Last updated on October 16th, 2022
Some attributes are far easier to understand than others, especially mental ones. It’s all good and well when it comes to dribbling and heading, but what about concentration, off-the-ball or flair?
Aggression is another odd attribute – it’s hard to notice what it actually modifies. Worse yet, most people don’t even know whether to consider it negative, positive, or simply irrelevant. Well, let me tell you, this attribute has made the difference between relegation and winning the league in many of my saves!
However, you may want to tread lightly with things like these. Stuffing your side with aggressive players without much care will get you in deep trouble.
Who would want 11 Gary Medels?
I will help you to find the right balance between a spineless side and a team of aggressive psychos. If you find yourself with a youngster with poor Aggression, fret not, you can always make him improve!
What is Aggression in Football Manager?
Aggression indicates how likely a player is to “get stuck in” when contesting the ball and how much force he will use in these situations. For example, these scenarios include tackling and marking. High Aggression will also impact your player’s body language, switching it to aggressive more often.
However, the attribute alone won’t define how many fouls a player will commit. The likelihood of getting carded is determined by two hidden attributes, Sportsmanship and Dirtiness. Additionally, poor Tackling, Anticipation, Decisions and Concentration will result in more fouls being committed.
As such, aggression will impact players with above-average related attributes positively, while mediocre players with high Aggression will quickly become a nuisance more than an asset.
Two real-life examples of ‘dirty, aggressive players’ would be Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sergio Ramos.
The Spanish centre-back is a real hothead, a quality which makes things difficult when paired with his aggressive nature. During his prime at Real Madrid, he cemented himself as a referee’s nightmare, collecting dozens of yellow and red cards, but also winning numerous contrasts due to his assertiveness.
The same thing applies to Football Manager. Gifted, level-headed players with high aggression often dominate the enemy without hurting anyone, while dirty footballers often spend more time under the shower than on the field.
This dependency on hidden traits makes it very difficult for me to buy aggressive players without running some background checks. What I do to avoid nasty surprises is check the player’s history and look at how many times they got carded during the previous or current season.
The roles where high-aggression players will thrive are Ball-Winning Midfielders, Fullbacks, Central Defenders, and Target Forwards. These are all roles where a healthy dose of aggressive physicality, paired with good decision-making, will make the difference.
How Important Is Aggression in Football Manager?
Aggression is a double-edged sword in Football Manager.
A player with too much aggression compared to his other stats could mean losing him halfway through a cup final.
On the other hand, when coupled with good decision-making and high technical abilities, he could nullify the opposition’s attackers, win you a decisive ball and change the course of the game.
As such, you should research an aggressive player thoroughly before sending an offer. This makes aggression one of the most critical attributes in FM.
Where Can You Find Aggression in Football Manager?
You can check a player’s aggression by clicking on his name, either in the squad or tactics section. Aggression is listed as a mental attribute in the player’s attribute list.
How Do I Improve Aggression in Football Manager?
Generally, developing mental attributes is harder compared to physical and technical ones. On top of that, Aggression is one of the hardest mental attributes to develop on a personal level.
However, it’s not impossible to improve it, and here’s how to do it:
#1 Choose the Right Training
You always want to make sure you’re in charge of your team’s training schedule. Learning how to train your side to fit your needs will yield incredible results. A real-life example of this was Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona. That being said, there are some training sessions that aim to improve your team’s aggression.
The first three are Outfield, Attacking, and Possession, and they can be found in the General category. Then, there’s Defending Engaged in the Defending category and Transition – Press in the Technical one.
By the way, you can always check which attributes a training improves through the focus sections on each training page.
All five of these training sessions will greatly impact Aggression as well as other related attributes like Tackling, Anticipation, and Decisions. They’re great if you want to build a training schedule revolving around aggression.
While we’re on the topic, here’s a great schedule aimed at improving aggression and all related abilities.
#2 Game Time
This option works best for over-18 youngsters with ample room to improve. Making them play more often will have a positive effect on all their attributes, including aggression.
I would recommend this route to bring your young players to the next level. Keeping them in your U23 or U19 squads won’t have the same impact as being part of the first team, interacting with all the best players in your squad.
That’s why I keep track of my younger players through the development centre. You can always call one of them up to play in a low-stake match. During your career, you will likely get some extraordinary newgens as well, who might go to waste if not noticed and developed correctly.
A player whose Aggression could benefit from playing more often is Italian wonder-kid Andrea Papetti. He plays at Brescia at the start of the game and can easily be bought and developed to become a world-class defender.
The Bottom Line
Aggression in FM is crucial to controlling the field and nullifying the opposition’s attacks. However, it could also get your players booked one too many times if not paired with the correct attributes.
It’s a hard attribute to improve, compared to physical or technical ones. However, it can be done through aimed training schedules and improved game time for promising youngsters.
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