The FM Teacher – A Managerial Journey to United – Staff, Players, Dynamics and Tactics


Coventry City – Staff

As mentioned in the previous post, Coventry is in need of some changes. After reviewing the club’s staff, I was impressed. After reflecting on how poor the available staff were I decided that the best course of action was to offer a mutual termination of the staff members I no longer wanted at the club. After clearing out the staff, I had no coaches, no scouts, no data analysts, limited medical staff. It was fair to say that I had to act quickly and recruit some staff to assist with training and ensure that I have staff available to search for new players to improve the squad and have staff members available to deal with any injuries that occur.

Over first few days at the club, once I the press conferences and talking to the club’s chairman, Tim Fisher, I got to work improving the staff. Of all the staff at the club before my decision to let them go, only a few remained. Long-serving GK Coach,, Steve Ogrizovic, Assistant Manager Steve Taylor, Head of Youth Development Richard Stevens, Head Physio David Hart and Physio, Pauline Robertson. The image below shows why I had to make the changes in the staff.


I’ve always been a firm believer in bringing in your own staff. If the quality of staff is not to my standard then I’m not going to hang around and wait for them to develop as coaches. At this level of football, I need quality now.

What the club was really missing was youth coaches, the U23s and the U18s had barely any coaches. When building a coaching team at the club’s I manage I like to have a balance of coaches with different abilities. This goes for the coaching team across the club, including the first team, U23s and U18s. Balance the key to success, I like to have a few general coaches, at least one of the following fitness coach and goalkeeping coach.  For the U23s and U18s at Coventry, I was lucky to have the option of having one of each so the balance is there for all team’s throughout the club.

If I am able to last long enough the club, I will look to improve the areas that aren’t in green showing that my club has the best coaches in the league in that category. But, for now, I am happy with the coaching team that I have built. There has been an improvement in all areas. The club has the best recruitment staff in League 2 as well as the best medical staff. Hopefully, with these new staff members, a successful season is ahead.

Coventry City – Players

Over the last few years, many players have left the club. Granted, players that are good enough to play for better teams aren’t going to stay with the club. However, some of the players that have been sold have been sold for very cheap.
The summer transfer window before the 2017/18 League 2 season saw Coventry bring in a lot of new players. However, even with the new players with the way I like to play there is a severe lack of depth in the squad.

A new addition to Football Manager 2018, Dynamics was something I looked at before moving forward with transfers.


The squad hierarchy is split into different sections. The club’s team leader and captain Michael Doyle leads the way. Underneath Doyle is the highly influential players, Ryan Haynes, Stewart Bevon and Jordan Bevon. This is then followed by numerous influential and other players. This hierarchical triangle is something that I will be keeping a close eye on throughout my managerial career.

Another new feature linked to dynamics, social groups is something I will also be checking constantly. Social groups link to the team cohesion. Obviously, new players that come to the club will have to try and fit into one of the social groups. At the moment, the club has a big core social group with other social groups below.

Social Group

Coventry is a club that is predicted to win League 2 this season. But, looking at this bone-dry squad I can see that some improvements are required. I require depth and versatility. The one thing I do disagree with in the above image is the comment regarding youth prospects. There a few young players that I have already moved from the U23 to the first team and they will get game time to help them develop. Players like Jordan Ponticelli who to me looks like he could easily slot into the first team when required.

To increase the depth in the squad, I’m going to have to rely on loaning some players. Being a Manchester United fan, naturally, I am going to raid their youth team.

Upon reviewing the squad, whilst the lack of depth is concerning. The core squad has some quality to it. As pointed out by the strengths, players like Jack Grimmer, Ryan Haynes, Chris Stokes, and Jordan Willis are all quality players. Where’s the concern? Well, all of the players listed in the strengths are all defenders. Whilst that might be okay from a defensive perspective, going forward the team report shows no strengths. However, being from Coventry, I know the squad and know that there are some good players from an attacking perspective.


The first position that stood out to me that needed improvement, was the GK. Outside of Lee Burge there is not really much quality.


For a backup or first choice GK, depending on how performances go during pre-season Chelsea accepted a loan offer for young GK Mitchell Beeney. To add more depth to the squad I brought in youngsters Julio Pleguezuelo a CB from Arsenal. Joe Riley, Callum Gribbin, Ethan Hamilton and Scott McTominay all from Manchester United. With these loans, I hope that I have added more depth to the squad.

Coventry City – Tactics, initial thoughts

Looking at the squad, my first thoughts are that there is a lack of quality wingers in the squad. With this in mind, when creating a tactic until I can bring in more players that can play in the wide position I’m going to have to use narrow tactics without wingers. I have to admit, this is not my usual approach to tactics but, I can only build with what is at my disposal.

From an attacking perspective, there are numerous forwards available. So, a narrow tactic with two forwards is going to be my initial approach. With a selection of centre midfielders available, I’ll pack the central areas with centre midfielders in various roles. As for the defence, the team report showed this to be a strength. A standard back four with the RB and LB providing the width.

Below, you’ll be able to see the three tactics that I have chosen on an initial basis. Obviously, as it is very early in the creation of team tactics. I am going to have play the friendlies during pre-season to test the tactics out.


In the next post…

See how pre-season goes with analysis of numerous friendlies. Will the tactics be changed? Are the team ready for the upcoming season?

3 thoughts on “The FM Teacher – A Managerial Journey to United – Staff, Players, Dynamics and Tactics

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