The thing that sets Football Manager apart from other videogames like FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer is the amount of detail available to you and all the different ways that you can act upon it.
These intricacies, from contracts to interacting with youth players to press conferences can all make a huge difference in how your save goes. If you’re playing as a reputable, rich club then you may be able to get away with ignoring the small details since you have talented players and a large transfer budget to compensate.
If you really want to squeeze the most out of your save or are at the head of a more challenged club, paying attention to things like contracts and press conferences can be the difference between a long successful career and an early sacking!
Press conferences in particular have the ability to affect everything from your fans to your players to your club’s boardroom. Perception is an important part of navigating the Football Manager world just as it is in real-life football!
It’s important to both keep your fans optimistic and your players happy.
It can be more than just a safety net though, and the best Football Manager players will know how to use it to lure in transfer targets and get in the mind of their opponents.
Whilst these benefits are all good and well, not every manager loads up a save wanting to sink hours into going through press conferences. You may be tempted at the beginning of each new career to tell yourself that you’re going to attend every press conference in the hope of optimising your team but find that you lose interest in doing so a few months into the season.
Let’s look in detail at what the pros and cons of press conferences are and how much of an impact doing them well, maybe not doing them at all, can really have.
Press conferences come up for all types of things.
Pros of doing press conferences
Whilst they may not always be as eye-catching as Champions League finals or big-money transfers, press conferences can accumulate to make your career progress more successfully. Such a feature couldn’t be added to the game unless there was some reward to be reaped from putting time into it.
Taking charge of your team’s press conferences allows you to understand your squad better. Over time, you will begin to develop a sense of how certain players react to certain comments and you can use this information to coax the best out of your squad, encouraging them to rise to new challenges and giving them belief in themselves in times of crisis.
With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to give much more beneficial answers in press conferences than if you left them to your assistant.
Press conferences in new editions of Football Manager take place in all different sorts of settings. There are opportunities to talk to journalists about everything from transfer rumours to squad unhappiness to pre-match build-up.
Transfer-related press conferences are probably the subject that has the most room for creativity. If you play your cards right, you can make transfer targets unhappy at their current clubs.
This could compel the team in question to be more open to selling!
Making your interest as public as possible is the safest way to disrupt the relationship between your transfer targets and their current club.
However, it is also possible to use a bit of tact if you’re worried about upsetting current squad members who may feel under threat from the possibility of new additions. Taking your own press conferences allows you to decide where on the spectrum you want to shoot your shot from, a decision that your assistant manager will rarely have the nuance to get right.
Look at a player’s information screen to see what is making them happy or upset.
In pre-match press conferences, it’s possible to manage expectations. If you’re worried about underwhelming your fans, then preemptively providing excuses or reality checks can make sure the backlash isn’t too big should the result not turn out in the way you hope.
However, withholding the positivity too much can result in your players feeling pessimistic and therefore making a poor outcome more likely. Finding this balance is again about knowing your own players and working out your priorities, a refined skill that you are again likely to be able to do much better than your assistant.
Our last example of a situation where a refined approach to press conferences can get you the best result is in-between games when journalists ask you about specific players’ form. Some players when going through a dip in form will react well to a personal interaction or a place on the bench.
Others, however, need to be called out in public before they find the fire that makes them the top player that you know they can be. This can take some trial and error.
Calling out some players in public may make them demotivated and upset.
If you’re consistent with attending your press conferences though you’ll soon be able to work out who responds well to public discussion of their ability and form. Stick with it and it’ll be obvious to you what levers are available to boost your players or get them in the right mindset to win games and get behind you as a manager.
Not least of all, press conferences are just good fun for a lot of Football Manager players. They help add to the immersion and are indisputably a crucial part of a real football manager’s job.
They help add to the build-up of transfers and matches and many Football Manager players would never dream of skipping them. Whether it’s realistic or not, the assistant manager, whatever attributes they have, is never going to get the consistently positive reactions that a player who knows the squad can do.
Doing your own press conferences can nurture your squad a whole lot better and for many virtual football managers, are a crucial part of the experience.
Cons of doing press conferences
For all these benefits though, a large chunk of Football Manager players do end up skipping the vast majority of their press conferences after the first couple of saves.
It is often the case that people just get bored of doing them again and again. Whilst they can help you in a variety of areas, it becomes clear after a while that the same questions are being asked in different formats every week and the whole ordeal can become somewhat predictable.
Each conference may only take a few minutes, but they can start adding up and suddenly getting through a season takes a few hours longer than you are used to!
Many players like to get in the flow of quickly bouncing through the game week and then locking in properly for the transfers and matches.
It’s hard to get into this rhythm if you’re constantly attending press conferences.
Many players will just think they’re not worth the time investment, unless you are enjoying them and getting in the groove of working out the right answers.
Not least of all, it’s not like your club will implode if you don’t attend press conferences. Your assistant manager is never going to set the world alight but, regardless of their attitudes, pick pretty inoffensive answers that don’t evoke any huge responses from your fans, your players or the club board.
Taking your time on press conferences can yield the best results but a lot of managers won’t feel the need to when your save can usually chug along mostly unaffected by your assistant manager taking the reins.
Do press conferences matter in Football Manager?
Overall, how much time you put into press conferences depends on how much you want to get out of your save. They can be the difference between a good career and a great one, so in that sense, they do matter.
However, if your save is going disastrously, don’t bank on press conferences being your get-out-of-jail-free card! They provide a bonus here and there via a morale boost or a reduction in fan expectations but they will never compensate for a well-assembled squad and thought-out tactics on the pitch.
Press conferences in Football Manager matter more to the players who want to make the most of every tool available to excel in all areas of management.
The ability to delegate the task to an assistant manager who generally plays things safe means that you can do perfectly well enjoying the game without investing much time into picking out answers every week though.
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