A player's morale is an important factor in how well he performs in matches. The higher his morale, the more likely he is to play well, and good performances in turn help to maintain or further improve his morale. Therefore, it is crucial to try to achieve high levels of morale in your squad with good man management.
It is also important to try to build player relationships in your squad, as good relationships have a positive effect on morale and make man management easier.
Furthermore, it is highly beneficial for your players to attain good team cohesion, which itself directly affects match performances as well as indirectly affecting morale.
1. Morale & Man Management
A player's morale represents his current mood, and can range from abysmal to superb.
You can view a player's morale on the Profile and Attributes sections of his Overview tab. You can also view the morale of each of your players by selecting the Selection Info view on the Players tab of the Squad screen, or alternatively by including the Morale column in a custom view.
The factors that affect a player's morale include:
How regularly he is playing matches, relative to his squad status and how much he expects to play.
Your team’s form and league position, relative to expectations.
How settled he is at the club, as well as in the town or city and the country - this is affected by his Adaptability hidden attribute, how long he has been at the club or in the town/city/country, and whether he has lived there previously.
How happy he is with his contract - for example, he may be unhappy if a teammate has a higher wage, or simply if he believes that he justifies a higher wage.
Your interactions with him when talking to him privately.
Your interactions with your squad in team meetings.
Your interactions with him and your squad in team talks.
Your interactions with the media.
The squad win bonuses that you set before the start of the season - higher win bonuses are more motivating.
His relationships with other players in your squad.
His relationship with you and his respect for you (based on your reputation) - this also affects how well he reacts to your interactions with him and your squad and how easy he is to man manage generally.
Your man management of teammates who he has a good relationship with or respect for.
Your transfer activity - for example, he may be unhappy at a lack of high profile signings or by you signing competition in his position.
Whether you sign or sell players who he has a good relationship with or respect for.
There are also many other issues not listed above that can cause a player to become happy or unhappy.
If a player has a specific reason for being happy or unhappy then this is shown on the Happiness panel on the Information section of his Overview tab.
1.1. How to Improve Morale
You should try to maintain high morale among the players in your squad with good man management that takes into account the factors listed above. Similarly, you should try to improve low morale when necessary by considering which of the above factors is either causing problems or could provide an appropriate solution.
If a player is unhappy about a specific issue then you may have the opportunity to talk to him about the problem.
You can also talk to your captain or vice-captain about the general morale and happiness in your squad by selecting Ambassadorial Duties from either player's Interaction drop-down.
Examples of how high morale can be maintained or low morale improved, related to the above factors, include:
Winning matches, perhaps by changing your tactics or by improving team cohesion on the pitch as discussed below.
Giving a player in poor form matches in your reserve squad or bringing him on as a substitute when your team has a comfortable lead in a match.
You can make a player available for your reserve squad by selecting Available For Reserve Squad from his Development drop-down.
Playing a player in a position and role where he can be more effective.
Giving a player time to settle at your club.
Praising the best performers in your team after each match, while criticising poor performers can also have a positive effect if appropriate.
Praising and criticising recent form as appropriate.
You can talk to a player about his last performance or recent form by selecting the appropriate option from his Interaction drop-down.
Holding team meetings at appropriate points during the season.
Giving effective team talks as explained in the Team Talks guide.
Taking a generally positive attititude in the media when talking about your squad, such as in press conferences, although you should also remain realistic.
Setting large squad win bonuses if affordable.
Building good relationships between players as discussed below.
Building good relationships between your players and yourself as discussed below.
Signing high profile players.
Signing a player who has been recommended by one of your players - this can help to improve that player's relationship with you as well as improve his morale.
You can ask one of your players to recommend a player to sign by selecting Advice then Recommend Signing from his Interaction drop-down.
1.2. Personalities & Man Management
In many cases a player's personality can play a large part in how he reacts to an event, therefore affecting his morale and happiness. As a result, the personality of your players should influence how you man manage them.
The effects of each of the personality attributes and related advice on man management are given in the Player Personalities guide.
By signing players with positive personalities and by tutoring young players to develop positive personalities you can therefore make man management much easier. Furthermore, if the players in your squad share similar personalities then they tend to behave and react in similar ways, again making man management, particularly team talks, much easier.
The benefits of building a squad of players with similar, positive personalities are discussed in the Squad Building guide.
The players in your squad all have relationships with each other, as well as relationships with you and your coaches. The better these relationships are, the better squad morale is likely to be, and therefore the easier it is for you to manage morale. Furthermore, the better a player's relationship is with you, the better he reacts to your managerial decisions and your interactions with him, again making man managing him much easier.
If a player has any particularly strong relationships with other individuals then they are shown on his favoured personnel on the Information section of his Overview tab.
Relationships between players develop over time, and typically improve more easily if players share similar personalities. However, poor relationships may develop between players with conflicting personalities. This is another reason why it is greatly beneficial to sign and develop players with similar personalities.
In addition, by focusing on developing young players rather than regularly signing established players your players can build particularly strong relationships over time, both with each other and with you and your coaches.
The benefits of focusing on youth are discussed more in the Squad Building guide.
Tutoring can also be used to improve the relationship between a tutored player and his tutor. However, their relationship can also worsen if they fall out during the tutoring.
The benefits of tutoring are explained in the Player Tutoring guide.
Your players' relationships with you tend to improve as you achieve success with them. They also improve with good man management, in particular from good team talks, appropriate praise and criticism of performances and effective team meetings.
If any conflicts arise between players in your squad you can ask your captain or vice-captain to resolve them by selecting Ambassadorial Duties from either player's Interaction drop-down.
3. Squad Harmony
Squad harmony refers to the morale, happiness and relationships of the players in your squad. The better these are the better squad harmony is.
You can check how happy your club's board is with the current level of squad harmony on the Confidence tab of the Board screen.
4. Team Cohesion
Team cohesion can be thought of in terms of its off the pitch effects and its on the pitch effects. Team cohesion off the pitch refers to how well settled your players are at the club and therefore has an indirect effect on morale. Team cohesion on the pitch refers to the understanding your players show between each other in matches, which affects overall team performances and so also has an indirect effect on morale.
You can check your squad's current level of team cohesion by viewing your assistant's Team Talk Feedback report, which can be accessed either from the Last Match section of the Analysis tab of the Tactics screen or from your assistant's Reports tab.
Although team cohesion should increase naturally over time, it falls when new signings are made, when established players leave the club and during the close-season break.
You can improve team cohesion both off and on the pitch more quickly by using the Team Cohesion focus in general training, as discussed more in the General Training guide. You can improve team cohesion on the pitch faster by using the Teamwork focus in match preparation training, as discussed more in the Match Preparation Training guide.
Since team cohesion is reduced when new signings are made and when players leave the club, it can be beneficial not to make too many changes to your squad over a short period. A more gradual rebuilding of the squad can help you to keep both morale and performance levels high in the short term. This is a further benefit of focusing on developing young players, and therefore reducing the amount of established players that you need to sign, in addition to improved player relationships as detailed above.