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How to win rotate squads and win cup games in Football Manager

Whether you are looking for the correct point spreads or just betting on the winner, cup competitions can be extremely challenging, and unless it’s in the early stages where the games are not so important, managers will depend on their first team players to get the job done.

Juggling several competitions at the same time in a relentless fixture schedule can take its toll on the players, and managers will need to properly rotate their teams to get the best out of the players.

Regardless of which club you take charge of in Football Manager, ensuring that you keep your players fresh during a busy campaign is crucial to your success.

Squad depth also comes into play if rotation is to be executed properly, and managers should have several tricks up their sleeves if they are to navigate cup games.


However, not every club emphasises cup competitions. Some boards want the prestige of a good cup run, while others are purely focused on retaining their status in the league, so it is imperative to understand what is expected of you before making changes to your team.

Nevertheless, Here are a few tips managers could employ in managing their squads for a good cup run.

Squad depth

The importance of having a big enough squad to last a full campaign cannot be overstated, especially for managers and clubs who are participating in several competitions.

Having at least two players for each position will come in handy during fixture congestion when teams have to play every three days.

Navigating cup games becomes easier when there are a lot of options in the squad to call upon. However, managers have to be wary of over-rotating as too much of it could upset the team rhythm, resulting in a string of bad results.

Creating a first and second eleven

Managers cannot depend on their best eleven alone to blitz through the season as fatigue and injuries will come into play at some point in the season.

Having a big squad will help managers create a first (important players) and second (squad players) eleven, and each can be used depending on the importance of the upcoming fixture.

Both teams can have the same tactics for the most part, with some slight differences in player roles, and stars from the first team are often subbed in if the second team is having trouble.

During the early parts of a cup competition, the second team can be allowed to stake their claim in the first team before giving way for the first team in the latter stages.

You can also use cup games as an opportunity to give game time to promising youngsters who have been impressing in the youth team setups.

Pre-game and in-game management

A rule of thumb is not starting a player with less than 90% fitness level, which aids in minimising injury risks to players. But in the case of a cup final or big game, it becomes necessary to start your big players regardless.

Game management is largely about squad rotation, and resting players mid-game especially when the manager believes the match is already won.

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