Since its origin, football has produced many moments of individual brilliance that are still celebrated to this day.
But to its core, football has always been a team game. There were always 11 men who played. And teamwork was always the focal point of the game.
Fast forward to the 21st century, the essence of teamwork is perhaps at its peak. With teams playing robust tactics, players are demanded to have complete familiarity with each other’s movements.
Team cohesion is probably the most overlooked aspect of Football Manager. While a lot of the new players are focused on getting their tactics right, most forget to notice if the team has gelled together or not.
And that’s why trying out the best tactics just doesn’t work out too often.
Team cohesion is the metric that measures the level of bonding the players in a team have. The more cohesion the players have, the more likely they are to perform as a collective unit.
Today, we’re going to learn more about building team chemistry.
What is Team Cohesion in Football Manager
Team Cohesion in FM is the measurement of your team’s collective unity and understanding. It indicates how well your players are blending along with their teammates.
Having high squad cohesion in FM improves the team’s overall Anticipation, movements off-the-ball, positioning, and teamwork. High team cohesion also indicates your team’s dedication to striving for a common goal.
Players in a highly cohesive team will dish out consistent, robust team performance that can set you up for a winning run. The greater the team bonding, the higher chances of players playing to their full capacity.
A team with high cohesion will play more fluid football. The front three will create more chances in the opposition box. While the backline will become more aware of their positioning. A great real-life example would be the Bournemouth team in the recent EPL 22-23 season.
Likewise, a team with poor cohesion will struggle to gel together and perform to the best of their abilities. Regardless of the big names that you sign for your team, poor team cohesion will make them massively underperform.
In the long run, poor cohesion will end up costing you important matches and points.
What Impacts Team Cohesion in Football Manager
Team cohesion is one of the most complicated metrics in the game as it takes a lot of things into consideration.
Some players claim that the AI is responsible for randomly controlling team cohesion. But it can’t be any further from the truth.
Signing or selling too many players can have negative effects on your team cohesion as new players take time to adjust to the club atmosphere. Match form, player partnership, Team Personality, etc influence the metric too
So to fully understand how team cohesion works in Football Manager, you need to understand the aspects that impact it.
Here are the things that impact team cohesion in FM:
- Match form
- Player Personality
- Player Adaptability
- Common language spoken
- Team training
- Player morale
- Player’s favored personnel
- Social groups
- Time spent together at the club
All these combined influences the team’s collective cohesion and the way they will approach every game.
We’ll explain them elaborately as we demonstrate the ways to improve your team’s bonding.
How to Improve Team Cohesion In Football Manager
Getting your Team Cohesion maxed out is probably the most difficult thing in the game. Not only is it really hard to achieve, but harder to maintain. One has to go to greater lengths to even achieve a “Very Good” level of team cohesion.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. So how do you get the chemistry up?
Here’s how you can significantly improve your team cohesion in FM.
Winning breeds confidence and boosts morale. Team cohesion is highly influenced by the result of the match.
A run of wins and good form can make your team blend well with each other and perform better each game. Whereas, a series of losses can have the exact opposite impact.
So, to keep improving your team cohesion you must look to win as many games as possible at the start of the season. It’ll establish a good platform for your team to build cohesion and follow it up for the next games.
In my save with Burnley, I’ve managed to 2 early wins against Wolves and Tottenham. This provided my team a good cohesion boost which led me to an impressive 9-game unbeaten streak.
A good way to build some team cohesion early up in the season is by playing friendlies against a weaker team. Playing against weaker teams will give you easy wins and help your teammates gain some cohesion between themselves before the season starts.
Wins against bigger clubs, especially rivals will reward you with a bigger boost in morale. The same also applies to winning cups.
After you’re done setting up the winning formula, have a closer look at your tactics and player roles.
Are you pairing up a wingback with your inverted forward? Or are you playing a winger up front instead and blocking the space for your wingback from making overlapping runs?
Understanding player roles will help you to build the tactic that benefits every single player position.
Certain player roles perform better with other roles when paired up. For example, a midfield combination of Ball-Winning Midfielder and Mezzala works quite well in a Vertical tiki-taka approach. They each play a different part in the buildup and facilitate the play. The Halfback or Anchor can also support well from the back and make a good midfield trio partnership.
This ensures that you get the best out of your player combination and form a good partnership between them. The green combining lines between the players in the Tactics screen are the indicator of your player partnership. The greener the line, the better the bond.
Usually, it takes up to 6 months of playing together in the same role for two players to build a partnership in FM. A good partnership between the starting XI improves the overall team cohesion of the squad.
The key to building good player partnerships is by playing the starting XI more often and building a tactic around the player which benefits everyone individually. Winning more games will also impact the player partnership positively.
Of course, you won’t notice such partnerships if you tend to frequently rotate the starting XI. So try to stick to your starting XI as much as possible.
Team Cohesion Training Schedules
A consistent way to build up team cohesion in FM is through training sessions that work on increasing team cohesion.
If you go to the training calendar, you’ll notice that certain training routines helps to build your team’s collective bond while others might decrease the overall team unity.
Set up training routines that work to benefit your team’s collective game. The training routines that improve team cohesion the most are:
- Team Bonding
- Community Outreach
- Match Review
- Match Tactics
Avoid training sessions that have a negative impact on team cohesion.
Don’t leave out training slots for Rest. Rest sessions decrease your team’s cohesion due to inactivity.
Instead of Rest, try to fill in the slot with Recovery sessions. That will slightly increase the coherence and reduce injury risks for players.
For individual training, keep an eye out for players who are unhappy. Players who are unhappy with their assigned individual training might drag down team cohesion. Unhappy players also tend to produce poor training ratings.
Carefully go through their individual training and try to keep them as happy as possible. A player with their preferred individual training will likely get a better training rating, increasing his overall morale and team cohesion.
Team Meetings and Player Talks
A poor run of form is hard to get out of. Especially if you have an unlucky start-of-the-season fixture scheduled against the big clubs. What makes it even harder is the massive hit it incurs to the player morale.
Holding team meetings can give you a temporary boost to team cohesion. It’s a highly effective way to motivate the player before a cup match or to get out of a poor run of form.
Successfully conducting a team meeting will massively improve team cohesion and club atmosphere.
As for individual interaction, try to praise training of the player. Any training rating over 7.50 should be praised as it keeps the player morale high.
It’s highly likely that players going through a losing streak won’t be doing good in the training. So your chances of praising a good training rating are very low in those scenarios. To overcome that, you can praise the player’s conduct instead as it slightly increases the player’s morale.
Praising the players for good performance can also improve the club atmosphere. It helps to strengthen the overall team dynamics.
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Having a player’s favored personnel in the team also helps in enhancing team cohesion.
To check a player’s favored personnel, simply go to the player profile and go to “Information” from the “Overview” dropdown.
You’ll notice the names of the player’s favored personnel on the left side of the screen. It shows the players, coaches, and staff the player has a good relationship with.
Playing alongside their favored personnel makes a player more likely to gel well.
For example, Neymar and Messi work really well with each other as they are the favored personnel of each other. They have a friendly relationship and that helps one of them to help the other to settle into a new team quickly.
Similarly, Josh Murphy and Jacob Murphy are two brothers who share a keen relationship due to their sibling relationship. Playing them together will instantly build a good player partnership in the team.
However, this approach is very difficult as you need to secure players for each position with the same Personality.
Social Groups and Personalities
This is where things start to get a bit tricky. All the above-mentioned ways can get you a “Very Good” level of team cohesion. But it’s difficult to push it past that level by only winning games and maintaining player morale.
As the Team Cohesion feature in FM is calculated based on the collective mental state of the team, belonging to the same social group can be hugely beneficial.
Socials groups in Football Manager are divided into 4 groups.
- Core Social Group
- Secondary Social Group A
- Secondary Social Group B
A player’s personality, tenure at the club, and influence dictates his position in the social group. Oftentimes, we’ve noticed players who share similar Personalities belong in the same social group.
Player personality is the final key to unlocking the max team cohesion. While in charge of a club, go to the “Club Info” screen and head to the “General” tab. There, you will see the collective personality of your team provided under Team Personality.
My Burnley squad has a Determined team personality in my FM save. So players with Determined personalities will easily slot into the core social group of my club after signing.
Having a squad of players with the same Personality will also result in players similarly reacting to team talks. Their Personality will make them work towards similar interests and goals, driving team cohesion up in the process.
Apart from the actual attributes visible in the player profile, Football Manager also carries some hidden attributes for the players that impact certain aspects of their playing style and personality.
Look to make informed transfer decisions about the player’s personality and adaptability.
A player with high Adaptability will be easily able to get familiar with his teammates, social group, and tactics. Similarly, being fluent in one common language makes the team a strong collective unit and helps to communicate more efficiently on the pitch.
The last tip for boosting the cohesion of your team is through the act of mentoring.
Mentoring is a great way to influence the personality and mental attributes of the younger players of the squad. It’s also highly effective in building team cohesion if executed properly.
Team cohesion can be significantly improved by creating mentoring groups of players who share the same Personality. This will make the players of that group bond well with each other and build good understanding between themselves.
Organizing the right mentoring group can help your young players take outstanding leaps in their mental growth as well.
The Bottom Line
Improving Team Cohesion in Football Manager is a long-term process. It requires a ton of patience to build a team with players who share similar personalities and kinship toward each other.
You can’t really make it work overtime. But given enough time and proper mentoring, you can max out your Team chemistry and see them reap the results!.
Nobody said it’s gonna be easy!