Run of poor form

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There’s a number of factors at play in a late-season run of poor form.

One, Morale has an impact on how team talks (HT and FT) are taken. So, if thought you had ’solved’ team talks, and you had a great solution for a team on high morale, you may need to sort them out again for a team on low morale. (Just remember to go back to your old formula when Morale recovers!)

Two, Determination, professionalism, and experience has an impact on how well a player plays through a run of poor form, and how well a player plays when trailing. So, if you went out and got eleven great young players, well maybe they don’t know how to fight through a losing streak. You might find some older, more seasoned players with worse apparent numbers play better during the poor spell.

Three, sitting players out after a poor showing seems to have a strong motivating effect on them: basically, they take it as ‘I’m in danger of losing my first-team place’, so that can help. (Especially if you have a veteran back-up, you can address points two and three simultaneously.)

Four, your captain has a huge effect. Before reading on forum, I selected captain by Influence. However, “Influence” should be read as ‘potential influence’, or ‘the influence he will have when he’s 36 and has been at your team for ten seasons.’ An 18-year-old with 20 Influence who just joined the club may have some respect among the youth players, but does not have the respect of the veterans. The next point to consider is what Mental aspects he has: a high-Iinfluence player can do harm rather than good if he is weak in other Mental attributes. I’ve found a lot more success picking my captain by Determination, Work Rate, and Composure, seeking a captain with a professional attitude, a veteran whose been with the team a long time. By that point, at League One he may only have 10 or 12 Influence, but that’s okay: he’s a force beneficial to the team.

Five, look to your tactics. I find I shade my tactics more defensive when I hit a losing streak: my theory is that if I grind out a few 0-0 results and 0-1 defeats, eventually I’ll get lucky and grind out a 1-0 victory, and that can help turn around the Morale issue. In particular, I’ll look to keep it 0-0 for seventy minutes, then bring on some fresh attacking players in the hopes that they can outrun and outwork the opposition defense to get the decisive breakthrough.

Finally, think about Condition and training. There’s a number of different things that can ‘go wrong’ in this area - I’ll run over a few common mistakes.
- over-emphasizing one or two areas for a single position. Most players on the pitch do need to contribute both offensively and defensively. You may want tailored training by position, but don’t overdo it: you still want your forwards to be able to make a tackle, and your defenders to be able to pass, for example.

- over- or under- training. If your players always have 100% condition by Tuesday after a Saturday match, you’re probably under-training them, and could increase the Intensity of their training significantly. If your players haven’t recovered to at least 95% condition by the Saturday after a Saturday match, you’re definitely over-training them, and need to decrease the Intensity. Where you want it between those extremes is up to you, and depends on how much squad rotation you want to do.

- If Condition is dropping excessively in the individual matches, you might need more Aerobic training to counteract that effect. (Its especially useful to go an a serious Aerobic binge during pre-season, dropping off the deeper you get into the year.)