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[FM21] The real Vila Real


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November 2021

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Just the 2 games this month due to the early winter break but we used that time to trial some players and bring in some depth.

Wilson Rodrigues – Rodrigues has joined us on a non-contract deal as more depth on the left wing. I feel that Kakra is a good choice but Ze Pedro as back up is a bit lacking. Wilson Rodrigues comes in to fill that drop off in quality. His crossing isn’t the greatest but he’s well rounded enough to cover for LB if needed.

Ze Francisco – With the sheer amount of games coming up, I really thought we should look for some depth in that RM spot as well. Paulo Rodrigues is far and away first choice but back up fell to 16-year-old Francisco Costa. He has played fairly well there but I just thought that on another non-contract, Ze Francisco was a deal we couldn’t pass up.

In terms of the two results, a mixed bag. A win against a team below us and a loss against a team above. Can’t get more standard than that, although I must say I’m very pleased of course with how the season is going. This month leaves us in 8th place after 15 games. I will link the league table below so that you can see how we’re getting on

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Key match – Vila Real 1 – 2 Fafe

I thought we deserved more in this game if I’m honest. Lacximicant is struggling a bit to get on the scoresheet and being hugely overshadowed by Leonardo Silva but once he starts firing, I think we’re going to be turning some of these narrow losses into draws or wins!

Player of the month – Leonardo Silva

For the second time in a row. It had to be. A great quick-fire brace against Valadares Gaia before getting injured. I started Lacximicant in the Fafe game and the drop in quality was evident. Silva came on late but I didn’t want to risk him as we were 2-0 down and have a very busy December and January schedule!

Other business -

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Another record set. Unfortunately, Silva got injured in this match so was unable to attempt to complete his hat-trick!

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I have completed my National A license and will continue to ask for the board to pay for things and keep you updated!

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The board like our work and have decided to give us a new 2-year deal!

Edited by Chrisofclubs
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2 minutes ago, lupinho said:

Quick a decent start, and good news for the new contract/qualifications! Obviously, it can only go better from here :)

Really like the additions, complete the team quite well so far

Yeah, im really enjoying the football we've been playing actually.

I completely forgot to add Gyazos of the players but they're in now!

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December 2021

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Well, we love being involved in a 3-2 don’t we. Luckily this month we were on the winning side and, overall, what a month! We are playing incredible football. We go into the new year in 3rd place. We didn’t play well at all against Cerveira and we actually deserved the win against Torreense but I think 16 points out of 21 is definitely what we deserved overall.

Key match – Vila Real 3 – 2 Vitoria de Guimaraes B

What a great result. For the first time, we really put up a fight against one of the better B sides. The sporting win was against a poor side further down the table but the Guimaraes side are playing very well. We hit them on the break multiple times and played some very good flowing attacking football. I don’t think we actually deserved the win based on the stats but we managed to get 3 goals ahead and stay there!

Player of the month – Leonardo Silva

It just has to be. 23 goals in 22 appearances this season has seen him break the club record for league goals by a player in a season and he is only 2 off the overall goals by a player in a season. What an incredible player and he is in incredible form. I will be looking to extend the loan deal as soon as I can unless I can offer him a contract in which he can have ALL of the money.

Other business

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So, another addition to the coaching team and just before the youth intake preview. A long contract for Leite which is nice to see and with his high determination, I’m expecting some nice personalities.

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Speaking of the youth intake preview… ‘a good group of players’. A good Ghanaian winger and a good forward is interesting! Gotta always take it with a pinch of salt but lets see how it goes.

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More studying. Time to get my continental C license!

Edited by Chrisofclubs
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January 2022

Not much to talk about in the way of transfers this window. Giovani has left the club after he didn’t want to extend his loan and considering he had 0 goals and 1 assist in 17, I don’t think he deserved the mammoth amount of money he was asking for to sign a part-time contract. This does leave us pretty short in the striker position but with Ze Francisco able to play there, I have faith in Ivanildo and Leonardo Silva to stay fit! Hyago joined the club on a non-contract. I organised this signing back in the summer and it’s good that he’s joined us. I still love his stats and i’m looking forward to seeing how he develops. Rui Fereira was recalled from his loan because I wasn’t playing him enough which comes at a good time because Hyago will be our backup!

The other addition to the squad is Alison. We are paying him quite a bit per week but he really does complete that midfield. I was slightly worried about the CM(d) position sitting too deep so I’ve changed the role to a BWM(su). On support duty, I’m hoping that he’ll sit a little higher and help when counter attacking. We were letting the oppositions midfield have too much space and I think this may help. Syzyi wants loads of money to sign a new deal and I think Alison is much better for the role anyway. Syzyi also threw his toys out of the pram when Alison came in and I told him to compete for places so I’m not sure I want him at the club anyway.

The other tactical change I’ve made this month is to change the deep-lying forward to a pressing forward. I felt that with a ball winning midfielder sitting higher up the pitch, we wouldn’t need as many bodies in the middle of midfield and I really want to get Ivanildo involved in the game more that he has been as the DLF and boy has it delivered. Leonardo Silva and Ivanildo are linking up beautifully and its great to see both strikers hitting the scoresheet as well as providing!

Ruben Costa has left the club. He was only on a non-contract deal so someone snapped him up. He didn’t really feature much for the first team and with Alison coming in, he hasn’t really found a place!

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Another mixed bag of results. A lot of goals scored and a lot of goals conceded. The defence, despite this, are getting some very good ratings. We are conceding a lot of low xG chances which I guess is just down to the low quality of players at this level. Really happy with how things are going and with the 13 points picked up this month, we sit 3rd in the table. Just 1 point behind Benfica B in the fight for promotion. I don’t think anyone is catching Braga B but it does seem like we are in the fight with 16 games of the season left!

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Key match – Vila Real 4 – 1 Sport Uniao Sintrense

This match highlighted perfectly why I wanted to make the above changes to the tactic. Alison mopped everything up in midfield and did so with a real energy. He provided the ball to Fernando Almeida, who sprayed the ball to one of 4 options. With Ivanildo as a pressing forward, he was more of an attacking threat and really showed that by scoring two wonderful goals. A wonderful attacking performance from the off and we were really unfortunate to concede the goal that we did. Kakra continues to play WELL above his stats, with 14 goal contributions from his 21 games this season. I have had Kakra on loan for 2 seasons now and his contract expires soon so I have snapped him up on a 2 year deal worth £45 per week. An absolute bargain for a player who my scouts don’t rate but continues to contribute!

Player of the month – Fernando Almeida

Everything good this month seemed to come through Fernando Almeida. He put on a creative masterpiece against Trofense. Not only did he score but managed to set up 3 goals as well. I knew he would provide competition for Andre Sousa but I didn’t think the competition would be this good. With the age of these two, we have our attacking midfield option sorted for the next few seasons, I’d say. He is a perfect example of a player playing above their stats. He has some very nice stats but on paper, he’s not the best. In game, however, he is turning in some of the finest performances. His 30-yard thunderbolt against Berco to secure all 3 points was a highlight as well!

Other business

The board allowed us to change our season expectations so I did. I’ve changed it to top half finish because I really believe we are capable of more! I didn’t want to push it to ‘top 6 finish’ just in case because the board love us at the moment so lets keep it that way!

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February 2022

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Fitness has been a real issue this month. December, January and now February have been incredibly action packed and it’s shown. We really need some strength in depth for next season. None the less, I’m happy with the 10 points picked up. I’m unhappy we didn’t get something from the Sporting game but the draw with top of the table Braga makes up for that. 10 games left of the season and it’s going to be a real fight. We sit in 5th position, 6 point behind promotion place Benfica B. I don’t think anyone is catching Braga at this point so there is in theory 1 promotion place up for grabs. It’s going to be a tough battle and we face Fafe in March so that could be a huge game! It was unfortunate to lose to Benfica because if we win that, we are looking in a much better position. We have excelled this month and are way above the expectations so I can’t really be too unhappy, but we have put ourselves in this position and it would be nice to really go for the jugular.

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Key match – Vila Real 1 – 3 Sporting CP B

A real shame to lose this one. Sporting are way below us in the table and we started the game incredibly quickly. We went behind in the 23rd minute before equalising in the 43rd which, I thought meant we were going into HT drawing but Sporting went 1-2 up in the 44th minute and we just couldn’t do anything at half time.

Player of the month – Ivanildo Nhaga

There weren’t too many players to choose from for the POTM this month to be fair. A pretty average month by the standards we’ve set but Ivanildo is really taking to the deep lying forward position nicely. He has 10 goals and 8 assists this season and I’m really happy with that contribution!

Other business

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After some nagging, the board decided to agree to improve the youth recruitment. Just in time for this year’s intake. I wonder if it will have any effect!

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March 2022

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A great month. Unbeaten and 7/9 points. We don’t do clean sheets here at Vila Real but as long as we’re winning, nothing we can address outside of a transfer window. I think we do need to look at the roles we’re using and the tactic in the offseason though.

With all of that excitement, we are actually in 5th place still but we have closed the gap to 2nd

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Key match – Vila Real 1 – 1 Fafe.

We couldn’t lose this. A win would’ve done us the world of good but the goal was to just not lose. We didn’t play particularly well and I don’t think we deserved anything from the game but Paulo Rodrigues giving us a point to come home with in the 93rd minute is everything I wanted!

Player of the month – Paulo Rodrigues

Could have been Ivanildo again but I decided to give it to young Paulo. 2 goals and an assist in the 2 harder games of the month. He didn’t play the first game because of the heavy schedule but he made up for it in the other two!

Other business

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Youth intake 2022

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Mixed bag of players. It will take us a few years until we are getting some really good players but there are a few to note here

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First of all, Joshua Kyere. A Ghanaian winger who doesn’t look bad at all! He’s an absolute midget but his base stats for the winger on that right-hand side are great. Really like that he has 10 crossing at the age of 16. I’m definitely going to keep him in and around the first team and see what he can do!

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Next up is an absolute giant of a man! Umaro Reis. 13 finishing, 16 teamwork and 10 passing makes him an excellent pressing forward. Not to mention his 13 first tough. Oh… And he’s 6’7”!!! He looks like a very good pressing forward and he will be in and around the first team as well! We lost Giovani so Ivanildo has played pretty much all the minutes so far so if we have some sure wins, we may just put him in there for his debut this season!

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Manuel Sousa isn’t quite as good as a pressing forward as Reis but he does have some nice stats. He is much shorter and has a fickle personality but he does have the comes deep to get ball trait which I kind of like on a deep lying forward but not sure how good its going to be when he’s playing as a pressing forward. Overall not bad, he will be signed but nothing special. I am probably going to retrain him as a central midfielder. As an attacking playmaker, I think he might have something about him with his 12 passing, 10 vision and 12 work rate. Not to mention his anticipation and composure.

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Joao Marra is the last player of note. Nothing really that special here either but I included him because he’s naturally both footed and he has 18 natural fitness. 12 technique is nice and 14 vision will come in very handy but I don’t see him turning that 5 passing into anything good enough to feature for us.

Edited by Chrisofclubs
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April 2022

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An incredible month! We should have got the clean sweep here. We bottled a 3-0 lead against Guimaraes which I was incredibly disappointed at but we are still in the hunt for the final promotion place. Braga B wrapped up the title with 4 games to spare so that leaves just the one promotion place. Playing fewer games each month has given us a lot of time to get the first team together, rested and ready to battle for each and every point. Its going to be an incredible run in. First of all, for player stats. Leonardo Silva is easily going to run away with top goal scorer with 40 already, all in the league. The next highest is Ivanildo, over 20 behind him. The battle for top assister is much more interesting. Almeida and Paulo Rodrigues both have 10 but Ivanildo and Kakra have 9. Going into the final month of the season, we are preparing for one of the craziest promotion battles I’ve ever seen let alone been a part of. We remain 5th in the league but 4 of us have 83 points going into the last 3 games. I am going to do a longer update next time with the run in of the final month!

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Key match – Torreense 0 – 3 Vila Real

Going away to 8th in the league in such a pivotal time of the season was daunting. We took the lead through Ivanildo just before half time which made things so much easier. Umaro Reis came on for his second appearance for the club in the 65th minute and was a bit fortunate for his first goal. The ball ricocheted around in the box but he was lively enough to pounce and score. Great moment for the youngster in a game which we completely dominated. The own goal was the icing on the cake as we ran out 0-3 victors. Back to back clean sheets was very unexpected as well!

Player of the month – Leonardo Silva

Back to back hattricks can’t be overlooked. We should have won the Guimaraes game but time and time again, Leonardo pulls us out of a sticky situation or puts us ahead. He has been incredible this season and continues to grow and excel. He keeps rejecting the loan offer so I don’t think we’ll have him back on loan next season unless we get promoted which is a huge shame. Lacximicant has shown that he can score but Silva has been a different level this season!

Other business

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I have completed my Continental C licence and now i'm starting my Continental B licence!

Edited by Chrisofclubs
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May 2022 – The run in!

Game week 44

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The easiest of the 3 remaining games for us and we duly delivered! It was a nervy game in which they had a disallowed goal just before half time. I’m not sure what their striker was doing but he was standing about 10 feet offside. It took us until the 64th minute until we went ahead. Leonardo Silva got onto the end of Joel Mateus’ cross. Dario Caetano, the GK, was our MOTM and he fully deserved it. He kept us in the game until the very end. An important 3 points which puts us 4th in the table as Fafe smashed Benfica B. Kakra got injured in the game so he will be missing for 3-4 weeks which is most likely the rest of the season. That will be a huge miss for us but we will have to make do. Either Ze Pedro who is leaving at the end of the season or Wilson Rodrigues has an opportunity to show us he deserves to play for the mighty Vila Real! Two cup finals left!

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Game week 45

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Next up was 11th placed Amarante at home. We had to go out attacking here. The goal difference didn’t really matter because it comes down to results against each other and then goal difference. Our results hadn’t been good enough so we have to make sure we win both games! We started like a house on fire. A few games ago, I noticed we hadn’t scored any goals from corners this season so I asked the DCR to attack the front post and have the pressing forward marking the keeper. When Reis is in there, his size will really help us. Paulo Rodrigues and Ivanildo put us 3-0 up inside the first 20 minutes. Rodrigues with a goal and an assist brought his tally to 11 each by half time. At half time, with results elsewhere, we were in second position. Beira-Mar had a tough game against Torreense and were drawing 1-1. Bruno Pereira picked up a knock in the 60th minute so I brought on Ze Pedro and asked Wilson to do a little defending as he seems to contribute nothing going forward and sure enough, he was at fault for their goal in the 64th minute. Paulo Rodrigues got injured in the 77th minute which is a real shame. I hope its nothing serious. The rest of the game played out pretty standard. Beira-Mar lost to Torreense in the end but Fafe got a winner in the 67th minute as Sporting went down to 10 men. We need Fafe to slip up on the final day. This is coming down to the wire. 1 cup final left. We need to win and Fafe need to drop points. End of. Fafe play 18th placed Lusitano Evora SAD at home in the final game and we play 17th place Louletano away.

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Game week 46

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Away at 17th place Louletano. I would normally start more cautiously but they didn’t have anything to play for so I went all out attacking. A huge game for Francisco Costa. The 16-year-old gets a rare start due to Rodrigues’ injury. Our game started incredibly dull. Leonardo Silva had one disallowed in the 4th minute but apart from that, nothing of note until we suddenly went second in the league. Lusitano Evora went 0-1 up in the 20th minute which gave me goosebumps. We are NOT ready for promotion! Fafe equalised in the 31st minute which slid us back down to 3rd. Half time came and went and we were playing well. Leonardo Silva and Ivanildo were linking up incredibly well. The 61st minute produced a fantastic moment, however. Lusitano Evora went 1-2 up and I couldn’t help but go a bit more attacking. If we scored then, Fafe would need 2 goals in 25 mins to catch us. As it turns out, nothing else happened and we were promoted. Forgive me if I don’t sound as upbeat as I should do but this is crazy. I haven’t gone back to back since 2015 and I really didn’t think this save would produce this early. We have a mammoth task ahead of us and I really am looking forward to it but it’s daunting at the same time. Part of me thought about trying to throw that last game so we didn’t get promoted but I just couldn’t help it. In fairness, if I wanted to try to throw it, I would’ve gone all out like we did.

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What a season. What a save so far. End of season review coming out and there will be lots of updates before the next season. I want to really dig deep into the tactic and the squad. We really do need some incredibly recruitment for next season. This is going to be very, very tough!

 

Other business

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Straight after the game, the board came to me, as I expected they would, and suggested we turn the club professional. I don't think I could actually reject the notion and why would I? Fantastic news

 

Budgets

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This is a huge increase from this season. Our wage budget at the moment is £2610 with a transfer budget of 0 so this is going to give us amazing amount of money to spend next season compared to our previous 2 seasons. I suspect we probably won't have as much as other Liga 2 teams but we are there!

Edited by Chrisofclubs
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End of season 2 review

Competitions

Taca de Portugal placard

Again, another disappointing performance. We got knocked out by Salgueiros in the second round. We played better than we did last season and managed a 3-3 draw but lost on penalties. Embarrassing to say the least but the league performance somewhat took precedent.

Terceira Liga

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Well, well, well. Wow. Just wow. I really didn’t think this would happen. Even at half time in the final game, I didn’t think it was going to happen. We have exceeded expectations so much that I really think we’ve done this far too quickly. It is going to be incredibly tough next season and I just hope we can bring in enough quality players and survive. Each and every one of the players and staff have been crazy good this year. We put in some performances that just defied belief. My key match was probably the 1-1 draw away at Fafe back in March. Paulo Rodrigues rescued us a point in the dying moments and from that moment on, we didn’t lose a game! This year was brilliant because we didn’t have too much of a step up in quality because of being promoted alongside over 20 other 4th tier teams but next season is going to be a different kettle of fish altogether.

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Players

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An absolutely wild season produced some wild average ratings. The amount of goals scored was a particular highlight but the goals conceded was more concerning. We really need to have a deep dive into the tactics ahead of next season so that we can make sure to sure up the defence. We are now going to be playing against MUCH tougher teams.

On the face of it, it would seem that our wingers and strikers are combining well. 20 assists from the 2 starting wingers as well as 17 goals. Ivanildo played incredibly well when changed to a pressing forward and once we made that change, he really started to pop up with some goals and assists. To end with 14 goals and 9 assists in the end is amazing. 23 goal contributions in 45 is exactly where I want to see him at!

Now to talk about the youngsters. Francisco Costa coming in as the clubs record signing. He played 1127 minutes and provided 4 assists and added 3 goals. Not a bad return from the youngster. He has still got a long way to go but he has gained a star on his current ability this season. Umaro Reis hasn’t been with us very long but has already scored his first goal. He will probably be playing more U19 or B team football next year but he is definitely one for the future.

A shout out quickly to Laercio. He had an effect similar to that of Virgil Van Dijk coming into Liverpool. He made everyone around him play better and gave everyone confidence. I am sure he’s going to play for us next season but I may find someone else to partner him. Eira, in fairness, has had a really good season and I certainly don’t envisage either of them going anywhere. I think the other defenders (Mendes and Maycon) do not have what it takes to play in Liga 2. They were pretty sketchy at this level so I doubt they’ll be able to make the step up again.

In terms of signings, the extension of Leonardo Silvas loan will take the headlines because of the 41 goals but I think Laercio has had a similar impact. We conceded a lot of goals but he improved this team beyond belief. Shoutout to Alison as well, who came in to play the BWM role in midfield and definitely was a big part of the success of the season.

Managers player of the season – Leonardo Silva

41 goals. All in the league. 7 assists and an average rating of 7.37 over 45 appearances. Back in 2017, I signed Cristiano Ronaldo for a Man United save I was doing and Leonardo Silva gives me similar vibes to back then. The fact that they’re both Portuguese is a happy coincident. Okay, stats wise, he’s no CR7 but what he has achieved this season and last season will go down in Vila Real history. He linked up beautifully with Ivanildo and the wingers and just produced performances out of this world. He has been rejecting loan extension offers all season but now that we are promoted, I’m hoping that I can convince him to come back for another season.

Leonardo Silva broke a whole host of records for the club:

-          Most overall goals by a player in a season (41)

-          Most league goals by a player in a season (41)

-          Most goals by a player in a match (3)

-          Most player of the match awards (11)

-          Most total league goals by a player (50)

Looking forward

Tactics

See next update

Transfers

Okay so here’s the thing. We have been given a very large budget compared to this season but I don’t know how much is going to be taken up by full-time contracts. It’s a huge period of change for the club and we need to see what’s available come the end of the season proper.

I will be looking to sign some defenders definitely. I am fairly happy with our full backs although quality of depth is a little lacking. 2 new centre backs and maybe a right back is necessary. Dario Caetano will be our starting keeper in Liga 2. He has ‘potential LIGA NOS’ in his report so i’m sure he’ll be good enough. As for going forward, the left midfield spot needs addressing. Below is the squad without the players whos contracts are expiring but including Leonardo Silva and the young prospects in Costa, Berna and Reis. It is a very slim squad and we definitely need more quality. I will be looking for all positions and see what comes up. Some positions we just need back ups but some positions we really need better players (LM and maybe PF, sorry Ivanildo)

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End of season review

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Edited by Chrisofclubs
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Tactics

So me and the board have somewhat ‘synched up’. A day after the last update, they came to me with the vision for next season. They want me to play ‘defensively solid’ and ‘counter-attacking’ football. I have never built a defensively solid tactic in my entire life and I’ve also never been facing a challenge quite like the one we have got on our hands this season. I do, however, agree that we need a defensively solid tactic and counter attacking is probably the best option to go with.

This is the ‘away’ tactic that we used last season and managed to come 2nd with. We had some great victories with counter-attacking style goals that sealed them but ultimately, we conceded far too many goals. Thank go the level of players wasn’t good enough to hit the target otherwise we may have ended up around midtable

The old

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I really want to stick with the solid 4-4-2 formation and I really liked the combination of a pressing forward and an advanced forward up front. I think this suits counter-attacking as well. Other than that, I am going to look through every detail of the tactic and come back to you when it’s better…

Analysis

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The new

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So, here is the counter attacking 4-4-2 I went for. I used the basic fluid counter-attacking style and then edited it slightly. The roles are going to be the same as we had last season, with only one exception. Both wingers are going to start each game on support duty. Due to the symmetry in the back line this season, I wanted to start with a more standard approach and then adapt to each game. Some individual instructions have been added:

-          Both centre backs have been told to take fewer risks. I don’t want them losing the ball at all! Their job is to defend, that’s IT!

-          The advanced playmaker is the only one allowed more direct passing. This season, I had a lot of joy from Almeida playing balls through to Ivanildo or Silva, so I’m going to allow that position some creative freedom. Especially as the BWM and both CBs will be there to mop up.

That’s is for the individual instructions. As for the team instructions, my idea is to become a narrow, strong defensive block. We are forcing the opposition to the outside and hoping that they will send searching balls into the box where we have all 4 defenders, the GK and the BWM. With better recruitment for FBs, I want them to be intercepting balls more often and winning it in the air more than this season to snuff out any attacks before they become a problem. The goalkeeper has been told to distribute quickly and because of the counter attacking mentality, I want him to be distributing to the wingers or advanced playmaker when countering or the 4 defenders when not. I have told the team not to counter-press when the ball has been lost but to regroup. I want to stay as defensively solid as possible and if we let the team have too much freedom, we will end up all over the place.

I will be using this tactic in the friendlies and, with some recruitment, lets hope it goes as well as it looks. I always feel optimistic after these analysis sessions but lets not forget how difficult this season is going to be!

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10 minutes ago, Lodi Lemmer said:

Congratulations on the promotion! I'm interested to hear how your tactical shift works out.

This is going to be the toughest pre-season ever! I have had to spend quite a lot of wages on extra staff needed to run a professional club so it's going to be a wheeling and dealing summer!

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54 minutes ago, Chrisofclubs said:

This is going to be the toughest pre-season ever! I have had to spend quite a lot of wages on extra staff needed to run a professional club so it's going to be a wheeling and dealing summer!

Congratulations on the promotion and what vila real prediction will finish in segunda liga relegation or stay up

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Pre season

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We are officially into the Liga Portugal 2 SABSEG. As I’ve said repeatedly, this is going to be one hell of a journey. A little bit of admin first, before we go into the actual details of pre-season. We were given 319k for competing in LIGA 2 and another £274k for TV rights which has been incredible for the finances. Also, Chaves are a historical rival of ours and they got relegated from Liga NOS last season so it’s a nice story element that we are now in the same league as them! We actually play Chaves as our first home game of the season and second game after Casa Pia away. As you can see above, the media don’t think we’ll stand much chance of staying us, tipping us to go down but this is before the transfers.

Elsewhere in Portugal and Spain:

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Final piece of admin. Regarding the save game, I have amended the leagues loaded to the following:

(Basically, I have dropped the lowest Spanish league and added some Italian, French and English leagues)

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Staffing

Okay first of all let’s get the boring stuff out of the way. As the club went professional, we needed to sign a load of staff to fill in the busier schedule. Some of the positions are still not filled because I wanted to prioritise getting the right players in before we got a second performance analyst for example. I brought in a whole host of new coaches and I won’t bore everyone with the details. I tried to get coaches with preferred formation 4-4-2 and counter attacking but they were few and far between. In the end, I settled with just 4-4-2. Here is how our staffing lines up against the rest of the league: I’m really happy with it!

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And above is my new assistant manager. I really liked Thiago Andre but he really wasn’t cut out for this level. I’m hoping Montero will stay with us for a while so we’re working on his coaching licences!

Friendlies and Allianz Cup

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I really enjoyed our performances in the friendlies. The new tactic seems to be working as intended. We have seemed a lot better defensively. It may not look like it from some of the scorelines but the performances have been good!

In the Allianz cup, it was our first real test and I am very very pleased. We had to play this game before a lot of the signings came in (which I will talk about in the next post). We were knocked out in the first phase by Caldas but they are a similar level to us and we proved we can perform on a similar level. It was the trusty partnership of Paulo Rodrigues and Leo (Leonardo Silva) linking up again, from a corner! You will notice that Leonardo Silva is still here so i'm going to let you all figure out if thats good news! Also there are some spoilers above about signings but some of the scorers are trialists so all will be revealed in the next update!

Edited by Chrisofclubs
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Transfer window

Now, the important part. The pre-season went well and the tactic looks fairly strong. I have played the first month of the league because I wanted to get to the end of the window, get this update out and then immediately after, the first month.

Looking back at the analysis, I felt it was important for us to get in some more defensive fullbacks, a better left midfielder and some strength in depth elsewhere. Overall, I am very happy with the transfer window. I feel like we’ve improved everywhere on the pitch and definitely in places we didn’t expect to need!

We have added lots of players to the ranks but I really do believe every player recruited adds something to the team!

Without further ado, here we go:

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Goalkeeper

So… Caetano is touted to have potential LIGA NOS ability so we definitely did not need a first-choice keeper. I was more than happy with keeping Diogo Sa as the back up but he got poached by Arouca and he didn’t accept our offer to stay. This happened fairly late on so we went out and signed Leo Kokubo as a backup. It was a free transfer but we are paying quite a bit in wages for him. He’s a better keeper than Diogo Sa, so I think we’ve got a good deal here!

Defence

Defence was the biggest problem last season as we saw in the analysis section. I noted that the two full backs weren’t good enough and I really wanted to try and find some better, more defensive ones. I did note that I wanted taller full backs but that didn’t happen im afraid. Well. I sort of lie, the two full backs I’ve recruited this window are taller than the previous two but not by much. Joao Victor and Bernas are our new defensive full backs. Both are fantastic defensive players and I’m super happy with both of them. Joao Victor is currently training to get rid of the ‘gets forward whenever possible’ to make him even more defensive. Hyago has left the club so Bruno Pereira will be the back up left back and another signing, Miguel Lopes will be the back up right back. Lopes will also be a back up at centre back. A great versatile option in on loan for free. In the analysis section, I saw some great stats from Laercio and Eira last season and I wasn’t originally planning to bring in another centre back but when my scouts brought me Vado Kitenga and I had a lot of wages spare, I couldn’t resist. He comes in to play first choice CB alongside Eira.

Midfield

Midfield was an interesting set of positions really. Whilst I was really happy with the midfield last season, I didn’t think they could make the step up, with the exception of Alison. Alison will be our starting BWM this season but I have brought back Joao Coelho to play back up to him. I highlighted left wing as a potential weak spot for the team. We signed Kakra on a permanent deal which is great for the club but he is a back up at best! Claudio Fernandes caught my eye when I was scouring Portugal for a left winger. He is a 17-year-old winger from our senior affiliate Boavista. He comes in to play first choice left wing and deep down, i’m hoping we can sign him on a permanent deal one day. On the right wing, Paulo Lopes was brilliant last season but I did feel he needed some competition other than 16-year-old Francisco Costa. Ruben Ferreira has been recruited to be that competition! Really love this signing and is probably my favourite signing of the lot. To get the 19-year-old on a permanent deal is a massive signing for the club! I think this guy has a huge future ahead of him!

Lastly, I had a really tough time when it came to the advanced playmaker position. Sousa and Almeida were so good for me last term and even though I thought Sousas’ season stats weren’t good enough in certain key areas, his attributes are good enough to see him make the step up. I wasn’t originally going to look for an additional advanced playmaker because Berna has been developing well but Almeida got injured and it got me thinking about a possible loan. Joao Caiado comes in originally as squad depth but his mentals are out of this world for this level so he will be our starting advanced playmaker.

Attack

Lastly this is what everyone’s been waiting for. Leonardo Silva. Club record setter. Club record goal scorer and now club record signing. 17.5k from Boavista. Considering his 41 league goals earned us nearly 500k in promotion money, I don’t think this was a bad deal at all. He joins the club on a permanent deal worth only £275 p/w. His value instantly rocketed up to 32.5k so even if he doesn’t make it for us, he has resale value and at 20 years old, I really love this transfer.

With Silva in, that gave us the same 3 strikers we had last season but I did think we lacked something else. Leonardo Silva was great but looking at some of the other strikers around the LIGA 2, his stats didn’t match up. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a club legend and will be starting but perhaps not where we expect. Meet Vitinho. He is a moody 21-year-old Brazilian who hates training unless its shooting practice but he knows where the goal is in game and he can run forever. He is the highest earner at the club by a considerably margin but he completes the strike force perfectly.

Youth prospects

You may notice below the lack of Reis and Costa from last season. The highest rated youth players have been transferred to Vila Real B to potentially give them more game time. The B team is a bit strange because no fixtures have been added for them yet after the friendlies so I will keep an eye on that and we may either see them going out on loan, moving down to the U19s or back to the senior squad. I will of course bring these players in for lesser games

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After all that is said and done, here is how the squad shapes up and the first choice 11. Overall, I’m really happy with the squad we’ve assembled. It’s a young squad and without too many key loanees but I’m hoping they will all mature well. They haven’t been training well so far but I think that is something to do with the heavy work load of the coaches due to the board not allowing us more coaches yet. We will get there!

We also still have £33,536 left in the transfer budget and around £3,000p/w in wages so there is money there to be spent if necessary.

Next update will be the August games which have already been played because I needed to get to the end of the window!

Edited by Chrisofclubs
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August 2022

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Wow. The counter attacking tactic is working an absolute treat. I targeted 35 points as the absolute minimum that I wanted this season to guarantee safety so to get 9 of them in the first month is absolute madness. Our mix of defensive solidity and both strikers getting on the scoresheets has been a thrill this month! I don’t envisage every month being as good as this so we need to take our wins when we get them! We were very unfortunate in the rival match against Chaves but to almost get a result against one of the most likely teams to win the league is sensational. With the signings and our early form, our chances of survival have been dramatically improved. The bookies now have us at 100-1 to win the league instead of 350-1. Target for this season is to survive by any means. I don’t care if its 10th or 16th but survival is a must. We have the team for it now so we should be okay. We need to keep on improving what is an incredibly young team so that we can push for promotion either next season or the season after.

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Key match – Caldas 1 – 4 Vila Real

Counter attacking football executed perfectly. We hit them on the break numerous times. Three times, this led to success and once it led to a penalty. I really enjoyed how we played here and the way the players have adapted is incredible. Caldas came at us in the dying moments after we went 1-2 up, hence the two late goals. I don’t think Caldas were as bad as 1-4 but, in their attempt, to try and salvage something from the game, they left their defence wide open.

Player of the month – Vitinho

Brand new signing and he’s gelled with the team instantly. 4 goals in a single game as well is particularly pleasing. The new full backs have shone this month as well as Leo so it was tough to pick just one.

Other business

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1 minute ago, lupinho said:

Nicely done for another unexpected promotion!! I feel like this one is gonna be a bit harder, but I know you'll step up your game again!

Thanks! I was really umming and ahing about throwing the promotion but the recruitment we've done this season has made it all worth it. I really don't want to get promoted to LIGA NOS until we are financially stable enough. It could cripple the club if we over perform in the next season or 2. 

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September 2022

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So, back down to earth. Only 2 games this month but 0 goals scored in the last 3 games. Short month but it gives me a chance to get some players back from injury

Key match – Vila Real 0 – 1 Beira-Mar

It wouldn’t be a Vila Real season without us getting knocked out in the second round of the cup would it… They absolutely battered us. I rotated heavily and we really did have a very young team out without any big names but I thought we’d have enough to get passed them. Alas we didn’t.

Player of the month – Leo Kokuba

Imagine that. The back up keeper gets player of the month. I played him against Beira-Mar in a game which I heavily rotated. He saved a penalty and another 10 saves as they absolutely battered our goal. How it only ended 1-0 is beyond me. Kokuba kept his place against Vizela as well and was good but they were just too powerful for us.

Other business

So, Boavista decided to recall Joao Coelho on the 11th September meaning that we no longer have a specified back up BWM until we can register one in January. Thanks, Boavista.

Also, for some reason, I cannot change the person who is responsible for arranging friendlies for the B team. We aren’t getting any games scheduled for them so I’ve moved the young prospects back to the U19s until we fix the problem. If anyone knows, please let me know! Thanks.

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October 2022

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A much busier month than last month. Really really happy with the results and more importantly how we’re playing. I have found this season that there is an incredibly healthy competition for places which we haven’t had before. A lot of players came to me in the summer worried about me signing players to replace them and it does seem like last seasons team are definitely upping their level to match!

Key match – Sporting Covilha 0 – 3 Vila Real

Fantastic result. We won the Tondela game due to a lucky 88th minute thunder strike from Alison who got injured just after it so the Sporting Covilha game was always going to be a tough one. Going away wasn’t easy as well but we definitely showed up. 2 counter attacking goals, Vitinho is rapid and he just has the raw finishing talent that we didn’t have before. Leonardo Silva slotted the penalty away coolly as well!

Player of the month – Claudio Fernandes

At 17 years of age, I was a bit worried how he would adapt to first team football but he has taken to it like a duck to water! He is now accomplished at playing LM after having no knowledge at all when he signed 2 months ago. This month he has produced 2 assists and a very well worked goal this month and just generally performed well. He gave away a penalty in the Porto game but i’m going to put that down to inexperience. I will definitely be looking to sign this guy permanently if we can do so without bankrupting the club.

Other business

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I have achieved my continental B licence, so time to go for the continental A licence.

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November 2022

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Only the 2 games again this month. Very weird fixtures this season. Is it normally like this in Portugal?

Nonetheless, I’m happy with the results. The team seem to be really gelling with this tactic and forming some really nice partnerships. Still going to claim this as an unbeaten month. 4 more points towards our target of 35. We are already at 20 after 13 games and lie 7th in the table. There doesn't seem to be a massive difference in quality between the top teams and the bottom teams in this league which may make it more difficult as the seasons go by but if we continue on with this form and tactic, maybe we can mount a promotion push next season. I have checked the projection for finances and it does look as if going professional has battered us financially. The balance is still good for now but we are haemorrhaging  money at an alarming rate. The projection is that we will be at -568k by the end of this season, losing money at a rate of ~-800k per year!

Key match – Vila Real 2 – 1 Arouca

With the 2 own goals in here, it looks like we got lucky but we fully deserved this victory. Claudio Fernandes and Vitinho were brilliant in this game! Such energy shown for the two own goals. It's a bit harsh to give the first as at own goal as the ball looked like it was going in anyway. The second was Vitinhos brilliance, hitting the post and bouncing in off the defender. We had alot more chances and fully deserved it!

Player of the month – Dario Caetano

May have been 3 goals conceded but an average rating of 7.25 over the 2 games and 18 shots saved. I dropped him for a few games last month as he was poor at the beginning but he has fully regained his number one shirt now!

Other business

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December 2022

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An incredibly frustrating month. Our defence has not been good enough. We’ve conceded too many penalties for my liking. So much so that I now have ‘be more disciplined’ as an instruction by standard. They have just been stupid penalties that my defenders shouldn’t have given away in a million years. Going forward, our performances have been pretty good and definitely have deserved more than the 4 points we received. We were lucky in the final game because Pacos had a man sent off but we really should have had something from those first two games.

I will be scouting for centre backs in January. I won’t be going too crazy because I think we are good enough to stay up this season without splashing unnecessary cash. With our finances looking bleaker every month, I will only sign someone who can come in and really improve the team.

Key match – Penafiel 3 – 2 Vila Real

We were 0-2 up in the 9th minute and we absolutely collapsed. We gave them 2 stupid penalties (1 of which they missed) and that was that. I was fairly happy at 2-2 because it was points on the board. Frustrated but I didn’t mind too much but when we conceded in the 84th minute, I slammed the team. I started Laercio in this game and he proved that he is really not up to the standard required for this level.

Player of the month – Vitinho

Difficult to pick this one. It definitely couldn’t be a defender because they have had a bad month. I’m going to have to give it to Vitinho. 4 goals and 1 assist in the 4 games played this month brings him to a total of 11 goals and 5 assists for the season. A great return for a sensational talent.

Other business

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Youth intake preview. Really excited about the central defenders. We really need depth in this area and is probably somewhere we could improve! Hopefully the Portuguese centre back from Lamego is a winner!

Leonardo Silva got injured for 3 months. Torn abdominal muscle. It’s a shame but we’ve got enough depth to cover it, I think!

 

 

Save side note. I’m going to try and get as many updates in this weekend/ early next week because when Cyberpunk 2077 and the new Warzone come out, I’m afraid i’m going to have to split my time! I know. Shocking.

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January 2023

We went into the transfer window lacking defensive stability in this defensive tactic we wanted to create. The form of our centre backs has been poor but our finances are even worse. I went about scouting every centre back with adequate looking stats but with our scouting facilities, it is tough to scout on mass.

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First piece of business done was to let young talent Josh Kyere out on loan to Uniao de Madeira. He’s been really improving lately and I would normally keep a 17-year-old at the club to train but I feel he deserves half a season to show us what he’s all about! I can recall him if he’s not being played enough.

That was all she wrote for signings. I did look for centre backs but didn’t find anyone good enough to be worth the money spent in January and with things looking good to stay up, I decided to look more towards the future. I have set the scouts out to scout as many youngsters as possible in the hope that we can get in early before the summer to try and improve the squad to push for promotion!

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Anyway, enough of that, now to the games. Really happy with the results. We are getting important points and not conceding many. 9 points, only 3 conceded in 4 games puts us onto 33 points and 6th in the table, 15 points ahead of Braga B in 17th. 2 shy of the magic 35 with months to go. I don’t think we’re in any danger of going down now. Now our attention can turn to next season. I am scouting all the young and free players I can to try and turn some on for some profit. I’m very happy with the squad we’ve build so now it’s time to sort out the finances. We have gone into debt this month with a -£37,000 bank balance.

Key match – Vila Real 4 – 0 Casa Pia

After going on a big hunt for a better centre back, analysing everything about our current two, we went and played a terrific game which included a clean sheet against Casa Pia. Both Eira and Kitenga were very good in this game. Going forward, Claudio Fernandes will feel slightly aggrieved that he didn’t get the hattrick here and the own goal should have been his. He was outstanding in this game! We played with a positive mentality for the first time this season as Casa Pia were 18th and it really worked!

Player of the month – Andre Sousa

Signed 2 years ago in the Portuguese 4th tier, he won player of the year for his input. I looked at his stats after that season and said I didn’t think he’d be able to make the step up to Terceira liga but this season in the Liga 2, he has been undroppable. 2 goals, 2 assists in 4 games this month, he is keeping the incredibly well rounded Caiado out of the team.

Other business

Leonardo Silva is back from is injury sooner than expected. We don’t seem to be lacking goals at the moment so this is giving me the chance to ease him back in gently.

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February 2023

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An incredibly strange month. Bottled a 2-0 lead against Varzim which I’m very unhappy about, then lost to Vilafranquense and Tondela in games where we were the better side. In between all of that, we completely FM’d top of the league Vizela. 4 points gained, taken us over the 35 point mark. We lay in 8th in the league. Can’t really say much more than that. Finances still shot to pieces. Don’t see them getting any better, I just hope that we have some luck next season and can get promoted OR sell a wonderkid for millions.

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I’m going to do March and April update together as there are only 2 games in March so the next update will probably be the youth intake! Hoping that in the next game update we will have guaranteed safety!

Key match – Vila Real 2 – 0 Vizela

What a match. This was counter-attacking football manager to a TEE! 2 breaks from Vizela set pieces, 2 shots on target, 2 goals. Even Rodrigues’ 78th minute second yellow card couldn’t stop us partying well into the night! Great results to beat league leaders albeit at home! Even better that this result took us over the 35 points that I targeted pre-season!

Player of the month – Leonardo Silva

Really solid month from the club record signing. 2 goals as his game time was limited due to coming back from injury. Looks really good still, even though compared to other players, my scouts don’t really rate him.

Other business

The facilities upgrade I wanted to make have been halted by the terrible financial state of the club. It’s not the end of the world but we are losing money due to the pressures of going professional.

Claudio Fernandes has been incredible for us so I decided to get in there early and extend his loan until the end of next season. Great news for the club!

I also picked up Tiago Azevedo on a free from Uniao Lamas. I have added a lot of the U19s players to the first team registered squad to give them some game time once survival is guaranteed.

I’ve signed a few players up to longer contracts. The players worth noting are Vitinho, Joao Victor, Bernas and Andre Sousa have extended their stay with us. Really pleased with all 4 of them so I wanted to get it done whilst morale is high! Not much in the way of pay rises which is good as well!

Our under 19s have won their division with 6 games to spare. I will give you a proper U19 update at the end of the season.

Edited by Chrisofclubs
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Youth intake

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Sadly, wasn’t as good as the preview suggested it would be… Although, having looked through some of the players, I think their star ratings may be low because of the higher quality of current first team players.

As usual, I won’t go through all of them but I will talk about the ones I’ve given contracts to and who will join our under 19s as their promotion to the second division is secured.

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First of all, we have Cristiano Santos. He’s no Claudio Fernandes and I have actually secured the signing of another very good 17-year-old left winger recently who will join us in the summer but I want to see how he develops. Lacks the passing and vision so will be training those but has decent pace and determination. Signed him to a youth contract until he develops slightly.

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Next up is my favourite of the bunch. Nilsao is a decent left back. Nice aggression and positioning. IU always love players with high work rate as well. His base technical are okay but will start training the defensive stats slightly more. He’s 6ft 1 as well with jumping reach of 15 so he shouldn’t get the ball lumped over him. I’ve given him a 3 year full-time contract only on minimum wages though.

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I wasn’t really sure about Tiago Barbas but I gave him a youth contract anyway. He has some very nice stats. Like some of his physicals but I’m just not sure where to train him. Height, heading and jumping reach stop him being a centre back but don’t really love his strength. Might try training him as a ball winning midfielder and see how he gets on.

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Finally, we have Jorge Luiz. My scouts absolutely hate him and I can see why but the base stats that I like are there for a centre back. 6ft 3 with 16 bravery and 15 tackling, I couldn’t overlook that. I’ve given him a contract and going to ask him to train decisions. He needs a lot of work but he may have some resale value.

 

 

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March + April 2023

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A really good month defensively. We should have capitalised on the chances we had in more games but I can’t be unhappy with that! Once we guaranteed survival after the Porto B game, I was expecting our performances to fall off a cliff but if anything, they improved. Really happy with the rotation this season and all of the performances by the rotation options. Still lacking in defence but I have secured some signings to maybe combat that. Going to be a really interesting summer to see if we can maybe push for promotion next season or not. 2 games left of the season. Short update and then a full season review and analysis.

Key match – Vila Real 2 – 1 Santa Clara

Really really impressive performance. One of those football manager games where most of the team gets a 7.0+ rating and you just look really comfortable. The whole team excelled apart from Caetano who let in a 30-yard strike which he should’ve done better with. We had an xG of 2.46 and really never looked like losing. To only win it by 1 goal flatters Santa Clara somewhat.

Player of the month – Bernas

Didn’t have a good start to the season and was being overshadowed by Joao Victor but has really kicked on this month. 1 goal and 3 assists as well as being defensively solid is great to see! Really looking forward to analysing the two new full backs at the end of the season!

Other business

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This may explain the financial shortcomings. We are now £210,000 in the red so hopefully the board can come to the rescue with a decent sponsorship deal in the offseason!

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Really hoping that he sells for a lot of money and soon but considering those scout potentials, I don’t think we’ll see much from this!

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May 2023

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Final month of the season went well. We cemented a 7th place finish in the first game of the month and played okay in the second game and final of the season. The second game was a tough one away and we started very sharply. A few outstanding individual efforts out did us but that’s the difference in quality unfortunately. A youth team update is coming next, followed by an end of season review.

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Key match – Vila Real 4 – 0 Mafra

Just another one of those really solid wins! Our defence is adjusting to the style of play and we’re putting on some really nice performances. Hit them on the break for 2 of the 4 goals so that’s pleasing to see!

Player of the month – Vitinho    

Just had to be didn’t it. Just the 2 games played and 4 goals scored. He’s taken us to another level this season! Well worth the money we are paying him per week.

Other business

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Youth update

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A fantastic season for our Under 19s as they secure promotion as champions to the U19 second division. As you can see from the player stats, several players have been impressing for them! Without a complete team, I’m delighted with their performance. I’m hoping that they can stay in the second division next season so we can actually see some better improvements in years to come. The U19 team included a lot of greyed out players at the moment so when I sign more youngsters, they will flesh out the team!

Umaro Reis

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Great season of development from the youngster. 23 goals and 8 assists in the U19s league and some solid appearances for the first team.

Manuel Sousa

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Sousa has been played mostly as the striker in the U19s, bagging himself 19 goals and 6 assists but he is developing very nicely to play that advanced playmaker role.

Joshua Kyere

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The decision to give Josh Kyere the second half of the season out on loan looks to have paid off. 8 goals played for Uniao de madeira, scoring 3 goals and with an average rating of 7.03 is amazing for the youngster. I’m not sure where I see Kyere next season but it will definitely benefit him to be playing more!

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End of season review

Competitions

Taca de Portugal Placard

Again, knocked out in the second round. Awful performance really so there isn’t much else to say! Really have to try harder next year so we can generate some more income for the club!

Allianz Cup

Board weren’t bothered about this but we gave it a good go. Went down to a decent Caldas side who we ended up doing the double over in the league, so there that!

League

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Excellent performance by the boys. The signings made a real difference. Claudio Fernandes and Vitinho were god sends so I’m glad we managed to get Fernandes back in on loan for another season. It will be interesting to analyse the performances by the team this year because I felt like we adapted to the counter attacking tactic really well.

Players

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Overall a good season from most players. Some players didn’t get the game time they expected and will likely leave the club in the summer. It’s going to be another tough summer as we look to try not to spend a lot of money but also improve the team in areas we will look into. I will analyse the squad next update and see where we went right and wrong.

Managers player of the season – Vitinho

It had to be. Coming in and having such a dominant impact on the side isn’t to be overestimated. It was close between him and Claudio Fernandes but ultimately Fernandes is a little too inexperienced, got 12 yellow cards over the season which saw him miss some key games.

Looking forward

Tactics

Tactics will stay exactly the same. As we’ve proved we can stay up, I would like to use a positive mentality more often when we’re at home but other than that, I don’t want to change them at all

Transfers

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Above is the squad that we have going into next season. I have arranged some transfers already for some areas needed but I think we will be looking to firm up the defence again. Maycon and Laercio will be leaving the club so this leaves us with only 2 senior centre backs. We need depth at full back as well as maybe looking into the central midfield area.

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The board have given us a HUGE wage budget but I will be trying not to use all of it. They've given us an extra 20k p/w so considering our top earner is on 1k, I don't think we'll be using that all. I am really cautious of the finances spiralling out of control and am hoping that the board can find us some lucrative sponsors in the summer. 

 

End of season review

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Analysis

I don’t think this will be a long analysis. We like the tactic, I like most of the team but I do feel that there are parts we could improve on. Items for analysis:

-          How good were the right midfielders? Who was better? Paulo Rodrigues or Ruben Ferreira

-          How did we fair defensively?

-          Were the full backs better than last season?

-          Who was effective in central midfield? Is this maybe an area we can strengthen?

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So. Short analysis done, time to get to work.

I will mainly be looking for more composed centre backs with the ability to use both feet. I want to sign a marquee central midfielder to play in that advanced playmaker position. Andre Sousa is playing well above his attributes suggest and I really don’t want to keep relying on that. I am very happy with the GK, full backs, Wingers and strikers.

 

Next update will be pre-season. I hope we will have some good news regarding fiances!

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Pre-season

Pre-season was a bit more stressful than I would have liked as you’ll see in the transfers post but in regards to the team, everyone has been playing and training very well. Some great improvement in the younger players.

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Our pre-season tour took place in England and we were very good. Some new signings and trialists played but for the most part, it was the core team that we’re used to. Some great performances against some pretty weak opposition.

Then we came up against Arouca in the Allianz cup first phase. Didn’t expect much from this game to be honest but we were the better side and deserved our win, albeit on penalties in the end.

Next up was a mouth-watering home tie against LIGA NOS Rio Ave. We were arguably the better side in the first half with 2 goals disallowed but, in the end, they had the quality to see it out comfortably in the end.

It was a short pre season in the end due to our cup games but now its on to the important games. I’m not sure where I expect us to finish this season. I would like to better our last seasons finish and try to push for promotion but we’ll see how the first few months pan out.

Other business

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I knew the board would come up trumps here. 400k per year sponsorship deal will help with the finances. Not completely out of the red yet but it’s a great start!

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Transfers

Well. I didn’t expect the transfer window to be as busy as it was to be honest. A lot has happened but we still keep the base spine of the team together and add some really great players. We have signed a lot of players in total but many of them are youth prospects which will be fleshing out our under 19s side. I wanted to really start to create a conveyor belt of talent coming through our youth side. I will be regularly checking in on them and seeing how they’re doing. Promising players will be given game time or loans to speed up their progress! I made sure to get all of the business done early so that we can concentrate on integrating the key players into the team as quickly as possible. I have also added all of the youth prospects to the league squad just in case.

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Defence

As highlighted in the analysis, I wasn’t particularly happy with the two centre backs. I felt that we really needed to improve in this area if we were to make a challenge for promotion either this season or next so that’s what we’ve done. We have two brand new centre backs which will start for the club. Ogbeta and Lampert are the new dynamic duo in the centre of defence. Younger than Eira and Kitenga and mentally better. At 21 and 22, I’m hoping that we have these two for their best years ahead of them! Lampert cost 3.8k but I believe he was incredibly worth it! I really like the fact that that Ogbeta is left footed as well. I always felt uncomfortable with Kitenga playing on the left centre back side with right foot only ability. Miguel Lopes has joined us on a permanent deal. This was done early in the window as I didn’t know what quality we could find and he performed well for us last year on loan. He is great cover for centre back and right back. With cover in mind, meet Anthony Glennon. Ex Liverpool player, we have signed him to be our back up left back behind Joao Victor. He is much taller and has great defensive stats. He asked for a lot of money per week which probably isn’t justified but I felt like he really added strength in depth that we didn’t have before. Oh, and he only wanted to be a fringe player! I didn’t expect to make any more defensive signings but when Romain Correia came to my attention, I had to sign him. He’s a great addition to the squad and we now have 3 very good centre backs at our disposal which will be rotated throughout the season. Ideally, I want them all to play a decent amount of minutes so that we can compare them at the end to decide on our starting partnership next season.

Midfield

You may notice one slightly huge transfer in the outs section. So, with the club in a spot of financial trouble after turning professional, I was really hoping that one of our youngsters would get snapped up by a big side. I didn’t expect this to be our starting right midfielders and one of the best players at the club. However, Ruben Ferreira had the very inconsistent trait in his scout report so I decided to not fight Braga in their 775k pursuit of him. I mean, how hard can it be to find a replacement right winger? Very hard… Meet Hitalo though. Our new right winger and I must say, I think we’ve done well from this deal. We have made £750k and replaced Ferreira with a similarly good player. Hitalo will share the responsibility with Paulo Rodrigues so it’s not so bad. On the left-hand side, Ariday was brought in to play back up to Claudio Fernandes and with Kakra leaving the club for 9k (all profit), I really like this deal. He is on a lot of money per week but he’s got a long contract so we should be good. The middle of the part saw 2 additions. Yoann Martelat comes in to be our first-choice advanced playmaker and Julien Carre comes in to deputise Alison as the ball winning midfielder. I can see Carre overtaking Alison in a year or so time so it was good for him to come in early and learn the way we play.

Attack

I was incredibly torn with the strikers; I must be honest. In the end, I decided to listen to my head instead of my heart and accept that Ivanildo Nhaga isn’t good enough for this level. Because of all the service he’s given this club, I decided to not renew his contract but let him go out on loan for some first team football in his final year. Ultimately Leonardo Silva is declining compared to the level we are playing at but due to his outstanding season and the fact that he was pretty good last season as well, he will remain at the club to back up our new signing Jorge in the pressing forward role. I have decided to give Lacximicant one more season to show us what he can do before he’s out the door. He hasn’t performed well enough thus far but I didn’t want to spend too much money and get carried away with the Ferreira money.

Youth prospects

5 ins, 3 outs. First let’s start with the outs. Joshua Kyere deserved to remain at Uniao. He was impressive for them and I decided to give him a full season there to see what he can do. Francisco Costa was loaned out before the right midfield crisis but I’m still happy with the deal. Want to see him performing well! Tiago Azevedo is probably our hottest prospect so I decided to let him have a season out on loan as well. Will update you all in the future of their progression.

Now the ins:

-          Ricardo Castro was a cheap punt. Lots of potential, tall, nice personality and PI. Training him as that ball winning midfielder, working on his defensive positioning

-          Leonardo is a really technically gifted young advanced playmaker. Physically lacking, I’m working on that but I feel like his core stats are really nice

-          Dino Ferreira was probably the worst of the bunch but as a 6 ft 2 centre back with 15 passing at 18 years old, I couldn’t turn him down. Im working on his heading and bravery and it we see a decent increase in those, I’m sure he could do a job in this league or the Terceira.

-          Jorge Chan is a really interesting one. Fantastic mentals. Really poor personality but I’m training him at ball winning midfielder.

-          Joao Victor is a third ball winning midfielders of the crop and probably my favourite. Not the tallest but he’s very quick and has some amazing mentals for 19 years old.

Here is a look at the under 19s squad as they start their campaign in the second division and hopefully stay up!

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And after all of those transfers, here is how the media predict the table to look come the end of the season. And yes… our senior affiliate Boavista are in fact now in the same league as us!

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The next update will be the first month of games. If there is anything you’d like to see, let me know and I’ll get it as soon as possible.

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3 minutes ago, Delbrenno said:

Enjoying reading your progress mate, hopefully you’ll be in the top division in a few seasons! Never done a Portugal save before either 

Thanks a lot! I've never managed in Portugal either to be honest but i'm really enjoying it!

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August 2023

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What a wild month. I was really happy after the first game. A clean sheet and the team getting to know each other more. Then after the second game with a new signing scoring and a win it was all looking good but it wouldn’t be Vila Real without me signing better centre backs and then going on to concede an absolute tonne would it?

Having said that, it wasn’t the worst month we’ve ever had. I’m enjoying the football we’re playing and the goals conceded at the beginning of the month were with Kokubo in goal. Caetano came back for the Chaves game. I was very optimistic about having a better keeper in goal against our rival and then we go and ship 5. Go figure!

Key match – Vila Real 5 – 1 Caldas

Great game. Jorge and Ogbetas first goals for the club. Jorge assists, Martelat assists. Just an amazing performance all round. They didn’t deserve their goal as well!

Player of the month – Yoann Martelat

What a start. We’ve finally got a proper looking advanced playmaker. He looks like a real talent. 2 assists and a goal in the first month at the club. He was pivotal in this month and had a fantastic couple of games against Caldas and Sporting Covilha.

Other business

Hitalo got injured on his league debut for the club so he missed the rest of August and Vitinho got injured in the Caldas win so he will be out for another 6 weeks or so. Bad news but I feel like we have enough quality to cover it. Hopefully Lacximicant can show us what he’s about.

 

The next update will be September, October AND November because there aren’t many games in September and November.

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September, October and November 2023

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A very difficult period for the team. In general, some really pleasing performances and at least we looked (for the most part) a lot less defensively leaky than the first month. We had some really high xG games but just couldn’t put away chances. Should have turned some of these losses intro draws. I’m going to put some of the poor form down to the fact that we’re still bedding some players in. The defence in particular are learning to play together. We haven’t had a fully settled squad because of injuries as well so let’s assess the situation closer at the turn of the year and see where we go from there.

Key match – Vila Real 0 – 0 Vizela (Vizela win 5-6 on penalties)

An important match when we want to consider how we have improved as a team. Last season, they comfortably won the league and beat us home and away if I remember correctly and this season, we actually out played them over 120 minutes only to lose to them on penalties. It was unfortunate but a good sign of us heading in the right direction!

Player of the ‘month’ – Jorge

2 goals, 2 assists in the period in question. Not the best of totals but he’s just looked very good. He is linking up with the advanced playmaker very well and if there was a connection between the PF and AP, there certainly would be one. It’s really good to see the ‘creative’ striker scoring as well. That’s always important, I find, in a two-striker system.

Other business

The board have agreed to pay for me to study my continental pro licence!

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  • 3 weeks later...

December 2023

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Managed to turn around some poor form this month. Some really nice performances coupled with some really poor ones. 7 points from a possible 15 lifts us to 13th in the league. It will be a comfortable survival but nothing really more than that. We have an incredibly young team and have had a lot of transfer movement in the last 2 seasons. The back end of this season for the team to develop will be key in going into next season with an accomplished first 11 and hopefully a more stable team.

Key match – Vilafranquense 3 – 2 Vila Real

Going away to second in the league is always going to be tough but the task at hand gets even tougher if you effectively give them a 3-goal head start. We were awful in the first half, going into the break 3-0 down. We tried playing balanced in this game and, in the team’s defence, that was my fault. We sat back in the second half, countered their attacks and managed to claw 2 goals bvack. It wasn’t to be but I’m starting to see some really nice performances albeit for halves of games instead of whole games.

Player of the month – Jorge

A pressing forward who is scoring goals. 3 goals this month for the young lad is excellent. The way he holds up play is exceptional and combining with Vitinho, he is an absolute joy to watch. He hasn’t built the same partnership with Leo or Lacximicant yet but it’s only a matter of time.

Other business

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We have signed another player. I have had my eye on this kid for a while but with his fickle personality and he isn’t the most consistent, I didn’t want to pay the asking price for him. He mutually terminated his contract a few weeks ago which allowed me to approach to sign him and now I’ve got him on a breakthrough prospect contract on £130 p/w which is a massive addition to the under 19s. I will be very interested to see how we can develop his personality and the consistency issues because if they disappeared, I could see him making it into the first team as back up pretty soon!  

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Another young signing that I’ve had my eye on for the last few months. Jose Secada finally came in on trial and the stats I couldn’t see turned out to be very nice ones. He is not the tallest but I think he will come in as a very nice long-term player in that ball winning midfielder role. Unlike Jose Dias above, Secada will enter the first team straight away and I will look to give him a few substitute appearances to improve his development.

Joshua Kyere has been playing well out on loan and I don’t think we need him in the first team so I have decided to extend his loan deal to continue his excellent development. I will do a youth update at the end of the season!

 

I do apologise for the lack of updates recently. Cyberpunk 2077, the new World of Warcraft expansion and the Warzone and Cold War updates really came at a congested time but I am going to be playing some more FM over the coming weeks.

I will also be speeding up the updates for this season. The monthly updates are good but we aren’t challenging for much this season so most of my updates will be around development and long term planning.

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January 2024

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A fantastic month for the club. 9 points from a possible 12 has lifted us to 7th in the league and whilst we don’t look in contention for any spoils this year, it definitely shows that we do have the quality to push maybe next season. Incredibly happy because the teams we managed to beat were teams around us in the league and directly competing for the same places. Defensively we looked much more solid aside from the Boavista game but even then, they are streets ahead of us in terms of quality.

Key match – Caldas 1 – 2 Vila Real

What a result this was. Its not that Caldas are a special team but we maintained the cautious way of playing. We found ourselves 1-0 down really early but managed to dig deep to find the comeback. A special goal for Ariday secured the win. His first goal for the club is great news as I was beginning to worry about his performances. I’m hoping both he and Hitalo crack on from this month and really start to show why they were bought in.

Player of the month – Jorge

What a guy. 4 goals in 4 games from the Brazilian who was brought in to provide rather than convert. He looks the real deal when it comes to this league and I really cant wait to see what his future holds! Lacximicant has been playing really well and linked up nicely with Jorge in the few appearances he’s been given to rest Vitinho. Still on the fence whether Lacximicant will be at the club next season but he’s been chipping in with some nice goals.

Other business

In terms of transfers, not a great deal to talk about. There were 2 outs from the first team. Both Berna and Vado Kitenga left the club for a combined £975. It wasn’t really about the money from transfers obviously but I felt that Berna was just a moany young kid who wasn’t developing and Kitenga was a 30-year-old 5th choice centre back. Getting them off the wage budget was important for the future. I gave Berna lots of opportunities but he never lived up to the potential he had when we signed him unfortunately.

Interestingly, both Rio Ave and Bristol City have offered me a job interview so that must mean our reputation is increasing!

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February and March 2024

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A fantastic period for the club. We have put ourselves right in the race for those top 3 spots. With 7 games left to go, we find ourselves 8 points off 3rd and 9 points off the automatic promotion places. Whilst this sounds like quite a large number of points to make up in only 7 games, the teams at the top have been dropping points left right and centre recently.

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Because of this, I will be going back to monthly updates for the rest of the season just in case some miracle happens.

The only concern is the recent form of Vitinho. Having not scored for a while, he continues to struggle in front of goal. Luckily Lacximicant has popped up with a few but I think if we are to push for promotion, Vitinho will have to step up his game immensely.

Key match – Chaves 0 – 3 Vila Real

Clean sheets have been hard to come by this season and to absolutely smash top of the league (at the time) Chaves is amazing. Jorge and Lacximicant linked up amazingly in this game and we were brilliant value for the 0-3 win.

Player of the ‘month’ – Hitalo

2 goals and 1 assist in the 6 games over the two months. As well as this, he had some really great performances as he continues to improve. I have had doubt about him and Ariday but they are coming into their own and showing the fans why I bought them in finally! Yoann Martelat will feel slightly hard done by with his 3 assists but I feel this period was sort of a coming-of-age period for Hitalo!

Other business

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April 2024

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The home game at the beginning of the month was a huge test for us. With 7 games to go, it was a great opportunity for us to show that we deserve to be up at the top of the league and challenging for promotion to Liga NOS. The draw and clean sheet were fantastic but the loss to Tondela was incredibly disappointing. A well fought victory away at Porto B couldn’t hide the disappointing month. 7 points from the 4 games we played this month has seen us slide down to 6th place in the league. Promotion is mathematically still possible through the playoff place but I don’t expect that to happen as I have started to plan for another season in Liga 2.

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I will be using the 3 games in April to test players who I am uncertain of and see if we can really start to build a team for the promotion challenge next season. The beginning of this season let us down massively because the second half has definitely seen promotion form. Next season I want to go into it with a settled squad, not make many changes and see if we can really come out of the blocks firing after a productive summer!

Key match – Tondela 2 – 1 Vila Real

A really poor match all things considered. I went into the game fresh from the confidence of keeping top of the league to a draw and keeping a clean sheet. That was soon shattered as they took an early lead. Things looked slightly up when we equalised through Jorge with a beautiful Vitinho assist as well as them going down to 10 men but after Yoann Martelat tore his calf muscle which is going to keep him out for 4 months, they scored a wonderful solo effort and that was all she wrote.

Player of the month – Vitinho

The return of the king. After 8 hours without scoring previous to this month, Vitinho chipped in with some incredible performances this year. It looks like he has now finally gotten over his injury and this is evidenced by 4 goals and 1 superb assist in the 4 games played this month.

Other business

Youth intake happened at the beginning of April but it was so poor, I decided not to sign any of the players and therefore a dedicated section isn’t really needed!

I have signed a 16-year-old for a club record £95k. I will show you him in the summer when we round up transfers but I’m very excited about him!

In other news, Claudio Fernandes has agreed to extend his loan for a third successive season! It takes him up to the end of the 2025 season on loan with us and this is when his contract at Boavista expires so I’m really hoping to get him on a permanent deal!

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May 2024

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Really poor month all things being said. We weren’t able to get promoted so I rotated a lot of players here and really saw that a lot of our back-ups aren’t cut out for this level. I will go through the team in the next post, the season review, but on the face of it, we could really do with some better back-ups. We have got some young signings already done that I believe are definitely an improvement.

The only positive that I see from this final month is the valuable game time given to the young players. Young centre back Jose Dias played all 270 minutes and was okay. He didn’t set the world alight but he’s very young! After his performances for the U19s, I also gave Joao Victor the final game in the AP role and he played fairly well for the 90 minutes.

One more positive to come from this month was that the 3 points Boavista got from us on the final day got them promoted. This will mean more income from them and hopefully better players available for loan!

Key match – N/A

Nothing good about this month. Nothing riding on any of the matches and we folded like a wet cardboard box. End of the season now so time to recharge!

Player of the month – Jose Dias

Promoted from the U19s ahead of next season, I gave him the final 3 games as they didn’t really have much importance. He was okay if unspectacular. His average ratings were poor but I didn’t see any glaring mistakes from the young lad and everything that was asked of him, he dealt with reasonably well. Other than that, there really weren’t any other players worth noting.

Other business

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I buckled and signed one of the prospects from the youth intake. He was only 3-star potential when he first came to the club but he’s been training well and despite his unambitious personality, I’m going to give him a chance in the U19s.

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End of season review

Competitions

Taca de Portugal Placard

Really happy with the Placard results. Easily beat Lourosa before narrowly losing to LOGA NOS Vizela on penalties in the third round. We finally got to the third round for the first time since we took charge and it was a good test against a tough opponent

Allianz Cup

Not much to say here. A good penalty win against Arouca but then we went down to LIGA NOS Rio Ave. Managed to better last years results which was a good thing!

League

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A good campaign all things considered. We started really poorly and the final month was awful but we really gave a good account of ourselves in the middle to end of the season. With the right back up signings, I think from next season we should be pushing for those promotion places!

Jorge was league top scorer with 19 which was incredible for his first season at the club and considering he was brought in to be more of a provider, I’m over the moon with his contribution. If Vitinho didn’t sustain his long-term injury, I believe we would have been touching on the promotion places but it wasn’t to be.

Under 19s

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Definitely a campaign to remember for the U19s! They came second in their group in the first stage and then managed to win their championship group ensuring promotion to the U19 first division. This is great news for the youngsters as they will be competing against the very best U19s in the country next season!

The winners of the two championship stages go into a final which doesn’t determine anything but does give your youngsters a shot at some silverware. Our U19s sadly lost 5-1 on aggregate over 2 legs to Vilafranquense U19s but a great season from them all round!

Players

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Some great performers and some not so good. The entire first team played very well but the problem is the lack of competent depth. I believe this is where we really need to strengthen in the summer. As stated above, I have some coming in who I believe strengthen us a lot so hopefully there won’t be too many more.

Managers player of the season – Jorge

What a fantastic year for the pressing forward. He stayed fit for the entirety of the season and managed to score 20 goals in all competitions. He was brought in to play the supporting role but really gave us more than we expected. He won us a lot of games this season and it would have been a long long season with Vitinhos injury if it wasn’t for Jorge. Looking forward to next season with these two up front.

Looking forward

Tactics

Nothing to note here. The tactics works nicely with thew mixture of counter attacking away and against tough teams and the balanced/ positive home performances. I need to select the right one more often but I believe we can leave the tactic as it is for another season.

Transfers

The board have given us £133k as a transfer budget. I don’t envisage spending much of that. We signed a player for £95k but that came out of last years budget.

The board have given us a £38k wage budget. We are currently spending 15.5k with a committed spend of £22k so we are nowhere near this. The committed spend will come down as well as I don’t want to be spending over £20k on wages if we can help it although the budget is there if we find the right players.

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Above is the confirmed squad going into next season. I have placed all of the players who aren’t good enough into the U19s ahead of their sales. You will notice a lack of depth and especially at central midfield. I want to keep the first-choice squad together but I really want to add some young depth. Players like Alison, Andre Sousa and Almeida were great for us but they just aren’t good enough for this level. Paulo Rodrigues will go as well due to him aging and not being good enough. Joshua Kyere, the young prospect will come in to play back up for Hitalo following his good loan move.

In terms of youth development, I really want to give some more developmental loans out to players. I will be looking through the squad and determining who deserves to go out on loan. Some top performers from the U19s will make it to the senior squad to use for depth as well!

End of season review

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Pre-season and transfers

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First of all, lets talk about the fixtures. There will obviously be players that you don’t recognise here and we will cover those in the transfer’s section. The friendlies went fairly well. We should have beaten Fafe but we had a lot of trial players and youngsters playing to keep fitness for the Allianz Cup.

The Allianz cup went expectedly. We smashed Penafiel with 3 goals from set pieces, 3 assists from Martelat and a debut goal for 16-year-old Abulai Co. We looked totally out of our depth against Farense which is fair enough because they are an established LIGA NOS side.

Transfers

I really wanted to focus on depth this transfer window. I sold a lot of the ‘dead wood’ and replaced them with amazing youth talents to come in as back up. I’m really happy with this window because I feel we have really improved but reduced the age of the squad. It was a very young squad overall anyway but now we have this conveyor belt of talent starting to really come through. I have also promoted 3 candidates from the U19s to give them some game time.

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Defence

Defensively, I think we had a great window. Only the 2 signings at the back but the signing of Callum Dawson on a permanent deal is a massive addition to the club. I had been chasing him for a few years but until now I couldn’t see his full stats. He is only 5ft 11 but with his driven personality combined with amazing mentals and base defensive stats at only 19 years old, he will be a starting player for us in the future and right now it gives us some amazing competition for an already excellent CB pairing. As well as Dawson, Luiz Lucio came in on loan from Rio Ave. This was a bitter sweet deal as he was available on a free. I offered him a contract and he took over 6 weeks to decide but he eventually went to Rio Ave for £475 per week. I decided to take him on loan, pay all of his wages because we could and see what he could do. I intend to play him mostly at left back because his mentals and height will pay dividends in the big games. He will compete with Glennon to back up Joao Victor and hopefully we will be able to sign him on a permanent deal in the future.

Midfield

Difficult to choose between midfield and defence as to who had the best transfer window. Our club record signing Abulai Co makes me say that midfield have smashed it. Co comes in as a 16-year-old with current ability to challenge for first team places as evidenced by his goal in the Allianz cup as well as a potential ability to become part of the backbone of our team for the next 15 years. A model Citizen and a natural ball winning midfielder, Co will fit into the team perfectly and i’m hoping that he develops very quickly this year. For anyone reading this, please let me know if I should train him as a ball winning midfielder or I could try and utilise him as the advanced playmaker. I’m torn between the two. I’m swaying towards BWM but his places shots, only 5ft 5 and his high agility make me think he could be quite handy further up the pitch. Pedro Pinto was bought in as well for the central midfield area. He was released by Academica Coimbra so I thought it would be rude not to snap him up to play back up to Martelat. He has far greater attributes than Andre Sousa and Almeida who were sold this window.

The board annoyed me here by selling Secada from under my nose. Braga and Sporting both offered 325k and I came back and asked for 1.5mil to try and deter them. They offered the 650k and the board accepted it for me. 650k is massive for the club and will help us financially but seeing that both of these teams were interested in our 19 year old, I really thought we could have got more for him!

Attack

I was really torn between keeping Lacximicant and not changing anything up front… OR selling either him or Leo and then making one signing. Jorge and Vitinho are definitely going to be the starting 2 but I felt that we could improve the depth. I compared the seasons stats and decided that I’d shown Lacximicant enough patience. He chipped in with some much-needed goals but ultimately, he wasn’t good enough. Duk came through in the scout reports and I took him on trial. For me to get him for 21k is a huge addition to the club as we have a quality depth player to back up Jorge.

Outs

As far as the outs are concerned, I spoke about it in a previous post but I wanted to give some of the better performing U19s some time out on loan this season. Joshua Kyere and Jose Dias have been promoted to the first team to give some game time to but the others have been loaned out and I’m expecting performances from them if they are to stay at the club! In terms of first team outs, Alison, Almeida, Eira, Lopes and Rodrigues were not of the required standard so I got rid for a small bit of money but nothing special.

Squad and first choice team

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Above is the first team squad going into the season as well as what I will be considering my first-choice squad when everyone is fit. The board really annoyed me selling Secada as he would have taken the BWM midfield spot. As it happens, I think Co will be more than good enough for this season with Carre deputising but it's not the best situation to happen! I'm incredibly wary to try and develop Co correctly so I will be rotating him out with Carre as much as possible to try and avoid Co having a major injury whilst he's young.

 

I am going to play the first few months and then provide an update after Christmas! I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, over indulges and celebrates everything we can after this ****** year!

Edited by Chrisofclubs
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  • 2 weeks later...

August and September 2024

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Well. I don’t think I’ve ever had 6 draws to start a league season but here we go. The last few seasons, we have started really slowly and then around January – April played really well. I’m hoping that after this unbeaten start, we carry on in the same fashion! Overall, I must admit I’m happy with the results. It doesn’t look great on paper but we are unbeaten, through to the next round of the cup and we haven’t been conceding many. The form of the strikers has been a concern but I’m sure they will crack on and start firing soon!

Key match – Varzim 1 – 1 Vila Real

Was a real difficulty to choose the key match this time. It was a real toss up between the Varzim away game and then Benfica B home game. We played really well in the Benfica game but ultimately, Varzim looked very good, sat 2nd in the league at the time and completely out played us. We did incredibly well to fight out way back into the game. Claudio Fernandes was particularly excellent and his goal topped a really all-round performance.

Player of the ‘month’ – Yoann Martelat

He has started the season looking like he has something to prove. 3 goals and 4 assists from the attacking playmaker is an incredible contribution. He is our top scorer and assister so far and with 3 man of the match performances already this season as well, it is looking like he is going to have a very very good season.

Other business

The U19s are sitting down at the bottom of their first division group. I kind of expected this after seeing a lot more of the better players go out on loan as they got promoted. I don’t mind the U19s hopping between divisions until we get set up in the LIGA NOS but I will be monitoring performances!

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October, November & December 2024

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A fantastic period for the club! If we skip over the 3-1 loss to lower league Casa Pia to knock us out of the cup, we are still unbeaten in the league. The only team, I might add. We have climbed our way up to 4th in the league despite being the draw kings. Youth have played a fantastic part in these few months and have provided us with needed depth. Shout out to Joshua Kyere and Francisco Costa who have come in when Hitalo wasn’t playing so well. Costa has a few goals and assists to his name for this season and is developing nicely. It’s really nice to have the two of these to provide competition!

As above, we are 4th in the league and I feel like we can make a real push for promotion this season. I feel like we have a really capable young squad and, now we’ve fixed our defensive frailties, we can concentrate on scoring some more goals.

Vitinho went a long time without scoring but after dropping him for a few games (In which Leonardo Silva grabbed the opportunity and came in to provide a goal and a few assists), he came back with the brace against Sporting Covilha.

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Key match – Sporting Covilha 0 – 4 Vila Real

Just a fantastic result really. The comeback to rescue a 1-1 draw against Tondela who are 3rd could have been the key match as that shows we’ve got what it takes to battle with the top of the league but we also need to have the quality to demolish some of the smaller teams. Another very important thing about this victory was the comeback of Vitinho. His form has been hit and miss for this season but i’m determined to stick with him and see if he can get out of this rut he’s in. Whilst there are other goalscorers in the side, I am happy to stick with Vitinho.

Player of the ‘month’ – Diego Caetano

Really tough decision this one. There have been many viable candidates but I thought Caetano should definitely take it. It’s no surprise that he has the most clean sheets in the league. He has saved us so many times with saved penalties and just outrageously good saves. He has just signed a new contract which is great for the club but he does have a 350k release clause which i’m going to try and take out as soon as possible.

Other business

We have some signings lined up. One striker and one right back. They are both young prospects and i'm hoping that with the potential they possess, they will provide competition for the first team. I will do a January + Transfers update next and then I will continue with the longer updates as I feel they benefit reader and I simultaneously. If you could let me know which updates people enjoy most, that would be awesome!

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January 2025 + Transfers

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Another unbeaten month for the team! A great month in which we saw a few new faces! 8 points from a possible 12 sees us slide down to 5th in the league but we have widened the gap below us and narrowed the gap above us. Its incredibly tight at the top of the table and we are only 3 points off top placed Chaves.

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Key match – Vila Real 1 – 1 Leixoes

Frustrating not to get the win but Baia’s first goal for the club against the team directly below us in the table was great to see. We seem to be digging deep when it matters and our ability to just not lose is amazing me!

Player of the month – Filipe Baia

I didn’t expect Baia to hit the ground running like this but Vitinho picked up a series of small knocks which allowed Baia to have more game time than I predicted and he has grabbed it firmly! In the final 2 games of the month in which he made his most minutes, he linked up incredibly well with Jorge and was getting in some great scoring chances! The 90th minute winner away at Sporting was a highlight as well!

Other business

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After the first win of the month against Alverca, we set a new league record of 17 games unbeaten!

Transfers 

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Filipe Baia comes in as an incredibly talented young striker. A total cost of £125k is a large outlay but only £80k of it is an initial fee and the rest is in instalments/ when he scores goals. I decided to get Baia in before Vitinho went on his little goal drought because Leonardo Silva is really not up to the level that we are at and striving to get to. Baia will come in as competition for the advanced forward position. I plan to give him a little game time off the bench this season and then either integrate him into the first team if we stay in Liga 2 next season or maybe loan out if we get promoted to LIGA NOS. Really happy with this transfer and can’t wait to see what he brings to the team!

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Marcos Raimundo was the second signing of the window. Depth for right back if nothing more. He comes in on loan. I would have loved to bring him in permanently but he would cost an arm and a leg unfortunately. He has some incredibly attributes and will give Bernas some well needed competition! Bernas has played more minutes than anyone else this season and with a busy January and February coming up, it was important to bring in someone good enough to play some first team football but I wanted to try and get someone young enough to become a long-term player for us. I know Raimundo is only on loan but I’m really looking to get him back next season and, like Fernandes, to try and make his deal permanent.

On the topic of Fernandes, he has signed a new deal at Boavista but I’m hoping that if we get promoted, we will be able to sign him! I’m not sure how much he would cost but he definitely enjoys playing for us!

Umaro Reis has gone out on loan to a lower division side so that he can gain some more match experience. He hasn’t progressed too well playing for the under 19s but he maintains a decent enough potential. Part of his new contract was that he wanted to be loaned out so now is his chance!

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One last minute signing was to make the loan deal for Luiz Lucio permanent. Some really nice attributes for a supporting full back and hes had some nice performances so I decided to spend the £70k that Rio Ave wanted for him. It is £70k more than I wanted to pay in the summer but we finally got our man! He will provide long term competition for the left back spot and may see Glennon leaving in the summer.

Edited by Chrisofclubs
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February and March 2025

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Another 2 unbeaten months. A really special period for the club which, despite 4 draws, sends us into the promotion spots and into 2nd in the league. Despite the positive results, I still think we should have had more. The draws against Academica and Benfica were incredibly frustrating. Our strikers haven’t been as consistent as they were in previous seasons and if it hadn’t been for Jorge popping up with a few goals here and there and the signing of Baia, I don’t think we would be in the LIGA NOS promotion hunt this season.

We are unbeaten in the league which is also incredibly special. 7 games left, now is the time where our form normally falls off a cliff. Hopefully with the addition of a few faces in January to provide competition, this wont happen this season.

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Key match – Chaves 0 – 3 Vila Real

I made a risky mistake and allowed Vitinho to take the penalty in the 12th minute. Jorge would normally take them but Vitinho needed confidence but after that, we just went from strength to strength. Baia came on in the pressing forward role and linked up nicely with Vitinho. Despite this, smashing top of the league 0-3 away from home is an incredible result. We completely outplayed them in 90 minutes and even managed to rest some players towards the end. If we are to be promoted at the end of the season, we will look at this as a hugely defining moment on the road to success!

Player of the ‘month’ – Lukas Lampert

Not enough is said about our defence. Best defence in the league all season and in this period, Lukas achieved 4 clean sheets and 2 goals. He has goals for us this season and his partnership with Ogbeta is the main reason we’re in the position that we are!

Other business

Our U19s finished bottom of their division in the opening stage so now have 14 games to avoid relegation. They go into the relegation division which is a league of 8 teams and the bottom 3 go down. Fingers crossed for them!

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April 2025

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Well, this is shaping up to be a hell of a run in. Everyone in the top 5 has lost this month including ourselves. No longer unbeaten but strangely top of the league with only 3 games to go! Its been a pleasing month overall. The comeback against Sporting Covilha was a great result but the poor performances against Arouca and UD Oliveirense shouldn’t be overlooked. We should be clear of 2nd and 3rd place by now and if we don’t get promoted, these two games will be looked at in much more detail.

Despite sitting top of the table, I’m yet to see any particularly great form from any of the 5 wingers and this is definitely a position that we should look at in the summer. I don’t think the players are bad, I just think maybe we can structure the tactic better to utilise them more.

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Key match – Vila Real 2 – 2 Arouca

Very disappointing result truth be told. We had to play a slightly rotated team due to injuries and the only positive points to come out of it were the first goals of the season for both Pinto and Duk but this is a game we should definitely be winning. We went ahead twice in the game and were pegged back both times.

Player of the month – Vitinho

The introduction of Baia seems to have revitalised Vitinho. I know that the game doesn’t actually do that but it’s fun to think that Vitinho has seen the 19-year-old come in and has upped his game. Vitinho seems to be over his goal drought and is now hitting the target more regularly, linking up with Jorge more and getting into space much more often!

Youth intake

Two players of note this intake. Both right wingers. Nicola Gotz looks the better of the two but I have signed both up and will monitor their progress in the under-19 team over the following few years!

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Due to our financial troubles, we haven’t been able to upgrade our youth facilities quick enough to a point where we will be getting better regens. I don’t see this happening until we have been promoted to LIGA NOS. It’s a shame but it was a result of our quick promotions so I can’t really be too unhappy!

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