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[FM21] Swiss Army Knife


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3 hours ago, KrKAlex said:

Hi Ben,

I love reading about your career. Concise, well written and interesting! Thank you for sharing!

Thank you so much. I enjoy playing and, even though I question it every time I start a new save, I enjoy posting about it!

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2028/39 Three Quarter Update

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A little less playing time today but the juggernaut still continues to roll on!

An absolutely scintillating set of results that sees us just four wins from promotion. We started with yet another tough game away at Fribourg. Our away form has been less than exemplary, compared to our home form anyway, but going back to my old stomping ground has been the hardest place to visit this year. They are an organised and well drilled side who defend really well and have pace on the attack - continuing to overachieve in their semi-pro status. We followed that with, what I'd consider, a poor mid-season break as we really didn't get enough match fitness or morale and, as such, were tired and complacent against Chiasso, who scored both their goals through ex-Meyrin striker Hoxha. A lovely run in February followed with just the one goal - again from a corner, conceded and plenty of goals scored. That run has continued into March as we look to sew the league up as soon as we can.

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Performance wise, we are head and shoulders above the rest of the league. Whilst I haven't created a monster, we are efficient, and practice set pieces often and Gavioli, as my set piece taken, has reaped the rewards. The most incredible one here though is Stefano Herzog and his amazing clean sheet record. The more I look, the more I realise he isn't just good enough for this league and would easily get in most top flight teams, too.

My youth development is ticking along really well - in particular Anderson Costa. He's a little technically flawed (but not in the Shadow Striker or Winger areas) but is such a hard worker and an absolute pain for defenders. He's developed really well this season and I'm utilising him in a way that gives him the best chances of success - predominantly in home games against smaller sides, so he can use his pace on the break. His eight league goals come from just eight starts as he ties Marcio Veiga on 0.65 goals/90, scoring a league high goal every 102 minutes  and has also chipped in with 0.24 assists/90. I'm also trying to find minutes for Levin Zehnder and Taulant Kabashi in the same kind of ways. I have been able to completely integrate two 18 year olds into the team this season and, I must say, they have been great:

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Gavioli was at the club when I joined, following a €2.4k move from Torres, in Italy but Mojsovski hadn't tasted first team football until this season.

---

I also had my youth intake in this time, and it was like I'd never seen before.

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With four poached players, we actually brought 20 new faces into the club in the largest pool I have ever experienced. Sadly, the depth wasn't that great but, in Nixon Mazinet, I do, potentially, have a player worth spending time developing.

As I work out my limits on players and the quality of the leagues, I will decide to sign more and more of these players.

---

Also, the board allowed me to extend my deal here:

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Edited by _Ben_
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Really fantastic thread, although no surprises there. Just caught up with it all. 

Interesting to see you do a journeyman type save. 

I've never paid so much attention to training (apart from the individual stuff) but after seeing this wondering if I should. Do you think the team training is accelerating player development at your current club? 

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12 hours ago, Lodi Lemmer said:

Congratulations on the successful start at Luzern! I hope the 4 necessary wins for promotion come quickly for you.

 

11 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Hoping for success for you!

 

Thank you both!

3 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

In this case excellent work.

Ahh, yes. Of course. Did you post as 'Sonic Youth' on TD? I  can vaguely remember some of the members...

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8 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Really fantastic thread, although no surprises there. Just caught up with it all. 

Interesting to see you do a journeyman type save. 

I've never paid so much attention to training (apart from the individual stuff) but after seeing this wondering if I should. Do you think the team training is accelerating player development at your current club? 

Thank you very much. It's been a different type of save but one that has really opened my eyes to a whole new style of play and one that I'll certainly stick with going forward.

In terms of team training - definitely! It's been a game changer. I can create a tactic and then feel like I am improving the attributes required to play that tactic. We are also able to keep injuries down through sensible workloads and I'm no longer faced with complete 'physical' weeks mid-season, for example, instead, spreading out 'blocks' I like, such as tactics to be hit every week. It's been great fun and I really recommend it. Maybe starting at a semi-pro level was the catalyst because there is just not much you can do!

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May 2029: Youth Development

Anderson Costa

Darko Mojsovski

Stefano Herzog

---

I can't take all the credit for Herzog, as he was already first choice when I arrived but it gives me great happiness to have been able to develop two youth players, who had never played for the first team before this season, to now be considered as top flight players. Costa, yet to even turn 18, could even go on to be the top scorer in the league - some breakthrough season!

The job is to continue to do this, allowing players who have outgrown us to move on and replace them with other young players, either from the academy or elsewhere. I want to run a really young squad for Luzern as we enter the top flight and I'm excited to see what my recruitment team can find me.

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Good work with the youngsters above.

Costa looks like the type of player who can dominate at this level due to his athleticism/engine. I think you have the right idea by using him in a role where he's attacking space and not necessarily seeing a ton of the ball but rather being a threat in behind/pressing without the ball.

Really like the look of Majsovski as well. High attributes in the right places, can play a number of roles, shouldn't need to rotate very often. Think he'll make the jump to the top tier without an issue.

Herzog looks like your ideal keeper with his personality, ball playing ability, and low eccentricity. Maybe not the greatest shot stopper, but his command/other qualities make up for it IMO. Maybe he's the player you bring from club to club in this save?

Enjoying this as much as ever!

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2028/29 Season Review

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We plundered our way through the final nine fixtures, scoring 32 times and conceding just four with Anderson Costa netting an amazing fifteen times in that period, although he did become my penalty taker. Our play has been so good in this period, alternating between shorter offensive play and longer, more direct passes when required - meaning we are able to both through a block and over one. 

---

Team Review

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Complete and utter domination across the season as we broke the Challenge League record for games won, points won and goals scored, more than likely breaking the record for goal difference, too. There has not been an area on the pitch that we have utterly impressed me in. I want to gather some team statistics as I can use them as a nice comparison at the end of next season following our return to the top flight.

Defensive solidity

  • A league best 13 goals conceded, just 0.36/90.
  • We allowed just 17.78 xGA, which is over 100% less than the second best team, Lugano.
  • 25 clean sheets, which is not only a record for Stefano Herzig, but also the league.
  • We attempted just 471 (13.1/game) tackles, a league low, but had the highest win % of them, at 83%. This is mirrored by the fact we led the league in interceptions, 631 at 17.5/game - meaning we complete just over 28 defensive actions (10.86 completed tackles/90) per game. Compare this to bottom of the table Schaffhausen who complete 14.7 tackles/90 and 14.8 interceptions/90, we just do what we need to and do it well.
  • We allowed, on average, just 4.8 shots/90 (compared to 8.39 for 2nd best Lugano) and 2.28 shots on target/90 (again, nearly half the 4.17 Lugano allow).

Transitional prowess

  • We lead the league with 2.14 dribbles/90.
  • We completed 22% of our total crosses, amounting to 317, which is the third best in the league.
  • We lost possession the least number of times - averaging 4.92 passes per possession lost, compared to the worst side, Wil, who average 2.84.
  • We completed 89% of our passes, a league high and completed more overall passes than any other side, 13967.

 Goal scoring threat

  • 2.61 goals per/game, over 0.7 goals/game better than the next best side.
  • Created an xG of 71.72, meaning we outscored our xG by 23. For reference, Lugano scored an xG of 61 and scored 64 times, a difference of just 3.
  • We scored 90% of our 10 penalties, a league high number.
  • We attempted 607 shots, which is the third best in the league and 25.49 passes per shot.
  • 46% of our shots were on target we converted 17% of them - averaging a goal every 148 passes.

---

Player Review

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Starting in goal, Stefano broke all kinds of records as he kept 25 clean sheets and was so solid in the backline that he earned an international call up and became the first academy player, under my tenure, to get capped for Switzerland (second full international after North Macedonian Mojsovski). He was a wonderful sweeper keeper, even providing a couple of key passes and interceptions outside of his box, too.

Defensively, the trio of Andre Silva, who brought solidity and possession retention, Yannick Bayiha, who brought good passing ability and a goal threat at set plays and Darko Mojsovski, who brought a great out-ball and offensive threat, were amazing, and all from the academy, too. I was able to rotate Schmeid, Grahovic, Bachman and the young Fischler into the other CB role, knowing that the core of my defence was very strong. Erik de Groot and another academy player, Levin Zehnder marshalled well from the Half Back role - the latter also providing a good number of key passes.

In front, Gavioli-the Great created 19 goals, a league high and has developed amazingly well, allowing Taulant Kabashi to get plenty of minutes in his shadow and really impress me. His average rating may not be the highest but he keeps the ball well, creates a lot of key passes and has a decent offensive threat - even if that's something that needs refining over time. Pilik and Veiga (since Costa's introduction) have played well on the left but I've really missed an out an out right winger, with Kunert, Nedeljkovic and Ljubenovic featuring there. I've had to be super careful with the latter as his inabilty to handle pressure has seen him crumble and, as such, me to favour him in easier games. He's a decent player, just not cut out to develop much more, sadly. The pensioner, Bryan Rabello, may lead the league in key passes/90 but didn't quite fulfil the role I wanted - however, I'll be looking for a similarly old number 10 to replace him next year - hopefully one who can be a good mentor, too.

Up top is my favourite player from this save, Anderson Costa. I made a call to play him against weaker opposition earlier in the season and he thrived and was then fine to come off the bench to get valuable minutes against bigger teams. As the season progressed, he's made the AMC slot his own and, despite not being natural, has been great. I also decided to make him my designated penalty taker towards the end of the season as more goals = better ratings = better development and, hopefully, more consistent performances. As a leftie playing in a shape that favours play down the left, he's able to drift and pick the ball up before using his pace. I also absolutely love his work rate. 4th in the league for xG but scoring once every 70 mins, some 40 mins better than the next is amazing for anyone, let alone a 17 year old in his break out year.

---

Once again, I'm starting a summer greeted by an annoying board, vision:

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Direct football.

I'm hoping that I can work past it and just play the game I want, rather than have it forced upon me but we'll see. 

I plan to use the off-season to work on three to four areas that I need strengthening:

  • A right winger who is good enough for the first team
  • An experienced number 10 who can be a good mentor
  • Another striking option as backup/rotation for Costa
  • A right footed centre back

I'm setting up the scouts now to get that sorted whilst I enjoy a couple of week break from this! What a wonderful season and, what is more, I think we can do well next year, too. I've never really had a team that I've managed that have been outright favourites with a squad much stronger than the rest - so I've always tried to survive. I want to see how this one works out.

 

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1 hour ago, tyler16 said:

Good work with the youngsters above.

Costa looks like the type of player who can dominate at this level due to his athleticism/engine. I think you have the right idea by using him in a role where he's attacking space and not necessarily seeing a ton of the ball but rather being a threat in behind/pressing without the ball.

Really like the look of Majsovski as well. High attributes in the right places, can play a number of roles, shouldn't need to rotate very often. Think he'll make the jump to the top tier without an issue.

Herzog looks like your ideal keeper with his personality, ball playing ability, and low eccentricity. Maybe not the greatest shot stopper, but his command/other qualities make up for it IMO. Maybe he's the player you bring from club to club in this save?

Enjoying this as much as ever!

Thanks!

I hope Costa can make the step up. The top tier is now the 10th most reputable but, given the fact that, as you say, we do play to his strengths, I'm not going to need a top class forward. Maybe. Mojsovski is, as you say, pretty wonderful and I'm also currently loving the attribute spread on Kabashi right now.

Yep, Herzog has it all but I don't know how long I'll be able to keep him for, in reality. My issue is that there is nobody else behind him even remotely good enough so I'll have to find someone. I don't know how many more clubs will be in this save, now. If I hit a ceiling with Luzern, maybe, but this club has so much potential and I think I'll be here for five years or so, which is more than likely going to be longer than Herzog.

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The ME still rewards pace....in the attack.....

 

As for Keepers I tend to like Tall Keepers with good Reflexes.....and can play sweeperkeeper

But then I like tall players in general....out physical the other team if you can't beat them technically.....even though I like to try and play like Man City currently.

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23 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

Ahh, yes. Of course. Did you post as 'Sonic Youth' on TD? I  can vaguely remember some of the members...

...with a Honeypot for some, other times as Sonic. Can’t remember if I used other names.

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July 2029: Summer Review

Evolution not revolution has been the name of this summer, with just four new faces, and one promoted player, to the first team.

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David Mistrafovic was the first to join, or should I say re-join. I haven't managed him but he spent nine years at the club after coming through the system before moving to Zurich for just under €1m. He came in on a free and adds some real defensively quality. He's not the progressive defender I envisage for the future, but will add some much needed experience to a young side. Jordy Gaspar is the ohter experienced head, as he signs on a free after leaving Grenoble. He's the ideal inverted wingback as he's really well rounded. I'm not going to get more than maybe two years from him but that does give me some time to source a replacement. Ales Ribic joins me, again. Ales was from the first intake I had at Meyrin and was wonderful. I am aware that this is the top tier and not the fourth and he has some serious holes in his game but I am now at a club that can push him to reach the potential I've always been told he has. Even though I've now flipped my formation to focus play down the left, favouring an inverted winger, I think that his pace can still be of massive benefit to me. He only cost €80k from Lugano, where, interestingly, he'd spent time on loan at Fribourg following my departure. The last signing is Joachim Magola - from the PSG academy. Another one with great pace and, quite like Costa, not really suited for a striker role. I see him as a winger and have begun retraining there. A four year deal is a big commitment but I'm sure that there will be some sell-on opportunity if it fails.

---

Nixon Mazinot has been promoted to my first team despite his age. My u21 side play in the fourth tier but my staff feel he's good enough for the second tier and, at just 15, I don't feel it's appropriate to loan him out, just yet. There could be a really good player in here and, giving him the spotlight in the first team and the odd minute here and there, I hope to see some progress over the next year.

Likewise, I've been looking at progress for my current crop of first team players, such as Anderson Costa. His last set of individual training was a massive success so I'm now going to look at his Shooting ability, to try and make him even more lethal. It's not all positive though, as players like Tomaso Gavioli, despite his good performances in the team, has not made the progress I want, and, as such, not developed the key areas in his game.

---

I'm fairly happy with the squad I've put together:

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The youngest, tallest, lowest valued side in the league.

I'm not a fan of the comparison as it's totally unrealistic to be able to compare attribute numbers with other teams, without statistics but it does believe that we're the most naturally fit, second most determined, fourth best anticipators, sixth in decision making and, overall, quite poor technically.

Time will tell!

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35 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

It's not all positive though, as players like Tomaso Gavioli, despite his good performances in the team, has not made the progress I want, and, as such, not developed the key areas in his game.

I see him being retrained as a forward, as he looks strongest in my eyes there. The difference with Costa looks like it is mostly speed and pace. That could be more beneficial to Gavioli and possibly a better training focus :onmehead:

Edited by Sonic Youth
More thoughts and finishing it off
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34 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

I see him being retrained as a forward, as he looks strongest in my eyes there. The difference with Costa looks like it is mostly speed and pace. That could be more beneficial to Gavioli and possibly a better training focus :onmehead:

His finishing and composure are great but I don't see him as being pacey enough to lead the line in a more counter attacking shape. However, as a pivot for those wider attacking players who then can get in the box, definitely. Something I will have a look into, especially as Kabashi is developing really well as a true playmaker.

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Posted (edited)

July 2029

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Some way to open your Super League goal account. However, they all count...

EDIT: Never seen this before but I love the bit in the press conference where I can say that I wouldn't swap him for Moukoko. I can't, honestly, give that option!

Edited by _Ben_
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37 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

July 2029

f71db872089c8959f4a6e62681a81a17.gif

Some way to open your Super League goal account. However, they all count...

EDIT: Never seen this before but I love the bit in the press conference where I can say that I wouldn't swap him for Moukoko. I can't, honestly, give that option!

Yes. Yes they do all count :D :lol:

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I'm such a one club man that I don't know the answer to this. When you moved from Fribourg to Luzern, was there an option to select their contract offer but start after the season ends? That way you could've tried to lead Fribourg to promotion and then make the step up to Luzern

If that's not an option then I feel it's something for SI to look at, I think it's quite common for a coach to have an agreement in place to join after the season

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43 minutes ago, Dereka said:

I'm such a one club man that I don't know the answer to this. When you moved from Fribourg to Luzern, was there an option to select their contract offer but start after the season ends? That way you could've tried to lead Fribourg to promotion and then make the step up to Luzern

If that's not an option then I feel it's something for SI to look at, I think it's quite common for a coach to have an agreement in place to join after the season

There is and I took it. However, when I took it, it set the date at something like 23rd May 2028, which was then set in stone. However, that contract didn't take into account that the playoff comes after the season and, as such, my date of moving was before those fixtures.

It's definitely something that SI need to look at because it should be flexible and would never happen like that in real life.

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I tend to agree with @Sonic Youth - Gavioli could be an interesting striker, if nothing else to add another profile to the options you have up top.

The more I look at his attributes, the more I'm surprised by his assist return last season. Do you think this was due to your dominance at the level, some tactical aspect that had him attempting final balls, perhaps just variance/overperformance? Perhaps I'm underrating his ability to the average defender in the second tier, but he certainly isn't amazing when it comes to passing/technique/dribbling, the qualities you'd associate with assists!

I see him as a poor man's Giroud, albeit weaker in multiple areas.

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1 hour ago, tyler16 said:

I tend to agree with @Sonic Youth - Gavioli could be an interesting striker, if nothing else to add another profile to the options you have up top.

The more I look at his attributes, the more I'm surprised by his assist return last season. Do you think this was due to your dominance at the level, some tactical aspect that had him attempting final balls, perhaps just variance/overperformance? Perhaps I'm underrating his ability to the average defender in the second tier, but he certainly isn't amazing when it comes to passing/technique/dribbling, the qualities you'd associate with assists!

I see him as a poor man's Giroud, albeit weaker in multiple areas.

I'm obviously in to next season now so can't check specifics but, by looking at centre back Bayiha's 7 goals - that is certainly 7 assists by Gavioli as he's my set piece taker. The other 12 will include some other set pieces and the odd through ball, but yes - I think the set play thing has pushed those figures to an elite level (in context) when, in reality, he's not. I do recall that the club was trying to train him as a striker (a poacher, if I recall) when I joined, but I took that training off to keep him in his natural role.

If you look at my three most offensive players, I think you can see what he lacks:

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Pace.

We have adapted our game to play a lot more on the counter of late, which has brought us some success so far (as you'll see from my next update) and he just lacks that. As I said - I'm actually really starting to prefer Kabashi, who has more traits of the playmaker than Gavioli. Add that to his lack of progress of late and he's potentially going to be someone who becomes dispensable, should the right offer come in.

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8 hours ago, deltablue said:

I hope things go well in the Superleague.

Thank you!

It's safe to say that I feel we've adapted well as I near the end of the first round of fixtures...

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2029/30 First Quarter Review

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We opened up with a really strong away win over Servette. Despite the fortuitous opener from Costa, we were strong throughout, restricting the home side to just one shot on target, worth 0.16 xG. Costa netted again and we finished the rout with a lovely strike from Half Back de Groot. Our total of 2.15 xG and 19 attempts on target was a really strong start. We entertained a surprisingly poor Basel side next who won through a slight tactical error from me. At half time, we were 0-0 and they'd not registered a single shot but one bad move in pushing the defensive line up, without amending the Line of Engagement saw them able to take the lead from a long ball over the top. Once again, we dominated shot number and quality wise, winning the xG 1.13 - 0.65. Our great away form continued as we demolished Zurich. At 2-0 up, their forward scored a Cantona-esque chip over the keeper and I worried but Raphael Kunert went one better with a 25 yard volley as we cemented our victory. Our away run ended with a lethargic performance against a defensive Thun side. We have faced that kind of 10-man-defence in the second tier but, as the quality is noticeably better, fell a little short. A nice easy progression in the cup preceded a game with Sion that saw my first taste of VAR as a manager; a penalty overturned in our favour after a great tackle from Darko Mojsovski but the game, otherwise, was dull as Sion failed to register a shot on target and we ran out comfortable winners.

September started with a hard-fought win over Lausanne, with us losing Magola and Ribic to injuries within the first fifteen minutes and Zehnder to red card following a rash tackle. However, 3-0 did not flatter as us we, once again, looked wonderful on the break. Another routine cup win came before a tough trip to St.Gallen, the biggest team in the league at the moment. It was the first time that we'd been 'outplayed' - just 37% of possession, three attempts at goal and a bit of a mare for Herzog as he was caught in No Man's Land following a long ball from Serrano. A 2-0 defeat though, in context, against the Champions, away from home, can't be considered a disaster. We fought back, and fought back well though with a resounding win over the other promoted sign, Lugano, even if I'm more annoyed at us conceding 2 goals than scoring 6. The highlight, for me, was the way that Anderson Costa reacted and took his goals following a tough little run whereby I had to fine him and discuss his profligacy in front of goal. We ended the turn with a hard fought draw against Young Boys - meaning that we've only lost twice in our first nine games in this league, which is outstanding!

What I love about our play is how we can switch from such a compact and tight defence to an incisive counter attack at the flick of a switch. Combining the intelligence attributes with great pace in the forward areas, as well as making our play slightly more direct (but not direct enough to please the board) we have become one of the best teams to watch as well as one of the most dangerous.

I am really optimistic about our chances this year as the thought of just survival is not in my mind. There is a gap forming already but is it too early to think about a European place?

---

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I've really taken to the training module, as you can probably tell, and I've liked what I've been able to do as a professional side. I have devised a shell schedule that is maintained each week - with the key areas that I want to work on in addition to the standard Match prep blocks. I tend to switch them round dependent on each opponent, for example - more defensive positioning against better sides. It is also important to note that we never train on a Monday as I look to ensure that I can keep a smaller squad fresh by not overtraining.

It's still really early days so unsure of just how much attribute development it is having. I added a new player, Fred Mickels, on loan from Bayern (spot the trend with what I want from my forwards) but I've noticed how slow the new players are to the learn the shape - even more pushing the need to get pre-season right as well as having a club embedded philosophy so players can come through the different levels.

---

Next, a problem:

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I'm certainly not against showing players who I have ploughed hours/seasons into to get the best of their development and then see them fail. Dylan Fischler could very much fall in to that category. A product of the academy and a player who I promoted at the same time as a host of other youngsters, he just hasn't made the progress that I'd expect of him and his attribute growth is non-existent. Looking at the notes I've made on him, he's made no progress on his individual training and hasn't reacted well to concerns over his development. My next throw of the dice is to use the mentoring process, as seen below:

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I don't want to use mentoring as a way to game the best personalities but will be making a concerted effort to see how much impact it can have. Fairly Ambitious isn't a bad personality, just there are no definitive value for his professional. Combine that with a lower than average Determination and you can start to see some issues. However - I was interested in the impact that first team football and training, alone, would have before I took this step - even though it really should have been a combined process but just wasn't possible previous to this due to the lack of suitable mentors.

We'll keep going but there comes a cut-off point where I need to either recruit or promote from within, and Fischler is edging closer to it.

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Nice going, you're making it look easy. The Super League doesn't know what's hit it.

All the work done on the training module must be having an effect, I admit that this is something I always delegate away immediately (and I imagine lots of people do the same). The extent of my input is normally just punishing the players by replacing any rest periods with defensive sessions for the next week after a big loss. 

Sounds like I'm missing a big opportunity here.

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5 hours ago, tyler16 said:

Gavioli

 

3 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

Pace

Has he stopped getting training gains?

How easy is it to train up pace and acceleration compared to finishing?

2 hours ago, tyler16 said:

Agree, I also like the look of Kabashi.

His player traits along with 17 Technique are perfect for a playmaker.

This.

2 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

2029/30 First Quarter Review

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We opened up with a really strong away win over Servette. Despite the fortuitous opener from Costa, we were strong throughout, restricting the home side to just one shot on target, worth 0.16 xG. Costa netted again and we finished the rout with a lovely strike from Half Back de Groot. Our total of 2.15 xG and 19 attempts on target was a really strong start. We entertained a surprisingly poor Basel side next who won through a slight tactical error from me. At half time, we were 0-0 and they'd not registered a single shot but one bad move in pushing the defensive line up, without amending the Line of Engagement saw them able to take the lead from a long ball over the top. Once again, we dominated shot number and quality wise, winning the xG 1.13 - 0.65. Our great away form continued as we demolished Zurich. At 2-0 up, their forward scored a Cantona-esque chip over the keeper and I worried but Raphael Kunert went one better with a 25 yard volley as we cemented our victory. Our away run ended with a lethargic performance against a defensive Thun side. We have faced that kind of 10-man-defence in the second tier but, as the quality is noticeably better, fell a little short. A nice easy progression in the cup preceded a game with Sion that saw my first taste of VAR as a manager; a penalty overturned in our favour after a great tackle from Darko Mojsovski but the game, otherwise, was dull as Sion failed to register a shot on target and we ran out comfortable winners.

September started with a hard-fought win over Lausanne, with us losing Magola and Ribic to injuries within the first fifteen minutes and Zehnder to red card following a rash tackle. However, 3-0 did not flatter as us we, once again, looked wonderful on the break. Another routine cup win came before a tough trip to St.Gallen, the biggest team in the league at the moment. It was the first time that we'd been 'outplayed' - just 37% of possession, three attempts at goal and a bit of a mare for Herzog as he was caught in No Man's Land following a long ball from Serrano. A 2-0 defeat though, in context, against the Champions, away from home, can't be considered a disaster. We fought back, and fought back well though with a resounding win over the other promoted sign, Lugano, even if I'm more annoyed at us conceding 2 goals than scoring 6. The highlight, for me, was the way that Anderson Costa reacted and took his goals following a tough little run whereby I had to fine him and discuss his profligacy in front of goal. We ended the turn with a hard fought draw against Young Boys - meaning that we've only lost twice in our first nine games in this league, which is outstanding!

What I love about our play is how we can switch from such a compact and tight defence to an incisive counter attack at the flick of a switch. Combining the intelligence attributes with great pace in the forward areas, as well as making our play slightly more direct (but not direct enough to please the board) we have become one of the best teams to watch as well as one of the most dangerous.

I am really optimistic about our chances this year as the thought of just survival is not in my mind. There is a gap forming already but is it too early to think about a European place?

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I've really taken to the training module, as you can probably tell, and I've liked what I've been able to do as a professional side. I have devised a shell schedule that is maintained each week - with the key areas that I want to work on in addition to the standard Match prep blocks. I tend to switch them round dependent on each opponent, for example - more defensive positioning against better sides. It is also important to note that we never train on a Monday as I look to ensure that I can keep a smaller squad fresh by not overtraining.

It's still really early days so unsure of just how much attribute development it is having. I added a new player, Fred Mickels, on loan from Bayern (spot the trend with what I want from my forwards) but I've noticed how slow the new players are to the learn the shape - even more pushing the need to get pre-season right as well as having a club embedded philosophy so players can come through the different levels.

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Next, a problem:

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I'm certainly not against showing players who I have ploughed hours/seasons into to get the best of their development and then see them fail. Dylan Fischler could very much fall in to that category. A product of the academy and a player who I promoted at the same time as a host of other youngsters, he just hasn't made the progress that I'd expect of him and his attribute growth is non-existent. Looking at the notes I've made on him, he's made no progress on his individual training and hasn't reacted well to concerns over his development. My next throw of the dice is to use the mentoring process, as seen below:

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I don't want to use mentoring as a way to game the best personalities but will be making a concerted effort to see how much impact it can have. Fairly Ambitious isn't a bad personality, just there are no definitive value for his professional. Combine that with a lower than average Determination and you can start to see some issues. However - I was interested in the impact that first team football and training, alone, would have before I took this step - even though it really should have been a combined process but just wasn't possible previous to this due to the lack of suitable mentors.

We'll keep going but there comes a cut-off point where I need to either recruit or promote from within, and Fischler is edging closer to it.

Nice start, and indeed a gap beginning already in the table. Home form slightly better than away form?

Using the training module has added an extra angle to to development of your players. I will be curious to see What happens when you add mentoring into the equation.

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2 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

It's still really early days so unsure of just how much attribute development it is having. I added a new player, Fred Mickels, on loan from Bayern (spot the trend with what I want from my forwards) but I've noticed how slow the new players are to the learn the shape - even more pushing the need to get pre-season right as well as having a club embedded philosophy so players can come through the different levels.

Pacy strikers with low finishing? :lock:

Interesting that your system is becoming a little bit exclusive :eek:

Or are the new players just not adaptable that much?

Edited by Sonic Youth
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Sonic Youth said:

Has he stopped getting training gains?

How easy is it to train up pace and acceleration compared to finishing?

Yeah. He’s plateaued somewhat. It’s ‘ok’ if he’s reached his potential as he’s a good player but, if I’m here in the next four or five years, he may not be. 
 

1 hour ago, Sonic Youth said:

Nice start, and indeed a gap beginning already in the table. Home form slightly better than away form?

I’d expect that as a newly promoted team as teams will naturally be more attacking at home. This turn has seen us with 5 home games so I don’t expect the next one to be quite as strong. Still - I’m delighted. 
 

1 hour ago, Sonic Youth said:

Using the training module has added an extra angle to to development of your players. I will be curious to see What happens when you add mentoring into the equation.

I just think it’s given me that edge to develop what I want the team to do on the pitch. I’m, as you can tell, very engaged with it and I think that I’ve found a really sweet spot with development, training and tactics. Any success in this save will ‘feel’ like my best achievement. 
 

1 hour ago, Sonic Youth said:

Pacy strikers with low finishing

You’ve got a point! Not stopping Costa though! However - the Finishing attribute, alone, is super over rated. Paired with the right mental attributes, and a spattering of either pace or strength, depending on playing style and I can get by!

 

1 hour ago, Sonic Youth said:

Interesting that your system is becoming a little bit exclusive :eek:

Or are the new players just not adaptable that much?

I wouldn’t say exclusive - just not the ‘norm’ in Switzerland so the players aren’t used to it at their old clubs.

—-

Thanks for the continued comments!

Edited by _Ben_
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2 hours ago, DaneBramage said:

Nice going, you're making it look easy. The Super League doesn't know what's hit it.

All the work done on the training module must be having an effect, I admit that this is something I always delegate away immediately (and I imagine lots of people do the same). The extent of my input is normally just punishing the players by replacing any rest periods with defensive sessions for the next week after a big loss. 

Sounds like I'm missing a big opportunity here.

I think the semi-pro starting point has massively helped and I don’t know if I’d have dived in if I was pro from the off. 

I’m still adamant that I’m only scraping the surface of the modules but I definitely feel like cycle of - put something in place, train it to develop it for the next match, train the attributes behind it, see the benefits, rinse and repeat - is very beneficial. 

I’d, at some point, like to test the boundaries of it - but I’m also really like the realism aspect of it too, especially compared with what it was. 

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Great start in the league. Love the clip of Costa running in behind as that's exactly what I pictured him excelling at.

How are Veiga and Magola performing for you? I like the look of both of them. The type of players who could stand out at this level before being sold on for a big fee.

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14 hours ago, tyler16 said:

Great start in the league. Love the clip of Costa running in behind as that's exactly what I pictured him excelling at.

Thanks - I agree. The slight tweak to the play has really helped us as a team and we are both really solid at the back and absolutely deadly going forward, too. Costa's trait, Likes to beat the offside trap, was a gamble with only 12 for Decisions (although, in the context of this league, that isn't bad) but it's really helped. I could be seen as trying to beat the ME using an AM rather than a striker but he genuinely, on the pitch, acts just how a F9 or DLF would without that initial drop into space. I've taken our one part of the forwards play and it has made him deadly. I still see him as a striker and he's a natural striker too, but I've made his offensive play easier, I guess.

15 hours ago, tyler16 said:

How are Veiga and Magola performing for you? I like the look of both of them. The type of players who could stand out at this level before being sold on for a big fee.

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They're doing pretty well!

Magola really reminds me of Adama Traore - he'll beat a defender with absolute ease but then really lacks that final product - as you'd probably expect with a slightly raw 19 year old with 7 for Finishing and Decisions and 10 for Crossing, no more than average in this league. Veiga has done well but lacks that someone like Ribic has but has far more technical prowess. If I could roll these three into one player, I'd be delighted but it's my job to get the best from them or find someone I can develop to be better!

Everywhere that talks about me as a manager, I see the same string about the importance I place on my wingers getting into the box and scoring:

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A combined eight goals and seven assists by November isn't bad at all.

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November 2029: Interesting job offer

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Things are going incredibly well here at Luzern but this is a job offer that is actually very interesting. They have a slightly smaller wage budget and equally as good facilities, as seen below. They are also, historically, very similar in stature and historical success.

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The thing that gets me here is their relative size - they don't share a youth academy (the bigger clubs: Young Boys, Basel, St.Gallen etc don't) and they are wanting me to develop players for them, which is something that I'm just shoehorning into this club.

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It's a no, for now. They are 9th in the Super League with a squad made up of a lot of aging, over paid players. Given our strong start, it's a massive step down and one I don't want to make right now. If we were settled and maybe reached our peak, I'd happily drop down to pick up a bigger project, but this is too big.

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12 hours ago, Conardo said:

One question .... where do i find this overview?

It's not in the game - I exported the data to Excel and made a scatter plot there!

10 hours ago, abulezz said:

Magola seems to be lighting it on fire. 

Equally as joyous as infuriating! I think, given the reputation of this league, this will become my job - slightly polish those rough diamonds and move them on. He could do a job, now, in the Championship, but in the future, maybe a top league.

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2029/30 Mid point review

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In this round of league fixtures, we haven't conceded a single goal to a team that is below us in the table. As a manager of a newly promoted team, seeing the other team, Lugano, perform how they are, you really cannot ask for any more. We are simply outstanding, given the quality of player that we have at the club and the resources we currently operate with.

I really like that the fixtures run in the same order for each of the four rounds, so I am able to start to plan ahead in terms of opponents and areas to exploit. I'd, originally, looked at the fixtures and seen a tough start, an easier middle before a tough end - knowing I'd want to take something from Thun, Lausanne and Lugano but probably struggle against Basel, Zurich, St.Gallen and Young Boys. Additionally, the Servette tie was one that I looked at, away from home in particular, as being tough but we've battered them twice - this time with the wonderful Anderson Costa breaking records to net four times, the last three in a ten minute spell. A tough, but probably justified loss, against Basel followed and then a really, almost uncharacteristic performance against Sion came a week later. A nicely rotated squad saw me through the Third Round of the cup to see off October. November was great - the Zurich performance was complete and a return to what I last, properly, saw against Servette but that was mirrored in another drab performance against Lausanne. Forunately, Lugano had just sacked their manager, so it was the perfect time, albeit Anderson Costa-less time, to get back to the style I crave, and we did, thanks to a hatrick from Veiga. We lost, as expected to St.Gallen and then pulled off a group performance against Young Boys - even if the headline was somewhat confusing...

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The youth intake came in, too, with some promising signs for us. Whilst we already had a really good core of promising academy players (and complete let down Dylan Fischler) at the club when I took over, as seen below, it is the progress of Nixon Mazinot that I have been particularly pleased with since he arrived through the academy last spring. I'm not due to review his individual training until his six month period on it ends in January but I've already seen good increases in Passing (1), Technique (2) and Vision (1) and they have actually surpassed some of his defensive attributes. At just 16, I want to work on his speed but I'm aware that he's still growing into that and I also cannot break such a young man with heavy physical training so will monitor that over the next 12 months or so, instead possible flicking between Aerial (Heading and Bravery) and Defensive Positioning (Marking, Anticipation, Decisions).

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As the winter break approaches, I tend to take a break and just click through until the players are back. I'm not in the market for anyone but then again, I'm not out of the market should a good player become available to me through my scouting network. I'd like to sign another right back at freebie and summer signing Jordy Gaspar has kicked up a fuss at his game time. Likewise, Guido Bachmann has fallen to third, or even fourth, choice defensive midfielder and is beginning to become unsettled.

Probably the most important (re)signing though is this:

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Stefano's head was turned so to get him to not only back down but sign a relatively cheap contract too is wonderful. If anyone wants to pay €10m in the next nine months, they can as we need it, but I don't think they will. He's a key part of this team and I'm chuffed to have tied him down for up to five years.

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I just had problems with a goalie.....and had to sell and his replacement cost more than his sell price.

Your team is looking good.....KUTGW!

 

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Costa is a star player in your....u21’s team? That’s a pretty rich contract for an u21 player isn’t it? :eek: 

Looking good in the league, and for a spot in Europe next season :thup:

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15 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

I just had problems with a goalie.....and had to sell and his replacement cost more than his sell price.

Your team is looking good.....KUTGW!

 

Thanks - a good keeper is the centre piece of my defence and the most important, in my eyes, player for a newly promoted team. I don’t want to have to find a replacement, ever!!

6 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

Costa is a star player in your....u21’s team? That’s a pretty rich contract for an u21 player isn’t it? :eek: 

Looking good in the league, and for a spot in Europe next season :thup:

I’m not sure what you mean?

Costa is my best player, overall, and leads the scoring charts in the league. He is only 18 but his wage is 50% less than my top earner and he certainly justifies it!

EDIT: Aahh, team. That refers to international team. He’s just been called up to the Swiss U21 side and Zehnder, for example, is in the full Kosovo squad. 

Edited by _Ben_
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January 2030: New Signing

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I love having some Brazilian knowledge as it means my (in-game managerial) country men often show up in the agent/player offers section of the scouting hub. In fairness, my scouts had already come across Careca whilst in South America and they quite liked him. I do too. Born in Sao Paulo and from the Palmeiras youth setup before leaving on a free, he could be a real diamond that needs polishing before making his name in European football.

Looking at his profile - he's excellent in a lot of the areas that I want as a player but also has the scope for some serious development, should my team be right about his potential. At 18, he fits my criteria of signing young players for the first team squad and can expect to get plenty of minutes over the coming seasons given his ability. He's also got great natural fitness, an attribute that is almost impossible to raise and is a good indicator of how long his professional career, at any level, may last. His determination, although not too hard to raise (through poor performances mainly, which is not what I want from him) is also really good. His two intelligence traits - Anticipation and Decisions are in double figures as is his (hidden) consistency, at 10. He's also listed as the next Gerson - who was an incredibly talented creative midfielder in the 60s and 70s.

I am worried about his ambition, however and will look to rectify this through a mentoring group. Whilst he will not immediately turn to a fantastic Model Citizen, or similar, I am happy that I have not let this one factor put me off as, in the past, I've been so utterly obsessed with that factor. Of the three areas I look for, being Unambitious is only negative on the Ambitious scale and I know he's got a good Temperament and ability to hand Pressure from his Media Handling. Combine this with a good Determination, I need to just find out how good his Professionalism is through seeing his reactions to team talks, discussions and the like. His mentoring group is as follows:

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Resolute personalities are the best I can offer here. Ideally, I'd like someone who has a known high level of ambition but I don't have any Ambitious/Mercenaries/Perfectionists, for example. I know that Resolute players don't have the best professionalism (else they'd be Professional or M.Pro) but this is a starting point and one that I'll re-assess every six months.

With Gavioli and Kabashi already in as playmakers, I'm actually looking to utilise Careca in another role, an Inverted Wingback. Looking at his key attributes for the role, I'd say that he's quite well suited:

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Attribute progress will be slow as he first learns a new position from scratch so I'm holding off on any addition load in the shape of Individual foci or Player Traits. He'll need to work on his dribbling as well as his positioning and concentration, but I can get all of those done further down the line. My plan is:

  • Reached accomplished through training and game time at right back - training in the Defensive Unit.
  • Re-address attribute balance, focusing, initial on defensive traits.
  • Use knowledge of midfield to instruct a creative trait such as Tries Killer Balls (Passing - 12, Vision - 11, Decisions - 11 are not far off average at this level).
  • Work on offensive attributes through Individual foci and moving him to the Attacking Unit.
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4 minutes ago, Reiver said:

Just so you know, he's a big fat liar. His name means Bald Diego.

Wonderful! HIs name is actually Diego Radaelli - as he holds a Swiss passport, too. I'm unsure why any child would pick a nickname that has bald in it?!

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I've been catching up with this over the last couple of days.  Really good thread and your approach to training has really made me think as its something I've left alone in terms of the sessions. Looking forward to following your progress going forward!

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41 minutes ago, Jtomsett11 said:

I've been catching up with this over the last couple of days.  Really good thread and your approach to training has really made me think as its something I've left alone in terms of the sessions. Looking forward to following your progress going forward!

Thank you! Definitely taking note of the differences I'm seeing on the pitch when we do and don't hit certain areas or certain areas become less familiar. It's been good fun!

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2030 Youth Intake

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Just the one poached player this year, giving me a grand total of 17 players coming into the team this spring. We're still an evolving club but we are in the top flight, so to get so many with such high perceived potential is wonderful.

Thomas NicoletSascha ArlinghausLassad TrabelsiToni GonzalezNicolas VielliardSeverin Buhler.

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Sascha will be an international regular very soon so that's always a nice thing to watch develop but I really like the technical prowess that my better players have here - really making it easier to get them gelled to my style and needs. They'll head straight to the u21 team to get some action as the season winds down. 

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5 star Diminutive winger Besam not getting any love? And diminutive? Not seen that before.
 

Oh, and teams means international teams? :thup:

Edited by Sonic Youth
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