Ready to outfox your rivals on the Football Manager Classic 2014 pitch? Warm up for kick-off with some pointers from the PlayStation.com dugout.
Big teams equal big risks
It may be tempting to plump for juggernaut teams like Barcelona and Bayern Munich on your first go, but be careful. At the Add Manager screen check out where each team is predicted to finish. High expectations often mean the chairman will usually demand swift and consistent results. You may find yourself out of a job after just a few matches if you can't keep up the intense pace.
Also be aware that fan pressure can eventually lead to the chairman taking action, so even if you're expected to finish in a modestly low position, try not to lose by large margins often or fail to come out on top of dreaded derby matches.
Build from the back
Starting at small, promising clubs can yield great rewards. Chairmen at lower league teams often expect you to work on a tiny budget, which means you'll be given more time do well. Shop around for any highly rated or hard working reserves looking for first team football. These players are anxious to impress, so even if you only loan them for half a season they can have a positive impact.
Making waves in a lower division also increases your chance of achieving the Headhunted PlayStation Network trophy, where a larger club will try and lure you away from your overachieving minnows.
Use your head in the box
When you're in the heat of a match day, pause the game before making tactical changes. It's an advantage that real life managers probably wish they had, so use it - you'll get more time to plan your master stroke or work out how to drag your team back from a sweat inducing 3-0 deficit.
Don't be afraid to park the bus
Unless you've got a very impatient chairman, don't be too disheartened by a streak of defeats. It may seem like a spiral of despair given that each loss reduces the morale of your players, but don't lose hope. Focus on tightening up your defence first, with defensive midfielders helping out your backline. Opt for a pacey, counter attacking style of football, to catch your rivals on the break. Once you stop conceding goals, morale will improve, meaning you'll start getting the best out of your players and can concentrate on more winning strategies.
Scouts can help unlock any defence
Your scouting network isn't just for unearthing glittering new talent - use their valuable opposition reports to counter the strengths of your next rivals. If a team has a physically weak midfield, harass them into mistakes with stronger players. If their defence is slow, create a fast paced attack with nippy wingers.
Pay special attention to what formation your opposition is vulnerable to. Don't change your formation entirely to what is suggested unless your team is extremely flexible (otherwise they may struggle to adapt to this new style) but tailor your squad's shape as much as you can to harness the same advantages.
Think you have what it takes to become PlayStation's equivalent of Pep Guardiola? Time to prove it - slip on your best sheepskin coat and download Football Manager Classic 2014 from PlayStation Store today.