Football Manager 2021, the football manager's test before the release

Football Manager 2021, the football manager's test before the release
The appointment with the tried of Football Manager 2021 comes at a time of particular fibrillation in the videogame panorama. With the releases of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X now imminent, the whole world is in fact concentrated on the console landscape and on the games that will arrive on the new platforms from now to the next months. Everyone, except the most diehard football sufferers, those who are not enough to be able to play FIFA 21 or PES 2021 but want to manage their team in depth, taking care of all aspects down to the smallest details. Real managers at three hundred and sixty degrees, able to give birth to tactics between phases of possession, transition and non-possession, taking advantage of the opportunity offered by an endless database also to discover the talents who will plow the fields of tomorrow in reality.

All this and much more has been the Football Manager series for many years now, a name that needs no introduction given its ability to always continue to arouse strong emotions in all the most passionate lovers of football. However, this is not an easy task, which all brands have to deal with with an annual release plan, including more relevant updates and transition chapters. In the case of Football Manager 2021, Sports Interactive has already anticipated some interesting news, which at least on paper will be able to delight all those who spend hours and hours between the management menus and the field. We will naturally go to evaluate everything definitively in a few days in the review, but waiting for that moment to arrive, let's see what has come out of this remnant of the season that we have had the opportunity to play for a few hours.

Menus and new interactions

The first sensation you get after starting a game of Football Manager 2021 is one of extreme familiarity with its interface, after having spent a certain amount of hours with its predecessor. Apparently the new effort of Sports Interactive is in fact very similar to that of a year ago, thus allowing us to easily find most of the management options where we left them. A reassuring aspect for not having to get used to a different graphic layout or structure, which thus allows the player to immediately immerse themselves in the news that the team led by Miles Jacobson has set up for this edition.

From this point of view, the aspect that first catches the eye is linked to the new system of interactions that the developers have developed for Football Manager 2021, thus replacing the previous one with which our manager could interact with media and members of the team. The moments in which exchanges take place are still those we knew, in view of a match for example or to comment on market news, but in addition, in some cases we also find the possibility of accompanying our sentences with an action of the body that identifies one. state of mind very specific. Ambiguous descriptions are thus replaced, which had always been the same for several years. How much all this will really succeed in influencing our relationship with journalists and with the players by pushing us to take part in the first person instead of delegating to the deputy will obviously be a matter to be addressed in the review, limiting ourselves for now to appreciate above all the greater clarity of these elements with respect to the dynamics. precedents.

Before and after the match

Thanks to the delayed start of the football season due to the pandemic, advancing the days in Football Manager 2021 we begin to notice the other innovations inserted by Sports Interactive. One of these is the decision to adopt some of the consequences of Covid-19 within the game, for example by inserting the five substitutions in the competitions that foresee them and generally planning a smaller inflow of money into the coffers of the clubs for the first season. . The choice of not inserting the virus as an "accident" is acceptable, thus lightening its impact with respect to reality within what is still first and foremost a video game.

Moving on to something else, among the news we find greater attention to the preparation of the match, both for what concerns the analysis of the match and the actual tactics. The pre-match tactical meetings have been modified to appear more quickly through a modal window, streamlined in their composition to give the player a series of indications from the staff on the upcoming match. It is obviously up to us to decide whether to take them into consideration or not, before taking the field.

An aspect to be taken into extreme consideration from the point of view of the analysis is that which is identified with the term xG (from 'English expected goals), that is to say a parameter that can be summarized as the number of goals that one would expect from the performance fielded by our team. A metric increasingly applied also in the real world to judge the performance of individuals and clubs beyond mere appearances, taking into consideration parameters such as the type of assists, angle and shooting distance, plus other factors to evaluate scoring opportunities. . For Football Manager 2021 it is also a way of responding to the criticisms that every year accuse the series of being unrealistic in the relationship between goals scored and actions produced, especially as regards the team controlled by the player. Thanks to the xG value that is constantly visible even during matches, we should now be able to better understand what is wrong with our team, going with this parameter beyond the evaluation based on the simple number of shots outside and in the mirror. By producing a high enough xG without translating it into goals, for example, we might realize we need a cooler tip in front of goal, able to materialize the chances that come their way. If, on the other hand, the value is low, it may be necessary to modify something in the tactics to enhance your squad more successfully.


The speech made above regarding the interface of Football Manager 2021 and its familiarity with the previous edition does not apply to the management of the team during the match, which has changed quite radically from the one we were used to. The style chosen by Sports Interactive for this new chapter is more modern in appearance, while at the same time trying to make available to us as many elements of information as possible. We are not actually convinced that the innovations introduced by the developers we like all of them, first of all the choice to represent the shape of the players during the game through an icon that changes color instead of the old percentage. Some frequently used elements also seem a little more hidden than before, but time and review will tell us if it's just a matter of getting used to or if you could really do better in redesigning this part of the game.

We close this first look at Football Manager 2021 by highlighting the progress of the 3D engine of the match, especially enriched for what concerns the animations of the players. Compared to a year ago it is evident a greater fluidity of the movements made by the twenty-two in the field, aided by better management of shadows and lights. Also noteworthy is the work that seems to have been done on the speed of saves, which appeared quite high compared to Football Manager 2020. An aspect also highlighted by the developers, according to which Football Manager 2021 will be on average 14% faster compared to its predecessor, reaching a peak of 76% for what concerns the rescue operation.

We conclude the tried to Football Manager 2021 admitting to having developed a greater curiosity towards the final version of the game, for which the wait is now a matter of days. The innovations introduced by Sports Interactive seem to make this chapter worthy of particular attention, as long as the definitive proof can confirm its effectiveness.


Good familiarity with the previous chapter The expected goals add an important piece Lots of news regarding interactions with media and staff DOUBTS Impact of the changes to be evaluated in the medium-long term Some choices in the design of the match screen are not convincing for now
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