For previous A-Z entries, please visit: The A-Z of Football Manager
Today’s guest author is @MattinhoGotGame!
Like it or not they have been a fundamental part of the Football Manager experience ever since it began all those years ago and there is never a good time to get them. Whether it’s an annoying ankle bruise that rules out your midfield general the day before a showdown against your main rivals or a broken metatarsal that will leave your starting goalkeeper on the sidelines for 4 months after he dropped a jar of Ragu pasta sauce onto his foot (Oh the irony, right?), one way or another you are going have to deal with them.
They will test your emotions, patience and game planning, sometimes to the extreme. I mean let’s face it, who hasn’t in the midst of a seemingly never-ending precession of physio emails thought it could be a cathartic experience to smash your keyboard and set it alight as some form of sacrifice to the gods match fitness?
From my personal experience there isn’t a whole lot that can be done when it comes to injuries given how random they are. Sure, you can adjust training, increase rest and get the best medical staff you can find but eventually you will receive that dreaded notification informing you of the worst. Of course, you could ‘accidentally’ load up older save and pray it doesn’t happen again (I know you’ve all thought about it) or turn to the dark side that is the in-game editor to bring about your own healing ‘miracle’ (did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Football Manager? I thought not. It’s not a story Sports Interactive would tell you).
Take my current FM23 save as manager of Leeds United (not a word, not a single word from any of you!). Entering April of the 2031/32 season we looked well on for what would be an historic treble. We held a handsome 9-point lead in the Premier League standings coupled with semi-final berths and tags of favourites in both the Champions League and FA Cup. But by the end of that very same month, I’d lost 2 forwards, my main attacking midfielder, 4 centre backs and my starting left back for lengths of time ranging between 6 weeks and 4 months with two of the longer injuries coming in a single match to leave me doing my best Don Corleone impression while solemnly muttering “Look at how they massacred my boys”.
We went from almost dead certs in all 3 competitions to crashing out of the Champions League after extra time vs Real Madrid. Having led the tie up until the final 9 minutes of the 2nd leg my tired and unrotated defence simply ran out of steam in heart-breaking fashion by conceding to level the scores before shipping a soft winner in the dying moments while I was planning for lottery of a penalty shootout. We followed that up a few weeks later by not even showing up in a 2-0 FA Cup final defeat against bitter rivals Manchester United due to having to play multiple tired players out of position across the back line (many an arm was thrashed during that game). We did however somehow manage limp to a league title on the final day thanks mostly to that 9-point lead despite having a run of form which included 2 wins, 3 defeats and a draw in our final 6 league games (I highly doubt my keyboard would be here to tell this tale if we hadn’t at least won something).
In any case never underestimate the sick and twisted nature of whatever demonic Skynet-esq line of game code that decides when you get injuries and how frequently they occur. I’m not quite sure how to bring this part of the guide to a close but I guess the main takeaway from all of this would be… Don’t let your goalkeeper eat Ragu.