Shouts in football manager can generally be unclear as to what they really mean, or the effect they have on your team. What is clear, however, is that they will not alter the tactical shape of your team.
Shouts only give you an edge on the mental state of the players on the pitch. Use them wrongly, and you risk one of your players getting that second yellow card or conceding a late winner. Sometimes it is better to just shut up and watch the game unfold rather than shouting the wrong things at the players.
Here are the shouts I normally use to see my team over the line, or desperately hang on to a point in a hostile away game. The guide is not bulletproof, but you will see success more often than not.
Definitely the favourite shout for most managers, as often it seems to consistently work in various in game scenarios, from conceding an early goal to protecting a lead late in the game.
The Demand More shout however is best used when you are favourite for a match, and your team has just not shown up.
An example of your team not showing up is failing to have a shot on target in the first 30 minutes of the game when playing against a team in the bottom half of the table, or conceding an early goal from a weaker team or one that you feel you are evenly matched.
However, for an evenly matched team, do not use the shout immediately you concede, give yourself some few minutes to monitor whether they are outplaying you in a certain area and make the necessary adjustment before shouting at your players.
The Demand More shout however should not be used when you are facing a team that is significantly stronger than yours. Shouting Demand More against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena when you have already shipped three goals will only demotivate your players.
The Encourage Shout is best used for weaker teams, as you are being honest with your players that a large loss could be on the cards should things turn for the worst.
You can also use the Encourage shout when your team is not necessarily poor, but you are in the middle of a rot and the team morale is low.
It is best to use the shout sparingly, only use it when your underdog team has conceded a goal and there is still time to nick an equalizer before the game ends.
Away games suit this shout well as you can be more demanding for your home games even when managing a weaker team, unless when facing the really big boys like Man City and Liverpool.
You should, however, not use the Encourage shout when you have a lead or when the scores are still equal, as you risk your players reacting badly and caving in to the pressure that they are already under.
The Calm Down shout basically tells your team to cool down, and reduces their chances of making rash decisions in the game which might result in giving away unnecessary fouls, or worse, a red card.
Calming down, however, might not necessarily be what you need, as your team will most likely lose 50-50 duels when you have instructed them to be sensible and not overcommit themselves.
For this reason, I typically use this shout on a specific player rather than the whole team. Your other players will still give their all, but the player you have singled out will be more cautious when it comes to tricky situations.
You can normally single out players to use this shout on by their personality or when they are routinely giving fouls away. Players with aggressive personalities are more likely to make rash challenges, while those fouling everyone might end up with a red card.
The Calm Down shout however should not be used in derbies or important knockout games, you want your players in these situations to give their all without holding back. If you think a player is at risk of getting that second yellow card, it is better to just sub him out.
The Focus shout is best employed when your team is coasting to a win and your players’ body language is complacent or uninterested.
When you have a healthy lead of three or more goals, using this shout will prevent your team from becoming too comfortable and losing focus on the task at hand.
The focus shout suits stronger teams capable of going on long winning streaks, meaning their morale and confidence in themselves will be sky-high. Use it when you have won when several games on the bounce, but not at the beginning of the run.
Using this shout when you have conceded a goal, but you still have a healthy lead will also work well, especially when facing a weaker team.
You should, however, not use the Focus shout when you are chasing an equalizer or trying to find a winning goal, as your players will already be having their mind in the right place.
The Fire Up shout is more or less the opposite of Calm Down, it is best used when you are trying to get your players in the right mood for giving their all in a local derby or an important knockout game.
Unlike ‘Calm Down’, I use the fire up shout on the whole team rather than on an individual, though choosing specific players to use it on might also work well if they are finding it difficult to get motivated on their own.
However, the downside of getting your players fired up is the risk of red cards. If a few players get yellow cards, it is better to sub them out rather than run the risk of going down to ten men.
You should ideally use this shout when you are trailing by a single goal in a derby, and you want to see a more fighting spirit in your team.
However, I would avoid using it in games I can not afford to go one man down, like a final. Moreover, someone who needs help in getting motivated for a final should not be in your team.
The no pressure shout is best used for games that you are not expected to get a result from. If you are a League 2 side, and you are facing Man United at Old Trafford, this is the shout to use.
It lets your players know that they will not be judged by the result and frees them to focus on their own game. With some luck and good defending, you might even escape with a win.
Before using it, make sure you really are an underdog as your players might not react well when they think they have a chance of getting a result, yet you are telling them there is no pressure to play well.
Use the shout when you concede the first goal, it will prevent your players’ morale from dropping, and they will continue giving their all.
You can also use the shout in a cup competition that you are over performing in, it basically tells the team that you are already satisfied with their achievements and any other upset they cause is a bonus rather than a result you expect them to achieve.
The Praise shout is more straight forward as it tells the team that you are happy with their performance.
I only use this shout when my team scores two early goals without reply from the opposition, or when the team gets the second goal early in the second half to settle my nerves.
You should ideally use the shout when the majority of your players are averaging above 7.50. Use it when the team think it’s playing poorly, and they will negatively react to it.
If you are on a long winning streak, and the team’s morale is very high, I would avoid using it as they might get complacent instead of being pleased with their performance.
A new addition to football manager, the Berate shout should be used when you are losing badly to a team you should be comfortably beating.
If your Champions League winning team is down two goals to the worst side in the league, this is the shout for it.
Depending on your players’ mentality, they will either make a good effort of rescuing a result or crumble down further under the pressure you have piled on them. One thing, for sure, is that you are not happy with their performance.
Only use the Berate shout against sides you are expected to get a result from, using it when the sides are even or the gap in quality is not too big might not get a positive reaction from your players.
Final Thoughts on Shouts in Football Manager
This guide should only be a rough outline as some situations are a combination of different factors and pinpointing what has gone wrong might not be easy.
Going back to your tactics and making one or two changes might be all you need to get the result you want.
You should also pay attention whether you have leaders on the pitch when things are not going your way. A team with no capable leaders will more easily concede late equalizers and winning goals, especially in high pressure games like derbies or finals.