If you use a formation other than 4-4-2 you may find that your players are so confused by this that they play below their normal capacity. The stranger the formation, the more widespread the confusion. This risk can be counteracted by "Routine" and "Experience".
When your club experiences a confusion-based match event, a text showing the level of confusion will be displayed in the Match Report. The "disastrous to excellent" scale will be used to describe the level of Formation Experience after the event. A confusion event saying that team organization fell to "wretched" means that it was very bad, while a drop to "solid" only had a very limited effect.
Besides 4-4-2, which is guaranteed to be free of confusion, there are 6 different standard alternatives where the risks of confusion are decisively smaller than the more extreme formations.
- 4-3-3 (e.g. one of your midfielders has been repositioned as a forward)
- 5-3-2 (e.g. one of your midfielders has been repositioned as a central defender)
- 3-5-2 (e.g. one of your defenders has been repositioned as an inner midfielder)
- 4-5-1 (e.g. one of your forwards has been repositioned as an inner midfielder)
- 3-4-3 (e.g. one of your defenders has been repositioned as a forward)
- 5-4-1 (e.g. one of your forwards has been repositioned as a defender)
The last two of these (3-4-3 and 5-4-1) are somewhat harder to pull off than the others, but all 6 of them are counted as standard alternatives.
If you use a formation where formation experience is below excellent, confusion may occur. There is a greatly increased risk of confusion with a "non-standard" formation that is not a 4-4-2 and not one of the 6 standard alternatives listed above, such as 0-7-3.
The following decides if your team will be subject to confusion:
- If the team is used to playing with a certain formation, the risk decreases. This is the only function of the team's routine with a certain formation. You can build up formation experience by using the same formation regularly
- If the players' accumulated experience (with a bonus for the team captain) is high, the risk decreases.
- 4-4-2 is completely risk free
A test of confusion is carried out just before the match begins. Tests can also occur during match time. If the players are confused at half-time the coach can improve the situation somewhat by giving an extra briefing.
Teams will typically be able to maintain sufficient experience to avoid confusion in two formations besides a 4-4-2. This is done by alternating formations, playing one formation in the league match and the other formation in the cup match or friendly. Even if one formation in the pair is used twice in a row, the other formation will be at solid experience and no confusion will result from using it in the following match if the team captain has sufficient experience.