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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:

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...

8a8f5ccb00da056c289fec386aeece96.png

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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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3ce3a5f45191af7cc80baa573d5c8ff0.png

747fa45ef17327fe2b9e9651f5e386e8.png

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March 2035

e170271994c4c8cce25c999463ef9755.png

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:

686de48f0cc89ca032d14d1cb20d18e0.png

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:

1de7372b1e15439b8f8734862edfd996.png

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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