Match Preparation is one of the most interesting new features in FM 2011. It allows you to work on your pre-match setup and gives you opportunity to train your team regarding selected tactics. By the way, Match Preparation screen can be accessed quickly with this shortcut:
Control + R
The most important here is tactic familiarity levels for tactics you use. You should achieve the following levels of tactic familiarity for each your formation in the end:
It means your players understand all nuances of the tactics and adapted them greatly.
FM 2011 allows to adapt players to 3 different tactics. Interesting that training of 3 different tactics makes the players to learn them a bit slower than in case of just 1 tactics.
You should also know that Match Preparation is only modelled for the first and reserve teams without youth squad
Special Focus Area explained
An individual attention has to be drawn to Special Focus Areas. If you don’t use Special Focus Areas (SFA), you should start getting benefits from this new feature just right now!
Almost all variants of SFA allow you to gain a temporary boost for attributes of your players during some match. Actually it’s about all areas except Team Blend.
Let’s imagine you select before a match one of this SFAs:
- Attacking Movement. All attributes linked with ball control and movement gain slight increase when your team is in attack.
- Attacking Set Pieces. Anticipation, positioning and perhaps few other attributes are boosted temporary. Only during attacking set pieces.
- Defending Set Pieces. The same attributes as in previous case will be increased but only during defending set pieces.
- Defensive Positioning. Your players gain a boost of concentration, marking, positioning and maybe several other attributes during your pitch half’s defence.
This is the only focus area that has cumulative effect, and it’s not active during match as other SFAs. Instead it works between matches improving your squad gelling. Team Blend increases player relationships and collaboration which influences performances and morale.
There are several important rules regarding Special Focus Areas everyone should understand:
- if you select any SFA, it takes time from training tactic familiarity levels making them to grow slower
- higher workload does not increase effect of Special Focus Areas
- Team Blend is a long term SFA and should be used always because your squad changes every season or even half of season
This is the optimal algorithm I developed for Match Preparation use:
1. Reach the maximal level of tactical familiarity setting Very High workload at the start of your game. But remember, setting the MP workload will have an effect on the Training workload.
2. Move workload to ‘Normal’ level when maximal tactic familiarity levels are reached.
3. Now you can start using Special Focus Areas depending on your next opponent.
4. Select one of 4 SFAs before a match: Attacking Set Pieces, Defensive Set Pieces, Defending Positioning, Attacking Movement. Your selection should depend on the strong and weak sides of the opponent.
5. Select Team Blend just right after the match.
6. Repeat steps 4-5 for every match.
I hope now you improved your understanding and feelings regarding hidden features of Match Preparation in FM 2011!