Need some help in figuring out how to improve player partnerships in Football Manager 2023? We’ve got some guidance for you.
Everyone can name at least one pair of footballers who are synonymous with each other. Heskey and Owen, maybe, or Son and Kane. These players have an understanding of each other that makes them much more than the sum of their parts. Most gamers dream of recreating these couplets within Football Manager 2023, and it is certainly possible to have good player partnerships. To achieve it, you’ll need to understand club dynamics and how to foster a happy and cohesive dressing room.
Dynamics have been a key focus of recent Football Manager titles, and Football Manager 2023 carries on that trend. A happy team is a successful team. But it can be difficult to achieve that harmonious squad. You’ll find all the information you need in the ‘Dynamics’ section, accessed on the right of the homescreen.
On the Dynamics overview you are presented with a summary of your team cohesion, club atmosphere and managerial support. All three are important in how to improve player partnerships in Football Manager 2023, but two of them are more important than the other.
Managerial support is more about your effectiveness to communicate to the squad based on their respect for you. If you have a lot of respect then you will find that any changes you make and talks you hold are easier and more effective. You can only really improve your managerial support in Football Manager 2023 by gaining experience and winning, but sorting any player grievances is vital. This is covered in the club atmosphere section.
Team cohesion, club atmosphere and tactical familiarity are the things that actually impact on player partnerships in Football Manager 2023. They are all linked but can differ a lot, especially in pre-season. Team cohesion and tactical familiarity are a measure of how well your team understands each other on a pitch and club atmosphere is the general happiness of the squad.
If you are able to foster a good club atmosphere, then you benefit in several ways. Firstly, the players are more likely to react well to motivation and be in a better mind during a game. Poor club morale will make the team’s head drop if they go behind as they may not believe that they can get back in the game.
The happiness of your squad also affects the efficiency of other areas of management, such as training, transfers and so on.
You can see more details about the happiness of players by going to the ‘Happiness’ tab. Here you will see how happy each individual player is with different areas of the club. Any obvious trends will be visible.
Making players happy in Football Manager 2023
If you have identified why a player is unhappy, you may be able to solve the issue outright. Training issues, for example, are quick to fix. Other problems are not as easy. If a player feels mistreated or you have broken a promise then you will have to address this by talking to the player or squad and discussing the problem. The success of these conversations is helped by having more managerial respect and understanding your players’ personalities. An ambitious squad won’t want to be told about restraint.
The most common of these player interactions is the team meeting which can be started by clicking on its tab in the dynamics area. Team meetings are recommended if your team is doing badly in the league to mitigate your playing form on happiness.
Other areas of happiness can also be addressed by right clicking on a player and speaking to them about their issues. You will want to take into account their personality and influence on the team to judge what to say and how to say it. If a player hasn’t had the playing time they’ve been promised, you will be able to get a less ambitious and influential player to accept that it is in the squad’s interest. This may not be the case for a player who is talismanic.
You can see a player’s influence by looking at the ‘Hierarchy’ tab. Their influence doesn’t just affect their talks with you but also other player’s opinions, happiness and managerial respect. Their personality, shown under their name in the hierarchy tab, also affects this. A more influential player can change the personalities of others over time.
This shows that having happy team leaders that have good personalities is desirable. A player’s influence is based on their age, ability, playing time and accolades. You can therefore affect the hierarchy by altering their playing time, buying and selling players and designation captains. If you make an action that challenges this dynamic, then some players may become unhappy at the change. Once again, having more support as a manager and making justifiable decisions can lessen the impact – but some players are more likely to cause a fuss. This will be more problematic the more influential they are.
The benefit to influential players in Football Manager 2023 is that you can ask them to intervene on issues and give feedback from the squad. You are also able to use these players to welcome new arrivals and help them settle faster. It’s also helpful having players with authority who can speak different languages: if you bring on new foreign players, it’s helpful to them if someone else can speak their native language.
The importance of social groups
Players also will have different social groups that they belong to. You can see this in the ‘Social group’ tab, which shows you who is friendly with you. If one member of that group becomes unhappy, other members of that social group are more likely to agree with that player’s point of view. This doesn’t mean that you have to bend over backwards, but you need to be aware of how the player is viewed if you are going to make controversial decisions or break promises.
A player can also feel ostracised from the squad if they don’t fit into any social groups. Your scouting of a player should give you an indication of how well the player will fit into the team, and whether or not they’ll fit into ethos of the squad. This usually isn’t an issue until a few seasons in: Football Manager 2023 is hesitant to give real people bad personalities, and so only newly-generated players have them.
Mentoring is also a useful way of bringing younger and newer players into social groups if they are a peripheral figure. Going to ‘Training’ then the ‘Mentoring’ tab allows you to set up small mentoring groups that gives influential players more power to affect the dynamics and ability of other players. Be aware that this will also affect their playing ability and traits, so you will want players to be paired with those with similar on-field roles.
If after looking through all these potential problems and solutions you are unable to improve morale then it may be worth getting rid of some of the problematic players in the team. Even if this annoys some players in the short term, you can’t value one player over the whole team.
Team Cohesion and Tactical Familiarity
Team cohesion in Football Manager 2023 is the level to which your players are able to understand each other and their roles and abilities on the pitch. It’s similar to tactical familiarity, but is more about well players understand you and your systems.
Team cohesion is the link between players, and tactical familiarity is the link between the players and the tactic. These have a strong correlation, and so it makes sense to talk about them both together when discussing how to improve player partnerships in Football Manager 2023. Just note that you may want to focus a training session or two directly on familiarity of your tactics, especially if you have more than one system.
Ups and downs of team cohesion in Football Manager 2023
Cohesion will have peaks and lows throughout the season, so don’t panic if it is low. In between seasons, team cohesion will drop. That’s normal: players are away from each other, and so they’re not reinforcing their team dynamics. One of your pre-season goals should always be to get this back to higher levels as soon as possible. Another common reason for losing team cohesion is having a change of personnel or making some drastic tactical changes. No matter the cause, the solution is the same.
The main way you increase team cohesion is to introduce training sessions that focus on it. Most training sessions increase team cohesion, but only by a bit. This allows you to maintain a level of team cohesion throughout a season without overtly focusing on it. To rapidly increase team cohesion, you need to look at training sessions that have a focus on it.
Add team cohesion training sessions
Go to training and click on the calendar. In there, you will see your upcoming schedule. This includes any matches as well as training sessions. To add a training session, click on an available slot then choose the session you want to train. You can also choose to change future training sessions by clicking on the one you want to change.
Match practice, tactics and review all improve your cohesion and can be done around any game. Match reviews are especially helpful and used by default. If you are worried about player’s fatigue then team bonding is an option as well.