The setup | Introduction to FM20
Hello, or rather bonjour!
It has taken me some time to arrive at a point where I’m happy with the choice of the club I will manage in Football Manager 2020. Longer than most years where I typically know my next club during my current save.
I’ve had an idea on how I want to play this years version, however, I struggled to find a club that would be a good fit for the way I want to play. Fortunately, after a chat with a few guys over on Slack and I have a team! Thanks, Tony, Samo, James and Dan.
In this post, I will introduce my plans for Stade Rennais at a high level, with a series of posts to follow this, outlining how I will set up the club for what I hope will be a future of success. These posts will include:
- Analysis of the club, staff, and players
- Setting up the recruitment team, training, and match tactics
Following the aforementioned, I will jump right into the save!
Why Stade Rennais?
Like a few others I know (hello Presh!), there are a few things I look for when selecting a club.
- Nice kit and badge
- Preferably a country I’ve not managed in before, or at least not recently
- Something interesting about them; the way they’re setup, something they’re famous for etc.
Most importantly this year, I wanted to pick a team who were well renowned for their development of youth players. Last year I picked a team with an interesting recruitment model more aimed at players ready for the first team, but this year I wanted to work more on the youth development side.
Finally, I wanted a club who have excellent facilities and would allow me to push their recruitment model even further.
Stade Rennais F.C. are a perfect fit for this.
They have excellent training and youth facilities. They have good academy coaching and adequate recruitment, so there’s scope for me to better the facilities here and help produce more talent from the famed Centre d’entraînement Henri-Guérin, but I’ll dive deeper into this in an upcoming post.
Stade Rennais have produced some great players over the years, such as Yann M’Vila, FM legend Yoann Gourcuff, and Ousmane Dembele. The aim of this project is to produce even more.
As always I have my distinct ways of playing. Like others, we all have our ways to go about our FM lives; here are a few of the things you can expect from me and my save this year. Those familiar to my blogs will probably know some of this already.
Improving the club in every way
I always try to leave the club in a better state than when I found it. This usually means improving the facilities until we’re one of the best clubs in the country. France is famous for their production of talent on the football field, so I will naturally be working on youth recruitment first, increasing this from adequate to extensive, as generally speaking, the clubs with the best youth recruitment will generally pick up the best Junior talent (newgens before they get into your youth teams) from that nation first.
Alongside this, we will be working hard on improving our youth facilities and junior coaching to ensure those youth players who come through the academy are the best they can be.
Utilising a Director of Football and the recruitment team
This year won’t be too dissimilar from last with the way I will be playing. I will be utilising my staff as much as possible, relying heavily on my scouts, analysts and Director of Football. One of my first jobs will be to overhaul the staff to make sure I have the best possible people around me.
However, when it comes to transfers I will be taking a more in-depth analytical view of players before signing them. As always, my Director of Football will play a massive part in my save. Working closely with the recruitment department, he will be responsible for finding and making offers for youth players and he will handle all contract renewals for staff and players. He will take care of the scouting meetings for me, only bringing to my attention the top talents who are ready for first-team football that fit my criteria (more on that in a later post).
There will be two types of players we will be looking to sign.
Young players we can develop for the future
The first type of players will be young players, between 16-19 who can go into the youth teams and develop at the Centre d’entraînement Henri-Guérin until they’re ready to be introduced to the first team. We will be looking for well-rounded players with the right mental attributes to succeed at a high level.
Their development at the club will shape them into the roles I expect them to play.
Ready-made players for the first team
Secondly, ready-made players who are able to come straight into the first team to fill a gap in the squad. Utilising a network of scouts around the world, looking for young and exciting talents who are perhaps statistically outperforming their peers and who we can get for less than their worth. Ideally, these players can be moved on for a profit before they decline and would be replaced by home-grown talent.
Before I even identify a gap in the squad, my recruitment team know of my requirements. Each role will have a player style template, e.g., leaders at the back, technical players in the middle and creative players at the top. These players will already be on a shortlist and ready for me.
So when I identify a need in the squad, either through a known future transfer or retirement or because I know a player isn’t perhaps happy with his playing time so we might need to move him on, I have a list of candidates ready for assessment. When a requirement comes up to fill a vacancy, we are ready to move quickly. More on this in a future post.
However, to do this, I have built a tool that will allow me to export player data from around the world and automatically compare and analyse these players on my shortlists based on their season stats.
This is how it looks and how I will be using it.
Using data analysis to make more informed signings
When James @ FMPressure dot com came to me with an idea for making use of the statistics in the game to make more informed decisions around player purchases, I immediately fired up Google Sheets and got my geek on!
For about a month or two we spoke about various metrics to use for analysing players and their stats, and through many iterations and designs we’ve come up with what we believe to be a rather snazzy looking comparison chart for players within Football Manager.
More on that later.
Before I get to that view, I have a filter within the player search screen that allows me to export around 30 different stats on players.
Once I have filtered the player search list to bring it down to realistic signings and exported all player data I have an initial view which will deliver the top 20 players to me in each metric I deem important. This is an unfiltered export below, so every player in the game will appear, however, it is my belief that there is no point be exporting players with values over €15m, for example, as we just cannot afford to make those sorts of transfers initially. So during the save the player exports will be a lot smaller.
I have highlighted the key metrics for each role in red above that I use for each position, e.g., centre backs have headers won, key passes, pass completion ratio etc. I then take these metrics for each position and calculate a rating, e.g., the more of your metrics that are high, the higher your score will be. This allows me to see who the top 10 players are in each position.
I then have one final view, which I can use to filter out players based on their favoured role and duty so they’re more rounded for the roles they’ll be playing for me.
Being able to filter in this way allows me to view who might be a good fit for the system I use and the role I want the player to perform, statistically speaking. My scouts will still have to confirm that the players are a good fit for the squad.
I have some other quick views that I can use if I want to compare players based on a couple of key metrics, e.g., chances created vs. assists. A few of these views will let me see at a glance if there are any real outperformers. Of course, we will only be extracting players who are playing in similarly rated leagues and not the lower levels of Serbian football, for example.
Using views like this I can identify players who have high volumes of chances created and compare that with the assists. These views take the top 20 for each metric and just give me a quick snapshot of who is doing well for their respective clubs. Ever heard of Sondre Tronstad?
Finally, when I have whittled down my selection to just a couple of players, I have built a tool to compare them in similar positions, to get a quick view of their key stats. I have five templates: centre back, full back, midfielder, attacking midfielder/winger, and striker.
As alluded to, when I have reduced my list down to just a couple of players, I can then compare them side by side to get a view of where they’re strongest, statistically speaking. I will use this, along with the scout and analyst reports in-game to make a final decision on who I will attempt to bring to the club.
I will write a separate post on this, and how I’ve calculated stats, such as the PAdj interceptions (possession adjusted interceptions).
We will need to make sure that the players are playing a similar role to that which I will have for them to make sure that we can get similar performances out of them. I will be reviewing their stats during my end of season reviews.
Essentially, the process from start to end will look like this:
- My scouts will have the player style templates from me for the type of players I want to bring into the club per each position. Good levels of determination, work rate and teamwork. The right mix of attributes; both mental and physical.
- Identify weakness in the squad, either through player ageing, future transfer away, or another reason.
- Filter through my shortlists to identify the players found during our scouting missions.
- Export player data of all players in the value range, including those identified via scout and data analyst reports.
- Create a ‘top five’ list of players who we think would do a job and who are attainable.
- Provide this list to my Director of Football for him to make the signing, working down the list until a transfer is successful.
It sounds relatively simple, but in practice, it’s going to be a long process, but hopefully a successful one.
I will detail the scouting in more detail in a future post.
I didn’t do this last year, but I get a few questions on the leagues loaded, skins and kits used etc. so here is my setup.
I have used the TCS skin but modified it to suit how I want to play. A massive thanks to Gaz @FMwkdsoul for the help with modifying this and to the guys at TCS who have given me permission to butcher their skin for my own save.
The leagues loaded are Argentina: Superliga Quilmes Clásica. Austria: tipico-Bundesliga. Belgium: Jupiler Pro League. Brazil: Brasileirão Assaí – Serie A. Denmark: 3F Superliga. England: Premier League. France: Ligue 1 Conforama and Domino’s Ligue 2. Germany: Bundesliga. Italy: Seria A TIM. The Netherlands: Eredivisie. Norway: Eliteserien. Portugal: Liga NOS. Spain: LaLiga Santander.
So, that’s about it.
I won’t be going attribute less this year, because SI removed the ability to replace numerical values with attribute bars which is extremely disappointing for me, but it is what it is. I don’t really like any of the alternative options.
Over the coming weeks, I will release more details on the intricate details on how I plan on setting up Stade Rennais to fit the above, I will also discuss my approach to training and tactics, along with scouting and youth development, and the all-important staff and player analysis.
Until next time, à tout à l’heure.