Alright, I have finally achieved my ultimate goal in PES Club Manager. I have finally won my first online cup, which was the 60th Managers Cup Regular on 2nd April.
This was done on my sub account, which is currently in the Regular Division. I no longer play on my main account since February.
And why did I stop playing my main account after all that effort climbing beyond Superstar Division 10? To put it frankly, the game became too difficult for me.
Superstar Division is incredibly competitive. The user teams (there are no AI teams) in each division are evenly matched in terms of overall rating, and the lowest overall rating is typically around 830. It is common for the season to end with the 2nd and 8th place teams being separated by only 6 points or less.
I was involved in many relegation dogfights throughout my time in Superstar Division, and even got relegated 4 times! I felt it was too risky to play 5-star players because the teams I faced were too strong. It was no fun scraping through the seasons despite stuffing my team with 7-star players.
Furthermore, a lot of the top 100 players in the world come from Superstar Division—not Superstar Galactic, the highest division in PES Club Manager. There is just no way I can win my first online cup if I’m competing against incredibly dedicated players.
I decided to just focus on my sub account, which leads to my first point…
Aim to succeed in the lower divisions
Yes, it is obviously easier to be successful in the lower divisions. And no, I’m not being a wimp. I wanted to achieve my ultimate goal in an environment where I actually have a realistic chance of succeeding.
The user teams you face in the league and online cups have significantly less 6-7 star players. Their players are also less likely to be well developed due to training limitations in the lower divisions.
User teams in high divisions tend to be stuffed full with 6-7 star players, and that isn’t a surprise. You should have accumulated a lot of strong players in your scouting list after playing for such a long time.
However, it doesn’t just end there. It is also common for user teams in high divisions to stuff their players with limit breaks and high levels of special traits. I have been marveled repeatedly by the amount of effort some people put into developing their players. And I knew that, due to a lack of time, there is no way I can match their efforts.
It is rather easy to win the league in lower divisions because you face mostly AI teams. But if you want to win an online cup early in your PES Club Manager career, you have to take the game seriously. The user teams you face in the knockout rounds of online cups can be quite tough because their players, even though they aren’t all 6-7 star rating, are well developed.
Player development vs. Strategy
In order to create a successful team in PES Club Manager, which is more important? Developing your players or team strategy?
Having well-developed players is MUCH MORE important than strategy. I’m absolutely positive about this. If you think otherwise, you have totally the wrong mindset.
It doesn’t matter if you are well-versed on football tactics, and you know the exact strategy to counter every formation or playstyle in football. Its not going to matter! If your players are weak, strong opponents will pressure them in ways that you cannot execute your strategy.
Don’t waste time pondering about the perfect tactical options to complement your 4-3-3 formation, or how to outplay your opponent. Just focus on developing your players! As long as you pick a reasonable formation and don’t play players completely out of position, you can build a successful team from there.
Prioritise upgrading your training facility first, and train as many players at one go. Every player in your starting 11 should have at least a few training sessions each, especially shortly after you sign them.
Early training will significantly increase the likelihood of your players integrating well into the team and creating bigger impact. Every bit of training, including special traits, that contributes to your team’s overall rating matters!
I also advise against being stingy by including very few (or no) 6-7 star players in your team because you want to save them for high divisions. I applaud your efforts if you manage to produce a team full of 5-star players with near maximum stats. However, such a team can still have issues against a team of not fully trained 6-7 star players simply because these players have better skill ability ratings.
Player stamina management
Unlike real life football, your team’s form doesn’t play a part in PES Club Manager—unless you allow it to. A few bad results can plummet your team’s overall motivation. But recovery kits for stamina and motivation exist in this game, so you can set your players to maximum stamina and motivation before an important match.
However, stamina depletion DURING the match cannot be manipulated, and is crucial in determining the outcome of the match. Obviously, tired players perform less well and are more prone to making mistakes.
This is especially important in a match that goes into extra time. A match between two fatigued sides can be determined solely on who messes up first. That’s why you should always aim to win the match within 90 minutes. Do not park the bus and play for penalties.
And don’t forget that in online cups, you have no control over what substitutions are made during the match. PES Club Manager does not automatically substitute players that are severely fatigued for you.
To win within 90 minutes, you have to score goals—as many as possible. I would prioritise having strong forwards and training them well over having a strong defence. Both are important of course, but a strong defence is not going to help you win games if you can’t score.
The other important factor that determines the rate of stamina depletion is age. The older the player, the faster he fatigues during the match. This means that you should aim to keep your team young and fresh.
You may adore one player because of how well he played in the past, and he may still be having an impact despite his declining stats. But the moment a player’s overall rating starts to decrease despite playing regularly, you have to think ahead and sign a suitable replacement now.
Train the replacement player early and let him play regularly—even if only as a substitute—so that he is ready by the time you let the other player go.
So, focus on developing your players and replacing old and declining ones. That’s all. The path to success is really not complicated, and you only need to put in extra effort—through playing more matches—if you want to win an online cup, which I highly recommend to aim for while you’re still in the lower divisions.