Welcome to Guide to Football Manager, your comprehensive guide to FM. Learn how to become a top manager and master tactics, training and much more.

Read our Tactical Theory analysis:

The full contents of the guide are shown below.

1. Updates

09/04/2018: New Starter Guide added to the Tactics section.

19/03/2018: Added example Fluid Counter Attacking Football to Example Tactics article and made various amendments to examples.

04/03/2018: Adjusted recommended score for support score to take into account attacking style in Attacking Structures guide. Amended Example Tactics accordingly.

26/02/2018: Revised and expanded slightly the analysis of forward movement partnerships in tactical theory Attacking Structures guide.

05/02/2018: Added example Structured Possession Football - Regista / Raumdeuter to Example Tactics article and made various amendments to examples.

29/01/2018: Added example Fluid Attacking Football, Flexible Short Plays, Structured Direct Attacking Football, Fluid Pass and Move Football and Structured Direct Defensive Football to Example Tactics article.

14/01/2018: Added example Structured Possession Football to Example Tactics article and made various amendments to examples. Revised analysis of symmetry slightly in Responsibility Distribution guides.

07/01/2018: Added analysis of symmetry and counterbalancing combinations, as well as explanations of team and player instructions used, to examples in Example Tactics article.

07/01/2018: Added more explanations to examples in Example Tactics article.

07/01/2018: Added additional analysis to tactical theory Formations guide.

02/01/2018: Added example Structured Attacking Football - False Nine / False Ten, Flexible Direct Plays and Fluid Direct Defensive Football tactics to Example Tactics article.

View more updates

2. Tactics


2.1. Theory-Based Tactics Guides

These guides are based on the Tactical Theory analysis presented on GuideToFootball.com.


Starter Guide

A walkthrough of the main aspects of creating a tactic to help you get started.

Example Tactics

A selection of example tactics created using this guide. As a quick start to using the guide you may wish to firstly choose a suitable example tactic, before then modifying the tactic as appropriate by using the different parts of the guide that are summarised below.

Tactical Instructions

An analysis of the tactical instructions that you can use to create your tactic, including:

System Fluidity

How to implement system fluidity for your team.

Playing Styles

How to create a suitable playing style for your team, including:

Playing System Balance

How to balance your team's playing system, including:

Theory-based tactics guides are based on the FM 2018 interface.

2.2. Old Tactics Guides

Assessing Your Team

How to evaluate your players so that you can create a suitable tactic.

Choosing a Formation

How to fit your players into a tactical framework.

Team Instructions

An explanation of Mentality, Team Shape and Specific Team Instructions to help you to create a suitable Tactical Style.

Player Instructions

How to refine your tactical style using appropriate Roles and Duties for your Goalkeeper, Central Defenders, Central Midfielders, Wide Players and Strikers, how to make use of Playmaker & Target Man roles and how to gain extra control over your players using Specific Player Instructions.

Set Pieces

How to prepare set pieces effectively to give your team an extra advantage.

Appointing a Captain

A complete list of points to consider when choosing your team's leader.

Old tactics guides are based on the FM 2015 interface.

3. Players


3.1. Player Ability & Performance

The important factors that determine current ability, potential ability and performance.

3.2. Player Attributes

Explanations of all attributes and details of Attribute Combinations needed for different abilities.

3.3. Player Personalities

Explanations of all personality attributes and advice on which personalities to look for in players.

3.4. Player Preferred Moves

Explanations of all the preferred moves and suggested types of player they can be useful for.

Players guides are based on the FM 2015 interface.

4. Staff


4.1. Introduction

An introduction to staff.

4.2. Staff Roles

Explanations of the responsibilities and required qualities of each role, including detailed analyses of the manager, coaches, scouts and physios.

4.3. Signing Staff

What to consider when hiring a backroom team.

Staff guides are based on the FM 2015 interface.

5. Training


5.1. Introduction

An introduction to training your players.

5.2. Team Training

How to use General Training and Match Training.

5.3. Individual Training

How to use Training Reports and improve your players with Individual Training Focus, New Position Training and Preferred Move Training.

5.4. Assigning Coaches

How to allocate training categories to your coaching staff.

Training guides are based on the FM 2015 interface.

6. Squad


6.1. Squad Building

How to put together and maintain a well balanced squad structure.

6.2. Player Wages

How and why to maintain a good wage structure and when to renew contracts.

6.3. Player Morale & Relationships

How to manage your squad's morale, build relationships and improve team cohesion.

6.4. Player Fitness

How to manage the fitness of your squad.

6.5. Pre-Season Preparation

How to prepare your squad effectively for the start of a new season using training and friendly matches.

6.6. Player Development

How to improve your young players to reach their potential ability through Youth Training, Player Tutoring and Match Experience.

6.7. Scouting

How to optimise your club's Scouting Knowledge, when and where to send your scouts on Scouting Assignments, how to use your Scout Reports to assess potential transfer targets and how to find players using Player Search.

6.8. Signing Players

How to sign players for your club, including advice on Making a Transfer Offer, Making a Loan Offer and Contract Negotiations.

6.9. Selling Players

When and how to sell players from your squad.

Squad guides are based on the FM 2015 interface, except for Signing Players and Selling Players which are based on the FM 2014 interface.

7. Match Day

Match Day

7.1. Preparing for the Match

How to prepare your team for each match and select your starting line-up, and how to make use of Tactical Planning to exploit opposition weaknesses and counter opposition strengths.

7.2. Team Talks

How to choose team talks in different scenarios, along with a reference guide for Types of Team Talk.

7.3. Opposition Instructions

Which instructions to use against which players.

7.4. During the Match

How to make tactical changes in response to different match scenarios.

Match Day guides are based on the FM 2015 interface.