FM17 team talk guide and case study: How I use team talks to win more games and improve morale

If you have ever wondered:

“How do I use team talks effectively in Football Manager?”

Then you are not the only one.

Most people just leave it to the assistant (or even worse don’t do anything at all), but if you want some real results and win some trophies you need to know how to use team talks to your advantage.

and once you know how to do it all it takes is 10 seconds.

Today I’m going to show you my check-list which I use to get a positive response in 99% of the team talks I hold whether I’m winning or losing.

So, if you want to consistently get good reactions from your players like below then keep reading to learn how.

Team talk results

The three + one types of Team Talks

In Football Manager, there are three main types of team talks and an additional one for substitutes. You can skip to each part below:

Pre-match team talk

Half-time team talk

Full-time team talk

Substitute player individual talk

Before we start: One thing you’ll note through this article, is that I almost always use positive team talks. I have found this to work much better than negative team talks in FM and I never use “aggressive”, “cautious” or “reluctantly” and rarely do I use “assertively”.

How to use pre-match team talk

The first opportunity to use the team talk is pre-game.

Here, the option you select should be based on the expectations before the game.

And luckily, we can use the pre-game odds for this and I always base my pre-game team talk on these.

FM17: Pre-match game odds

My rule of thumb is the following:

Clear favourites: Odds of evens (below 2.00) or lower:

  • Passionate: “I expect a win today” or “we are the favourites here” as in the screenshot below

Close game: Odds between evens (2.00) and 3/1 (4.00):

  • Calm or passionate: “Good luck out there” or a variant there of

Underdogs: Odds above 3/1 (4.00):

  • Calm or passionate: “No pressure today” or “do it for the fans”

FM17: Select team talk

And that was the pre-match team talk, right?

Wrong!

There is one more, very important step and this is the same step regardless of the pre-match odds.

What you need to do is for each of defenders, midfielders and strikers you select “I have faith in you, get out there and make a difference” or a variant there of. This is shown below.

FM2017: I have faith in you

In the screenshot above you can see the reaction to my first team talk was primarily “Listened keenly”.

The first, overall team talk thus gets their attention and the next one with I have “faith in you” gives them the extra boost to “go green”. The result is shown below.

FM17: Team talk results

This team talk was above par with 7 players reacting positively. Normally, I get 4-7 players to react positively to my pre-match team talk.

And better than that, it is very rare for me to get negative reactions.

Half-time team talk

The half-time team talk is a bit more advanced than the pre-match team talk and what I say is based on the current way the game is going and what I said to the guys pre-match by the following schedule:

I am happy with the performance if:

  • Pre-match favourites: A lead of two goals or more
  • Close game expected: A lead
  • Underdogs: A draw or a lead

I am neutral in terms of performance if:

  • Pre-match favourites: One goal lead
  • Close game expected: A draw or 1-goal behind but playing well (more shots and CCC’s than opponent)
  • Underdogs: 1-goal behind, but playing well otherwise

I am unhappy with performance if:

  • Pre-match favourites: Drawing or losing
  • Close game expected: I am losing and not playing well
  • Underdogs: Losing by two goals or more

Team talk when I am happy with performance

You are doing well and you are happy with performance. Naturally you will reflect that in the team talk.

  • Passionate: “I’m happy with your performance so far, keep it up”

In the screenshot below, I used this when I was a heavy underdog as Everton away against Arsenal and every player was happy with the team talk.

FM17: Half-time team talk result

Half-time Team Talk when I am neutral with performance

Now you are neutral with the performance, but are you just going to stand there for 15 minutes looking indifferently at the players?

Is that likely to inspire them?

No.

What you want to do is say to the players that they have done well, but that they could do even better, so I do the following:

  • Passionate: “things are going well, but I know you’re capable of even better” (shown below)

FM17: Half-time team talk result

Now the players do not react as positively as in the first case. This is to be expected as it is harder to be enthusiastic in a game, that is kinda boring and going as expected.

Half-time Team Talk when I am unhappy with performance

Now, this team talk is a bit more delicate. You might be angry but do you think your players will react positively if you throw a fit (and some boots) round the room?

Most likely not.

What you want to do is to tell the players that they must do better out there. Do that by selecting:

  • Assertive: “I am not happy with your performance out there”

So that was the half-time talks?

Of course not

There are still the small topics of individual and talks by position to the players, so we’ll rush to that.

Individual talks

You want to hold individual talks first, because once you’ve given team talks by position you cannot do this.

So, if a player has played at a rating of 8 or above I will now do an individual talk with him saying:

  • Passionate: “I’m very happy with your performance so far tonight”

If a player has played below 6 you could try an assertive team talk. However, I rarely find that the player picks up his performance and I’ll instead sub him off.

Player position team talk

The final step is to talk to the defenders, midfielders and attackers collectively.

If all players have played above 7 I’ll use the option that “I am pleased with them” (calm or passionate).

If all players have played with a rating between 6.5-7 I’ll use:

  • Calm or passionate: “I have faith in you” as shown below

FM17: Half-time position talk

You’ve already seen one outcome of this, but below I show another, more common outcome for a game in which I am neutral about performance.

FM17: Half-time team talk results

The results were not fantastic but there are no negative reactions and four positive reactions. This is normal in a “boring” game as this have been. All players have played from 6.7-7.1 and while it is going well and we’re leading 1-0, there’s not anything to get really excited about which is reflected in the reactions.

Full-time team talks

For the full-time team talks I’ll largely use the same rules as the half-time team talks posted below:

I am happy with the performance if:

  • Pre-match favourites: Win by more than 2 goals
  • Close game expected: I have won the game
  • Underdogs: I have drawn or won the game

I am neutral in terms of performance if:

  • Pre-match favourites: Won the game by one goal
  • Close game expected: I have drawn the game or played very well, but lost by one goal
  • Underdogs: A draw or better, or a one goal loss but played well

I am unhappy with performance if:

  • Pre-match favourites: A draw or worse
  • Close game expected: A loss
  • Underdogs: A loss by more than two goals

Selecting full-time team talk

Again, you pretty much use the same options for full-time team talks as you did at half-time.

When you are happy with performance:

  • Calm or passionate: “I am happy with the performance…” or “a very nice victory, well done”

When you are neutral about performance and did not win:

  • Calm: “You were unlucky today”

When you unhappy with the performance:

  • Assertively: “You were not good enough today”

Full time individual team talks

The last step in the team talks is to do individual team talks.

However, if my player has already reacted positively like in the screenshot below there is no need to do this, so if all my players have reacted positively, I will not do these.

FM17: Full-time team talk results

If my player has had no reaction or a negative reaction I use the following rule:

  • Rating above 8: Passionately say that you were delighted with his performance
  • Rating between 7-8: Calmly say you were pleased with his performance
  • Rating below 6: Assertively say that the player can do better

We are now done with team talks and will move on to the last topic, talking to substitute players – and I promise that won’t take long to master!

Substitute player individual talk

When you sub on a player there is a high likelihood that you can make him run into the field with a higher morale.

There are really only two options I use for substitute players and they are:

  • If available: Passionately tell the player to “pick up where he left off”
  • If that isn’t available, I’ll use: Calm or passionate: “I have faith”

And that’s it!

FM17: Positive reaction to being subbed on

Other positive effects of using team talks

If you are still not convinced that you should take the 10 seconds it takes to use team talks consider these four benefits you get from it:

  • Better performance of players during games by having higher morale
  • Higher morale long-term, as players will always leave games with their head held high, whether they won or lost
  • Less problems between matches due to this higher morale
  • Better relationship with players because you talk to them and have a positive impact

Now you try it

I hope you have enjoyed this guide to team talks in Football Manager.

However, while this has been successful for me I do not claim to have all the answers, so if you have any input please leave a comment below.

Or maybe you loved the article and you’ve applied the methods to your own FM game with success.

Either way, please leave a comment below and I’ll be around to answer it.

2 comments
madara - August 23, 2017

please what version of the game are you playing. my own version does not have pre-match or half-time talking

Reply
    GuidoSteve - August 23, 2017

    It sounds like you’re playing FM Touch, in which team talks are not included.

    Reply
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