© The Author(s) 2021.The management literature has been investigating teams’ human capital resources as a predictor of their task performance. However, our knowledge regarding the precise structure of the human capital-performance relationship, as well as the resource orchestrator role managers play in this relationship, remains limited. In this study, we relax the assumption that human capital resources are used effectively, and conceptually extend the human capital resources construct by distinguishing between gross and active human capital resources. Doing so both helps to better understand the human capital-performance link and clarify the exact role that managers play in this link. Using 98 teams’ data over 2 years (5492 sets of player-level data aggregated to 196 sets of team-level data) from European Big Five football (soccer) leagues, we test our predictions. Our study has implications for the human capital literature as well as for the resource-based view literature on organisational slack.