FIFA Manager Career mode this year sucks, well it doesn’t suck, it just hasn’t changed much since last years, which itself hadn’t been a great change on the year before that – I could go on.

Not being a huge fan of how FIFA treats its player career mode (it pales in comparison to what PES has done in previous years which Become a Legend), or the money vacuum that is Ultimate Team, I am stuck with only three choices: Head to Head (no thanks), Pro Clubs (which as always this year is pretty good, but could be better even with this years improvements), and Manager Career.

Most of my time in any given FIFA is split between Pro Clubs and Manager Career, with most of it spent in career mode. As you might expect, after years of the mode failing to evolve this gets a little bland, and so I begun seeking out ways to make the game fresh, new challenges. Below are five Manager Career modes that are bound to freshen the game up at least a little.

  1. Leeds United

We begin with Leeds United, once a great of English football since stuck in the limbo of the Championship after their promotion from League One in the 2009/2010 season. Reaching the Champions League Semi Final in the 2000/2001 season, you will be tasked with bringing this sleeping giant back to the heights of English, and European football. On top of this Leeds is the third biggest city in the UK, and possess only one club, Leeds, surely the city deserves some glory?

leeds-united

The board expectation are interesting, with a critical emphasis on youth development, as well as a high emphasis on both the financial front, and the domestic success of the club – you will be expected to succeed from the off. A respectable budget of four-million pounds will allow you to bring in a scout, and maybe a player but is nowhere near competing with the budget of the big boys of the division. The squad does not need any real addition, you’re weak spot will be your wingers but they are young and will develop nicely.

Pros:

  • Excellent defence, should help you escape the Championship

  • Most of the squad are in the early years of their prime

  • A solid young player in Viera

  • Personally, nice kits – love a clean looking kit design

Cons:

  • At the end of the season the core of that defence will be gone, they are loanees

  • Wingers are young and willimprove; but you need results now

  • Developing youth in such a competitve league may effect results

  • A decent youth scout will cost most of your transfer budget

Difficulty Rating: Professional

Similar teams: Nottingham Forest, Wolves, Reading, Ipswich, Fulham, Derby

  1. AC Milan

The Rossoneri are second only to Real Madrid in Champions League wins, with seven in total. Milan have also won eighteen domestic league titles, second only to Juventus.Stars such as Ruud Gulit, Marco van Basten, Ronaldiniho, Baresi, Maldini, Pirlo & Nesta have all graced the pitch of the San Siro wearing the iconic red and black of Milan. So it is with some confusion they find themselves where they are, a 7th place finish saw them finish outside the European places, this was however better than their 10th place finish the previous season. With no Champions League appearances since the 2013-2014 season, can you restore one of the biggest clubs in the world to the top of the European game?

ac-milan

Brand exposure is critical for returning Milan to the top of the footballing pyramid and this is reflected in your objectives. Domestic success is also set as high, as is continental success meaning that qualifying for Europe and thriving are very important as you could imagine at such a large club. Financials and youth development are both of medium importance. Milan’s transfer budget of thirty-seven million pounds will be more than enough to capture a star or two in order to increase brand exposure. The squad has some outstanding young players in Romagnoli and Donnarumma who should for the base of your defence for years along, Locatelli just in front of the defence, coupled with Suso and Niang on the wings offer a optimistic picture of the future for Milan. Whilst no area of the Milan squad is deficient, a young striker could help take some of the burden off the ageing Bacca, alternatively a left winger if you wish to move Niang to striker. The central midfield is also slightly weak without Bonaventura, so an additional mobile creative presence could help break down the more stern Serie A defences.

Pros:

  • Excellent young players and a decent core means you just need to add starpower

  • Bacca is a high quality forward, make the most of him

  • Generous transfer and wage budget that can be bolstered by selling dead weight

  • Lack of Europe in the first year means you can focus on domestic competitions

Cons:

  • Target of reaching the Champions League Semi-Final in three seasons may be a stretch

  • The balance amongst Serie A’s top sides means the battle for Champions League places is fierce

  • There is dead weight in the squad, this will bolster your bank, but be careful with who you sell as the squad is thin

Difficulty rating: Semi Pro

Similar teams: Liverpool, Valencia, Hamburg

  1. Sporting CP

One of the big three in Portugal alongside Benfica and Porto the Lions are renowned for their youth academy, producing talents such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Paulo Futre. Sporting are the third most successful side in Portugal, the least successful of the big three with eighteen league titles, sixteen Portuguese Cups, Sporting have never won a Champions League or a Europa league, however they did win a European Cup Winners Cup in the 1963-1964 season. With the high emphasis on youth football at Sporting, your mission is to build a team of players solely from Portugal and Brazil (both Portuguese speaking countries) using your youth academy and transfers in order to conquer Portugal, and then onto Europe – of course for an extra challenge you could just use Portuguese players…

sporting

Expectations are high from the get go, you are expected to win both the league and the cup, with the culling of the team over the summer this may be tricky. However, the critical target for youth development will be a long term boost, forcing you to develop the next Figo and/or Ronaldo. Once you have won the league that first first season though you will be expected to repeat this achievement and on top of that, reach the semi-final of the Champions League. Your transfer budget is low, only thirteen million pounds, but if you are following this challenge this will be bolstered by the sales of no Portuguese or Brazilian players. The Sporting squad is stacked with young talent you can use to rebuild, Ruben Semedo, William Carvalho, Gelson Martins and Matheus Pereira particularly standout. Transfers will be massive in the first two windows, and your ability in these windows will be indicative to your success. A striker will be needed an area where Portugal lack, luckily if you are allowing Brazilians into your squad you may be able to pick up someone talented.

Pros:

  • Sporting are a class above the rest of the league, baring of course Porto & Benfica

  • The squads young talent is potentially world class

  • A lot of Portuguese talent that has been loaned out can be recalled

  • Board expectation of developing youth aligns with the challenges goal

Cons:

  • Lots of players will need to be sold, potentially a very barebones squad for the first season

  • Champions League first season will be tricky as you rebuild

  • Champions League Semi-Final in two years is a large ask

  • Porto & Benfica will not drop many points, you cannot afford to either

Difficulty raing: World Class

Similar teams: Benfica, Ajax, Feyenoord, Lyon, Barcelona

  1. Finn Harps

This was a close call between Finn Harps and Wexford Youths, both of the Airtricity League of Ireland. The reason I have gone for Finn Harps is because Wexford Youths pink kit is far too flashy for the humble beginnings of this challenge. Really, any league of Ireland team will do I have singled out Finn Harps because on paper they are the worst, like, the very worst, so if you are looking for the ultimate rise to glory what better place to start. Finn Harps have never won Ireland’s top flight, so that is the first goal, achievable even as the worst team in the league, within the first two seasons. From there the challenge is to build a team capable of getting into Europe through the play offs and finally climbing all the way to the top to become Ireland’s first ever Champions League winner.

finn-harps

The only critical board objective is financial: salary growth must be kept under twenty percent and a profit margin of around four-million pounds must be achieved. Apart from this everything is very low, apart from youth development which is low. You have almost a free pass the first season as you are only expected not to finish in the bottom part of the league. Your transfer budget is only four-hundred thousand pounds so I would recommend using this on a decent youth scout, as this is the only feasible way of growing your squads quality. The squad lacks quality and so youth players should be brought through as soon as possible. Consider taking the Irish national team job if offered as you could single handedly develop the future of Irish football at Finn Harps, winning Ireland the World Cup.

Pros:

  • Low expectations means you have a while to get things right, take your time

  • Once you develop youth you will easily dominate the domestic league

  • Low quality of the league means you can compete straight away, regardless of quality

  • If you win the Champions League with Finn Harp, and the World Cup with Ireland you may be the best/most patient FIFA player in the world

Cons:

  • You will require the patience of a saint, this will be a long process

  • Team will be hard to play with to begin with, and simulating games will surely result in a loss

  • Europe will be a tough nut to crack, especially with having to play a play-off each year

  • The allure of the league of Ireland is low, big teams will want your top talents

Difficulty rating: Legendary

Similar teams: the whole lower half of the league of Ireland

  1. Hull City

This team needs premier league quality players, fast. Internal issues over the summer prevented Hull City from bringing in the re-enforcement they require in order to establish themselves in the Premier League following their promotion from the Championship last season. The challenge: disable the first transfer window and survive. You have the winter window to strengthen your team, but any injury before then and you will have sixty-rated players starting against City or Arsenal. Each game against a fellow struggler will be a must win – can you do it?

hull-city

The board has only one critical objective and this is again finance, you must finish with at least twenty-five million pounds profit at the end of the first transfer window – you remember, your only chance to make your team competitive? There is a very low priority on domestic success but a mid-table finish is still asked for. A transfer budget of nineteen-million is generous, however, with having to generate a profit you will have to be very careful. The squad has major deficiencies, namely on the wings – if Snodgrass gets injured you will have to rethink the system. You have some high quality players in Mbokani, Hernandez, Snodgrass & Henriksen, getting the best out of these players is critical to your success.

Pros:

  • Hull City possess some incredibly hard working players with decent stamina, luckily

  • Mbokani and Hernandez will get you goals if you can get the team to play well

  • You don’t have to be the best, just better than Sunderland – they always stay up

  • You have four keepers, if things get desperate stick them upfront

Cons:

  • The squad is super thin, any injury and you may be down to youth players

  • Lack of quality wingers, if you want to play wide, people will have to play out of position

  • Financial objective is very restrictive, failing to meet it may cost your job

  • Finishing mid-table may be a bit of a stretch, even after strengthening

Difficulty rating: Professional

Similar teams: Burnley, Bournemouth, Dijon, Darmstadt, Empoli, Granada

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