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[FM21] The Forest of Nottinghamshire


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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY BLOG

============================

Welcome to the first part of my journey to guide Nottingham Forest to European dominance and World prominence. This is my first real FM story, and I am quite excited to embark on this journey with you. I don't have a specific update schedule, but I plan to update frequently, and as much as possible, during the season.

Introduction to my FM21 Story

It has been unexpectedly difficult and long to decide the club I would manage for my first ever FM story, along with my personal targets for the save.

Here I will lay down my targets and plans for the Reds, my personal vision and how I intend to go on with this save, guiding the Forest to European dominance.

Why Forest?

It has been a hard choice. I have already started a save with Brentford to get my feet wet with the new features of the highly revamped FM21. I thought I'd start my save with Brentford, but I didn't like the idea of having a head start due to my past experience with Brentford.

The idea for Forest, however, hit me while reading that Nottingham Forest are now Football League's oldest club following the relegation of Notts County from the football league. Forest has won the top division once, and the champions league twice, but have been out of the top division since their relegation in 1999.

So for short, I chose Nottingham Forest for the following reasons:

  1. Current oldest football league club
  2. Cool badge, non-blue colors and their name has no "city" or "united"
  3. Good facilities that provide a good base for improvement
  4. Big history
  5. Beautiful ground

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My targets for Forest

It goes without saying that I aim to get Forest to European dominance. However, I like to go on with my saves in a more untraditional and methodical manner.

Delegating Player Transfers to the Director of Football and Staff Transfers to the Technical Director

I have written about my experience with using a DoF before, and how this was one of the most fulfilling experiences I had on Football Manager. This is all inspired by Liverpool's brilliant recruitment team and Michael Edwards. This means that one of my top priorities is improving these two positions, and ensuring that we have the best scouting and analysis team around, to allow the directors identify the best possible targets.

Having a Golden Generation produced by the club

I never had a "golden generation" produced by the club. I usually rely on young players purchased, along with more first team players. However, I intend to rely on the youth setup extensively, and ideally have a first team core produced by the club, similar to Pep's 2006 Barca.

Try to implement a data-driven decisions

Inspired by the brilliant Oliver Jensen's data analysis approach, and of course the successful Liverpool setup, I will try to implement a data-driven approach while accepting targets (or adding transfer targets to the DoF). This is not an easy task, and it will be the first time I try something like this out. However, I have first transfer window disabled, so I already have 6 months to sort my model out.

Being financially responsible and follow a structured approach to squad building

It might seem obvious to be financially responsible, but I really hate turning into PSG or City. I don't want to regularly smash transfer records and buy players for insane amounts of money. Once again, I'd like to follow a Klopp like approach to transfers. Another important point is to avoid having excessive squads. At a high-level, I will look to build the my squad as follows:

1 First team player for each position (ideally 4+ star current ability)
1 Backup player for each position (ideally 3 - 3.5 star current ability)
At least 1 high potential young player for each position (ideally 4+ star potential ability)
Backup players ideally would cover more than one position

 

Game Setup

I have loaded leagues are:

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I use only 1 editor data file, to add the Egyptian top division.

This beautiful skin is SSD Gold skin by sh@rk, and is complemented by metallic logos and cutout faces megapack from sortitoutsi.

Over the next posts, I will post my analysis of the club, staff, squad and finances, as well as my tactical philosophies I wish to ingrain in the DNA of our great club.

Edited by engamohd
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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY BLOG

============================

I spend a lot of time in the first few days of a new job trying to get everything right. Assessing the finances, staff and the squad, while assigning the responsibilities to my backroom team, setting scouting targets and most importantly, laying down our tactic, one which I will be looking to master, more on this later.

For now, lets start by what Wikipedia has to say on our great club:

Nottingham Forest Football Club, often referred to as Forest, are a professional football club based in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, England. Founded in 1865 Forest have played home matches at the City Ground since 1898. They currently compete in the EFL Championship, the second tier of the English football league system.

Forest have won one League title, two FA Cups, four League Cups, one FA Charity Shield, two European Cups, and one UEFA Super Cup. The club has competed in the top two tiers of English football since their admission to the Football League, with the exception of five seasons in the third tier. Their most successful period was under the management of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which included back-to-back wins in the European Cup in 1979 and 1980.

In Clough's last decade at the club, Forest won the 1989 and 1990 League Cups and were losing finalists in the 1991 FA Cup Final, before relegation from the Premier League in 1993. Upon an immediate return Forest finished third in the Premier League in 1995, before the club suffered relegation again in 1997 and, after a brief return, once more in 1999. Forest have not been back in the Premier League since.

The club's fiercest rivalry is with Derby County, with whom they contest the East Midlands derby and compete for the Brian Clough Trophy. Forest also contest the Nottingham derby with city rivals Notts County, however, as Forest have predominantly played in higher leagues than their neighbours, fixtures between the two clubs have been rare in recent history.

Vision

We are expected to finish 6th, behind the three relegated teams (Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich), Brentford and Cardiff. Naturally, the board expects me to reach the playoffs, while playing attacking football and developing young players from within the club.

That perfectly fits my personal vision and preferences and also allows me a bit of freedom in other aspects, as the club culture isn’t too restrictive. For now, we are good to go.

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Finances and Facilities

Our finances are Secure, with around 13M in the bank.

I am given a wage budget of £439K per week of which we are spending £424K per week (after terminating Cafu’s loan).

We have a decent scouting budget of £456K, which allows us to cover UK & Ireland at best. After making some sales, this budget can be increased slightly to cover Europe, to uncover some cheap young gems.

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Our facilities aren’t spectacular, but aren’t bad either. Everything stands at the average level, providing plenty of opportunity to improve and build upon.

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Staff

Our backroom was quite frankly, a complete mess. This is how our backroom staff was on day one:

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Following the advice of a Forest supporting reddit user, I sacked almost the entire backroom staff. The exodus included the Assistant Manager, Director of Football, Technical Director, Head of Youth Development, Loan Manager and Chief Scout.

I had some hard time finding suitable targets due to the restrictive £1.9K per week wage budget cap, that forced me to miss out on some interesting options, including Arsenal legend, Dennis Bergkmap, as an Assistant Manager.

This is how we look after the overhaul. Certainly not the best, but definitely an improvement over how we were:

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Another makeover will be needed after promotion.

Meet our new Director of Football, Tim Holman, who will be responsible for the all transfer and player contracts dealing. I will look only to suggest him players and finalize the transfers. I admit he isn't up to the standard I envision, but will do the job in the championship.

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and our new Assistant Manager, Glynn Snodin

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and our new Technical Director, Adi Hetzke, who will be responsible for dealing with the staff - transfers, contract negotiation and renewal and send appropriate coaches to courses.

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and, finally, our new Head of Youth Development, Jon Beale, who will look to affect and improve the quality of our youth players.

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I was keen to get these key positions with preferred playing style like my own (Adventurous and More Urgent), regardless of the formation, in order for all of us to be on the same page. My assistant is not the best, but his solid ratings in all attributes should make him valuable with training load.

With the backroom staff sorted, I am now excited to focus on assessing the squad and how I wish to let them play the game.

That's it for this post!

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY BLOG

============================

At the time of this post, I am already 3 games in to the season, as most of the preseason was spent recruiting the staff, and setting individual training.

Our preseason consisted of 10 games, 9 of which were against minnows, as I look to increase tactical familiarity, team cohesion and most importantly, morale and sharpness. I insta-resulted these games, taking control of only against the only big team we faced, Besiktas. We beat their strong squad 2-0, and I was quite satisfied with how my tactical philosophy was already being engrained in the squad.

You may be wondering about the player analysis. In fact, I didn't spent a lot time assessing the squad.

I am a sort of a manager that fits players in my preferred tactic, in addition to the fact that I had disabled the first transfer window, so I have much more time to properly assess the players and their performances.

The obvious weakness is the AMC position, in which we play on-loan winger, Luke Freeman, with no real backup.

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Until the next window, I decided to retain Zach Clough (who was transfer-listed by default) and give him a chance in the AMC spot. I have fond memories of Zach Clough during older FMs where I used him as a false-nine, and I would love to revive his career in Forest. If developed, I reckon he'd make a decent AMC.

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I will be making a thorough assessment later on, after I have had the chance to feature all players and experiment them throughout the first half of the season.

For now, I would like to talk about how exactly I'd like the team to play, and how I translated this in FM's language. I define my attacking style first in order to make the single most important tactical decision - Mentality. Knowing the base defensive style of the selected mentality, will allow me to tweak the tactic to suit my defensive style.

It is important to pick mentality based on the required attacking style and risk, not based on the required defensive style, since it is not possible to replicate a high risk attacking style on low mentalities.

On the contrary, low risk defensive styles are perfectly possible on high mentalities.

I have written previously on how I like football to be played:

Attacking Style

In attack, I want us to be proactive and direct. This means I don't want to see useless holding of possession, unless there is no chance of attack. Simply, I'd like to go forward at any possible chance, while being responsible of holding the ball. In addition, counter attacks should be a regular (not the exclusive) weapon in our attacking arsenal.

In FM this means: Attacking/Positive Mentality; Counter, Distribute Quickly, Play out of Defence and Work Ball into Box

The Attacking mentality defaults to a higher tempo, wider attacking width, more creative freedom and a more direct passing, which is exactly what I need.

However, the Attacking mentality also defaults to a higher LOE and DL and more urgent pressing, which will need tweaking to fit my defensive style.

Defensive Style

In defence, I want be cautious yet aggressive. That mean, I don't want to press insanely high and leave huge undefended spaces behind us, nor I want to drop into a standoffish low block and let the opposition force me to be reactive.

In FM this means: Regroup, Lower DL and Lower LOE

The main difference between this and my previous post about my preferred style is that I am looking to change how I implement being dominance. In the post, I translated it into high press - wanting to prevent the opposition from playing their game.

Forest will be dominant by forcing the opposition to play our own game.

Additionally, a huge upside of this defensive approach is that the kind of defenders required will be much cheaper. I believe that getting a Godin-Miranda type of duo is much cheaper than a van Dijk-Gomez duo.

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Formation

I will mainly use my preferred 4-4-1-1 as our main formation, however, I intend to change to a 4-1-4-1 against 2 ST or 1 AM + 2 ST formations, and a flat 5-4-1 to kill out games. At any case, I am looking to Forest to identify with the 4-4-1-1.

In-Game Structure

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That's how our defensive structure looks. We don't engage until the ball is closer to the midfield, instead forming a solid 2 banks of four defensive line.

Here is when we started to press in the previous move:

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This turnover actually ended in a goal, notice how dangerous we are, looking like a 4-2-3-1, with Freeman having plenty of support. He thankfully makes a good decision that ends in a goal:

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This next move is a perfect example of how I want to play. We demonstrate strong defensive structure, effective deep pressing and direct attacking transitions with verticality:

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#verticality #deep_pressing

We forced the opposition to push high, try to play around us, while we press hard and pounce at each opportunity.

This is the Forest way ;)

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This is how I expect to line up most of the games. I am particularly excited about Worrall and McKenna CB partnership, which I reckon they'd form the cornerstone of any success we may have.

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That's it for this post. In the next update, I will log our excellent start of the season!

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Really good start to this thread. Forest are a great choice for a project save, something to really sink your teeth into. 

Our own biases, and how they impact our tactics and decision making, are fascinating to explore. Look forward to reading how you get on 👍

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31 minutes ago, dirkgently1066 said:

Really good start to this thread. Forest are a great choice for a project save, something to really sink your teeth into. 

Our own biases, and how they impact our tactics and decision making, are fascinating to explore. Look forward to reading how you get on 👍

Cheers!

I admit your brilliant LFC story thread, and my anxieties that are quite similar to yours, were one of my primary inspirations to try my hand in a FM story, and let my anxiety and perfectionism steer my save, instead of being ashamed of it.

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY BLOG

============================

I was keen to leave a good impression right away in my new job.

And this is exactly what we did.

September 2020

My first match in charge was a drab 0-0 draw against Huddersfield in the EFL cup, which saw us go through on penalties. We weren't so assured during the game, but we were lucky not to concede early.

As the game progressed we got much better. We were through on penalties, and that's all I could ask for for my first game.

The end justifies the means

Niccolò Machiavelli

With that out of the way, we set our sights to the more important first league game, against QPR.

We couldn't have sent a better statement of intent.

We were ruthless against QPR, restricting the poor QPR to long shots, while our 6 shots on target ended up with 5 goals.

Mourinho would have been very proud of me that day.

Our EFL Cup run went on, drawing with Boro and getting through on penalties once again, to get one of the worst possible draws for the next round, Man City. Out of all teams in the third round we draw the Premier League's runner's up.

We were battered, but we were INCREDIBLY lucky not to concede any of City's 2.16 xGs, thanks to heroics by the Worrall and McKenna centre back pairing, and a magnificent performance by Samba, our goalkeeper.

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We managed to earn a 0-0 draw, and take it to penalties, despite making 0 shots on target to City's 10. Beginner's luck if you ask me.

A miss by Phil Foden give us a miraculous win, to give us a statistically nigh-impossible three in a row penalty shootout victories.

Our celebrations were, however, cut short as we draw Chelsea in the fourth round.

We were finally beaten by a first half Tammy Abraham goal. I am actually pleased that we are knocked out early since we had a gruesome schedule due to the cup run.

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Results-wise, we had an excellent first month. However, I was concerned about our performance. We conceded 4 goals in 6, which is not satisfactory to me.

I noticed that we lose the ball quite often, and we can get very passive while defending, allowing us to be under extended pressure for long times.

It was just before Chelsea's game that I decided to make some changes.

Here comes my first tactical decision of my tenure:

I dropped the mentality to Positive, and added the Much Urgent Pressing team instruction. The idea was to lower the risks we take on and off the ball, while being more aggressive while defending. Although we were trounced by Chelsea, improvement was obvious in our performance.

October 2020

Since I turned off the first transfer window, our first dealings came during the restricted domestic window, where we signed two on loan, and offloaded three on loans, plus another three on future deals to the MLS:

INs:

Curtis Jones - Loan, Liverpool

Probably my favourite young player in the game, he joins as my first option in the AMC spot, freeing Freeman to play in his preferred flank positions.

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Harvey White - Loan, Spurs

White was spotted by the DoF and was signed quickly by him. His decent initial performances in the middle made him my first choice in the midfield alongside either Yates or Harry Arter.

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OUTs:

Ateef Konate - Loan, Scunthorpe

Michael Hefele - Loan, Birmingham

George Shelvey - Loan, Cheltenham

Tyler Blackett - Future Transfer Out, Real Salt Lake, 500K

Sammy Ameobi - Future Transfer Out, DC United, 425K

Tendayi Darikwa - Future Transfer Out, Colorado Rapids, 400K

 

The tactical tweaks that I made turns to be exactly what we needed, and propelled us to some great performances and results in October, where we scored 12 and conceded only 1 in 6 games during October.

We smashed our rivals Derby County ruthlessly during this run:

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We are currently 2nd, one point behind league leaders, and recently relegated, Norwich. We currently scored 2nd most, and conceded least in the league, something am very proud of.

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Impressively, we are the most clinical and the most impenetrable team of the league. The new handy data visualizations label our attack as "Aggressive, Clinical" and our defense as "Quiet, Impenetrable", which is exactly what I look for.

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More importantly, our game has improved massively. We scored this:

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and this:

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It will be a quite difficult task to maintain this high form, but it is the first challenge in getting Nottm Forest back to prominence and one that I look forward to.

Man of the Month(s): Brice Samba (GK)

Samba's great form helped us maintain a nice solid defensive return, especially during the period of September, and was a direct reason for eliminating City of the EFL cup.

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Hall of Shame: Lewis Grabban (ST)

I thought he would lead the line, but sadly, his poor form made him lose his position to Guerrero. He'd usually get tackled easily, lose aerial duels and makes a lot of lousy passes, which is simply not acceptable in Forest's style.

L6wdDGt.jpeg

Edited by engamohd
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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY BLOG

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November 2020

We managed to take our red hot form into November, despite the disappointment versus newly promoted Coventry.

We went into this game without conceding in the last 5 games, scoring 10 in the process.

It should have surely been a routine victory over a newly promoted side, right?

Wrong.

This was the first complacency on my part, when I decided to rotate my defence and the midfield.

The result was that we were completely outplayed for most of the game, until we managed to score a penalty -against the run of play-. However, Coventry managed to grab a late, and deserved, equalizer.

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The dressing room after this game saw the first water bottle thrown at the team. I though I had to ensure that complacency doesn't seep into our team, which thankfully, didn't affect us.

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The rest of the month went well, scoring and defending well until...

Winter 2020

I absolutely loathe the December and January fixtures. We played 8 times during December, and a further 6 matches during January.

We enter December with a full hospital, leaving us devoid of crucial squad depth options during this tough period which we had to play three of our promotion rivals, Watford, Norwich and Brentford.

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We tasted our first league defeat against relegated Watford, in the first game in December. It was a drab match, where we defended well, but didn't take our chances. We were consigned to defeat by this late Quina strike, a result that saw us drop off the top of the table during the winter:

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More disappointment followed as we conceded 3 in the next 3 games.

2 of these came against relegated Norwich, in which we played abysmally as we trailed 2-1 by the end of the first half.

However, somehow, we managed to score two, thanks to Knockaert and Arter, and get full points from this game.

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I resisted a strong urge to change and tweak tactically, even though we were playing poorly, but since this was mostly against superior opposition in Norwich and Watford, I decided to stick to our approach.

We allowed Brentford to dominate us in the next game, only to be saved yet again by Knockaert to draw 1-1, and remain second in the table behind Watford.

This point came at great cost:

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Knockaert has been the league's best player, scoring 12 in 18 appearances. I was devastated to lose at this particular time, but then, we had to adjust to life without his services. His loan was only till January, and while he had an optional future fee of 10M, I barely can afford half of that amount.

Brentford, however, decided next game to beat Watford 2-0 ending their 10 away games unbeaten streak; while we started to get back to our rhythm by beating relegation candidates, Sheff Wednesday, to finally hold the first spot in the table.

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It was this Sheffield Wednesday game that we started to look solid and dominant once more. I was glad that I did not make any tactical changes, and yet manage to break our poor form quickly.

Despite Knockaert's absence during the final 4 games in December, we scored 9, conceding 0!

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Media also started praising our defence:

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Winter Transfers

As half of the season is gone, I have already pinpointed our squad weaknesses. These are mainly the LB, RB and ST positions, besides a replacement for Knockaert, who shall leave during the season, and Fulham has zero interset to extend his loan.

However, lack of money, and imminent promotion makes it hard to find and sign targets that could do well, since usually a squad makeover is to due after promotion, it does not make sense to overspend now.

With this in mind, I decided to look for cheap players that could do a job right now, and become at least a decent sub in the Premier league. Accordingly, our window was as follows:

INs:

Xavier Amaechi - Loan in, Hamburg

Xavier was identified and signed by the DoF. I liked this transfer as it is a cheap backup to our weakened flanks, since Lolley, Mighten and Freeman are usually out injured. Xavier is quick, hardworking and skilful, I hope I can improve him during the second half of the season.

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Josh Sims - 875K, Southampton

Sims was detected by our scouts that he is transfer listed at Southamption. I instantly decided that he would be the perfect (cheap) replacement of Knockaert, and added him as a transfer target. The DoF managed to sign him successfully. He has decent stats, but a bit lacking in the mental department.

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George Puscas - 4.7M, Reading

Our marquee signing is former Inter striker, Puscas, from Reading. I have struggled to properly utilize Grabban as he is not a natural target man, and while Guerrero had put in some decent performances, I couldn't rely entirely on him to carry our attack. Puscas comes with a very nice attribute set, with much potential to improve. I reckon he could play second fiddle to us in the Premier league.

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OUTs:

Anthony Knockaert: End of loan, Fulham

I probably never felt devastated on losing a player as I felt on losing Knockaert at the start of the transfer window. He was clearly on a higher level than the rest of the league, and carried us at times. Hopefully, Sims, Lolley, Mighten and Freeman could step up and fill the massive void left by Knockaert.

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He played his last game for Forest against Preston on the 2nd of January, 2021, scoring this beauty:

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Six days later, he was in the Fulham starting XI that knocked Nottingham Forest out of the 3rd round of the FA Cup.

Duh.

Anyways, during January, we managed to hit top gear in the league that saw us steamroll our opponents, maintaining 8 consecutive league clean sheets, winning 7 of those 8 games.

This clean sheet streak was broken by an absolute howitzer by Mowatt in our game against Barnsely during the final match in January:

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We had the final laugh at the end as Guerrero scores a brace to give us a comeback win, and consolidate our position on top of the table by the end of the transfer window:

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We continue to be, by far, the most clinical team in the league:

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and by far, the most impenetrable defence, too, which is classed as "extremely out of the ordinary":

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To put substance to this statistic, our xG against so far is 20.79, second least, yet we conceded only 10, least in the league. This is conceding 9 goals less than Watford, which have an xG against of 19.05.

This could only mean that we face a lot of low quality shots, that opponents fail to convert, which is a testament to the successful implementation of the Forest way of playing football.

Finally, it seems that we are going to have some decent attackers in this year's youth intake:

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Man of the Month(s): Knockaert

Knockaert has been in a league of his own so far, being the catalyst of our attack, and our top scorer. He is going to be badly missed, especially with our misfiring strikers.

Hall of Shame: Fullback department

I can't remember when I have had poorer fullbacks. Cyrus Christie, Yuri Ribeiro, Gaetan Bong and Jenkinson would all average consistently low ratings, and usually get dribbled past, lose aerial and ground duels and get caught out of position. To be completely fair, they'd have some decent games, but they are consistently poor. If only I had some more money...

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Very nice. Just one defeat in that ultra competitive league is impressive.

I too have fallen victim to that complacency of resting your first team for 'easy' games, only for it to bite you on the backside. Always a difficult balance of keeping players fresh, giving the squad game time and at the same time, remaining as competitive as possible.

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17 hours ago, dirkgently1066 said:

Very nice. Just one defeat in that ultra competitive league is impressive.

I too have fallen victim to that complacency of resting your first team for 'easy' games, only for it to bite you on the backside. Always a difficult balance of keeping players fresh, giving the squad game time and at the same time, remaining as competitive as possible.

It is becoming harder to maintain this top form, as complacency and poor form becomes inevitable, and it can be very hard to fix...

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY BLOG

============================

February 2020

After finally getting through the difficult period of December and January unscathed, without further cup commitments, I was confident we'd navigate easily through the final months of the league.

Little did I know that the worst is yet to come.

We started with an abysmal defeat against overachieving Wycombe. Our performance was appalling, defending poorly and not taking our chances.

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The team was heavily fined after this performance, but my anger during team talks started to affect morale, endangering all the good work we have done throughout the season.

Next was a game against promotion rivals Bournemouth, and I feared the worst. Bournemouth are one of the top scorers in the league and based on our performances against Wycombe, we should be easily beaten.

The team proved me wrong, and played magnificently, doing everything right in the game -and scoring this great counter-, to keep us top:

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Celebrations were cut short, however, as we were well beaten the next game by Swansea, continuing the worrying trend of inconsistent performances and reckless penalties conceded.

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We destroyed 10 man Blackburn the game after, which was good for morale:

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Once again we follow a great performance with a very poor one, allowing ourselves to be stunned by bottom-most Rotherham:

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The team was passing like amateurs, no teamwork, no taking chances, no proper movement. Critically, the midfielders and the wide players lose the ball too often, playing like under huge pressure.

Combine this with our deep block, it can be very easy to remain under extended pressure:

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This concludes our worst month so far:

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We lost our points advantage at the top of the league, which would have been nice retain as we play our rivals, Watford, Norwich and Brentford in March:

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There was nothing much of note during March, as we managed a 5-2 victory over Luton, a match which saw our defensive issues remain, like allowing a free header between three defenders:

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But at this point, I was only concerned about results, we scored 3 more than them which is more than enough in this moment.

We managed to play out a drab goalless Mourinho-esque draw against Watford, and a 1-1 draw vs Reading, before rallying and easily dispatching Norwich with a fully deserved victory, providing a case for us winning the title:

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Disappointment came against Brentford though, as we were undeservedly 2-1 up, in a very poor performance. Despite our poor defence and general form, we scored a wonderful team goal:

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Before conceding a last minute equalizer:

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A pass completion of 84% is completely unacceptable and we deserved to not get full points from this game.

This ended an average month, as we concede 5 in 5, with no real star performer ...

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Remedies

So I far, I did try to remain true to my style and rely on personnel or simple role changes in attack. This wasn't enough though.

I decided to try explore other remedies.

Firstly, during the break between March and April, we played a couple of minnows in friendlies, which we steamrolled 5-0 and 7-0, boosting our morale and increasing team cohesion.

Secondly, I started to add more training sessions related to our poor areas, mainly Defensive Shape, Possession and Chance Conversion.

Thirdly, and most importantly, I started to speak individually with each under and over performing players. I believe this had the most impact, as they promise to improve to have their morale boosted after a praise for good performances.

The additional training sessions was added after QPR's game:

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This had great results, as we seem to get back our swagger and play with our pre-winter form and propelled us, finally, into a winning streak during April; one that we did not have for two months. We also regained an 8 point margin behind second placed Bournemouth:

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That last game against 6th placed Huddersfield, managed by Forest's previous manager, Chris Hughton; was a joy to behold. We had total domination in all aspects of play:

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and someone was bitter in the aftermath:

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Golden Generation?

As we were in the midst of our gruelling run, some great work was happening in the academy. Our U18s, who top the Development league, drew with a high potential trialist team, which included some great prospects, with a curiously high number of high potential Irish players:

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Although all of these kids can't get into the first team anytime soon, their potential makes them a great asset to either making us some funds, or saving us some on transfers. I am particularly excited about Monaghan, Costello, Lyons and Gowshall.

Monaghan:

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He carries a lot of affection for a particular manager!

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Costello:

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Lyons:

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Gowshall:

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Data Analysis

Meanwhile, I have been working on a rudimentary spreadsheet to determine the attributes of the players required in the Premier league. Quite simply, I extracted the top 150 Premier League players by average rating, and exported their entire attribute set, and classified them by their general type.

For example Naby Keita and De Bruyne are "Creative Mids", Henderson and Kante are "Hardworking Mids" and so on.

Next I averaged their attributes and highlighted the ones that are 13 or above. These are the ideal attributes that I should look for in a similar type of player.

Interestingly, the following attributes are high in the entire data set (that are high in the average of all players):

ATTRIBUTES (13 OR MORE)
Acceleration
Workrate
Vision
Technical
Teamwork
Strength
Stamina
Passing
Pace
Off the Ball
Natural Fitness
Flair
First Touch
Dribbling
Determination
Decisions
Concentration
Composure
Bravery
Balance
Anticipation
Agility
Aggression

Of these, the following are 15 or more:

ATTRIBUTES (15 OR MORE)
Acceleration
Workrate
Technical
Teamwork
Stamina
Pace
Natural Fitness
Determination
Composure
Anticipation
Agility

Which is not a surprising find. You need strong, quick, fit, determined and intelligent footballers that work well in a team to succeed. The real challenge here is deciding which attributes I could neglect while looking for players for us.

Until next update

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY BLOG

====================================================================

We needed a win from 4 games to win the title, which was easily delivered as we played bottom half of the table. I can't believe how easy the league table looks, considering the difficult patches we had.

Interestingly, Norwich failed to go up, losing to Brentford in the playoff finals. I decided I'd take advantage of this situation...

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I also promised earlier that the DoF would be sacked as soon as we are promoted, and I duly delivered, replacing him with Sterling:

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By the end of the first season, I have come to know the squad inside out, and our weakness are well known by now. The fate of Forest lies in this upcoming transfer window, as I should somehow address our weakness and improve the rest of the team. With a budget of 38M.

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Playing predominantly in a 4-4-1-1 shape, here is a quick breakdown of our squad, according to the squad building guidelines I set earlier:

GK: Samba, Jordan Smith

Goalkeeping department is fine with Samba, but an upgrade is required nonetheless, but with a low priority.

DR: Cyrus Christie (on loan), Jenkinson

Two of the lowest performers in the squad, a first choice player with a backup are urgently required

CB: McKenna, Figueirdo, Worrall, Mbe Soh, Dawson

We have options at the back, but first choice options are not reliable enough, as they were inconsistent in the championship. A defensive leader is required, with another first choice option.

DL: Ribiero, Bong

Same as the opposite flank, I urgently need a top player and a backup for this role

CM: Arter, White (loan), Yates, Sow

Our midfield wasn't bad, but not spectacular. We lacked the passing ability at times, that put us under extended pressure. Therefore, I need a couple of DLPs and ball winning midfielders.

MLR: Sims, Lolley, Amaechi (loan)

Our wide players are good, but not good enough to carry the attacking responsibility of the team. Top players needed here too.

AMC: Jones, Freeman (loan), Carvalho (loaned out)

Jones is a top player, and will continue to hold this position in the Premier League after we extended his loan, with Carvalho playing second fiddle to him.

ST: Puscas, Grabban, Guerrero

Grabban and Guerrero aren't target men, and will be listed right away. Similar to the winger department, Puscas isn't able to carry the team in the top division, and therefore, a first choice target man is required along with Puscas.

We needed 1 GK, 2 RBs, 2 LBs, 2 CBs, 3 CMs, 2 MLRs, 1 ST - a total of 13 players.

Obviously, I couldn't afford to buy quality throughout every position, so I decided to follow a stricter approach:

Recruit experience for the defence, and splash the cash on key attacking flair options.

Why? Simply, our team is built for defending, so the team's tactic already provides a good base for defending. However, as we defend deep, we need cooler, more experienced heads to handle sustained pressure.

We also have the advantage of not requiring pace in the defenders, as we are deep anyways.

On the offense, we need players that could dribble, maintain hold of the ball, quick and intelligent in order to facilitate quick transitions. These are not cheap and it is wise to spend on these players to try and beat the drop.

Promotion Transfer

It was a frenzy for us in the transfer window, from the moment we are promoted, till the end of our pre-season. We made several major transfers and collected a lot of bargains in the process. Bear in mind that most of these transfer amounts are paid in instalments:

  1. Goalkeepers

    I did not intend to replace Samba, however, a rare opportunity arise to make some cash, as Milan came knocking for him - paying 11.75M for him. I couldn't say no for this amount, and replaced him with a couple of top options, Wuliker Farinez for 1.9M and Dominic Greif for 600K . Getting two betters options than Samba and earning 9M in the process is top business in my opinion.

    GKs: Farinez, Grief

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    Farinez

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    Greif

  2. Full backs

    As we released Bong, sold Jenkinson and let Christie leave, I signed Sema for 5.5M from Watford, as recommended by our scouts. However, I came to regret it, as I realized later that he is better as a left winger at most. Expensive mistake. To make it up, I decided he'd play second fiddle and signed Ricca for 7.5M from Club Brugge for the left back position. On the opposite flank, we got George Baldock for 9.5M, supplemented by a free transfer of experienced Adam Smith as backup on both flanks.

    DL: Ricca, Sema

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    Ricca

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    Sema

    DR: Baldcok, Smith

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    Baldock

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    Smith

  3. Central Defenders

    As discussed above, I needed an experienced defensive leader to organize and lead us at the back. This came in the shape of free transfer of experienced Marcos Rojo. He is joined by young Diogo Quieros for 1.3M, in a bargain by our new DoF. Mbe Soh joins Seattle on loan for game time.

    DCR: Quieros, Figueirdo, Worrall

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    Quieros

    DCL: Rojo, McKenna

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    Rojo

  4. Centre Midfield

    Our midfield options aren't simply good enough. This required the signing of Lewis Cook for 13.75M, Allan Campbell for 300K from Aberdeen, along with free transfers of veteran Lucas Biglia and Lundstram. Curtis Jones could also play a role here.

    CML: Biglia, Campbell

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    Biglia

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    Campbell

    CMR: Cook, Lundstram

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    Cook

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    Lundstram

  5. Wingers

    Remember when I said I should take advantage of Norwich not managing a promotion? I raided them to sign Buendia for 22.5M and Todd Cantwell for 24M. Two top signings that I am very satisfied of! Experienced Jesse Lingard joins for 825K who can play a variety of roles across the midfield.

    MR: Buendia, Lingard

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    Buendia

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    Lingard

    ML: Cantwell, Sims

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  6. Playmakers

    Besides the return of Carvalho from Almeria upon the end of his loan, no business was made here.

    AMC: Jones, Carvalho

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    Carvalho

  7. Striker

    Finally, the best we can muster, and afford, is former Spurs striker, Vincent Janssen for 4.9M.

    ST: Janssen, Puscas

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    Janssen

We carried out a complete makeover of the squad, and am very satisfied and excited about it. Preseason went well, with the usual demolitions of complete minnows for improvement of morale and team cohesion, especially after signing a complete team:

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I can't wait for our first game against Leeds

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What do you think about the squad? Does it got what it takes to keep us up? Or will we require improvements in any particular position?

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY BLOG

============================

It has been a hectic period for me, both on and off the game.

As described in the previous update, we had a complete makeover, one that saw us assemble a solid Premier League team. I was worried about the team cohesion, but after our preseason it was on average, which is good considering our influx of new players.

The team started the race for Premier League survival with a 5-0 demolition of Leeds, a game which we were truly unstoppable, and a result that saw us top the league!

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We are quickly becoming masters of quick transitions, as we score some lovely goals during our red hot early season form:

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This result propelled us into a 4 wins a draw in August, aided by a kind fixture list.

At the end of the transfer window, the DoF decided that we need a winger besides the magnificent Buendia and Catwell, and more quality in CB department, which I fully agree with. He bought in Podence for 8.75M

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and Wallace for 13.75M from Yeni Malatyaspor.

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I offloaded (through the DoF) Carvalho to Fiorentina for 12.5M and loaned out Figueirdo, as he won't be getting game time with our CB options. Unsurprisingly, we were the most active team in England during the transfer window, getting 19 players in. On the bright side, our net spend is remarkably low, plus we are now well stocked in most departments, and it is a matter of getting higher quality in specific positions in the future.

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However, matters cannot just be all sweet, as directly after the window is closed, Bigilia threw a tantrum about not strengthening the midfield as promised. He was transfer listed directly and a 1.5M deal was struck with a Portuguese club. Not bad for a free 35 years old player.

We continued our form throughout September and October, losing only to Everton (out of all teams) in the league, and another defeat away to Man United in the EFL 4th round. During this run we managed to beat Arsenal and Man City, and draw with Chelsea, seeing us go SECOND in the table behind Liverpool, as teams struggle to cope with our press and direct transitions.

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Reality Check

We'd naturally be complacent, considering our fine run and results as we score:

a beautiful counter attack against Arsenal:

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Two and three pass goals against Chelsea:

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and showing Man City how to use possession effectively:

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We also taught Guardiola something... fm_3GAGwta6WX.jpg

However, the dreaded winter period came combined with complacency throughout the team, we started to forget how to play football.

The team would fail to press, pass or score one on ones. In spite of this, we managed to draw with Liverpool and beat Spurs, but with abysmal performances, scoring with a moment or two of brilliance, which even those moments would become a rarity the more we get into the winter:

We showed Liverpool how to transition quickly:

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The Spurs game saw us down spiral so far down in form that we won only 4 in a period of 14 Premier League games! We barely managed to maintain a bit of morale thanks to two FA Cup wins against Bristol City and a 6-0 demolition of Crystal Palace.

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During December and January, I was keen not to chop and change, trying to change things very slightly tactically, but that didn't work. It wasn't until the last game in February, against Chelsea that I decided to press them high - using the backup tactic I kept hidden for so long, instead of deeper as we are used to.

The thinking behind this is, during our poor form, pressing deep is dangerous. Opponents could easily dribble their way past our press and defensive block, or score the regular screamers as we fail to block the shots.

However, we could surprise them and force them near their goal. It wasn't easy to do this against Chelsea, but I thought it was worth trying and one that certainly paid off.

As usual during the winter, I only look for results. As long as we get results, I can turn a blind eye to the performances. This is exactly what happened in the 1-0 victory against Chelsea, and also in the next match; also against Chelsea in the FA Cup.

I lined the similar aggressive style hoping for a fresh performance in this cup tie, but I was surprised by Chelsea fielding turbo striker Alexander Isak, putting them ahead 2-1 in the early second half:

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After their second goal, I decided to revert to our old deep pressing style, after playing the entire first half with the high press, and it seems this took them by surprise as Chelsea pressed us so unusually high up that we managed to get many chances by avoiding their press, scoring 4 more past them to win a great 5-2 at the end thanks to some great saves by Farinez:

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After this game, I decided I need a slightly different formation that is true to our core style. I am not fully convinced of the 4-1-4-1 shape as I can't stand playing with one striker/forward. I love the 4-4-1-1 shape as it offers a solid base with two forwards and the related 4-4-2 shape offers the same -albeit in a slightly different manner-, thus I set forth to develop it as our backup formation.

I envisage it to play out like the classical wing-focused 4-4-2 (think Man Utd circa 2000), with structured 4 defense focused defenders, a midfield offering variety and a big-man small-man striker combo. More details on this in the upcoming update.

In the mean while, our winter transfer window was a relatively calm one, seeing us offload Worrall, Ribiero, Sema and Bigilia for a total of 15.25M, recruiting:

Ezri Konsa for 7.5M

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Konsa is a very good capture from the Villians, offering solidity at the back, especially in my backup 4-4-2 tactic.

Almada for 10M

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FM legend Almada joins to replace Curtis Jones, who is required by Liverpool and won't accept an extension to his loan.

and Greg Taylor for 2.6M.

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Greg Taylor comes in a backup left wingback, with plenty of experience, from Scottish outfit Celtic. Definitely a better defender than Sema.

We also managed to snap Sandro Tonali on a free transfer, due to join next season, offering him a big wage to prize him from Lazio's offer. I can't wait for him to join and play him aside Lewis Cook in the midfield:

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At this moment, we are currently fifth, with the BEST DEFENSE IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE:

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Sadly, we used to be the most clinical team too, but our poor form in December and January saw us lose that spot:

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Nonetheless, am very proud of our success so far this season.

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Posted (edited)

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY BLOG

====================================================================

Following our demolition of Chelsea in the FA Cup, we had a decent run, as I started to gradually phase in to the 4-4-2 I described earlier.

Whatever I do, I always return to a 4-4-2, it just feels right. Even though my mind supports the 4-4-1-1 for reasons I wrote about earlier, but I just love the 4-4-2.

This gradual change become a quicker one with our abysmal April; a sort of deja-vu of the previous season when we'd be absolute bottlejobs during the late season:

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Our change to the 4-4-2 immediately showed promise though it came in midst of a difficult run, especially the Fulham game which is our bogey team, managed by Sean Dyche. They managed to extend their unbeaten run against us to 3 and win the FA Cup semi final, in a game we dominated using our new look formation:

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I started to rediscover my tactical priorities after watching this game out. I really wanted us to be a direct deep gegenpressing team. It was that simple. The 4-4-2 allowed me to create just that.

I didn't change any single team instruction, I just changed our structure:

I wanted to strengthen the defence and make them defence-first, especially the fullback, as my wingback was a major issue for us at the back.

The midfield would mainly look to win the ball then support the attack.

Our attack would look to break quickly using the big-man small-man combo.

Not too different from our now secondary 4-4-1-1 tactic. This is how our 4-4-2 looks:

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Following the victory against Spurs, we needed only one win from the next 3 games to secure a Europa Conference League spot, with a potential Europa League sport depending on the FA Cup winner. Man Utd would easily dispatch us, forcing us wait until next game, against Fulham once again, to secure our great achievement of reaching a European Competition.

Curtis Jones, who have been playing as an AF besides Janssen, has been a revelation as a striker. He bloomed into the perfect striker and was the catalyst to destroy Fulham and end their unbeaten run against us. Their xG is slightly overestimated as their goal was an open goal shot after an individual error:

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Jones scored this WONDERFUL goal:

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Thanks to this victory, and Man Utd's 4-0 humiliation of Fulham in the FA Cup final, we finish 5th, gaining a spot in the Europa League!

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Despite all our late season issues, we managed to finish with the joint best defence, conceding only 33 goals. For even better news, Klopp, citing our good relationship, accepted a desperate loan bid to our star man, Curtis Jones, allowing him to stay another year with us.

However, I am particularly worried about our late season form, where we would drop a lot of useless points. Maybe it is a matter of player quality or personality? I decided to splash the new 45M kitty on quality upgrades to suit our new 4-4-2.

Ricca, Adam Smith, Sims, Wallace, Lingard and Puscas all left the club for around 46M.

David Brooks (54M), Sander Berge (30M) , Josh Tymon (12M), David Smith (regen, 4.5M), Jamal Lewis (21M), Iheanacho (18M) and free transfer Sandro Tonali, joins for a total fee of around 130M.

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Once again, I highlight that I paid only around 35M in cash and the rest in instalments.

Buying in instalments is putting strain on our finances, no doubt, but allows us to get the massive quality injection required. We had massive steps in quality required during the past seasons, and simply, we should maximize the usage of all transfer budgets. However, It is imperative that we stay competitive to ensure we don't run into debt quickly.

I am also very satisfied of purchasing a core of determined, hardworking players with good personalities, the matter that I am sure will help us avoid our lingering post-winter issues. I was particularly keen to pick players with high determination, composure and workrate.

Given the type of players we have, I decided to follow a total football approach in training. I train each player to be able to perform all roles of his position. For example, the midfield players would be equally adept as ball winning mids and box to box mids, the strikers would be complete forwards, and so on. I also aim to make wide players comfortable on both flanks.

Keeping in line with our squad building philosophy, and this total football approach, our squad is currently:

GK: Farinez, Greif

FBs: Konsa, Baldock, Lewis, Tymon, Greg Taylor (listed)

CBs: Queiros, McKenna, Mbe Soh (returned from loan), Rojo

WMs: Buendia, Cantwell, Podence, Jones, Smith, Almada (loan-listed)

CMs: Tonali, Berge, Cook, Lundstram

STs: Iheanacho, Brooks, Janssen, Jones

I am particularly excited at the Berge-Tonali partnership, and can see it dominate many teams in the league.

Despite our recent successes, am still anxious about failing and not being able of winning with style...

Edited by engamohd
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On 31/12/2020 at 12:52, kingjericho said:

Awesome progress!

Signing Almada and especially Tonali is crazy, no way he would ever leave on a free transfer nowadays so it's a big coup.

Tonali has been a monster for me, a real coup for us!

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19 minutes ago, kingjericho said:

Also, now with a 442 where does Almada fit?

He sadly doesn't fit, I loaned him out.

I did rotate him on the flanks and the AF position, he just doesn't improve quickly like Jones and Brooks.

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9 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Excellent progress, just caught up with this. Defensive record is very solid - what instructions are you using? 

Thank you. My instructions aren't changed at all, as they are style defining:

Work ball into box, play out of defence

Counter, regroup, distribute quickly

Lower loe and dl, much more urgent pressing and get stuck in.

 

I have a similar backup tactic, but with a high block, which I use against absolute potato teams.

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY BLOG

====================================================================

As usual, we start brightly, topping the league after 5 wins in same number of games, but the usual drop in form occurs. This time, however, it was different. We are defensively worse than last season, facing much more shots than our last season's average, and we are no longer the most clinical team, we are bang on average.

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I believe this is partly due to my change to the 4-4-2. The gaping hole between the strikers and the midfield is mainly the culprit for allowing opposition to play through us, rather than around us.

I should have trusted my mind, and stuck with the 4-4-1-1. After all, it is the same as the 4-4-2, just giving one of the strikers more defensive responsibility, right?

However, after a winless run of 5 games against all the big teams, I started to think more cynically, and for the first time I started to question my 4-4-1-1 system that got us so far and start a new system.

I have been a big fan of back 3 (or 5) formations and since I wanted to be even more solid defensively, I to create a deep flat 5-4-1. An Ode to Mourinho and Big Sam!

I decided that we are not ditching the 4-4-1-1 just yet, but I will be using the 5-4-1 more now.

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An absolute beauty if you ask me! I am very proud that I never changed the tactical style since the start of the save, just adjusting mentality if needed.

This flat 5-4-1 is intended to play out similarly to the 4-4-1-1 in a deep gegenpressing style that I prefer. However, the midfield is an industrious one that looks to support the attack and defence at all times. The wide defenders are required to bomb up and down at all opportunities, protected by the back 3 defenders, which is much better than 2CDs + 1DM.

However, we aren't hoofing the ball to the strong guy upfront like most negative teams. We are a technical team with lots of flair and pace, and hence we will try to play through the over-committed oppositions, but with directness and urgency

Poor Newcastle were the first that tried our new parked bus in their 3-0 defeat. ;)

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We scored this beautiful counter attack:

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Back to our roots

During the final days of the summer transfer window, the DoF sold Podence for 17M and Rojo for 2M, amongst other deadwood. He snapped up Lyanco for 5.75M and wonderkid Marcos Leanardo for 14.75M, in some surprisingly great business on his part. We made massive profits on all sales till date, and manage to get some great captures at good prices.

My only regret is overpaying for Brooks (54M) but he is still a great young player that offers a lot of pace and flair in all forward positions. I doubt we will make any loss on him if we sold him in the future.

We started brightly, until a cruel schedule saw us play Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool, Everton, United and City in succession. This table had, thankfully, the World Cup played in between it.

After a draw and a victory over Chelsea and Arsenal respectively, we were trounced by Spurs and Liverpool, conceding 3 and scoring none in each of them, followed by a abysmal draw with rock bottom Everton. This Everton game was the first game I'd drop the 4-4-2 and get back to our roots, reverting to our old 4-4-1-1 after watching the middle areas of the pitch being exploited, with team playing through us, rather than around us.

During the two months or so of stoppage due to the World Cup -won by England-, we had the entire squad at home, with the exception of Kelechi Iheanacho, who returned to squad early anyways following Nigeria's elimination. It was a perfect opportunity to raise morale and work on tactical concepts.

As top footballing nations play each other on the world stage, we were destroying Newport County and Coventry City in Nottingham.

Intense training schedules were made, and tactical familiarity was increased to almost full. We resumed the league with a 2-1 reversal against United, where we threw our early lead naively.

Followed by a 3-0 trouncing by there more glamourous neighbours, marking a 5 game winless run:

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Back to Winning Ways

After playing all the top guns, the remaining schedule is much easier, as we easily dispatched newly promoted Stoke and took our revenge from Fulham, propelling us in to a record breaking six clean sheet run.

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You might be wondering why I decided to shift from a 4-4-1-1 to a 5-4-1 if we are doing well. Well, watching the game, we aren't that assured defensively, and we allow many dangerous chances. Our CBs aren't also the best and an extra body at the back will help us immensely.

The winter transfers saw us sell Lundstram for 8.75M, Lingard for 8M and Baldock for 15.25M, while recruiting Robin Koch for 27.5M and Sean Longstaff for 7.5M.

Selling a couple of ageing players for 16.75M while we got them for free is a some good business. However, I am not quite satisfied with the large turnover in the squad, although it is justified by our meteoric rise, which needs a similar rise in quality. Next season should see little business as I look to upgrade our defence, while our midfield and front line options are finally, satisfactory.

We are currently 3rd following this run, with the 4th best defence. However, March and April aren't kind in any way and hopefully we will be able to get to a European spot after these months:

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Until next update

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14 hours ago, engamohd said:

Thank you. My instructions aren't changed at all, as they are style defining:

Work ball into box, play out of defence

Counter, regroup, distribute quickly

Lower loe and dl, much more urgent pressing and get stuck in.

I have a similar backup tactic, but with a high block, which I use against absolute potato teams.

That is interesting, and a departure from what you tend to see. KUTGW

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On 06/01/2021 at 16:03, engamohd said:

Thank you. My instructions aren't changed at all, as they are style defining:

Work ball into box, play out of defence

Counter, regroup, distribute quickly

Lower loe and dl, much more urgent pressing and get stuck in.

 

I have a similar backup tactic, but with a high block, which I use against absolute potato teams.

Do you not find you are too deep and struggle to get players in support for attack?

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6 hours ago, benhoward12 said:

Do you not find you are too deep and struggle to get players in support for attack?

Not really. Am playing on a high mentality, combined with the aggressive pressing, making us deep, but not passive at all.

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On 13/01/2021 at 13:27, benhoward12 said:

Do you not find you are too deep and struggle to get players in support for attack?

After reading your comments, I thought that we invite additional unwanted pressure for being too low, and our very aggressive pressing allows teams to play through us. I decided to implement a better mid-low block with not so urgent pressing, and it appears much better already.

 

Edit: I am now using standard DL, lower LOE and urgent pressing.

Edited by engamohd
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5 hours ago, engamohd said:

After reading your comments, I thought that we invite additional unwanted pressure for being too low, and our very aggressive pressing allows teams to play through us. I decided to implement a better mid-low block with not so urgent pressing, and it appears much better already.

That’s good to hear!

I’ve been a big fan of your 4-4-1-1 threads, as like you think it is a really solid formation, and your threads are really helpful! I’m currently doing a non league save and struggling slightly in the championship due to lack of quality, but sticking with the 4-4-1-1, main issue I have is my attacking midfielder not contributing massively

Edited by benhoward12
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2 minutes ago, benhoward12 said:

That’s good to hear! I’ve been a big fan of your 4-4-1-1 threads, as like you think it is a really solid formation, and your threads are really helpful! I’m currently doing a non league save and struggling slightly in the championship due to lack of quality, but sticking with the 4-4-1-1, main issue I have is my attacking midfielder not contributing massively

Cheers!

In my non league save, I am using the 442, sticking a TM-S with a poacher up front for more efficiency.

However, ideally, I'd use a DLF-S and DLF-A to create a similar effect to the 4411 (as I do in my Forest save).

My issue lately with the 4411, which is making me more biased towards the 442, is the blunt quick transitions at times. If my TM is marked or having a bad game we'd struggle.

By pushing the AM to ST, using DLF-S and DLF-A, we get to be more lethal on the quick transitions, plus being more than one dimensional in attacks, similar to the movement pattern of Felix and Suarez up front for Atletico.

 

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3 hours ago, engamohd said:

Cheers!

In my non league save, I am using the 442, sticking a TM-S with a poacher up front for more efficiency.

However, ideally, I'd use a DLF-S and DLF-A to create a similar effect to the 4411 (as I do in my Forest save).

My issue lately with the 4411, which is making me more biased towards the 442, is the blunt quick transitions at times. If my TM is marked or having a bad game we'd struggle.

By pushing the AM to ST, using DLF-S and DLF-A, we get to be more lethal on the quick transitions, plus being more than one dimensional in attacks, similar to the movement pattern of Felix and Suarez up front for Atletico.

 

What LoE and LoD did you opt for? 
 

what’s the current 4-4-1-1 set up looking like with Forest? 

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A Liverpool fan managing Forest? You must be a youngster. :lol:

I'd like to say best of luck, but as Notts fan I just can't bring myself to utter those words about that lot! Looking forward to following your progress, though. :thup:

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1 hour ago, benhoward12 said:

What LoE and LoD did you opt for? 
 

what’s the current 4-4-1-1 set up looking like with Forest? 

Currently, DL: standard, LOE: lower, pressing: urgent.

Am still yoying back and forth between a 4411 and 442. I'll post both systems when am back on the laptop.

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8 minutes ago, withnail316 said:

A Liverpool fan managing Forest? You must be a youngster. :lol:

I'd like to say best of luck, but as Notts fan I just can't bring myself to utter those words about that lot! Looking forward to following your progress, though. :thup:

Cheers! 

I wasn't into football until mid 2000s, so I did not witness that period of success of Forest and their rivalry with us.

Thanks again, YNWA!

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ORGINALLY POSTED ON MY BLOG

================================

Author's note: I apologize about this late update. I was losing interest in this save, and had to put it on hold for a while, until I'd feel ready to complete. This is a short update of where we stand at the end of season 4 and the start of season 5.

=================================


We managed to steer through the difficult end of Season 4 with minimal damage. We were easily knocked out from the Europa League 2nd knockout round by Lazio, and then played most of the big boys in quick succession. We managed to get some decent results, yet losing again against both Manchester clubs, a result which is getting to my nerves.

I am already fed up by our joke of defenders, and decided we will make a complete overhaul of the backline during the next transfer window.

A miraculous 3-1 against Liverpool in a midst of a 4 game winning run ensured we get Champions league football the next season, and very lucrative 66M transfer budget.

QQO8pCb.jpeg

I let go of all deadwood, and wanted to replace (almost) the entire back line. I made a grave error of wanting to play a 5-4-1, not realizing that it is a non-sustainable model of playing. This lead me into getting more central defenders than I need.

We saw the departure of Baldock, Lingard, Lundstram, Janssen, David Smith (regen), Mbe Soh, Almada, Ihenacho, Taylor and Campbell.

We bought in Adarabioyo as our van Dijk in defence, along with Mepham, Tomiyasu, Lyanco, Wober, Varnier, Salcedo, Soteldo, Lovato, Ugarte and a high potential wonderkid Reyes, who is on loan at Leicester.

Once again, I oversaw an exodus and massive change in the squad. However, given that I returned to my 4 at the back formation, the lowest performers of these defenders will surely depart at the end of the season.

We started Season 5 brightly, despite another defeat against Man Utd, using a mixture of 5-4-1 and 4-4-1-1, before finally deciding I will rely on my favourite 4-4-1-1, and not be quite anxious about the formation once again.

We drew a tough Champions League group along side Real Madrid, Atalanta and Benfica. We managed to beat them during the first 3 games, topping the group 3 points ahead of 2nd placed Atalanta and 8 points ahead of 3rd placed Real, which managed only a point from its first 3 games against bottom Benfica.

VGLV2hH.jpg

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So far, am pleased with the team performances, especially at the back. I can't remember conceding 4 in a single game before, but that Chelsea game was a complete mess. Everyone was happy we weren't beat, but I was furious that we let in 4 goals!

I should now be able to focus on being competitive and look to develop youth players, the department I have shamefully neglected to focus on building a solid Premier League team first.

Until next update

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Getting promoted to the EPL is a good achievement but then winning the EPL is a different beast. Many teams have so much money it's hard to reach their level quickly. What I'm saying is don't demotivate, keep improving the squad and you'll get there. Also, nice to see the 4411 return, it's what proved most successful in the long run.

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2 hours ago, kingjericho said:

Getting promoted to the EPL is a good achievement but then winning the EPL is a different beast. Many teams have so much money it's hard to reach their level quickly. What I'm saying is don't demotivate, keep improving the squad and you'll get there. Also, nice to see the 4411 return, it's what proved most successful in the long run.

It is really difficult trying to break through the glass ceiling of Liverpool, both Manchesters and Chelsea. I actually feel bad about losing hope in the 4-4-1-1 system, but I am determined to not chop and change it anymore. 

Our squad is getting very close to how I like it, and we have an elite player already in Emi Buendia!

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13 minutes ago, engamohd said:

It is really difficult trying to break through the glass ceiling of Liverpool, both Manchesters and Chelsea. I actually feel bad about losing hope in the 4-4-1-1 system, but I am determined to not chop and change it anymore. 

Our squad is getting very close to how I like it, and we have an elite player already in Emi Buendia!

I’m also determined to stick with the 4-4-1-1! I’m a Villa fan, and although not doing a save with Villa I love how we are playing and want to replicate that to some extent. I think 4-4-1-1 reflects how we defend with 2 banks of 4, even though most would say we attack in a 4-2-3-1, the defensive improvement is key to our success, and I think 4-4-1-1 provides that correlation better in FM! 
 

I just can’t get the right balance and output from my AM and STR. Can you post a screenshot of your current setups? 

Edited by benhoward12
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3 minutes ago, benhoward12 said:

I’m also determined to stick with the 4-4-1-1! I’m a Villa fan in real life and I think 4-4-1-1 reflects how we defend we 2 banks of 4, even though most would say we attack in a 4-2-3-1, the defensive improvement is key to our success, and I think 4-4-1-1 provides that correlation in FM! 
 

I just can’t get the right balance and output from my AM and STR. Can you post a screenshot of your current setups? 

Good luck with that, I do agree most 4-2-3-1 teams IRL are 4-4-1-1s in the game, with some few exceptions like Bayern, Klopp's BVB etc.

I wrote in great depth about my current 4-4-1-1 formation in my latest post:

 

 

Edited by engamohd
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15 minutes ago, engamohd said:

Good luck with that, I do agree most 4-2-3-1 teams IRL are 4-4-1-1s in the game, with some few exceptions like Bayern, Klopp's BVB etc.

I wrote in great depth about my current 4-4-1-1 formation in my latest post:

 

 

Do you use the same counter attacking style against all teams? Or slightly adjust for certain opponents? 

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Just now, benhoward12 said:

Do you use the same counter attacking style against all teams? Or slightly adjust for certain opponents? 

I usually start all the games using my style, and then may change mentality, add counter pressing, increase the LOE, etc, as the game progresses.

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