Anyone who has seen my blog since the beginning might recall that my very first PES Club Manager post was in November 2018. It was the start of my Beginner’s Guide to the game, and I was in Top Player Division 7 back then.
Fast forward to February 2020, I gave up on my main account and started over because I just couldn’t win my first online cup in a division as hard as the Superstar Division. I didn’t mention that I created two accounts (not one), and I still play them both today.
My new main account has now reached Top Player Division 7 while my other account is still in the Professional Division. The key difference between today and November 2018 is that I am an online cup winner. And not just one, but 8 times in total.
One main reason why I started this blog back in 2018 was to create educational guides on PES Club Manager. And although I don’t write guides anymore, it is nice to look back and reflect on how I managed to achieve so much more than my first account in PES Club Manager.
My online cup achievements
I have won online cups in the Amateur, Regular and Professional Divisions. I mentioned before that even though these (where online cups are concerned) are the three lowest division categories in PES Club Manager, winning any online cup requires quite a bit of effort to both train your players and figure out the ideal tactics that suit your team.
For that reason, I feel it is harder to win an online cup in the Amateur division category compared to Regular. Not because the teams are stronger, but because there are only 10 (not 20) divisions and no domestic leagues in Amateur. Thus, less opportunities to train players with your already limited trainer resources.
I have also mentioned before that there is a “less challenging” way to win an online cup; that is, stuffing your team full of 7-star players, training them to max stats with top trainers and steamrolling every team you face. That is a really expensive commitment in the lower division categories, but I guess its understandable if you’re willing to throw the kitchen sink for your first online cup success.
But I like challenges. I’ve won online cups using different formations and tactics, including both counter-attacking and possession playstyles. I’ve also won online cups using a few 5-star players in my first team. It’s this variety that gives me enjoyment and a sense of achievement whenever I win an online cup in PES Club Manager.
My best achievement has to be winning my only Partners Cup in December 2020. It was in the Professional Division and against an opponent who had 1020+ rating.
But anyway, only picking new players that fit into your existing formation and tactics limits the players you can sign from your scouting list. It is a shame if you can’t sign someone you like because of that.
I sign whoever I fancy and tweak my formation and tactics until I am satisfied with the team’s performances in the international seasons, especially against other user teams. All the focus then goes into training my first team and bolstering my overall rating as high as possible.
I suggest aiming for a base overall rating of 900+ to ensure that you’re one of the strongest teams in the online cup, but don’t forget that tactics can still play a crucial role. I have won a Managers Cup in Professional Division using a team with 885 rating.
Naturally, online cups get harder as you climb to higher division categories, and there is always the odd chance of facing an opponent who unexpectedly has crazy high overall rating. I wouldn’t advise on formations and tactics (Except don’t play 4-1-1-4 like a few jokers out there who have no care about midfield control) since it wholly depends on the players you sign.
However, I came to realise over the seasons that I have underrated some player skills that really do help against tough opponents in both the league and online cups. Player skills are paramount and is the main determining factor on whether I sign a player or not.
Underrated player skills
Man Marking (Sticking to and persistently chasing down an opponent) is a valuable player skill for centre-backs. Most full-backs are offensive minded and don’t have this player skill.
But despite that, I notice that defenders are weak at dispossessing the attacking player when trying to tackle from the side or back. Good forwards can easily turn and slip away from the defender.
Furthermore, there still exists this ridiculous gameplay issue where an opposition player gets to run freely towards goal from a counter-attack because the player assigned to man-mark him is way out of position. Since the others aren’t assigned to man-mark him, your other players will choose to jog alongside the opposition player and not tackle him. Why is this still an issue Konami? Wasn’t this fixed in the 2019-20 new season update?
Thus, I find Interception to be a really valuable player skill for defenders. There is less worry about getting the ball off the opposition player if your defenders are good at intercepting passes and winning back possession from there. Interception is also a great skill for holding midfielders too.
Midfielders: Through Ball and Middle Range Shooting
Regardless of what type of midfielder you are, passing skills that improve accuracy like Weighted Pass and Pinpoint Crossing are always useful.
But against a strong defence, direct passes can easily be repelled by the defending player marking the recipient of the pass. Thus, I find defence-splitting through balls to your forwards deadly as it may be the only way to catch defensive lines off guard.
Also, it is really helpful if your attacking midfielders have the Middle Range Shooting skill. Some games your forwards can get shut down by the opposition’s defence. Thus, you want your attacking midfielders to try and score too with shots from outside the penalty box.
Forwards: Heading and Acrobatic Finishing
Everyone wants a strong forward who has a plethora of dribbling and shooting skills. But as I said earlier, sometimes the opposition’s defence can be really hard to break through.
In games like these, your best goal-scoring opportunities may only come from a cross into the penalty box or shooting from an awkward position. You want your centre-forwards to convert these key opportunities as much as possible. Signing a tall centre-forward will obviously help with converting more headers into goals.
Hopefully the above section is beneficial if you’re struggling to improve your team’s performances in the league or online cups.
Online cups are a real challenge, but some people only care about winning leagues and climbing as high as possible in PES Club Manager. As long as you enjoy the game, no one can judge you.