3 Ways To IMPROVE Team Cohesion (Football Manager)

Last updated on October 6th, 2022

There’s a popular football saying that goes; talent will win you games, but teamwork will give you titles. If you have played Football Manager for a while, you’ll know how true this quote is.

It doesn’t matter if you have an XI filled with world-class players; if they can’t play well together, you’ll struggle in that save! 

This is a very important aspect of Football Manager that doesn’t get enough attention. 

You’ll often hear FM players complain about how they splash millions on 5-star players but end up with no trophy every season.

While this might be down to your tactics, or several other reasons, your team performance is mostly influenced by one important factor; Team Cohesion.

A team with poor cohesion will struggle to win games no matter the calibre of players they possess. Yes, you may occasionally witness some individual masterclass in some games, but in the long run, your team will drop so many stinkers and miss out on the best prizes. 

Moreover, there have been multiple claims that a team’s cohesion is fully under the control of the game’s AI. These claims are wrong; your team’s cohesion heavily depends on how you handle it.

So if you’ve been struggling to get the best out of your star players or want your team to start playing beautiful football, you will need to improve your team’s cohesion

Here’s what you need to know about the different aspects of team cohesion, and how to improve it.

What is Team Cohesion in Football Manager?

If you’re in charge of your team’s training schedule, you may have seen the Team Cohesion option in General Training at least once. 

Team Cohesion measures your team’s mental state, positioning during matches, vision, and togetherness. This is basically the level to which your team feels united and connected and how focused they are on achieving a common goal. 

As a manager, you may find difficulty pulling decent results with a team that is not united. The greater the bond in a team, the higher the chances of each player playing to their full potential.

The players will understand each other better, your front three will become more fluid, your midfield will know when to play the right pass, and your backline becomes more confident.

In Football Manager, Team Cohesion plays a vital role in the team’s performance. It could be the sole reason your team is on a 10-games winless run or why you’re on course to recreate Arsenal’s 2004 unbeaten league run. Due to its importance, several factors influence it. 

Firstly, your player’s morale and happiness are important factors. 

When a highly influential player starts complaining about his low game time, it can lead to a divide in the dressing room, subsequently affecting the team’s cohesion. 

In my Newcastle save, my assistant captain and one of my best performers decided to leave the club. I declined his transfer request, and he took the matter to the media, causing serious unrest in my club. 

However, it was the January transfer window, and he was in the final year of his contract.

I had to sell him as he wasn’t interested in contract renewal talks. This move caused turmoil in the dressing room; half the players were angry, some were happy I sold him while others felt I gave in too easily. 

My team cohesion became poor, and after a 15-game unbeaten run, I started to lose games. My play was no longer fluid, and I was playing awfully.

There was no change in formation, so there was no doubt that cohesion was the reason for my sudden drop in performance. 

It took me a few hard wins and multiple team meetings to get my team back on track!

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Where You Can Find Team Cohesion in Football Manager?

You can check your team’s cohesion in different ways, but the most common has to be from the team dynamics screen. A bar on the top left of the screen indicates the current cohesion level; it could be abysmal, average, good, or excellent.

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Another indicator of team cohesion is those beautiful lines you see between players while editing team tactics. These lines indicate how well your players play together; the thicker the lines, the better the bond. 

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However, you need to be careful because not all lines are good. For example, a broken line between two players means they both perform poorly when playing together.

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How do I improve team cohesion in Football Manager?

Here are some ways you can improve your team cohesion in Football Manager.

#1 Play and Win Matches

One of the fastest and easiest ways to improve your team cohesion in Football Manager is to play and win matches. The more minutes the players share, the greater the understanding between them. 

So, start by picking out your best XI (plus 2-3 bench players) and use them in most of your games. Also, ensure that you understand their roles and play to their strength. If you do all this with the right formation and tactics, you’re bound to win games, and the more matches you win, the better the team’s cohesion.

Team cohesion is a measure of your team’s morale, and what better way to boost morale than to win matches? 

However, remember that signing a new player will definitely reduce the team’s cohesion as it’ll take him time to adapt to your tactics and style of play. Generally, your team’s cohesion should be maximum after six months of playing your core players; it will be faster if you win games.

If you’re managing a lower league team, you can check out some of the best tactics to use here.

Team Cohesion Schedules

If you go to your training screen and click on any schedule, you’ll notice the different impacts that schedule will have on your team. It’s indicated as a bar that can be either red for negative or green for positive impact. These include:

  • Injury risk
  • Fatigue
  • Happiness
  • Tactical familiarity
  • Team cohesion

Avoid using training schedules with a high negative impact on team cohesion. For instance, this technical training schedule improves my team’s happiness but lowers cohesion.

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On the other hand, this custom Attack training schedule is perfect for my team cohesion and sharpness. With this formation, I always have eager players with great understanding and familiarity.

The only problem is that it increases the risk of injuries and tiredness in my squad.

However, with good squad rotation and a little tweaking, I usually don’t have much to worry about.

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Also, in any training schedule you choose, always schedule at least one Team Bonding session per week. It’ll do wonders for team cohesion.

Team Meetings and Player Talks 

If you want your team to stay united, you’ll have to find a way to keep them happy at all times, especially when you’re not getting the right results.

There are times when things won’t go in your favour. Your 30-goal season striker loses his scoring touch, your entire defence is messy, and you are struggling to win games.

Do ensure you check your team dynamics during these periods!

Your main goal is to keep the club atmosphere positive and the player’s morale high. This will go a long way in helping cohesion.

One of the ways you can achieve this is by holding team meetings. What you say in those meetings and your body language can lift your team’s morale. However, you must be very careful because every good FM player knows that having no team meeting is better than hosting a terrible one. 

Furthermore, team meetings and player interactions are not reserved for stormy days. Be sure to praise your players when they perform well in games and training.

Praising players is a good way to improve their consistency and determination as well.

The Bottom Line 

Football is an 11-man sport where different players must come together to achieve one goal, no pun intended. Recruiting the best wonderkids or star players might not guarantee the success you seek; you’ll have to find a way to unite them and ensure they have a single vision.

In Football Manager, a team’s togetherness, vision, and mental state is indicated by their cohesion. 

To improve your team cohesion you’ll have to find your core 11-14 players to start most of your games. Also, set training schedules that favour team cohesion and include weekly team bonding sessions.

Lastly, hold team meetings to boost morale and have private interactions with players to praise and criticise them for their match/training performances.

One way that improves team cohesion is by hosting a recovery session, and you can find out how it differs from a rest session here.

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