FIFA 18: Manchester United Career Mode Guide, player ratings, tactics, formations & tips

Thinking of taking over from Jose Mourinho and managing United on FIFA 18 Career Mode? We've got a complete guide for you including who to sign for The Reds.


After last season’s Europa League win, Manchester United are back. The European success meant they are now back in the Champions League after missing out last term, and it’s easy to forget that they also lifted the EFL Cup in an up-and-down year. Judging by the start to the current campaign with six wins and a draw so far, they are back in the title fold for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge.

Team rating

Unsurprisingly, United have a 5 star rating on FIFA 18. They have an 83 overall rating made up by a 81 Defence score, 83 Midfield and 86 Attack. 

With a very deep squad, plenty of talent and a big transfer budget, United are perhaps the best team to manage on FIFA 18’s Career Mode, and we run you through everything you need to know to manage the Red Devils.

Formation

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Your first decision is what formation to play. With star strikers Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic at your disposal, it’s hard to leave them both out, so we are going for a classic 4-4-2. If you want more creativity, more options from the bench and more rotation, then go for one of Jose Mourinho’s chosen formations. These include 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-2-1. 

David de Gea is the obvious choice in goal, but the back four has much more uncertainty around it. 

Your strongest defence would be Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw but you may want to get high-potential centre half Victor Lindelof (POT 86) in the side as quickly as possible.

In midfield, we’ve gone for a disciplined selection of Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The pace of Marcus Rashford (sprint speed 92) and Anthony Martial (sprint speed 89) can be brought on from the bench, with Ander Herrera (OVR 84) another contender in central midfield.

Up top it has to be Ibrahimovic and Lukaku, with again Martial and Rashford the dynamic options braced to come on. 

On the bench, you should opt for Sergio Romero (OVR 80), Chris Smalling (81) or Victor Lindelof (79), Matteo Darmian (80), Ander Herrera (84), Marouane Fellaini (79), Anthony Martial (82) and Marcus Rashford (81).

Tactics

With Zlatan and Lukaku up front, you will want to be swinging in plenty of crosses, that is why we have gone for the technical wizards of Mkhitaryan and Mata out wide. Ibrahimovic is six-foot-five, with the power header, ‘backs into player’ and target forward traits as well as the poacher, aerial threat, strength, clinical finisher and complete forward specialities, so he is more than equipped to get on the end of balls into the box. 

As for the six-foot-three Lukaku, he has the poacher and strength specialties as well as the ‘tries to beat defensive line’, skilled dribbling, power header and target forward traits, so he will operate similarly to his strike partner, but he will be the man to run the channels. 

With crossing your main focus, this will open up space in your midfield for Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba, who can both strike from range. Make sure you get your full-backs flying forward to get another option out wide. 

The transfer market

Starting transfer budget: £148.9 million

Starting wage budget: £297,000 a week

Who should go

With Man United having such a large squad, there a lot of players facing the axe. With six-first team centre backs, you need to be getting rid of at least one. Bottom of the pile is Phil Jones, who despite a superb season so far, is the lowest rated on FIFA 18 with 79 OVR. The former Blackburn defender should collect you around £20 million and free up £101,000 for your weekly wage budget.

Fellow defender Chris Smalling could also go, but that rests upon whether you want to bring in another centre back. The 81-rated England international can be sold for close to £25 million, and you can reclaim his £106,000 a week wages. 

Jesse Lingard is the other first team name that you could consider selling, with the wide man only holding an overall of 78 and a potential of 80. This puts him behind Mkhitaryan, Mata, Martial and Rashford in the pecking order, and you are likely to bring in another wide player during the transfer window. Lingard should collect you around £18 million and you can save on his £42,000 a week wages.

As for the fringe players, Scott McTominay, James Wilson and Joe Riley can all be sold. You should be able to get a combined £5 million for them, with their total wages amounting to £70,000 a week. 

Loans

There are number of high potential players who are appearing in the first team picture at Old Trafford and they should be sent out on loan to gain experience. Striker or wide midfielder Zachary Dearnley has a 63 overall rating with an 80 potential, so look to send him on a two-year loan to a League Two club.

Angel Gomes has an 89 potential so you will want to make sure the attacking midfielder, winger or central midfielder gets plenty of game-time. Look to send the 64-rated 16-year-old to League One for a season. Left back or left midfielder Demetri Mitchell has a 64 overall rating and an 80 potential, and you should look to send him out to the lower league for two seasons.

Lastly, Callum Gribbin has a 63 rating with an 81 potential. The attacking midfielder or winger is another contender to be sent out to League Two or equivalent to get some games under his belt. 

Who to sign

Transfer budget after suggested sales: £220 million

Wage budget after suggested sales: £732,000 a week

There is no obvious area of the pitch where Man United should improve. Wherever there looks to be a weakness, there is a high-potential player waiting in the wings so you need to be careful with your business.

Striker or winger

If you sell Jesse Lingard, you are limited to six players across four positions in your team. Bringing another player who can either play up front or out wide (or both) will cover all bases in your squad. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic now 35, you will also need to prepare for the future with your attacking options. 

United have been linked to both Antoine Griezmann and Gareth Bale over recent summers, and there is no reason why you can’t go in for one of them on FIFA 18. The 88-rated Atletico striker or winger Griezmann has a 91 potential in Career Mode, and he has a £140.3 million release clause. The 26-year-old’s wages of £132,000 a week are very reasonable for a player of his ability, especially with his 91 reactions, 90 reactions and 90 agility.

As for Bale, the Welshman is no longer a guaranteed starter at Real Madrid, which can aid your chances of signing him. The 89-rated 27-year-old can be yours for around the £100 million mark, which is £25.4 million less than his release clause. His weekly wages of £326,000 are incredibly pricey however, so be sure to look at other options first. The right winger’s best stats are his 95 sprint speed, 93 acceleration and 91 shot power, but he does have the injury prone trait. 

Alternative options:

  • Paulo Dybala – Juventus, Age 23, OVR 88, POT 93, Cost: £119.9 million, Wage: £189,000
  • Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal, Age 28, OVR 89, POT 89, Cost: £80 million, Wage: £233,000
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Borussia Dortmund, Age 28, POT 88, OVR 88, Cost: £91.3 million, Wage: £145,000
  • Dries Mertens – Napoli, Age 30, OVR 86, POT 86, Cost: £64.3 million, Wage: £119,000
  • Thomas Muller – Bayern Munich, Age 27, Age 86, POT 86, Cost: £69 million, Wage: £167,000

Defensive midfield

The signing of Nemanja Matic has been a godsend for United. A player who can protect the back four and has more legs than Michael Carrick was needed at Old Trafford. But with Matic maxing out his potential of 83, you may want more options. Signing a defensive midfielder with a high defensive work rate is vital, especially in a 4-4-2 formation. There are very limited options, with Real Madrid revelation Casemiro the only obvious choice. The Brazilian is rated at 85 with an 89 potential, and will cost you as much as £78.5 million. His wages of £172,000 a week are steep, but it is worth it for his 87 standing tackle, 87 jumping, and 87 aggression.

Alternative options:

  • Danilo Pereira – Porto, Age 25, OVR 83, POT 86, Cost: £50.2 million, Wage: £16,000
  • Eric Dier – Tottenham, Age 23, OVR 82, POT 87, Cost: £43.5 million, Wage: £75,000
  • Victor Wanyama – Tottenham, Age 26, OVR 82, POT 85, Cost: £40 million, Wage: £87,000
  • Idrissa Gueye – Everton, Age 27, OVR 82, POT 84, Cost: £42.6 million, Wage: £101,000
  • Camacho – Wolfsburg, Age 27, OVR 81, POT 84, Cost: £28.1 million, Wage: £58,000

Centre or left back

Lastly, you have a brave decision to make over the defence. Despite so much promise over the past few seasons, the United defence has never found its consistency. Eric Bailly was brought in last year and the signing of Victor Lindelof in the summer of 2017 should set the club up for the next decade. However, the 23-year-old Lindelof is not quite ready to be a regular starter, so do you trust Marcos Rojo in the mean time?

It’s a similar issue at left back with Daley Blind a ‘steady Eddy’ in the team, and Luke Shaw braced to breakthrough (if he stays fit). After spending a lot in attack and possibly in midfield, you need to watch your money in defence. 

Inter Milan’s Miranda should be your number one choice in defence, with the Brazilian rated at 86. With a £38.1 million release clause he is an affordable option, with his £101,000 a week wages worth it for a certain starter. The 32-year-old has 90 standing tackle, 89 marking and 88 interceptions making up his game. 

Alternative options:

  • Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham, Age 30, OVR 85, POT 85, Cost: £47.7 million, Wage: £114,000
  • Andrea Barzagli – Juventus, Age 36, OVR 85, POT 85, Cost: £7.3 million, Wage: £92,000
  • Filipe Luis – Atletico Madrid, Age 31, OVR 85, POT 85, Cost: £45.1 million, Wage: £71,000
  • Javier Mascherano – Barcelona, Age 33, OVR 83, POT 83: £18.9 million, Wage: £136,000
  • Laurent Koscielny – Arsenal, Age 31, OVR 84, POT 84, Cost: £34.2 million, Wage: £132,000

Contracts

Nine players have contracts expiring at the end of the season, six of which you should definitely renew. All of Antonio Valencia, Daley Blind, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and the big man Zlatan Ibrahimovic should be given new deals. 

Marouane Fellaini’s future is in the balance with his 79 overall rating, but his aerial presence does make him a dangerous player in any scenario. As for Michael Carrick and Ashley Young you either want to be selling them or seeing out their contracts. 

Managerial Objectives

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There are six categories on Career Mode for your objectives. Manchester United have three that are of critical importance. For your domestic success, you will be expected to win both the Premier League and The FA Cup. With the size and talent of your squad, this is certainly achievable. 

For continental success, you will be expected to reach the final of the Champions Cup (Champions League), and win the competition within three reasons. Without a doubt it’s achievable, but coupled with your domestic goals it looks more tricky. Make sure to rest your key men where possible, especially in the Carabao Cup.

Brand exposure is the third and final objective which is marked as critical. You will need to sell a certain amount of shirts over the season, and record a certain amount of earnings over three seasons. As long as you are performing well, scoring plenty and lifting trophies, these will take care of themselves. 

United have a history of bringing on youth players, with Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford all academy graduates. For your youth development objective, you will need to grow a youth player by five overall points and play them five times over the season. There are no financial objectives at United so you can spend at will. 

A new golden era at Old Trafford

With this squad and this budget, you should be aiming to lift every single trophy possible during your time at Old Trafford. With so much to play with, you will have a lot of fun managing Manchester United. You should ditch the Mourinho ‘park the bus’ association, and go out and play free-flowing, attack-minded football. Your only challenge will be to make sure you have youth players coming through, and you should look at that as soon as you have found a good run of form on the pitch. 

Full Manchester United squad player ratings

PlayerAgePos.CountryOVRPOTValueWage
Goalkeepers
David de Gea26GKSpain9092£109.3m£189k
Sergio Romero30GKArgentina8080£15.5m£85k
Joel Pereira21GKPortugal7184£8m£30k
Defenders
Eric Bailly23CBIvory Coast8489£60.1m£132k
Antonio Valencia31RBEcuador8383£20m£114k
Marcos Rojo27CBArgentina8283£35.6m£114k
Chris Smalling27CBEngland8182£28.8m£106k
Matteo Darmian27LB RBItaly8081£22.9m£106k
Daley Blind27LB CBHolland8081£18m£106k
Luke Shaw21LBEngland7984£20m£80k
Victor Lindelof22CBSweden7986£27.1m£106k
Phil Jones25CBEngland7980£21.2m£101k
Ashley Young31RB LM LBEngland7575£5m£74k
Axel Tuanzebe19CB CDM RBEngland7384£10.8m£39k
Joe Riley20RB LBEngland6678£1.8m£16k
Demetri Mitchell20LB LMEngland6480£2m£16k
Midfielders
Paul Pogba24CM CDMFrance8792£112.7m£172k
Henrikh Mkhitaryan28RM RW LMArmenia8585£63.5m£172k
Juan Mata29CAM RMSpain8484£38m£172k
Nemanja Matic28CDM CMSerbia8383£34.2m£123k
Anthony Martial21LM STFrance8290£59.5m£101k
Marcus Rashford19LM ST RMEngland8190£47.8m£65k
Michael Carrick35CDMEngland8080£4m£75k
Marouane Fellaini29CM CDMBelgium7979£15m£123k
Jesse Lingard24RM LW LM RWEngland7880£22m£84k
Angel Gomes16CAM LW RW CMEngland6489£2.4m£8k
Callum Gribbin18CAM LW RWEngland6381£1.6m£9k
Scott McTominay20CM STScotland6377£1.7m£12k
Forwards
Zlatan Ibrahimovic35STSweden8888£38m£211k
Romelu Lukaku24STBelgium8690£99.9m£185k
James Wilson21STEngland6976£2.7m£42k

Looking for free players? Click the links below:

Contract Expiry Signings Ending in 2018 (First Season)

Contract Expiry Signings Ending in 2019 (Second Season)

Free Agent XI

On a tight budget? Click the link below:

Best loan signings

Top hidden gems

Looking for FIFA 18 young players in other positions? Just click the link below:

Best young strikers

Best young right wingers & right midfielders (RW & RM)

Best young left wingers & left midfielders (LW & LM)

Best young attacking midfielders (CAM)

Best young central midfielders (CM)

Best young defensive midfielders (CDM)

Best young centre backs (CB)

Best young left backs (LB)

Best young right backs (RB)

Best young goalkeepers (GK)

Looking for FIFA 18 wonderkids? Just click the link below:

Strikers

Defenders (CBs, RBs & LBs)

Midfielders (CMs, CAMs & CDMs)

Wingers (LMs, RMs, LWs & RWs)

Argentinian Wonderkids

Brazilian Wonderkids

Who are you going to sign for Manchester United? How have you got on so far in Career Mode? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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Alastair Pusinelli

I am RealSport's Editor-in-Chief having covered almost everything across the board on the platform. Starting with content on football and the Chinese Super League, I have expanded into esports and gaming, via a stint as rugby editor.

With RS now focused on gaming and working alongside Gfinity, I led the site's coverage on the football titles of FIFA, Football Manager and PES. This has enabled me to cover official esports events such as the FIFA eWorld Cup, FUT Champions Cups and the Gfinity FIFA Series.

Elsewhere, I have been published in The Sunday Times and Variety magazine, as well as working in the offices of Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Hampshire CCC.

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