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[FM21] Swiss Army Knife


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September 2034

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And this is why I love this game.

We're back on it. I'm focused on getting the best from each player and each role, as you can see from the discussions above, ensuring that morale is as good as it can be, fitness is right: resting players for a day here and there, rotating etc and micromanaging as much as I can. It works.

We started with a strong win over Zurich, playing without either Costa or Royer due to injuries. My wingers stepped up and saw off the challenge but I was a little concerned with how one long ball beat us so easily to allow them to score their goal. We travelled to Amsterdam and performed pretty well against Ajax. Now, if I'm being honest, I'd love a shot at the Europa League, but, avoiding defeat away from home makes us favourites to finish second by Barca. Following that, we have created four floorless performances - absolute domination of the four sides, even without as many goals as we deserved. Granted - we played the bottom two in the league in Vaduz and Servette and they, literally, played ten men behind the ball, but it's all about finding ways through and around then - and we are doing that. An easy win over the weakest side in the group, Anderlecht, with a return to form for Anderson Costa and then an absolute routing of St. Gallen ended the month.

---

It's all been a little analytical lately, so, with not a lot else going on at the moment: scouts are scouting, coaches are coaching, here is confirmation of our stadium expansion:

fd75ec3859c8ba20a7cc33e29ab7fcff.png

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Posted (edited)

How much pace and acceleration do your AMC, ML, and MR have? because you need a Vertical threat to really make it work. 

Also the DM might maker the perfect playmaker in this variant of your system think Pirlo pinging key passes everywhere.....

also on the left side does the CM attack or hold?

A DM-BWM might work to cover the left flank as well.

 

Also good to see Toni Gonzalez contributing.

 

 

Edited by Hootieleece
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6 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

How much pace and acceleration do your AMC, ML, and MR have? because you need a Vertical threat to really make it work. 

Quite a bit!

4e1c17d36f08c490cd9e7fbfc87c09aa.png

7 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

Also the DM might maker the perfect playmaker in this variant of your system think Pirlo pinging key passes everywhere.....

Secret weapon is my right back - teaching him the Tries Long Passes trait:

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8 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

also on the left side does the CM attack or hold?

A DM-BWM might work to cover the left flank as well.

Not overly fussed on the flanks - the 4-1-4-1 plays as a 3-1-4-2/3-5-2/3-4-3 kind of shape with the ball:

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We are susceptible to a really long, quick ball down that channel - but with a fast left centre back who can anticipate and step out - I will take that risk.

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13 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

Yep - no GK training for him unfortunately!

We can always reminisce about the good ‘ol days :D

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13 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

I know that I need to move Ribic on but he's performed pretty decent so other positions have always been my focus. Thankfully, Royer has come into form this season, and, if I'm honest, Taseski needs a chance - either here or on loan. Now I love Pedroso, see below, and I'm working hard to get him to be the player I want him to be - a free, slightly deep and wide forward. I guess, a Raumdeuter in a counter attacking shape

d154d0e0a8c1c139faab2ca41960d168.png

Statistically, he's doing great this season and a combined 53 G+A in 73 appearances, with an AR of 7.19 for this squad and my u21 squad is nothing to be baulked about! I think you mean that Dele Ali has a spot of Pedroso about him! ;) 

Basically, that sounds like two first team forwards, another one fighting but not quite getting there (what’s the Greek hero who never quite makes it up the hill?), another needing game time and then Pedroso who is a youngster looking promising but is still developing. This season sounds like a defining one for your forward line :kriss:

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14 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

@HootieleeceI agree. My best player, on paper, is a central midfielder, but I feel that I've never quite got the best from him:

093e468b790a1d384fc00db3484b4a7e.png

27 goal contributions in 109 appearances at an AR of just 6.81. I feel that he needs to be the creative hub of the team given those attributes and traits that I've taught him since he came through the academy here.

Looks like a less aggressive Verratti :thup:

Even his club and Nation are trying to find his best position!

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10 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

September 2034

a66e24344075c3f67c4bd25fb7637634.png

And this is why I love this game.

We're back on it. I'm focused on getting the best from each player and each role, as you can see from the discussions above, ensuring that morale is as good as it can be, fitness is right: resting players for a day here and there, rotating etc and micromanaging as much as I can. It works.

We started with a strong win over Zurich, playing without either Costa or Royer due to injuries. My wingers stepped up and saw off the challenge but I was a little concerned with how one long ball beat us so easily to allow them to score their goal. We travelled to Amsterdam and performed pretty well against Ajax. Now, if I'm being honest, I'd love a shot at the Europa League, but, avoiding defeat away from home makes us favourites to finish second by Barca. Following that, we have created four floorless performances - absolute domination of the four sides, even without as many goals as we deserved. Granted - we played the bottom two in the league in Vaduz and Servette and they, literally, played ten men behind the ball, but it's all about finding ways through and around then - and we are doing that. An easy win over the weakest side in the group, Anderlecht, with a return to form for Anderson Costa and then an absolute routing of St. Gallen ended the month.

---

It's all been a little analytical lately, so, with not a lot else going on at the moment: scouts are scouting, coaches are coaching, here is confirmation of our stadium expansion:

fd75ec3859c8ba20a7cc33e29ab7fcff.png

I love the uptick in form just as we’re discussing some of the scorers :D

Congrats on stadium upgrade completion.

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Some really great points @Sonic Youth - thanks for your continued support and discussion in this thread!

You mention it being a big season for my forward line and, like magic, Pece shows what he is capable of...

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November 2034

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A little hot and cold here, if I'm honest.

We battered Basel but couldn't find a winner and a chance to probably put even more pressure on Edgar Davids' head. That was followed by a rout in the Champions League as we have put a total of nine past Anderlecht. A continental hangover threatened to last two games as we were poor against both Thun and Lausanne, sides we should be beating. We rescued a draw in the first game but their xG total of 2.0 to our 1.12 shows that things just weren't right. Likewise, we weren't at our best but a rejuvenated Toni Gonzalez saved us as Lausanne's inconsistent form continued. We battled away in Spain and luckily came home with a point, withstanding a barrage from J. Sancho (who, I, at first, thought was Jadon but later turned out to be a ridiculously good Argentine winger). That leaves the Champions League group open going into our last game, against Ajax.

---

I'd like to highlight the development of two players/roles from this year to last year. The first being the new and improved Toni Gonzalez, who shifted from a supporting role to an attacking role - making use of his great Finishing ability. The results have been wonderful and, although he hasn't actually made a goal directly this year, his scoring is considerably up as are he key passes. He's also intercepting more, giving me a slightly higher block in that area, too.

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What is more - he joins a pretty elite list of midfielders from the Top 5 Leagues (and ours) to have scored at more than 0.30 goals/90 and maintained more than two key passes/90, showing that the more attacking nature hasn't removed his playmaking ability. I think that it is even more incredible when you look at the percentage of passes that Gonzalez makes that are key - take Moriba, for example: 4.4% of his completed passes are key, whereas Gonzalez sits at 13.3%. His conversion rate of 24% is also high on that list behind only the 27% of Morgado.

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Now, if only the Swiss manager can get Tunc and Gonzalez to fire together...

Next up is the upgrade on the LB role - who plays as a WB(a). I sold Mojsovski in the summer for a little over €6m and it's fair to say he hasn't set the Premier League alight at Leicester. I spent all but €750k of that money on Rosenberg's Russian/Norwegian winger Nikita Zakharov. Not only has he reached accomplished at left back, he's also turned into a Wonderkid in the process.

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You can clearly see that, attribute wise, he's a step up and he has near reached Mojsovski's assist total in just over half the time. He's completing way more crosses, covering more ground with and without the ball and shooting more - surely meaning some goals will come. I've been delighted with the start that he's made.

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December 2034

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Well...

There are times I can accept a defeat - when we are facing a team far superior to us being one. However, I can accept the Sion defeat because on the day, they were far superior to us in every area. Nothing special tactically, a flat 4-4-2 that, I suppose, did limit the creativity of our midfield but they battled for every ball, were constantly motivated by their manager and took a a deserved lead after exploiting and doubling up down their left hand side. We, of course, then went all out for a goal and that allowed them to score a stoppage-time second that, in reality, didn't flatter them. 

Now, I could be forgiven for the outcome of the Ajax game when you see the completed group - meaning we drop into the Europa League and have a pretty favourable draw, as seen below (although, there are still several big teams left) but, again, we were out-fought. They blew us away with two goals in ten minutes and were 2-0 up and out of sight by the half hour mark. This is something that we've been guilty of before and have since been guilty of it - I think it's my game management. Now I'm really digging in to the tactical areas, the morale, the specific conversations etc, I just feel that there is a gap here.

We play, essentially, the same way for 90 minutes. 

And it's not working all the time now.

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The win over Zurich was messy but much needed. It took us 75 minutes and, after that, I went all tactical - even maybe a bit pragmatic. We blocked all out balls, stuck man for man and basically just tried to hold on for the win. The end result was three points but just 0.54xG (less than Zurich) but a taste of what I need to do more often.

Yet, what I need to do didn't happen against YB. Again - two quick goals had us on the ropes and, again, we got lucky either side of half time. Yes, we should have won and had the chances to do so, but I didn't want to throw away a point and, with that, top spot in the league for the festive season.

I think I've made this clear as I've delved into the depths of this save - I'm really invested in these players and this league but I feel like I don't know enough about the opposition and, as such, am not preparing for it. We have our style and that works, to a point but, until I am head-and-shoulders above everyone else, I have to do something 'else' tactically. Granted, it's not all bad news - we have (hopefully) a chance of going quite deep into the Europa League and are top of our domestic league but this game is throwing up challenges that I'll only come out of a better FM player!

---

We also had our intake preview which shows a Moroccan/Swiss dual national goalkeeper who could be special...

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All that green yet 'not a great group.' As always, this has been taken with a pinch of salt.

---

Now, on the future of this and facing all of these minute, micro-managerial things, I've added something to Joao Fernando:

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Managers don't pick up second nationalities but, as it's been ten years since I took the Meyrin job and ten years is the period of time required for a player to gain citizenship, I added it. This could mean that I can (fitting in with the thread title) take the Swiss Army Knife elsewhere as it is actually a description of the manager rather than the country. Maybe.

With my knowledge of French and Swiss German, the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 would be my ideal targets. Maybe...

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I don't have anything particularly useful to add here with regarding your slightly more up and down season,  but it's something I think we've all experienced before after a period of success. It's interesting that your underlying stats haven't changed that much (from what I could see!). I've often found the smallest change when you're successful, such as turnover of a few players, can have a larger impact than I'd thought possible. Especially if other teams sit back more and more against you as your rep grows. 

Sometimes I've found twisting is the right idea if there are specific problems repeating over time,  but I've also found sticking can also result in things returning to normal. As I said, not necessarily a constructive comment, but I am really enjoying following your progress and this phase of challenge is very interesting to read about!

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That Ajax result was tough to see. 
Also noticed that Costa is a bit off the goals in the last few updates. Has he been injured?

It must be quite frustrating at the moment, with results not quite going as expected. Still, the season feels good as well. It’s almost like this is a consolidating season after the preseason chaos. Maybe the second half of the season will knit together and suddenly clicks s your off again running :onmehead:

Fingers crossed you have a good youth influx.

Interesting choice to include Swiss as your second nationality. Also opens up your save to other possibilities, as maybe some teams wouldn’t hire a Brazilian manager (?). Also, Swiss national team might be offered…?

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On 11/07/2021 at 17:38, Jtomsett11 said:

I don't have anything particularly useful to add here with regarding your slightly more up and down season,  but it's something I think we've all experienced before after a period of success. It's interesting that your underlying stats haven't changed that much (from what I could see!). I've often found the smallest change when you're successful, such as turnover of a few players, can have a larger impact than I'd thought possible. Especially if other teams sit back more and more against you as your rep grows. 

Sometimes I've found twisting is the right idea if there are specific problems repeating over time,  but I've also found sticking can also result in things returning to normal. As I said, not necessarily a constructive comment, but I am really enjoying following your progress and this phase of challenge is very interesting to read about!

Thank you for the comment.

I agree - when you are winning, the margins for error are tiny and things like completely reshuffling the backline are, of course, going to have huge impacts on the performances. I'm trying to adopt a realistic approach and understand transitions between teams as well as build a fluid, realistic approach to game management.

I don't think this is necessarily a 'stick or twist' kind of thing. It'll be seven years at Luzern at the end of the season and a promotion and, hopefully, my fourth top flight title makes me feel like I should be looking to progress this career. I've put a lot into Luzern and Switzerland and I'm playing quite slowly (compared to how I used to play anyway) so I just don't know!

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On 11/07/2021 at 17:57, Sonic Youth said:

That Ajax result was tough to see. 
Also noticed that Costa is a bit off the goals in the last few updates. Has he been injured?

It must be quite frustrating at the moment, with results not quite going as expected. Still, the season feels good as well. It’s almost like this is a consolidating season after the preseason chaos. Maybe the second half of the season will knit together and suddenly clicks s your off again running :onmehead:

Fingers crossed you have a good youth influx.

Interesting choice to include Swiss as your second nationality. Also opens up your save to other possibilities, as maybe some teams wouldn’t hire a Brazilian manager (?). Also, Swiss national team might be offered…?

It was - it was even harder to manage! However, I think that the long term impacts of it could worse in our favour. Deep progression in the Europa League will enhance our reputation/my standing more than losing over two legs in the Champions League.

Costa has been hit and miss - he's got 5 in 15(4) but has had a really injury hit time so far:

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He completely missed pre-season with the cartilage injury so hoping the mid-season friendlies allow him to get back up to speed.

---

Yeah, things are a bit hit and miss but as I said, changing the whole backline and being a midfielder down hasn't helped that. I'm sure we'll come good and I'll be a stronger tactician and game manager from it, too! I won't be managing a national side though.

 

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@_Ben_ Are you trying to find players with similar skill sets to your starters? That is what I often do have a younger less developed player with a similar skill set so that performance doesn't drop off much.

Also I am slow in integrating new signings if possible...unless they are a significant upgrade on the current player and or his deputy. At minimum I want a whole Preseason or long Midseason Break of Friendlies to get them up to speed.  

It has helped curb my tendency to make "Panic Buys"!

Enjoying the insights into playing the game that this thread has in it. Keep it up. I have used a few of your ideas in my own save.....

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19 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

@_Ben_ Are you trying to find players with similar skill sets to your starters? That is what I often do have a younger less developed player with a similar skill set so that performance doesn't drop off much.

Also I am slow in integrating new signings if possible...unless they are a significant upgrade on the current player and or his deputy. At minimum I want a whole Preseason or long Midseason Break of Friendlies to get them up to speed.  

It has helped curb my tendency to make "Panic Buys"!

Enjoying the insights into playing the game that this thread has in it. Keep it up. I have used a few of your ideas in my own save.....

I do, yeah. I, by using a depth chart kind of thing that I saw on Twitter, try to plan for around two years ahead. You can see from the graphic below that I've now got my core of a team set out and then will need to make a few changes.

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Obviously - this goes down the pan when there are big bids for my players but I do try to keep relatively full shortlists of players who could step into the team, should they be required. That is what I've had to do this year and it has, realistically, knocked us out of line a little.

I never make a panic signing, to be fair, because I spent years setting up the scouting requirements so my targets are, at least, known quite well to me.

Thanks for the comment!

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On 12/07/2021 at 18:03, _Ben_ said:

Thank you for the comment.

I agree - when you are winning, the margins for error are tiny and things like completely reshuffling the backline are, of course, going to have huge impacts on the performances. I'm trying to adopt a realistic approach and understand transitions between teams as well as build a fluid, realistic approach to game management.

I don't think this is necessarily a 'stick or twist' kind of thing. It'll be seven years at Luzern at the end of the season and a promotion and, hopefully, my fourth top flight title makes me feel like I should be looking to progress this career. I've put a lot into Luzern and Switzerland and I'm playing quite slowly (compared to how I used to play anyway) so I just don't know!

Sorry I meant 'twist' as in tweak/ adapt tactical style rather than move clubs.  In that regard it doesn't feel to me like you're finished with them and Switzerland as a whole yet, although I could also understand you moving on after 4 titles! 

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11 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

I do, yeah. I, by using a depth chart kind of thing that I saw on Twitter, try to plan for around two years ahead. You can see from the graphic below that I've now got my core of a team set out and then will need to make a few changes.

d7c8b07598e1500745fe2eb9ff4d6255.png

I’m slightly surprised that Dante  is in the red! Would have thought yellow was more like it I guess his age is the factor in his case. Is there a chance to make him a member of your backroom staff?

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On 13/07/2021 at 04:13, _Ben_ said:

Yeah, things are a bit hit and miss but as I said, changing the whole backline and being a midfielder down hasn't helped that.

You could also add Costa to that. Hope it’s not an ongoing trend.

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10 hours ago, Jtomsett11 said:

Sorry I meant 'twist' as in tweak/ adapt tactical style rather than move clubs.  In that regard it doesn't feel to me like you're finished with them and Switzerland as a whole yet, although I could also understand you moving on after 4 titles! 

I think, based on this season, I need to stay a bit longer, anyway. Yes, four titles are great and we are moving towards a dynasty, but this hasn't been easy! Also - there is this in my youth team:

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Plus a plethora of 4* players, too. If I can integrate the next generation of Luzern youth into this side: the likes of the homegrown Qi and poached Bocaly, we'll a) be in a really strong place and b) I feel like I'd be able to leave the next manager a nice conveyor belt for the coming years.

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1 hour ago, Sonic Youth said:

I’m slightly surprised that Dante  is in the red! Would have thought yellow was more like it I guess his age is the factor in his case. Is there a chance to make him a member of your backroom staff?

Dantas is clearly a great asset to the squad, but his legs are going so I don't see him able to play in the role I want. However, another factor in my decision is that I now also have several other great personalities within the squad that can take over mentoring and developing the personality sides of the players:

0d6f72c67e474cf7af6464647c043496.png

1 hour ago, Sonic Youth said:

You could also add Costa to that. Hope it’s not an ongoing trend.

He'll be back!

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January 2035

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I love a training camp.

We went off to Ankara to face some Turkish sides as I experimented with our training - getting lots of match prep in but also spending time as a unit, building cohesion and morale. The four Turkish sides posed little in the way of competition but the pick up in form for Anderson Costa was pleasing as well as the exploration of some slightly altered roles and partnerships within the team. In these matches, I tend to field two separate squads - with my A side being replaced, like for like, on around the hour mark. It means we get a decent bit of fitness and I can explore in depth.

We ended with a tie against Krasnodar. I opted for Eastern European opposition as a preparation for our tie against Ukrainian's, Shakhtar. It was a fairly comfortable affair and I hope for the same when they come to town next month.

It wasn't all good news though:

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Ales' injury is a sickener and one that a pacey winger might never recover from. I've got plenty of options on shortlists and in my recruitment centre but I've opted to recall Joao Roberto from his loan at Thun with an eye to make this role his own. Whilst there is a significant lack in certain core attributes, such as Anticipation and Decisions, his speed is unreal (one of the things that allowed Ribic to overperform) and he can dribble. If I can hone a few of these skills and give him some minutes, off the bench mainly, as a backup to Pedroso - I think he could be a real asset. 

--- 

I've been thinking, for some time, about the missing link between my youth side and my main team and how I've, actually, struggled, to get players to merge between each squad. For every Anderson Costa, I've had an Alban Shpendi and Toni Gonzalez, who, only now, is really settling down.

It doesn't feel right with my role as manager in this save, but I have opted to take control of the General Training for the u21 Team. The individual training is still ran by my youth staff although I have moved around some Training Units so that they are better suited for my players. I want to see this as a combined effort at management level and not a 'gamey' way to automatically improve things. I have gone a long way to instilling my philosophy over my seven years here and I would think that, surely, my youth staff would want some of inspiration for their own training modules. 

My first job was to set up an overview of the squad:

b3863fd05a3b8e7a1ca3f84a6e56560a.png

I'm looking for training progress as well as monitoring the roles they play and how they are developing their traits. We also have some basic performance indicators but, more-so for this squad, some KPIs that match to my DNA. I want a player to use their good Decisions to pick out key passes, Anticipation to make interceptions, Natural Fitness to run long distances and Consistency to perform well across the season. 

The combination of these, as well as star ratings and other things from my staff, will go to deciding whether these players deserve a shot at first team football.

Initially, I have just implemented the same regime as the first team for their training. This is certainly a step up from the random selection (including a week of Boot Camp before a fixture) that was there before but it may not be optimal for their development. I will re-assess how we are doing at the end of the season and go from there. The beauty of this youth side is that they play in a competitive league but pretty much just once a week, so I can use some tactical periodisation and just duplicate weeks at a time, leaving the proper micro management for the first team.

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Your A and B sides in the Friendlies seem like what I do. I let the A side start the big matches and play 55-60 min. and then sub in B side for the rest of the game. Midweek friendlies B side starts. I try to have two Friendly's  a week during Preseason especially a midseason break, because match fitness and cohesion can help start a streak!

 

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On 13/07/2021 at 19:06, _Ben_ said:

I do, yeah. I, by using a depth chart kind of thing that I saw on Twitter, try to plan for around two years ahead. You can see from the graphic below that I've now got my core of a team set out and then will need to make a few changes.

d7c8b07598e1500745fe2eb9ff4d6255.png

Obviously - this goes down the pan when there are big bids for my players but I do try to keep relatively full shortlists of players who could step into the team, should they be required. That is what I've had to do this year and it has, realistically, knocked us out of line a little.

I never make a panic signing, to be fair, because I spent years setting up the scouting requirements so my targets are, at least, known quite well to me.

Thanks for the comment!

I like the visual mate, I often use the notes within the game to make comments about players, also do a similar thing to your graphic using lineup builder to create a visual of my squad and it's depth. 

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On 15/07/2021 at 17:26, MattyLewis11 said:

I like the visual mate, I often use the notes within the game to make comments about players, also do a similar thing to your graphic using lineup builder to create a visual of my squad and it's depth. 

I've really got myself into in-game notes on this save. Id' be really interested to read about how you're doing it as I've not seen much on this before. If you wanted to tie it into your write up rather than in here, just make sure you tag me as I miss so much!

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Love the depth of writing goes into your story mate! :applause: Especially with your charts with planning over 2 years :D :cool: 

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February 2035

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Four in a row is looking more likely!

I have talked, at length, about game management, and, this month, we exhibited both sides of that spectrum. Outplaying what is now a very poor, Neil Lennon-managed, Basel side before being outplayed by St. Gallen as I went with a slightly different shape to combat their 5-1-2-2 shape, at home. 

We started really well against bottom of the league Servette, looking sharp and full of energy, putting the game to bed inside the first eight minutes. Prior to the Basel game, I was informed that our unbeaten, home league record now stands at a wonderful seventy games, as seen below:

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A heavily rotated side beat Vaduz with a debut goal for Joao Roberto who returned from loan (however, a game crash meant that Ribic never actually got injured - although I did recall the speedy winger as I planned to and he is now deputising for Magola, who has completely torn his thigh). I was looking at some of the extra stats that are counted in game and not really shown (see more below) and, using some more Twitter inspiration, put together this little player card for Roberto's debut.

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Most of that (minus possession gained) is viewable in columns on the squad screen league overviews etc  but the depth I can go into with pass length, cross assists etc should surely be looked at by SI going forward - considering how social media (well, those that I follow) are really digging into this statistical analysis stuff at the moment. It can be done in FM21, but is hugely time consuming as it's done by manual counting on a single game basis.

To end the month - we hammered Shakhtar, creating over 3xG and then battered Lausanne, with thanks to Miguel Pedroso. Supposedly resting, I threw him on for the last twenty minutes to get a run around and he scored four times from 0.60xG and took the man of the match.  Since coming to the first team, he's registered 33 goals/assists in 46 appearances, which is insane for an 18 year old!

Overall - a great month. The St. Gallen game was a tough one as we were outplayed as I went too different (a 3-3-1-3 shape with an offset SS to combat their DM who was clearly there just to kick the now-injured again Anderson Costa). It'd not been trained or really thought out before about the 15th minute of that match. Definitely somewhere to go and something to think about.

---

I vowed to move away from making a spreadsheet game into a spreadsheet game with extra spreadsheets but I've been playing around with some extra analysis, with huge influence from FBREF.  I'm looking to improve my recruitment model using realistic statistic gathering tools, rather than just track the very gamey attribute progress as I have before. I've dabbled in this and created the odd scatter plot from top players in Europe, but now I want to really dig into huge numbers of data entries. Now, as of right now, we only have about 1200 players within the database with actual scout reports so I have used the Player Search feature, but that will change as my scouting system grows. I'm looking at recruiting players from the top divisions of Europe so have a filter than looks for players with, at least, 20 starting appearances from any of the top 20 rated leagues right now. 

It has produced two decent finds:

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Now, the search feature is limited right now because FBREF uses a lot more defensive data than is widely available in the game (although it is mostly there under the hood, just collection of it would be ridiculous and impossibly time consuming) therefore I am predominantly going to find offensive players.

Stefan Milosevic and Ovidiu Dogaru were identified as having high xG/90 data and high Goals (minus PK) + Assits/90 data, respectively. They both fit the mould as recruiting young players from Eastern Europe who, potentially, have big sell on ability. Milosevic would also be available for his release clause of €2.2m and Dogaru is going to cost around €4m, too - so they are certainly going to be viable financially. I obviously need to finish scouting the Romanian but this process is looking quite positive at present.

Over the coming months, I will look to build a defensive action filter and Excel view and see where that takes me, although I am far more settled with those players.

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21 hours ago, john1 said:

Love the depth of writing goes into your story mate! :applause: Especially with your charts with planning over 2 years :D :cool: 

Thanks! I do love a bit of in depth thinking and writing.

My next goal is to take this kind of thing to the lower leagues in my FM22 save, wherever that may be. I'm fine writing about recruitment, development, tactical stuff when there is good stuff but much less so kicking about at a semi-pro level, yet I know what I'll find will be interesting to discuss!

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I hit a massive wall the other day when I accidentally deleted the faces from my game and spent, literally, hours, waiting for shortlists to load in order to export them - killing my laptop memory in the process. I'm now back but the players have slightly different faces, which does, to be fair, distort the engagement I have had with the players.

Here are some of my favourite players, now:

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747fa45ef17327fe2b9e9651f5e386e8.png

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March 2035

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Just the one blip but also three absolutely terrific performances.

We'd already done a job on Shakhtar but remained professional in the Ukraine to bring the tie home. We then, continental hangover or not, lost, inexcusably at home to Sion. Of course, it was only last month when I lauded my team's home record and, indeed, it was our first loss since 2031 at the swisspoArena. Madness! However, just four days later we absolutely played Atletico Madrid, the Spanish giants, off the park. 3-0 didn't even flatter us as won every duel, fought for every 50/50 and were on the top of our game. What is more is that we went to Madrid a week later and did it again. They were, as you'd expect, stronger at home, but still. 4-0 aggregate over the third team in Spain with little old Luzern? Wow. The month ended with a victory over YB that probably makes our lead un-catchable before Royer destroyered(??) Vaduz. With Anderson Costa being fit for only 10(4) games this season, missing 52% of the action, it's great that I've been able to rely on Jonathan or Pece Taseski:

dd052f808ba22cbc91eae1548dbc7cac.png 

Conversion Rate:

JR - 18%
PT - 21%
AC - 18%

xG per shot:

JR - 0.15xG
PT - 0.15xG
AC - 0.16xG

Goal Contributions/90

JR - 1.22
PT - 0.65
AC - 0.75

Maybe, just maybe, I don't need to recruit anything here over the summer...

---

As with every March, it has also been the month of our Youth Intake:

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Stefan JelicBadéThanos PapandreouEmmanuel MohammedAhmed Labyad

Not quite the overall star quality that we've had before but a solid intake here. Despite a (current) lack of perceived ability, Badé is my favourite and most complete player here, with him potentially being able to directly fill a role within my first team. Jelic is also an interesting option for the shadow striker role whilst I like the attribute balance of Mohammed. Papandreou was also highly rated, although I am less convinced and Labyad is the goalkeeper identified in the intake preview.

I have bolstered my intake with three further unprotected contracts: Benfica's generational talent Valdemar Friere - a tall, and hopefully soon-to-be solid all round shadow striker and two-ball playing defenders, Igli Mema and Yanko Stamatov. Whilst I am definitely of the belief that these kind of searches are gamey (finding youth contracts on the Player Search screen), I do definitely believe that there is, in real life, a considerably larger market for the signing of young players on compensation deals. The three of those will, potentially, cost me around €5m and I hear stories of that kind of thing happening pretty regularly in the real world, too. Yet, in FM - they are signed to professional contracts on day 1 and there is no ability to pay compensation - just ridiculous fees of upwards of €20m!

---

We are gaining quality with a now-record 41 international call ups, to a variety of national teams:

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What is more, the spine of the Switzerland u23 team is made up from some of my first team players. This shows a) the depth that is now starting to form in the national team but also b) that maybe my players aren't quite as good as I'd have hoped.

Never the less - we continue to make strides as a multi-national, talented, young squad.

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A good month, with a couple of top results in Europe against Athletic Madrid.

1 hour ago, _Ben_ said:

Royer destroyered(??) Vaduz. With Anderson Costa being fit for only 10(4) games this season, missing 52% of the action, it's great that I've been able to rely on Jonathan or Pece Taseski:

dd052f808ba22cbc91eae1548dbc7cac.png 

Conversion Rate:

JR - 18%
PT - 21%
AC - 18%

xG per shot:

JR - 0.15xG
PT - 0.15xG
AC - 0.16xG

Goal Contributions/90

JR - 1.22
PT - 0.65
AC - 0.75

Maybe, just maybe, I don't need to recruit anything here over the summer...

Might want to recalculate Royer’s results, taking out the DestRoyer performance as it was quite the outlier, to see what the rest of his season shows.

Love that nick :D

Disappointing to see Costa injured again. Only 10(4) appearances this season is not a striker you could rely on. 

Looks an interesting youth intake, but that striker from Benfixa looks something else! So tall and already very technical. Be interesting to see how good and fast he can become.

That’s quite the International call up Luzern had. Isn’t FM call-ups based on rep than performance (though better the performance, usually the better the rep)? Does it also get based on International Manager’s player and systems/tactics favoured?

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18 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

Might want to recalculate Royer’s results, taking out the DestRoyer performance as it was quite the outlier, to see what the rest of his season shows.

It was, indeed, but, given the fact that I've had a really annoying computer crash (again), I've actually lost the Vaduz game. Here are his stats pre that game:

Conversion Rate:

12% (-6%)

xG per shot:

0.13xG (-0.02xG)

Goal Contributions/90

0.96 (-0.26)

Ok, so that game really boosted his season statistics but he's performing around the same level as the other forwards and is contributing more than the other two with goals and assists. I'm starting to utilise Pece Taseski (who, thanks to a warning for a poor performance has upped his DET and moved to an M.Cit!) as an impact sub, given his pace and stamina to press and get in behind tired defences.

I think that, with the injuries to Costa, Royer has had to step in and, although I don't necessarily see him as a long term replacement for Anderson, he's certainly happy playing second fiddle for now. I foresee a time when I need a better player than Costa and, when that happens, I envisage that the order will shuffle and Royer will then move on - but there is a lot of development/scouting/recruitment to be done first.

18 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

Looks an interesting youth intake, but that striker from Benfixa looks something else! So tall and already very technical. Be interesting to see how good and fast he can become.

Yes! I love Freire! I was drawn to his height but I will be hammering his speed to get the best out of him. He'll train as a SS(a) until he's accomplished at AMC and then, literally, just work to get as fast as possible. That way, I'll almost be able to build a Complete (Deep) Forward.

----

Here is the replayed Vaduz game:

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A little less convincing, but another 3 points.

Edited by _Ben_
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April 2035

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An interesting start to the month but a really strong end sees us on the verge of taking our fourth title in a row.

Servette somehow kept our onslaught at bay, and, at one point, we'd literally thrown the kitchen sink at them with about six forwards on the pitch. We then travelled to Spain where, after a well battled and cagey first half, by design, we hit them with a quick sucker punch and scored twice. We looked to see out the game with some strategic tactical tweaks, marking their marauding full backs and identifying key players to target before Nixon Mazinot got himself sent off in the 80th minute for a reckless foul. Then the floodgates opened and we could no longer keep the giants at bay. At least I had some away goals. We then experienced a full-on continental hangover as we lost to Basel who, hopefully, won't make Europe this time around. Just as the second leg headed for a deserved extra time, Pece Taseski broke through and netted us the winner and a tie against Lyon in the Semi Final as a reward! It was then party time against Basel as we ran riot before a very rotated squad saw off an improving Thun side.

---

Just like I do with my first team, I'm going to run through my u21 squad as I look to build a strong conveyor belt of talent and create a team that can perform well in the Challenge League. One thing I want to do is to utilise the fact that this is an under twenty-one squad - trying to keep the players in this side until the reach this age, unless they are clearly too strong.

My view for this term incorporates the training side of things, which I now oversee, as well as key attributes and related statistics - key passes for Decisions, Average Rating and Consistency, Interceptions and Anticipation and Distance covered and Natural Fitness. Whilst there is not an exact correlation, it's a nice starting point. 

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Celiento is the only goalkeeper I have at this level and is developing nicely. He's got three more years with this squad to continue to develop. I do need to source another promising keeper though to deputise for him.

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The centre back area is probably my strongest and, with two further players coming in during the summer, I am stocked with young talent. Addai-Mandela and Arat are the standouts here but Busnja, a €400k signing from Slaven Belupo last summer, also is developing really well. This is, though, my strongest and most settled area of the first team, so I envisage that this lot may well rack up 100+ appearances for this side and a loan at a top tier side before reaching my squad, unless I am forced into any sales.

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The next bit incorporates my recycylers - the right sided full back and defensive midfielder. Bocaly and Kongnyuy are both very strong players here and Diogo Salgado, a €700k acquisition from Vitoria last summer, is also looking like he has good potential. Bade has just entered the team here but his DNA is certainly promising and he's appeared at the second tier level already at just 16. I must say that these two areas are probably my weakest overall, with Mazinot and Troncoso at right back and Zehdner with Mihaljovic at DM - so this could be an area for first team action.

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I'm pretty short on creative midfielders and that is a worry with Dantas at the end of his career and the debacle I had with Shpendi earlier this season leaving me short anyway. Qi is the shining light in the academy and the only player here probably likely to reach the first team, so it's an area I need to explore at this level.

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The left backs and right wingers, my wide-men. Almeida went on loan to Servette but it was too early and he wasn't ready. He's back and with this squad for the time being whilst I assess his progress. Sulejmani and Bah are ok at left back but neither fill me with huge hope that they'll make the first team - but the LWB is a really tricky role to fill and identify in a youngster as they have to be so well rounded.

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My finishers - the left wingers and forwards. The Benfica forward, Friere, will be coming here in the summer and will get game minutes along side Apollonio, who has all the makings, bar pace, of a good inverted winger/inside forward. Tanghe is also training there but fills me with less confidence.

In terms of first team progression through retirements, I only have Tiago Dantas who is over 25(!!) so will require a creative player to replace him, soon. I don't know if Qi is ready this summer which may mean that nobody makes the move into the first team at this point. Never the less, we have a good core and I'm building on this through development of my own academy players as well as recruiting promising youngsters to develop in this squad. In an ideal world, there'd be a period whereby I no longer need to recruit directly to the first team, but we are still some way off that.

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I’d say you were even better against Sevilla than Athletic Madrid. :thup:

How have Lyon been, and who is in the other Semi?

10 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

In an ideal world, there'd be a period whereby I no longer need to recruit directly to the first team, but we are still some way off that.

I’m not sure any team is completely like that. You’ve got a good core of youngsters, but if only promoting from U21, then would need to become more tactically flexible (creative mids and widemen are specific positions).

I like the looks of Apollonio and Qi, and would consider giving them minutes in the first team off the bench since the league looks like being wrapped up :onmehead:

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10 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

I’d say you were even better against Sevilla than Athletic Madrid. :thup:

How have Lyon been, and who is in the other Semi?

Performance wise, over the 180 minutes, Atletico was better. We ground out the second leg against Sevilla and were shocking for 10 minutes of the first leg, letting them back in. Obviously, in terms of results - the Sevilla one was more impressive though.

Lyon are a strong team - consistently the third best in Ligue 1. Now I'm reaching these stages of competition, I need to share more of a story about my opposition as, fifteen years into this gameworld, things do change - for example, Arsenal are on for a 100 point season and the Bundesliga has some very different yo-yo teams and a Bayern side who have won just two of the last eight titles, with Dortmund being the best side.

The other tie is Chelsea vs Man City.

10 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

I’m not sure any team is completely like that. You’ve got a good core of youngsters, but if only promoting from U21, then would need to become more tactically flexible (creative mids and widemen are specific positions).

I like the looks of Apollonio and Qi, and would consider giving them minutes in the first team off the bench since the league looks like being wrapped up 

Absolutely not realistic, you're right. However, an aspirational goal of having a functioning production line of an academy, especially in a second tier (i.e. not the Big-5) league is a realistic aim and financial model - just look at the likes of RB Salzburg (ignoring their Red Bull money) and FC Nordsjaelland as two examples of buy young and move on. It won't ever be achieved and, admittedly, I now actually don't like the concept of a Youth Only save - but if I think in that way, we can move the academy and the first team forward, definitely.

There is so much talent at this club right now:

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It's just continuing the youth development program to make the most of it. This is probably why I'll be here for at least another few years before, maybe, having a swansong in the Bundesliga. Then, probably, it'll be time for FM22...

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May 2035

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A nice end to the league season as we confirmed our fourth successive league title, as we are truly building a dynasty at the club.

The league was, Zurich aside, almost a procession - with wins over Lausanne and YB as well as a last minute winner against a much-improved Sion side.

Europe ended on a slightly sour note - with Lyon Houssem Aour destroying us in the first leg - finding a worldie of a pass to find Udah unmarked at the back post before netting a penalty than even the commentators thought was harsh. Again, it all comes back to game management. I didn't expect him to play the full-90, given his age and physicality, so opted for two more creative midfielders in the away leg to try and engineer more counter attacks. It failed. He ran the game as a Deep Lying Playmaker.

In the second leg, I moved BWM Dani Mihaljovic up to an MC and man marked him - he barely had a kick.  As you can see from the ratings of their defenders, we were on top but never really got close enough to the goal to create proper chances. Despite finishing the game, again, with something like five forwards on, we couldn't break down their resilient defence and our European adventure ended there. I am still incredibly proud of the journey though.

Despite our struggles in the cup this season - there was a fairy-tale for FOURTH TIER Chur 97, who reached the final, losing, in Extra time to YB. Looking at the history, third tier Munsingen have done well recently but it's great to see the underdog story.

----

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Even though we haven't quite been as strong as in previous years (we've lost the same number of games this year as the last three combined), our xG totals are still really strong - scoring more than expected and picking up more points than expected.  In fitting with our counter attacking style, we have the least offensive actions (passes) per assist out of the whole league and have just crossed the threshold into the 'clinical' side - something for us to work on with our finishing next year. As you'd expect with a top defence and the countries goalkeeper, we are impenetrable but also quiet due our compact shape and offensive prowess.

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YB (top left quadrant - most crosses) and St. Gallen (far right - best cross completion) are the outliers here but we are performing well with our crosses, something that I tried to work on last year with the signing of Nikita Zakharov. As you'd expect, we don't attempt many passes given our style but complete a decent number of them - however, this isn't a figure that forms a KPI for the team as I'd rather complete 5 out of 10 and create a great chance from 4 of them than complete 9 out of 10 but only create a great chance from 1 of them, for example. Similarly to our overall defensive stats - we don't tackle much, but when we do, we win the ball. Ideal in a deeper block.

----

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An area that looks really strong on paper but has, maybe, not quite lived up to the expectations that I'd expect from them - certainly with their Average Ratings. As the ball player that steps out, I'd have wanted a little more in the way of Interceptions for Osemene although he is up from 1.24 last season.  I think that this defence has hugely missed the influence of Felipe Cifuentes, who moved on last summer and, even with breakouts for Ionesi (2,564 minutes compared to 1,632 last year) these player still need time to grow together.

I think that, Ademi aside, the top four will continue to grow as a group and will be much better in the years to come.

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Another rebuilt area from last year - with only Mazinot and Zehnder remaining. Zehnder's output is slightly down in terms of passes completed but this is largely due to a change of role from DM(d) to A(d) - however, he's also made less key tackles (2 to 5) and interceptions (0.80 to 0.85/90. I would say that Mihajlovic has done around the same - very little difference in interceptions and key tackles - suggesting that the role of an anchor man maybe isn't needed there as there is these jobs to perform. However, the concern for me is not really statistical (although a 93% pass completion - best in my team) but in game - he just cannot make a pass to save his life and, consequently, just passes sideways or backwards to a team mate. Now - this role isn't the essential creator in the team but I do want players who are able to pick out a pass from anywhere and encourage my centre backs to do that.

Mazinot, in a similar comparison to Zehnder - is down on tackles (1.68 to 1.88), key tackles (13 to 14), headers (1.68 to 1.91), and Interceptions/90 (1.18 to 1.85) - all in all, not a great season. Again though, it's not as if Troncoso has eclipsed those totals - meaning that it is maybe the role that is wrong. He plays as a FB(au) at the moment to create the third centre half but defensively, isn't really matching up. Now, I know I attack a lot but I cannot operate with just two defenders so the extra man needs to come from somewhere!

Lots to think of with these four players over the summer.

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Toni Gonzlez is the standout here with 11 more goals than last year as he moved from a supporting Mezzala to an attacking one - making use of his attributes and player traits. Dantas continues to do Dantas things - with a decreasing number yet still a wonderful amount of key passes/90 as he just opens up defences. Kabashi has been a strange one - moving between the CM(s) and BBM(s) role - he's averaged really badly (down 0.1 from last year) yet has recorded three more assists, leading the team this season.

Without Shpendi after his disastrous time here, we've been short in this area.

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Injuries have led to a poor season from Magola but much credit needs to be given to Zakharov, my new acquisition. He's provided more assists than Mojsovski did last year as well as 50% more dribbles per game and a lot more accurate crosses. Elsewhere, I am reasonably happy with the form of pure backup Vielliard and I have enjoyed the pace and power of Joao Roberto - although there is a case that I need to reign him in and teach him to be a bit cleverer with his play. Schonfeld has, again, disappointed and his time here is surely coming to a close.

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I am delighted with how Royer and Taseski have stepped in for the injured Costa, who amassed just 57% of his minutes from last year and missed 44% of the season with injury. However, Pedroso has been the standout with 25 goal contributions from the left hand side and a new and developing skillset which now encompasses all of the traits I wanted him to learn.

Ribic really needs upgrading but there are few players available who are as happy as he to be rotational options. Plus, we have history!

---

My old transfer record was a meagre €6m for Goran Adilovic, but, in preparation for next season, I have smashed that! This is the man:

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I've met the €14m release clause for Ole Berendt from Brondby as a replacement for the aging Tiago Dantas (comparison) and rotation for Taulant Kabashi (comparison).  He obviously fits in with my philosophy of signing young players from slightly less fanciable markets and will, presumably, command a good sell-on fee, too. His personality is really close, in terms of hidden attributes, to that of a Model Citizen, so I'm hoping that I can work out what is needed to turn that over (usually a little bit of Professionalism, of which we have in abundance) and his wage demands are low (just €20k p/w) as he's unhappy at Brondby. As I already suggested in an earlier post, I'm looking to, where possible, sign for the youth team first but, with Zhao Qi not ready yet, and little talent in this role (as well as €150m burning a hole in my back pocket), this kind of signing is necessary.

Whilst he is performing really well in the 3F Superliga this season - a league rated slightly below ours - it is the combination of he and Toni Gonzalez that I am really looking forward to creating: 

Ole is on the left and Toni on the right:

cff6fbb7c27847297c80fe3362c955ee.png

  • Both are incredibly good technicians and will be the cog of the team.
  • Toni is a superior finisher whilst Ole is slightly better at passing
  • Ole is slightly better at long shots whilst Toni is slightly better at finishing from inside the 18 yard box
  • Ole is naturally fitter but will not get up-and-down as much as Toni during a game.
  • Toni's traits make him a great option to break the lines and get in the box, whereas Ole's traits, right now, suit someone more comfortable sitting back and getting the pre-assist.

Add the homegrown combo on Pedroso and, hopefully, Joao Roberto, on the wings with some mettle in Zehnder, Mihaljovic or similar behind sitting behind them and I think we have all the makings of a top quality midfield here.

In terms of future deals, I'm not too sure of anything, yet but am open to the following:

  • An upgrade on Schonfeld (RW) that will allow Joao Roberto further development time and rotate with Joachim Magola.
  • A replacement for Nixon Mazinot at right back, although, this will be short term as I have two potential players in Bocaly and Kongnyuy who look like being good enough to fill that role.
  • Maybe a DM who can pass as I feel I've missed a trick with Mihaljovic. Great everywhere else, except can't nail a 10 yard forward pass.

And then, obviously, and further replacements for the player merry-go-round that will inevitably happen when bigger clubs come sniffing round my players.

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June 2035

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Obviously not a lot of football going on here with just one friendly to mark the end of my training camp in Cyprus.

With a depleted squad due to internationals, I gave a debut to Ole Berendt and, as is now custom, gave him a penalty to open his account. I tend to use this method to give confidence back/to new players and, most of the time, it pays off. The truth is though is that he is a class act and would have played well anyway. I have made one small switch to my setup, reverting, actually, to the initial midfield combo when I first started with this shape back at Meyrin - using an AP(s) along side the MEZ(a) in central midfield. Whilst it is just one game against poor opposition, the difference is clear between Ole and Taulant Kabashi, who occupied that part of the field at the back end of last year:

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Now - the style that I am trying to perfect is essentially a fluid counter attacking, vertical tiki-takai-ing (insert as many other buzz words as possible here) style whereby, basically, we attack with pace and move the ball forward quickly, with little regard to possession statistics. Now, I know that bringing in an AP will slow that down and attract the ball, but, sometimes I have been a little naïve in expecting the central midfielders to be bypassed by directness and still engage with our play. The fact that Berendt created one less key pass compared to the seven games of Kabashi shows that I need these creative players to get on the ball. What is more, I feel that we may have been missing a link up man, as is backed up by the below data:

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Six of the top seven most used passing combinations involve Ole. From watching the game, I didn't feel that he slowed the game down, although I did see a couple of opportunities where the ball could have gone forward but was, instead, moved to him. However, Ole did then move it forward himself and the players were then, largely, in more promising positions. I want to explore how Kabashi plays this role too and then my next jobs are to look at how the A(d) and FB(au) roles will need to develop in order to a) get the best out of the players I have or b) to make me realise I need new players.

Elsewhere in the friendly, Jonathan Royer continued his good form stepping in for the injured, again Anderson Costa.

----

I have just about solidified my u21 squad for the forthcoming season and pre-loaded their training schedule into the calendar, ensuring that they are working on similar skills and drills to the first team to allow optimum attribute development in the areas I believe are key, with further focus on roles, traits and individual foci to ensure that the players are ready to move on to me when needed:

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This is a really strong group of players who are very talented for their age. I'd say that we have, probably, the most exciting academy outside of the Big 5 and the top two South American teams anywhere in the world.

----

Lastly, I pestered the board into some upgrades:

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There is also early talk of a new stadium, but I won't get excited...

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Fluid Counter-attacking Vertical Tiki-Taka Football? at Pace? Isn't that what everyone envisions when they play FM.

I do it slightly differently and don't mind having possession...but I also use it to relieve pressure on my defense IF Possible. 

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13 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Fluid Counter-attacking Vertical Tiki-Taka Football? at Pace? Isn't that what everyone envisions when they play FM.

I do it slightly differently and don't mind having possession...but I also use it to relieve pressure on my defense IF Possible. 

This is the most in depth I’ve ever got with tactics. Historically, I’d just build a shape and never even watch the games to see how they played out so never really ‘saw’ how my team played. Now I’ve matched that with tactical aspects of training and development and recruitment - I feel like, for the first time, I’ve really had a go at building the type of football I like to see. 
 

We are so compact defensively that I don’t worry about relieving the defenders as we are very hard to break down and - although I’ve grown up to be that ‘percentage player’ (make the choice with the highest percentage chance of coming off) - I’ve witnessed some wonderful offensive fluidity and defensive structure from this riskier style. 

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July 2035

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A handful of friendlies before kicking off our Raffeisen Super League campaign against a group of teams with an ever-growing amount of experience and quality.

I purposely tried to pick friendlies against opposition who essentially play anti-football and would look to sit back as that is our biggest issue at the moment - breaking down and through low blocks with teams who are not possession hungry. When teams come at us or, at least, value possession, we are able to break through and exploit spaces but we have struggled, particularly against five-at-the-back shapes to do well. Annoyingly, none of the teams did play five at the back, but there was times when only one of the sides were actually trying to play football! We came through unscathed and ready for the season ahead.

We faced up to Servette, who had a familiar face on the bench in Tomaso Gavioli, who was an important player for us but lost his way after a move to Udinese as well as another player I spent time trying to develop, Dylan Fischler. Our analysis shows how strong we were, getting into the area to create chances and convert them. The only potential worry is the number of sideways passes but, again, we faced a team not really interested in playing football, hence the number of short and not-vertical passes. There was more possession that I'd expect or really want but a combined nine key passes from my midfield duo of Berendt (4) and Gonzalez (5) is a great start to really pushing the way I envisage us playing. I was delighted to see Anderson Costa open the scoring before then taking the penalty off him (again, trying to get good ratings, end scoring droughts, kick off scoring streaks etc) to give it to Toni Gonzalez who calmly slotted away. We didn't start the second half well and a scrappy goal was a real wake up call for us but we then continued to create chances and then put the game to bed thanks to goals from 26-minute substitutes Royer and Ribic.

We ended the month with more good goalscoring form, this time against YB - taking our total to nine already. Four more key passes from Ole Berendt and another two assists to take his total to four already. Scarily, he's converting 50% of his key passes into assists at the moment and it was stand-in Mezzala, Pece Taseski (with Gonzalez injured, I prefer a more direction option to Kabashi and Dantas who are more suited to the playmaker role) who set up the other two - taking the totals for central midfield pairings to 6 shots, 2 goals (1 penalty) from a total of 0.60 non penalty xG , 4 assists and 15 key passes. I feel like we're making some good moves here. Our analysis again shows a little more sideways-action than I'd like but the 44% possession is about what we normally get. Another early goal from Costa, but again, a sloppy concession happened before we woke up and took the game from them. It was left to another late goal, this time from Zakharov, to really put the game to bed but we did allow YB a succession of small chances throughout the game that we do need to cut out.

A strong start with a nice deep dive into the tactical work I've put in over the summer. Let's keep it up!

----

I love to see these little emails updating me on progress and unpicking why things have developed as they have:

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Pedroso, now a wonderkid, has really developed well and has all of the traits that I want. Now, I didn't intend for him to learn the Offside Trap - however, that will be another reason for him to push on to the last defender and get into goal scoring positions. He has now moved to Resolute after reaching 15 for DET but Media Friendly tells me nothing else of note. I know that his Ambition is developing but, with no assurances of his Professionalism, will allow him to continue his mentoring from Dantas. Tiago has the 'Dictates Tempo' trait, which, is passed on, isn't going cause too much of an issue - however, I'd rather he, Toni Gonzalez and potentially Joao Roberto (also in the mentoring group) all have it but that is a bridge I'll cross when/if I get to it.

I've been tracking the development of Patrick Bocaly, who has just started his international career with Martinique and has appeared in the Gold Cup. Whilst he is far from ready, at 6'5" and improving quite nicely, the 17 year old ex- Monaco man looks to have a bright future at the club, particularly as the players ahead of him, Troncoso and Mazinet are not performing too well. I see that Patrick, and fellow u21 and academy graduate right back Kongnyuy, could be in the first team in the coming years.

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I'd like a little more pace from him, but, given the low block, he's unlikely to get caught with a player in behind. However, his Heading does worry me as the statistics say that most of our goals conceded come down the left hand side and most of them are crosses - indicating the need for a little extra height (which he has) and heading ability (which he doesn't) at the far post.

It is worth noting that every player within the u21 squad now has been fully analysed and has a development plan, which includes Trait development, positioning training and an additional focus that focuses on Defensive Positioning (hits Decisions from my DNA), Attacking Movement (hits Anticipation and Decisions) or Goalkeeper Reactions (hits Anticipation) unless there is a significant need elsewhere, see Freire and his need for quickness in his role.

--

In terms of recruitment, I've made a couple of slight changes:

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Schonfeld moves on after what can only be described as a couple of really poor years. I am going to trust Joao Roberto to replace him. As I said, he's raw and doesn't have the best intelligence, certainly not fitting in with my club DNA, but his pace gives him the ability to change games. For now, he'll play second fiddle to Magola as he gets acclimatised to this level.

Staff wise, Head of Youth Development Regis le Bris moves on as I look to ensure that the finer details, such as playing style and preferred formation, are slightly closer to what I want. Gerson Alegria, found as a favoured staff member of u21 signing Valdemir Friere, moves in after leaving Benfica. He's obviously top quality and, although the 5-2-1-2 doesn't fit what I play - I like the idea of using the attacking wing backs he may look to create. Again, it doesn't use wingers but I must admit to my own style not using natural wingers (certainly not on the left, anyway). He comes with the Model Citizen personality, too.

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Lots happening!

Season has started well by the looks of things, with some nice tweaks in the squad. I like how your easing away from Dante already this season, with your central mids putting up some nice numbers.

I forgot how quick Joao Roberto is :idiot:

I really like the look of your new HoYD :applause:

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1 hour ago, Sonic Youth said:

Season has started well by the looks of things, with some nice tweaks in the squad. I like how your easing away from Dante already this season, with your central mids putting up some nice numbers.

Yeah - I'm excited about how they've started and how I can really adapt their roles to the situation I am in. This is definitely way deeper than I've gone before with this kind of thing.

1 hour ago, Sonic Youth said:

I forgot how quick Joao Roberto is :idiot:

He's rapid isn't he? I do wish that he was a little more intelligent but, with acceleration like he has, he just beats defenders for fun. With age and maturity, he'll get better at knowing what to do once he's done that.

1 hour ago, Sonic Youth said:

I really like the look of your new HoYD :applause:

Complete accident, as I said. Was looking through Freire's profile and it said he was favoured staff but his contract had expired at Benfica, so I got in. The narrative-person in me wants to see him develop really well under the tutelage of his ex-teacher, now!

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On 25/07/2021 at 14:35, _Ben_ said:

May 2035

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A nice end to the league season as we confirmed our fourth successive league title, as we are truly building a dynasty at the club.

The league was, Zurich aside, almost a procession - with wins over Lausanne and YB as well as a last minute winner against a much-improved Sion side.

Europe ended on a slightly sour note - with Lyon Houssem Aour destroying us in the first leg - finding a worldie of a pass to find Udah unmarked at the back post before netting a penalty than even the commentators thought was harsh. Again, it all comes back to game management. I didn't expect him to play the full-90, given his age and physicality, so opted for two more creative midfielders in the away leg to try and engineer more counter attacks. It failed. He ran the game as a Deep Lying Playmaker.

In the second leg, I moved BWM Dani Mihaljovic up to an MC and man marked him - he barely had a kick.  As you can see from the ratings of their defenders, we were on top but never really got close enough to the goal to create proper chances. Despite finishing the game, again, with something like five forwards on, we couldn't break down their resilient defence and our European adventure ended there. I am still incredibly proud of the journey though.

Despite our struggles in the cup this season - there was a fairy-tale for FOURTH TIER Chur 97, who reached the final, losing, in Extra time to YB. Looking at the history, third tier Munsingen have done well recently but it's great to see the underdog story.

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Even though we haven't quite been as strong as in previous years (we've lost the same number of games this year as the last three combined), our xG totals are still really strong - scoring more than expected and picking up more points than expected.  In fitting with our counter attacking style, we have the least offensive actions (passes) per assist out of the whole league and have just crossed the threshold into the 'clinical' side - something for us to work on with our finishing next year. As you'd expect with a top defence and the countries goalkeeper, we are impenetrable but also quiet due our compact shape and offensive prowess.

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YB (top left quadrant - most crosses) and St. Gallen (far right - best cross completion) are the outliers here but we are performing well with our crosses, something that I tried to work on last year with the signing of Nikita Zakharov. As you'd expect, we don't attempt many passes given our style but complete a decent number of them - however, this isn't a figure that forms a KPI for the team as I'd rather complete 5 out of 10 and create a great chance from 4 of them than complete 9 out of 10 but only create a great chance from 1 of them, for example. Similarly to our overall defensive stats - we don't tackle much, but when we do, we win the ball. Ideal in a deeper block.

----

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An area that looks really strong on paper but has, maybe, not quite lived up to the expectations that I'd expect from them - certainly with their Average Ratings. As the ball player that steps out, I'd have wanted a little more in the way of Interceptions for Osemene although he is up from 1.24 last season.  I think that this defence has hugely missed the influence of Felipe Cifuentes, who moved on last summer and, even with breakouts for Ionesi (2,564 minutes compared to 1,632 last year) these player still need time to grow together.

I think that, Ademi aside, the top four will continue to grow as a group and will be much better in the years to come.

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Another rebuilt area from last year - with only Mazinot and Zehnder remaining. Zehnder's output is slightly down in terms of passes completed but this is largely due to a change of role from DM(d) to A(d) - however, he's also made less key tackles (2 to 5) and interceptions (0.80 to 0.85/90. I would say that Mihajlovic has done around the same - very little difference in interceptions and key tackles - suggesting that the role of an anchor man maybe isn't needed there as there is these jobs to perform. However, the concern for me is not really statistical (although a 93% pass completion - best in my team) but in game - he just cannot make a pass to save his life and, consequently, just passes sideways or backwards to a team mate. Now - this role isn't the essential creator in the team but I do want players who are able to pick out a pass from anywhere and encourage my centre backs to do that.

Mazinot, in a similar comparison to Zehnder - is down on tackles (1.68 to 1.88), key tackles (13 to 14), headers (1.68 to 1.91), and Interceptions/90 (1.18 to 1.85) - all in all, not a great season. Again though, it's not as if Troncoso has eclipsed those totals - meaning that it is maybe the role that is wrong. He plays as a FB(au) at the moment to create the third centre half but defensively, isn't really matching up. Now, I know I attack a lot but I cannot operate with just two defenders so the extra man needs to come from somewhere!

Lots to think of with these four players over the summer.

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Toni Gonzlez is the standout here with 11 more goals than last year as he moved from a supporting Mezzala to an attacking one - making use of his attributes and player traits. Dantas continues to do Dantas things - with a decreasing number yet still a wonderful amount of key passes/90 as he just opens up defences. Kabashi has been a strange one - moving between the CM(s) and BBM(s) role - he's averaged really badly (down 0.1 from last year) yet has recorded three more assists, leading the team this season.

Without Shpendi after his disastrous time here, we've been short in this area.

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Injuries have led to a poor season from Magola but much credit needs to be given to Zakharov, my new acquisition. He's provided more assists than Mojsovski did last year as well as 50% more dribbles per game and a lot more accurate crosses. Elsewhere, I am reasonably happy with the form of pure backup Vielliard and I have enjoyed the pace and power of Joao Roberto - although there is a case that I need to reign him in and teach him to be a bit cleverer with his play. Schonfeld has, again, disappointed and his time here is surely coming to a close.

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I am delighted with how Royer and Taseski have stepped in for the injured Costa, who amassed just 57% of his minutes from last year and missed 44% of the season with injury. However, Pedroso has been the standout with 25 goal contributions from the left hand side and a new and developing skillset which now encompasses all of the traits I wanted him to learn.

Ribic really needs upgrading but there are few players available who are as happy as he to be rotational options. Plus, we have history!

---

My old transfer record was a meagre €6m for Goran Adilovic, but, in preparation for next season, I have smashed that! This is the man:

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I've met the €14m release clause for Ole Berendt from Brondby as a replacement for the aging Tiago Dantas (comparison) and rotation for Taulant Kabashi (comparison).  He obviously fits in with my philosophy of signing young players from slightly less fanciable markets and will, presumably, command a good sell-on fee, too. His personality is really close, in terms of hidden attributes, to that of a Model Citizen, so I'm hoping that I can work out what is needed to turn that over (usually a little bit of Professionalism, of which we have in abundance) and his wage demands are low (just €20k p/w) as he's unhappy at Brondby. As I already suggested in an earlier post, I'm looking to, where possible, sign for the youth team first but, with Zhao Qi not ready yet, and little talent in this role (as well as €150m burning a hole in my back pocket), this kind of signing is necessary.

Whilst he is performing really well in the 3F Superliga this season - a league rated slightly below ours - it is the combination of he and Toni Gonzalez that I am really looking forward to creating: 

Ole is on the left and Toni on the right:

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  • Both are incredibly good technicians and will be the cog of the team.
  • Toni is a superior finisher whilst Ole is slightly better at passing
  • Ole is slightly better at long shots whilst Toni is slightly better at finishing from inside the 18 yard box
  • Ole is naturally fitter but will not get up-and-down as much as Toni during a game.
  • Toni's traits make him a great option to break the lines and get in the box, whereas Ole's traits, right now, suit someone more comfortable sitting back and getting the pre-assist.

Add the homegrown combo on Pedroso and, hopefully, Joao Roberto, on the wings with some mettle in Zehnder, Mihaljovic or similar behind sitting behind them and I think we have all the makings of a top quality midfield here.

In terms of future deals, I'm not too sure of anything, yet but am open to the following:

  • An upgrade on Schonfeld (RW) that will allow Joao Roberto further development time and rotate with Joachim Magola.
  • A replacement for Nixon Mazinot at right back, although, this will be short term as I have two potential players in Bocaly and Kongnyuy who look like being good enough to fill that role.
  • Maybe a DM who can pass as I feel I've missed a trick with Mihaljovic. Great everywhere else, except can't nail a 10 yard forward pass.

And then, obviously, and further replacements for the player merry-go-round that will inevitably happen when bigger clubs come sniffing round my players.

Really keen to tap into how you develop players in relation to making changes to their personality, is this done via mentoring or am I missing something completely! This is an area of the game which I don't really utilise but am keen to develop...I only started to schedule my own training this year and can't believe how much of a difference it makes rather than relying on the Ass Man.

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2 minutes ago, MattyLewis11 said:

Really keen to tap into how you develop players in relation to making changes to their personality, is this done via mentoring or am I missing something completely! This is an area of the game which I don't really utilise but am keen to develop...I only started to schedule my own training this year and can't believe how much of a difference it makes rather than relying on the Ass Man.

It's just mentoring!

I use the 'Discuss poor performance' tool to warn and talk to the players when they rate at less than 6.5 and that does have an impact on personalities in as much as it can change a Balanced player to F.Det if their Determination reaches 15, for example.

In the past, I've done lots of research and measured the importance of good personalities at intake day and, to be fair, gamed it to ensure I had solely M.Citizens or M.Pros in the youth staff but nowadays, I'm just focusing on the best I can there. Additionally, I try and recruit good personalities and then it's just a case of mentoring appropriately, which, to be fair, hasn't had amazing results (well, no more than expected, anyway).

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August 2035

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The first game of the month, against another old boy in Andre Diaz, saw the first poor performance of the season, despite a win. Statistically, we dominated - comfortably exceeding their xG and creating some decent chances but it was the Berendt/Gonzalez duo that concerned me the most. Whilst Toni ended with a 6.9 rating and 4 key passes, Ole was hauled off with a 6.3 rating, spoken to in the team talk and then fined a day's wages. He didn't like it, but the discussion was promising and didn't damage morale. My concerns lie, particularly against a team not hugely set out to beat us, is that, when his space is stifled, he's ineffectual. As we move the ball quickly, we often do bypass the players marked but, this costs us, as we're far less creative. Looking at the heat map and average positions of my midfield (Berendt #10, Gonzalez #7), you can see that a) they are operating far too close together anyway and, wherever they went, Thun's midfield pair followed. I currently use an AP(s) and a Mez(a) combo but that could  end up becoming a DLP(s)/Mez(a) or even a RPM(s)/Mez(a) should I need to find spaces. 3 points, at the end of the day, though, is 3 points.

I set out a strong XI against Zurich, even including Dani Mihajlovic, who had spoke out recently about his contractual state and was annoyed when I had told him that he needed to earn that with performances on the pitch. My Team Leaders called a short meeting and I appeased them but that does leave both Dani and Levin Zehnder, who is out of contract at the end of the year and wanting to move on, not the happiest and me with little depth behind them. Zurich, as expected, lined up with a horrifically defensive 5-4-1 shape that I have previously struggled to break down. Immediately, I added Play for Set Pieces as an extra layer of breaking down their defence and moved Berendt to a DLP(s) but we really didn't create much. The first goal did come from a set play in the end and we didn't need to get out of 2nd gear, as seen by the analysis - with particular note on the lack of shots Zurich had. Again though, much harder than I'd want against a team not set out to play football.

We then travelled to third tier Tuggen, hoping to avoid a similar embarrassment to last season. I put out the second string but nobody outside of the first team 24 players. Yet again, we statistically dominated but took longer than I wanted to put the game to bed, and, concerningly, lost Vielliard and Joao Roberto to injuries in the first half. These games don't really teach me much as, obviously, Tuggen wanted to do nothing but defend but my players are also far superior. However, I've learnt a little more in regards to shouts and motivation as well as what I need to be saying to the press before and after.

The month ended with a resounding victory, our fifth in a row, over Lausanne, who could not contain the direct off the ball running on Toni Gonzalez. I deployed Berendt as an RPM(s), believing that, despite being at home, Lausanne wouldn't attempt much through their midfield duo. In the end, he was a little quieter than I wanted but the work was done elsewhere. What really got me in this game though was how clinical we can be. Goals from set plays and counter attacks are bringer a lower xG, according to the analysis, yet we are blowing teams away with the scoreline. Of course, it was an annoyance to concede a late goal and, maybe, not to push on even more after the hour mark but it's a great 100% start to the season.

---

With the depth I've gone into tactically - watching games in enormous detail and analysing them during and after, there is little to report elsewhere - except for the fact that the u21 team has had a great start and top the Challenge League. However, I have concerns about my second choice goalkeeper, Celiento:

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There is no change to personality but this will make me consider his long term pathway into the first team.

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