Having a good preseason is essential in Football Manager. During the Preseason you are able to train the Fitness Levels of your squad. But this is also the time to fit in new signings, getting the squad familiar with your tactical choices and making sure your team will gel with another.

The most important part about the Preseason is the Fitness Level of your squad. A good Preseason will make sure your players have enough match fitness when the season kicks off, but will also make sure your players will stay fit during the long season and don’t get injured. But be wary! Training them too hard will have an opposite effect! So be careful.

In this Football Manager Guide we will try to explain what the best way is to set up the Preseason training, how you should plan your training, how you choose the correct schedule and how and when you schedule friendlies.

Picking a Start Date

The first decision you will have to make is choosing a start date. In Football Manager you are given the choice at the end of each season. So it is not possible when starting a new game. When you can choose the preseason start date you will get the options for a very long preseason or a very short one.

Our advice would be a preseason of six to eight weeks.

In this period you will have more than enough time to find a good mix between team training and playing friendly matches.

Picking Team Training

During the first week we recommend an Average Training Level, so you don’t let them work too hard. Let them get back into the game after spending some time away from football.

During the second up to the the fourth week you will set the training levels to hard or even very hard. Players should now work their socks of to reach the required fitness level.

During the final two to three weeks you will need to switch the focus towards the special training features.

In the schedule below you will find a preseason schedule for about 8 weeks.

Week Focus Intensity
1 Fitness Average
2 Fitness High
3 Fitness High
4 Fitness High
5 Team Cohesion High
6 Tactical/Attacking/Defense High
7 Attacking/Tactical High
8 Defense/Tactical High


To sum up:

Week 1: Average Training with the Focus on Fitness.
Week 2 to 4: After the first week it will be time to let them work hard and reach the recommended fitness levels.
Week 5: Team cohesion. Now it’s time to gel the team. Letting the new players adapt to your tactics and gelling with the other players.
Week 6: Tactical. My choice: Tactical Training. The players will have to learn what you want from them.
Week 7: Attacking. Focus on Attacking Patterns.
Week 8: Defensive. I close my training with the Defensive part of the game.

Match Training

An extra preparation for your squad. For each game you will get the option to choose a Specific Match Training. There are six types of training to choose from. In the schedule below we show which types of Team Training and Match Training should be combined.

Team Training Match Training
Attacking Attacking Movement, Attacking Set Pieces, Teamwork, Match Tactics
Defensive Defensive Positioning, Defending Set Pieces, Teamwork, Match Tactics
Team cohesion Teamwork, Match Tactics,  Attacking Movement, Defensive Positioning
Ball Control Attacking Movement, Teamwork
Tactical Match Tactics, Teamwork
Fitness Attacking Movement, Attacking Set Pieces, Teamwork, Match Tactics


Playing Friendlies during the Pre Season will help you develop the Levels of Fitness for your players, but they will also help to Gel the team, let them get familiar with the Team Tactics and is it a way to pick up Morale. For me results during the Pre Season aren’t important at all. It is all about the fitness and cohesion of the team. But do not lose too many matches, as the Morale will go down. Is your morale down? Learn how to boost morale in Football Manager.

Scheduling Friendlies

Do not plan any matches during the first week of the Pre Season. Your Players aren’t ready to be playing matches yet. Scheduling Friendlies during the first week will enlarge the risk of injuries.

Number of Friendlies

This is also an important choice you will have to make. You could plan a friendly every other day, but your squad will not be able to complete the Team Training and will only focus on Match Training. Not being able to complete the Team Training means no Fitness Training and no Fitness means tired and/or injured players. Our advice is about 2 Friendlies a week. That way there is enough time to complete the Team Training, but also the possibility to play matches. Schedule your last Friendly Game of the Pre Season at least 7 days before the start of the new Season. That way your players are able to recover en keep on training.

Choosing your opponent

This is mainly important to keep the Team Morale High. Playing Friendlies against Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich is great for the fans, but not for your Team Morale. If you lose these matches the Team Morale will go down and your players will lose confidence. Choose your opponents wisely to keep the Morale high, but also challenging your players to perform at their best. Choose opponents who are equal to your own team for example.

Tactics during Friendlies

Make sure you adjust your tactic a bit when playing the first few Friendlies of the Pre Season, especially if you play an Attacking Formation with a lot of pressure. Because your team lacks the Fitness for playing a High Pressure game, there is a risk players will get injured or fatigued. An option is to adjust your main tactic a little for the first few matches and then when the Pre Season progresses you can Tweak it back to the High Pressure Tactic you normally like to play. Want to make your own tactics? Learn how to create a basic tactic in Football Manager.

Picking the Squad

Which Players you will play during the Preseason is also a vital part of keeping your squad in shape and happy. In the first few weeks it will be important to get all your players involved so the fitness levels will rise. But when you progress towards the start of the season you will have your starting eleven playing together.

If you really want your entire squad to have optimal fitness levels at the start of the season, you can ‘create‘ two teams within your squad, with one squad being the starting eleven and the other squad being the reserve players. That way you can play some extra Friendly Matches, without having to worry your players will get fatigued.