need to take other measures to judge a player’s skills. Basically, you need to rely on the scout reports from your recruitment team or the statistics and data at your hands for that particular player. You will need to assess the scout reports and trust the scout’s opinion about the player’s pros and cons more closely.
You can find skins that remove attributes at the Skinning hideout at the Sports Interactive forum. We will also look to publish graphics this year, so stay tuned for upcoming Football Manager 2022 skins.
4. Start your Football Manager journey on unfamiliar ground
Selecting the playing level can greatly affect the ‘difficulty level’. Picking a club in the top tiers and within a nation where you’re quite familiar with players’ strengths and weaknesses can easily make you feel Football Manager is too easy. Instead, you should try out managing a club at an amateur level. For some, even managing a club at the semi-professional level with a few restrictions and rules can be challenging enough. More on that later!
Instead of managing in the same nations year in and out, it might be time to head to a smaller nation in FM22, or perhaps even try out lower league management save. The solution might be to kick-off your FM22 save in the bottom division of Sweden, head to tier two of the Indonesian, Russian, or Slovenian football pyramid. Perhaps managing in the USA or Canada could be a great challenge by waiting on DigiRTW’s FM22 American database? Or perhaps you’d like to head to a region of the world you’ve never managed in. A club outside Europe, I suspect?!
The Around the globe megapack by DavetheEditor is the download you need for FM22. It will unlock all the nations that are not playable by default, as well as adding further divisions to the current nation’s league structure. Here you might pick a club in one of the African countries that’s normally inactive, or start a pentagon challenge in one of the Asian nations.
With new and perhaps strange league rules, new clubs, players and staff to get to know. Managing in the lower leagues of Football Manager will put your FM knowledge and experience to the test. It might be a daunting task to undertake the ‘from zero to hero’ challenge as climbing the pyramid ladder will take lots of time and effort but it will be even more rewarding when you record promotions after promotions.
The major obstacle? The club’s finances and its difficulty to improve it through player sales. Since most players are on amateur contracts, you will be restricted in your ambitions to make money. Training as well will be hampered, as players will be training less often than professional players.
What favors lower league management save for FM22 is the introduction to Dynamic Youth Rating. You will now see the quality of newgens production improve as the nation develops and gets better. How? We will eventually find out and get back to you on that.
5. Limiting the Player Count | Determine Database Size
Putting restrictions on yourself can make the game harder. When setting up a new save you got the ability to select the database size. It comes in three different levels; small, medium and large. A larger database will let you see more players and staff in your scouting pool. Together with more nations selected it will increase the number of newgens coming through. By selecting the minimum database size together with only neighboring nations from the club you will restrict the number of potential signings for players and staff.
How to select Database size
To select the player count, you need to click ‘Advanced Settings’ on the first screen when starting a new save. Then click on the ‘approximate player count’ and select ‘Small’.
If you’d like to select a huge database but with players only from specific nations or regions, simply select ‘Advanced…’ If managing in a smaller nation, it’s recommended to select all players from the nation you are managing in (e.g Andorra).
Regardless of where you manage, there will be lots of challenges to take that might increase your motivation to stay true to your current save! So let us look at some restrictions you can set yourself to make your save even more challenging… and fun!
6. Rely on Youth Only | Recruitment Strategies
To make the game harder for yourself, one Football Manager challenge is to restrict yourself to certain transfer policies. One of these is to rely on youth only by going by a recruitment strategy where you only sign players under the age of 18, 21 or 23. Some clubs have these policies as part of their Club Visions, but I favor restricting my leeway in the transfer market regardless.
There are a number of specific transfer policies you can abide by that you should try. Here are some of them:
- Only sign players from a specific region or nationalities (e.g Ahtletic Bilbao’s only sign Basque players or KAS Eupen’s policy to sign players based in Qatar).
- Only sign home-grown players under the age of 25. (e.g only signing French players if managing in Ligue 2).
- Sign players under the age of 21 for the future
- Rely on youth coming from your youth academy by prioritizing on the development of players coming through the annual youth intake.
One enjoyable challenge is the La Masia Youth Academy challenge where you try to get your first team to be based only on players coming through your own youth academy. It will be a long process trying to get a new golden generation where you need to find the best head of youth development and club structure to develop your talents. For a smaller club, it means building the club from the ground up by improving the training facilities and setting up the best coaching team as possible.
7. Only Sign Players on Free Transfer or Future Out of Contract Players
Another transfer policy that might make things harder for yourself is to only sign players on free transfers or players on expiring contracts that you can approach to sign. These free agents might be of varying abilities and of age. Most likely, the squad will be based on experienced players that are reaching the latter stages of their careers.
8. Delegate Total Control of Transfers to your Director of Football
A different kind of challenge is to hand over the entire control of transfers to your Director of Football. By delegating the responsibilities of Transfers and contracts to your Director of Football he will handle both ingoing and outgoing transfers.
You will have nothing to say in regard to whoever comes into the club’s door, or who are offloaded. You will need to create a tactic that fits the players at your disposal and try to hunt for success by focusing on tactics and training.
How to delegate the responsibilites of Transfers and contracts to the DoF or another Staff Member?
- Select Staff > Responsibilities > Transfers & Contracts > Click Delegate on all buttons as seen in the following screenshot
9. Create your Own Tactics based on your own Football Philosophy
The last tip up my sleeve is to create your own tactics that don’t take into account current match engine tendencies. I know it’s easy to tick an extra team instruction or two or use a playing style that you know will give you ‘better’ results. Instead, I’d want you to create your own systems that are based on your own visions on how football should be played. Perhaps you’re the type of manager who prefers using a 4-4-2 diamond system or a 4-3-2-1 Christmas Tree formation based around short passing and attacking fluidity. No matter your football philosophy, I believe you’ll find more enjoyment with your save by creating your own tactics. Yes, you can look at other creators’ systems to get inspiration, but try not to copy their use team instructions, roles and duties.
Finally, if you find Football Manager hard enough as is, the game comes with a bunch of helpful tooltips, quick information buttons and visualizations that will give you an idea of how things correlate and work. Simply hover over an area and get more information about it, or take those Inductions to receive advice about tactics, scouting or backroom staff.
Then, we at Passion4FM will bring you more Football Manager 2022 tips and tricks, more in-depth Football Manager guides as well as provide insight into how we approach the game in the following months!
I hope you enjoyed this piece and that you’ll find a difficulty level in football Manager that will increase your motivation to play the game! Until next time, thanks for reading!