In Championship Manager 01/02 you can expect to play at least two or three cup games in a soccer season. For bigger clubs that play in European soccer the number of cup matches can be somewhat higher than this. The first group stage of the Champions League includes six games, and along with additional domestic fixtures 20 – 30 cup games can be played in a season!
Even if you don't have a team that can potentially win the trophy, that does mean the cup matches should be overlooked. Remember that cup games will boost your lower league club's budget, especially the bigger cup games. Additional Champions League matches can provide a big financial boost for any club. Then you can bring in more players to bolster your squad for the seasons ahead.
To begin with, it's worth scouting the teams that you will be playing. In cups you can play many more teams than you would in the league, most of which will probably not be in your league. As such, check the teams out with your scouts and they'll provide some further details.
Make sure you are clear on how drawn fixtures will finish. Some cups may have replays for drawn cup matches, whilst others do not. In which case they will probably have extra-time and penalties at the end of the first game. In Championship Manager 01/02 the Golden Goal can still win games in extra-time, so you should check the match details before you kick-off.
To keep your team as fresh as possible for cup matches, you should rotate your squad in the preceding league fixture. Dropping a few points in the league may not make that much difference to you final position, but a defeat in the cup game will end the cup run. Rest those players with match fitness figures lower than 80%. Alternatively, you could leave a few of your key players out of the preceding league fixture.
Cup formats can vary somewhat, but all will require penalties if the fixture is drawn. You cannot expect to win lots of games with penalty shoot-outs, but if you are playing away from home against a team in a higher league a draw could get you through to the next round. As such, in such games consider setting the team to defend more.
In European soccer away goals can be vital in fixtures with two legs. The away goal will count as an extra goal if the overall fixture is drawn, so clean sheets at home are much more essential. Even a 0 – 0 draw at home will provide a reasonable chance of making it to the next round. So do not throw everybody forward in European home games.
Getting a playing sent off in a cup game could lose the match, and possibly the trophy if you're playing in a semifinal or final. If you have a few players on yellow cards consider removing one or two of them from the pitch. This won't ensure that none of your players will be sent off, but you'll keep eleven players on the pitch more often with fewer second yellow cards.
Make sure that you keep a few subs available on the bench. Only three subs can usually be played in a match, so do not sub any more than two during the standard 90 minutes if the scores are level. If the game goes to extra-time you'll then be able to bring on one more player during that period.
These are just a few tips for Championship Manager cup games. Scout teams, rotate squads and check the cup formats before kick-off.