Injuries are part and parcel of football, but there a comes a time in the middle of a busy schedule where it feels like your players are picking up an injury or two in each game they play. Football Manager will always try to emulate the real world, and some injuries are bound to happen, no matter how carefully you try to avoid them.
However, there are things that you do as a manager that will increase the chances of your players getting too many injuries, or at least more than the expected average. For instance, a team that plays a high tempo game, coupled with a gegenpressing style, will ultimately suffer from more injuries compared to a team which sits back and plays a slow possession based game.
The football manager devs explain that in the EPL, there are over 1400 injuries each season. FM21 and FM22 on the other hand sees an average of 1120 injuries per season, which puts the game at 80% of reality. Out of all these injuries, only 10%-15% are considered to be major injuries. The major injuries are defined as those that keep players out of action for more than 28 days (a month)
Depending on how you approach the game, the number of injuries your team will be getting over a season might fit the average, which is 65 or perform worse if you do not take care of your players’ welfare. It is possible to keep the number of injuries below the average, and we will take a look at how to go about it below.
What Causes Injuries In Football Manager
- Player Injury Susceptibility. A player might be susceptible to injuries either because he has a nagging recurring injury that he just cannot shake off, or he is playing while he is still unfit
- Training Workload. Training workload is influenced by team and individual training. It is indicated by Light, Medium and Heavy. The more demanding your training workload is, the higher the chances of your players getting too many injuries.
- Match Workload. Game plans that involve a lot of running, putting opponents under constant pressure and launching quick counter-attacks will always be more taxing to the players, directly leading to an increased risk of injuries to your players.
- Injury History. There are players in real life who can not play more than three matches consecutively without getting injured. This is also true in football manager. In a player’s report, your coach will highlight this in the cons as “might have problems with injuries”
- Match Sharpness. Players who are lacking match fitness will not only perform worse than their attributes suggest, but are also more likely to suffer from unexpected injuries.
All the factors discussed above are then worked out by your sports scientist to give you an overall risk, which is displayed in the medical centre.
How To Avoid Getting Injuries In Football Manager
- Hire the best physios and sport scientists. No staff in football manager is perfect, but it goes without saying that better rated physios and sports scientists will provide better results. You will get more accurate timelines of recovering players, while also getting better predictions on which players are at a higher risk of getting injured. The best physios also reduce treatment time. In addition to getting the best staff, also pester your board to increase the numbers that you have, more staff reduces the workload on individuals which in turn makes them perform better in the smaller area that they are allocated to oversee.
- Have a big squad. A first team squad consisting of 16-18 players might be easier to manage, but it leads to overplaying players when they could do with a rest. I personally create squads consisting of at least 22 players, in addition to having one or two players in the youth squad who can do a job in matches you expect a comfortable win. If you are worried about affording sufficient game time to everyone, only promise very few players the role of star player in their contract. Regular starter is what I usually prefer for the vast majority, and rotational or backup to those who will only get a start when the schedule becomes busy, normally in December. You do not need your key players in the early rounds of a cup competition, these early rounds provide the perfect opportunity to give other players starts so that your first team players can rest.
- Utilize substitutions. When I am not chasing a game, I always use all my substitutions between the 60th and 70th minute. It ensures that I play my best players for the better part of the match, while giving the substitutes sufficient amount of game time. There is always the risk of suffering an injury once you have exhausted your subs, but this only happens very rarely, and I think the benefit of giving a rest to my star players outweighs that of potentially dropping down to 10 men in unfortunate circumstances.
- Tweak your training. Do not assign training activities one day before the match. Instead, use this slot to assign match preparation and Match Preview. These two activities give familiarity to the players on how the opposition might play, while also not taxing them physically as they are not on the training ground.
- No Training after a match. The training slots that are available after a match should only be assigned to Recovery and Match Review. If a second match is within three days, you can skip these and simply rest all the knackered players until the match day.
- Lower training intensity as needed. When you are playing one game a week, a higher training intensity is useful to keep your players fit and developing in the right way. However, when the games start coming in thick and fast, it is wise to lower the intensity to keep your players in optimum conditions to perform. Failure to do this might lead you to start players whose physical condition is less than 90%, since they are being run to the ground in training.
- Only start players in perfect conditions. Unless it is an important game, I never give starts to players who conditions are less than 90%. They will always be exhausted before half-time, forcing you to waste a substitution which could instead be used to improve the chances of your team winning rather than giving a player a rest. It is better for the player to come on for the last 30 minutes rather than starting then needing to be substituted off. Also, once a player’s condition dips below 70%, it is better to substitute him off as he immediately becomes a high risk in picking up a major injury that might keep him out for some time.
- Alter the default individual intensity. You can set the individual intensity to be automatic so that it can be bumped up or down depending on a player’s condition. Do it as follows, less than 69% condition = no pitch or gym work, 70%-89% = normal intensity and finally greater than 90% = double intensity.
- Pay attention to injury prone players. Pay attention to players who routinely get injured and afford them more rest and less work compared to their teammates.
Following the guidelines above will keep your dressing room relatively healthy and free from too many injuries. However, as already mentioned, injuries are part of the game, and you are bound to suffer from them at some point. But this time, you will have the skill to navigate the turbulent times with minimal impact to your aspirations for the season.