i, as many others, have been struggling to figure out how to be successful in 13 and finally i can get fun playing Football Manager again since 12.
Unfortunately i don't have the hardware to be able to record an how to video, therefore i will try to describe the basic steps required to play a successful match.
This is based only on my own observations and experience with playing the game, and i have little technical knowledge of Real Life football or advanced tactics in FM.
Please note: this are NOT Super or Magical tactics or an ME exploit, this is just an how to play the game as i think it is intended to.
The better the team and the it's players individual talent the better the result will be, if facing a much better team, like in real life you may find your team overwhelmed.
What we are looking for to have success in the match is to counter the opposition tactics and get the flow of the game in our favour, a good indicator of that is the possession bar; you will notice that around the 60% to 65% possession the team will score easily (more true to opposition team).
We will achieve this by:
- preventing the opposition from constructing plays
- retain possession in attack
- get the ball in the final third and score
- counter the AI opposition tactics
The opposition AI appears to have 3 standard formations (the same number available to the player and with auto role and duty), it may use player swap (the strikers or wingers or CMs) and the play style is unique for each team (tempo, passing...); they may change formations several times during the match according to the result, for example when trailing by 2 they may change to a more attacking formation and later in the match winning by 2 to defending like 3-6-1.
Before choosing your tactic/formation you should check the opposition formation (assuming you have scouted the opposition beforehand) and chose a formation suitable to start with or go with a balanced one like 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 or 4-5-1. Roles and Duties should be properly set up for the formation balance, if in doubt Auto roles and duties will do fine and are actually recommended for beginners.
Also it is recommended to use as neutral as possible play style, at least in the beginning of the season, team instructions pretty much by default at start, unless you know your opposition and how to counter it style.
Style "Fluid" or "Balanced" according to familiarity with formation and starting strategy "control", this is what we are aiming for and if needed to play any other means something is wrong.
Opposition Instructions must be set to automatic or otherwise properly set up, it's fundamental to have a proper defending; no use in scoring 10 goals and lose 11-10.
Check the opposition instructions for the main threats and proceed to the team talk.
Try to motivate the players at start, or be prepared to suffer a goal in the first 10 minutes, often works fine telling them to relax and enjoy the game.
I recommend watching the first 5 to 10 match minutes in "full match" to get a feeling for the your players motivation and the opposition style/tactics. After that depending on the match flow anything from stopping to watch replay to "Key Highlights" if winning by 4.
The tactics management:
We will be looking to control the flow of the match or pull the strings.
First thing you want to analyse is the midfield passing play, both yours and the opposition, you are looking to reduce the space between your team's and the opposition CM's. This is usually achieved by simply use the "push up" shout or manually adjust the defence line in team instructions. This will make closing in faster for your team player's, press the opposition in to bad passes and not giving them time to construct play.
After you have control of the Midfield in defence you want to control your attacking midfield, what you want is to construct nice plays and attacking moves without getting the ball stolen or intercepted by the opposition. Depending on their defensive style and to keep possession you may need to use a shout like "pass into space".
The game flow is changing, the possession bar should be positive in favour of your team and you will notice the midfielders starting to try their luck with long shots, this however will not be enough to score.
Now you want to get the ball in the box, some crossings or dangerous trough balls; what seems to work best for me for wing play is a combo of the shouts "Get Ball Forward" and "Run at defence", the wingers start to dribble the ball up the flanks and cross or cut inside and a goal is expected almost immediately. For attack trough the middle (2 strikers formations) i expect "play trough balls" is the shout to use.
Once your team is winning for a 2 goal difference the opposition AI will change it's tactics and make substitutions, often at start of the second half; as soon as you notice this pause the game and adjust your opposition instructions and tactics if needed. You will have only yourself to blame if you miss that change and the AI scored (often in the first attack after the change).
At half time give your team a moral boost, and keep monitoring the flow.
If this sounds to easy it's because it is simple, it just requires a little practice.
I am still learning myself and any feedback is very welcome.