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[FM21] Swiss Army Knife


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2029/30 Third Quarter Review

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If I didn't know Football Manager any better, I'd blame the mid-season reshuffle. 

Teams now fear us and play differently against us and it's up to me to sort that out. It's also up to me to work hard to get the out of form players back in form. When you look at the core of the squad:

Stefano Herzog (20), Darko Mosjevski (18), Yannick Bayiha (21), Levin Zehnder (18), Taulant Kabashi (18), Anderson Costa (18).

You see that this lot have probably never had their first bad spell in professional football, let alone worked their way out of it. Anderson was terrible from the Thun game all the way through to the Lugano game and he was hauled off, fined, moaned at, had his specific targets discussed with him, rested (e.g. removed from training for a couple of days) and, on the flip side, encouraged and backed to the hills in the media before he found a way back. Granted, he didn't score against Young Boys, but a hatrick is a hatrick. It's my job to find what makes these players tick. That, to me, is becoming the thing that I'm really enjoying in this save. I know how to work through their attribute develop and, from playing the games and not Instant Resulting, I have a decent handle on them tactically - but it's all about those discussions, micro-managements and behind the scenes things I can do to assist them.

I've also come to another conclusion and I could quite easily blame the new patch.

I hate VAR.

Four times. Four penalties overturned in nine matches. I mean, I hate VAR in general and it's ruining the game I love to watch but we've been seriously unlucky with it in this little run and in important games, too. Zurich. Sion. Basel. St.Gallen. Four penalties won. Four overturned. Even the commentary has said I've been unlucky at times!

However, with just nine games to go until the end of the season, I am feeling that third place is very much mine for the taking. Basel are too good and St.Gallen are, actually wonderfully, unstoppable. Young Boys are our biggest challengers and we've just battered them - meaning a return to the top flight and an immediate entry to Europe is a dream twelve months.

Sadly, life is not quite as rosy at my two previous sides:

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The semi pro outfit have been found out and are almost certain to be relegated. It's a shame, but the team has completely been ripped apart since my departure and, as I found, the lure for new players is almost non-existent. In a really strange turn of events, I happened to notice Fribourg's new HoYD, none other than my old player - Bryan Rabello.

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Meyrin are also in danger of dropping to the fifth tier - one below where I started my career with them. As I'd expect - their team differs hugely as I left four years ago but they've really struggled and look like a shadow of their former selves.

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I do have a worry, though:

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Whilst not entirely managing the financial system in my aim to play this realistically in that Coach/Head of Player Development role I've talked about - I am still wary of this. Prize money will get us back into the black at the end of the season but, in my infancy in this role, I really would like to avoid having to sell my best youngsters. I have, so far, managed to recruit on a shoestring budget and would rather do that, keep the wages tidy and progress rather than become a pure selling club. Although, every player has their price and I will consider any realistic bid.

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19 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

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

Oh, and teams means international teams? :thup:

Besim is decent, just tiny!

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1 hour ago, _Ben_ said:

Besim is decent, just tiny!

Decentish yes. Definitely not going to be able to throw his weight around. Going to need to be clever and tricky to get far. Pity about his vision and flair.

Thanks for sharing the screenie.

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14 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

Decentish yes. Definitely not going to be able to throw his weight around. Going to need to be clever and tricky to get far. Pity about his vision and flair.

Thanks for sharing the screenie.

You're absolutely right - he's not really suited for anywhere other than a clever winger but it's going to take a lot of work to utilise that potential to make him even half decent. He'll spend time in the youth setup, who play at the men's level, and that will really see if he's cut out for this or not.

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Posted (edited)

March 2030: International call up

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A short cameo for Anderson but a really deserved first cap. He joins Herzog, Mojsovski and Zehnder as full internationals from my academy - with the considerable majority of progress coming from me in the last two and the young forward. I don't think there can be any complaints though as he is, arguably, the best player in the league right now:

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Edited by _Ben_
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53 minutes ago, abulezz said:

Anderson deserved it - 22 Goals, 7.32 AR, and 6 PoMs - there is no doubt. 

He can also do things like this, too...

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I'm not having anyone tell me that this is a fluke - it's never a cross! Cue a rage quit for the AI as his Long Shots are really poor!

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Freak  opportunistic...

Edited by _Ben_
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May 2030: Schweizer Cup WINNERS

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My first national level piece of silverware and I'm happy to admit that we didn't deserve it, one bit!

We faced a Zurich side that we'd, generally, had the upper hand over all season but we conceded a record non-penalty xG of 3.64 and they had three goals chalked off for offside. In comparison, we managed just two shots on target for a miserly 1.23 xG and even struggled to keep the ball, having 49% of the possession across the 120 minutes.

Substitute Fred Mickels gave us the lead in the first minute of extra time but the pressure told and they equalised from another through ball, just like the three offside goals, in the 107th minute. Going in to the penalty shootout, I ensured I picked players who were confident and also moved the order of my penalty takers to have more important players in those all important fourth and fifth slots. Costa netted first and keeps up his 100% career penalty record before Kabashi fired wide and keeper Herzog found the corner with aplomb. Diaz also netted and it was left to loanee Mickels to net the winner and bring home the competition for the third time in our history but the first in 38 years, when we beat Lugano back in 1992, also at the Wankdorf.

It was Herzog, my first wonderkid in the save, who won the Man of the Match with 13 saves and 51 passes completed as well as an important penalty in the shootout.

It also confirms out entry to the Europa League for next season, which is both scary and amazing!

 

 

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2029/30 Season Review

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A really solid run-in, which also saw me take charge of my 200th game as a manager has seen us finish a wonderful third place. The last round of fixtures was good and I felt that we had re-found some of the attacking prowess that had gone missing before. A stupid loss against Thun was the only negative point as we avoided defeat against the, historical at least, three big-sides (St. Gallen, Basel and Young Boys) to earn ourselves a spot in the Europa League for next year. To score sixty-four points and to have the best defence in the league, along with the second best offence, in the year immediately after promotion is a wonderful result for us and probably my best season to date on this edition and even past few. Commiserations must go out to St. Gallen, the run away winners, who saw their unbeaten season ended thanks to a 3-0 home hammering to Basel. At the other end, and even more of a credit to our performance, saw Lugano get immediately relegated back to the second tier, which, as expected, no longer contains my old side Fribourg.

Looking at the team statistics, we can see where our success is built - we just don't defend that much. Only St. Gallen face less shots than us and only Basel are more effective at keeping them out. Once again, wonderful statistics for a newly promoted team who, even with their history, would be susceptible to the old 'throw everything at them' approach.

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In fact, you could make an argument that our league position did not do us justice, as the xG statistics suggest we could have actually performed better and that Basel maybe did not deserve that second place.

As I mentioned last year, I had no plans to change my style of play so I have dipped back to compare some key statistics from last year to this:

Defensive solidity

  • A league best 13 goals conceded, just 0.36/90. Still the best in the league but risen to 0.58/90
  • We allowed just 17.78 xGA, which is over 100% less than the second best team, Lugano. We allowed 29.76 xGA, which is second best in the league behind the 22.02 that St. Gallen allowed. 
  • 25 clean sheets, which is not only a record for Stefano Herzig, but also the league. Joint best clean sheets with 20.
  • 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. 452 tackles (12.56/90), again winning 83% of them. 
  • 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). 261 shots faced (7.25/game) with 124 on target (3.44 game). Both third best in the league.

We've been a little busier defensively but nowhere near the level that you'd expect for a newly promoted team. This side has only one new face in the back six - Herzog, Mojsovski, Bayiha, Diaz and Zehnder remain with only Mistrafovic being new. He's great but I can't give him all the credit for this!

Transitional prowess

  • We lead the league with 2.14 dribbles/90. 3.22 dribbles per game, nearly 0.5 more than the next best team.
  • We completed 22% of our total crosses, amounting to 317, which is the third best in the league. 18% of our 227 crosses completed, again third best.
  • 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. Second lowest number of times to lose possession, averaging 4.27 passes per loss of possession.
  • We completed 89% of our passes, a league high and completed more overall passes than any other side, 13967. 87% pass completion and fourth best number of passes with 12,495 completed.

There are some differences in our play here that are noticeable. The signings of Magola and Ribic meant that we were more direct with our pace on the wing and often found ourselves moving to a more direct style of player to counter higher blocks that we faced. That did have a knock-on effect to our passing numbers, clearly.

 Goal scoring threat

  • 2.61 goals per/game, over 0.7 goals/game better than the next best side. 1.78 goals/90, which is 0.5 less than St. Gallen but second best in the league.
  • 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. Created an xG of 55.08, which is the third best. We outscored our xG by 9.
  • We scored 90% of our 10 penalties, a league high number. 100% of penalties scored from a league low of just one.
  • We attempted 607 shots, which is the third best in the league and 25.49 passes per shot. 441 shots, third in the league, and 28.33 passes per shot.
  • 46% of our shots were on target we converted 17% of them - averaging a goal every 148 passes. 195 on target, which is 44% and 14% of them converted.

These numbers are also interesting. With Mickels brought in as cover for Costa, we haven't been able to utilise his ability and score more, when Costa is off the pitch. Our xG decrease will partly be down to better defences and goalkeepers but, even though we pass less, we now make more passes per shot. A sign of some of the clinical side to our game maybe decreasing - linked, maybe, to the poor decision making of some of my more creative players.

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Some wonderful performances here.

In terms of minutes, FIschler and Bachmann are both completely unneeded and will be moving on this summer and I have taken the introduction of Diego Careca very slowly, as I want him to be used to his new position before he gets significantly more minutes. In the middle order, I have made use of the five substitute rule to really get lots of game time and minutes with most subs being made around thre 60th minute - keeping our small-ish first team fresh and injury free.

Mojsovski has  been wonderful at the nine assists, from left back, are a team high and he is, surely, the most creative full back in the league. Likewise, the 24 goals from Anderson Costa, 22 in the league, is a high and he also leads with six league MoTM performances. The likes of Taulant Kabashi, despite performing around average have very poor Average Ratings, presumably because of his lack of goals - but I'm happy with what I'm seeing on the pitch, even if those ratings are slightly holding back his development.

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I am very happy that the board have seen the light and removed the Direct Football requirement for next year. 

Luzern are a great club to be at and, with the right backing, I think we can make a big statement next year. This may not be my final club in this save, but one I definitely can see myself spending a lot of time at. I'm going to add some player faces and work on a few recruitment areas this summer.

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2030/31 Summer recruitment

A really easy one, to be fair and wrapped up by early July thanks to some successful shortlisting and prioritising targets. Firstly, I let Erik de Groot go for a tidy €3.2m, potentially rising to €4m and also allowed Bachmann, Ljubenovic and Fischler to move on as they were surplus to requirements. In reality, I didn't need that money as I'd already sanctioned the deals with only one costing any money. I know we, potentially, have European money to come but this should, hopefully, stop us from getting into any financial strife.

As with last year - this is evolution not revolution.

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I think that the biggest thing to say here is that I have been creative. At this level, the really promising youngsters are all at bigger clubs and the ready made replacements are all too expensive, so I have to think outside the box and do some retraining based on what I've found with attributes, much like Joachim Magola's successful move to right wing and Diego Careca's progress towards being a right back.

Firstly, in Kostadinovic I have a tall, pacy defender without the footballing ability to be a 'proper' wingback. I therefore think he'd actually make a good centre back.My tactic is using an ever developing high line so this pace in front of my Sweeper Keeper is essential and I don't think he's a slouch, compared to this league, elsewhere. The first job will be to get to Accomplished at CD before I look to push some Defensive Positioning training his way. A free transfer from Red Star too, which is a key area for me to develop scouting knowledge in. It's also perfect as he will require no mentoring and, right now, is young enough to allow a steady integration as Mistrafovic reaches the ending of his career. Next up, I pinched young Nigerian Adebayo on a Bosman from Kano Pillars. He's got a bit of Kelechi Iheanacho about him, although that may be the nationality - but I like his overall physicality and Composure as well as his great Consistency. He'll be second fiddle to Costa this season but I feel that there is big sell on value with this lad. Matias Fabiani is the only fee I paid this summer - €275k to Aarau, where he had a great season, leading them to promotion. His radar showed that he was quite the playmaker, topping the league in Chances Created and Key Passes but I am going to try and utilise his relative quick nature out on the wing. He's a more controlled version of Magola in my eyes and will get some decent playing time. Lastly, Atletico Madrid youngster Rodrigo Reynoso joined as I completed my search for a full back. Whilst he's just started training there, I didn't think he had the required pace for a winger but I feel that, defensively, he's quite solid. He's a little more raw in terms of intelligence but I foresee him and Careca disposing Andre Diaz at right back over the next few years.

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That leaves my first team squad looking like this:

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I did dive into Excel (before the sale of de Groot) to compile a bit of a depth chart and I am relatively happy with the players I have at my disposal. The style of play, whether overloading on the left or the right (which I don't have the players for right now) requires quite a specific set of players and I feel that we're making good strides to having a solid first XI of them. The backup is still quite weak and this may be found out with the added stresses of Europe, but we will see. The team I have built relies heavily on home grown talent with a smattering of imported young and hungry youngsters with sell-on potential. If I can mould this side around a core of homegrown talent - Herzog, Zehnder, Kabashi and Costa who are already in the first team, with some clever buy to sell findings from the scouting team, I believe I can achieve the expectations below, and more:

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Great deals over the summer, I think the recruitment model is spot on. Both realistic and fun to develop youngsters who have fell through at other clubs.

How many rounds of qualifying are between you and the EL Group Stage?

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6 hours ago, tyler16 said:

Great deals over the summer, I think the recruitment model is spot on. Both realistic and fun to develop youngsters who have fell through at other clubs.

How many rounds of qualifying are between you and the EL Group Stage?

Because of how early I am in to this project and how long I perceive it to be - my only wish is that I had a bit more ‘experience’ around these new players. I don’t actually know how much experience ‘matters’ hence the tracking of Consistency but a core of 23-26 year olds rather than 18-21 year olds would have been my preferred route and one that, RB Leipzig maybe aside, is seen at clubs that choose this kind of model.

Never the less, I’m happy to be able to use a realistic recruitment model to bring through these and hope that, in the early days at least, they can be moved on when the time is right. For example - Porto have been sniffing around Magola and I’m not going to turn down any reasonable offer, instead, I’ll focus my operations to find ‘another’ one of him.

I’m not sure about the rounds and how we’ll stack up to be fair. Switzerland hasn’t done amazingly and dropped down a bit in the coefficients but we have some strong clubs and I’m interested to see how we get on. The bonus is that down to sixth qualify, and we’ve proven that last season should not be a one-off! 

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Am 27.3.2021 um 21:23 schrieb _Ben_:

May 2030: Schweizer Cup WINNERS

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My first national level piece of silverware and I'm happy to admit that we didn't deserve it, one bit!

We faced a Zurich side that we'd, generally, had the upper hand over all season but we conceded a record non-penalty xG of 3.64 and they had three goals chalked off for offside. In comparison, we managed just two shots on target for a miserly 1.23 xG and even struggled to keep the ball, having 49% of the possession across the 120 minutes.

Substitute Fred Mickels gave us the lead in the first minute of extra time but the pressure told and they equalised from another through ball, just like the three offside goals, in the 107th minute. Going in to the penalty shootout, I ensured I picked players who were confident and also moved the order of my penalty takers to have more important players in those all important fourth and fifth slots. Costa netted first and keeps up his 100% career penalty record before Kabashi fired wide and keeper Herzog found the corner with aplomb. Diaz also netted and it was left to loanee Mickels to net the winner and bring home the competition for the third time in our history but the first in 38 years, when we beat Lugano back in 1992, also at the Wankdorf.

It was Herzog, my first wonderkid in the save, who won the Man of the Match with 13 saves and 51 passes completed as well as an important penalty in the shootout.

It also confirms out entry to the Europa League for next season, which is both scary and amazing!

 

 

i´m a LLMler, i can tell that im playing this game since 2006 and the only silverware i won in all these years was a Cup win in italy, with Parma :)

KUTGW!

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Conardo said:

i´m a LLMler, i can tell that im playing this game since 2006 and the only silverware i won in all these years was a Cup win in italy, with Parma :)

KUTGW!

Thanks. I've been pretty lucky in the past but this is my first competition win at this level in FM21 - so it does feel pretty good!

Edited by _Ben_
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Posted (edited)

2030/31 Europa League Draw

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This is a tough draw, but, given the date is exactly one month before the tie, I do have plenty of time to research my opponent.  I have the Austrian Bundesliga loaded and they came third last year and are on a nice steady rise after finishing ninth and seventh previously. They've made the Europa League group stages twice, in 2021/22 and 2025/26 and lost a year later to Lech Poznan.

Their squad also looks very similar to mine in terms of young players, predominantly from the nationality of the team, again with that spattering of foreign talent such as young Liberian Prince El Hadji Adamdu, signed from Sparta Prague. Gernot Plasnegger leads them and likes a vertical tiki-taka approach with a 4-4-2 shape but he's brand new to the job. My opponents have four league games before we meet so have enough chance to get into a swing of things, but we also do.

I decided to travel to Germany to watch them in a friendly against Schalke, even though the press were confused:

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Firstly, their 4-4-2 is far from two banks of four as they have some clever movement between the lines with a deeper forward,  and a defensive midfielder who really sits. It means that they are quite patient in their build up and look to exploit space, very similarly to my own style. They are very well drilled defensively, too. Valentin Costache looks to be a solid player and appears like he'll be utilised as a wide playmaker on the left wing - so, if he starts, I'll need to ensure ample defensive cover is utilised.

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One question it does raise for me though is how I will run my training. Although we've had some game weeks with two games, the schedule has allowed for one game per week for the majority of the season. I like to ensure that we have a really strong tactical familiarity and that takes two days, nearly. We also have a whole day (post game) for a Recovery session and a Match Review. When I factor in a Thursday tie, our schedule suddenly looks packed:

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That is going to lead to two whole weeks without any attribute development. I know a player will develop with match experience but this is a concern for me. I wonder whether I now need to become more streamlined with my match prep - building it earlier in the season so that I only have to visit the Attacking Movement once out of the two games, and, probably, against the weaker of the two sides, for example.

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Whilst progress here would be great and in my remit - I wonder how bad it would be to lose this, given that we then get a 'free' entry to the Conference League group stage - a competition that we may have a good chance of a deep run in.

Edited by _Ben_
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July 2028: Interesting job offer

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St. Gallen, the five time champions and (near - if it wasn't for a dead rubber in gameweek 36) undefeated side want me to be their manager. Their job advert is interesting - a load more money but playing a style of high pressure, possession football that isn't necessarily in my wheelhouse.

They have a really strong first team and their u21 squad shares a division with mine, but isn't teeming with quality, in my opinion. Their first team squad does have five academy players: Cavic, Hasler, Djalo, Antonio and Hefti but is stocked, as is so often the case with AI teams, with imported talent nearing or at the peak of their career.

However, moving to a team this big so early in my career (I've been a manager for less than six years having taken the Meyrin job in 2024) means that I think this it just too early. Given our really strong start to the season too, below, I'm not in the right position to entertain this job, even though this was my initially identified end point. If this had come at the end of the season, though, I may have reacted differently. 

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It's the small details for me - loading other leagues, scouting their matches, etc. Amazing level of immersion.

I agree with you, it's a bit early for St. Gallen. IMO, the right time (if there is one) to move on would be after having some success in Europe and possibly, a league title.

From that point it could be ideal to settle at one of the biggest clubs with the best facilities to dive into the player dev side and see how far you can push them.

Alternatively, you could dip back in the leagues and bring a fallen giant up. Lot of places to go. :thup:

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17 minutes ago, tyler16 said:

It's the small details for me - loading other leagues, scouting their matches, etc. Amazing level of immersion.

Thanks! As you can tell, I'm really loving my deep dive into Switzerland and the affection towards Luzern is growing. What has been the biggest change for me has been the keeping of notes:

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I guess that creating gifs of said notes probably is even more immersion! However, it's helping me tell a story about how and why a player develops, reacts, plays etc the way he does. I have no idea how to really put this into writing but I'm thinking about it!

19 minutes ago, tyler16 said:

I agree with you, it's a bit early for St. Gallen. IMO, the right time (if there is one) to move on would be after having some success in Europe and possibly, a league title.

From that point it could be ideal to settle at one of the biggest clubs with the best facilities to dive into the player dev side and see how far you can push them.

Alternatively, you could dip back in the leagues and bring a fallen giant up. Lot of places to go. :thup:

I think that a league title, with this progress, could come within the next three years but, until we play our first game, I have no idea how we'll get on in Europe. Basel and St. Gallen have very strong squads but I've been able to dispose of Young Boys a lot easier than I'd expect. There are two big clubs, as it were, in Switzerland, and you can tell that from stadium size:

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On this alone, that makes Servette an attractive proposition to me but I have, unfortunately, managed to miss out any of the Italian speaking Cantons and not picked up the language. Chiasso and Lugano are in the second tier but I feel that it would be a significant step down, which isn't realistic, unless, of course, I leave Luzern on bad terms.

As I said in my opening post, there is no want to hit thirty years or whatever in this save. If I enjoy this spell at Luzern, I may move into international management, find a job overseas or just start a new career - the door is open to all options as long as I'm still enjoying playing.

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July 2030: 11 seconds

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Just eleven seconds separated the time that Anderson Costa picked the ball up from a turnover in possession until Karel Pilik dinked it over the on rushing goalkeeper. Counter attacking football at its clinical best! 

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2 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

What’s with that player in black on the pitch near Costa in the first picture of the Counterattacking goal?

It’s the referee, I think. He loves our style of play so much that he wants to join in though!

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August 2030: Promotion

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As I seek to ensure a core of homegrown players within the first team squad, I have made the move to promote 16-year old Toni Gonzalez to the first team. He, like Nixon Mazinot before him, is far younger and rawer than the standard that I really want in my first team but, given that he's too good for the fourth tier level that my u21 squad play at, feel that he'd benefit from this kind of exposure.

Toni has made some great progress over the last few months since entering the academy side in 2030 and is the first of that cohort to be given first team exposure. He's a fairly straightforward-developer: work on his ability to play as a central midfielder before getting to work on his Dribbling, Technique and Passing, in that order. 

For reference, Nixon made 4(6) appearances last year and I envisage that Toni will get a similar amount of game time, but will be able to form good relationships and experience first team training, which is a big bonus for my growing list of academy graduates:

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5 hours ago, abulezz said:

Great read so far - loved the last couple of updates. 

Thanks! Loving the save at the moment. Things are just clicking into place on and off the pitch.

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Posted (edited)

August 2030: Slowww down

I accidentally deleted all of the skin files I'd spent ages creating so progress has been slow as I've been rebuilding the skin over the past day or so. On one hand, it's allowed me to play with some things I no longer like (and I still am - in particular, the player information section) as well as feel pretty confident in how quickly I could get it back.

The base of it was transferred over from my old FM20 skin and i just worked on a few extra tweaks. Still got plenty more to work on though.

646c434412b5f003fe949c5da71577b9.gif

EDIT: And also the below 'Reset to Default' button, which removes all imported views and returns all preferences to normal, just as I was putting the finishing touches and clearing the skin cache for the last time, adding another 30+ mins of time to my issue!

ba15fe9fb269e9a71d768274cbc41a8a.png

Edited by _Ben_
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July/August 2030

I think I'm going to move to more regular game updates but still trying to include just as much extra points in each update. I'll go monthly for the remainder of this season and see how that goes.

51e3f0e9c24b1f6ef2d13d8b605a6327.png

A wonderful start to our season!

It is clear that pre-season has worked as we have come into the season energised, fit and hungry as we blew away our three opponents opponents with us amassing an aggregate shot total of 46 - 16, without a single shot faced turning to a goal conceded. New signing Fabiani marked his debut, against his old club, with a lovely goal and by half time the tie was over. Three second half goals sealed an emphatic win for us. I was expecting a rejuvenated Young Boys following their poor(ish) season last term but we rolled them over with absolute ease before playing Lausanne off the park as they didn't even try to attack, despite being at home. Sion condemned us to our first goal conceded after 294 league minutes but the impressive Karel Pilik was on form to give us a relatively straightforward win. Our second string did the business against Old Boys before we put on an absolute show of counter attacking football - scoring four goals at an average of 73.25 passes per goal, giving us a total of just 32% of the ball. Sturm Graz attempted 888 passes but the vast majority of them came between their defenders as our compact style just stopped them being able to play the vertical tiki taka that they love. Their 0.02 xG is a demonstration of just how wrong their preparation was or how right ours was - playing more direct football but also pushing our line up much higher to restrict space to what happens to be a particularly slow team that can't/don't play over the top. We didn't show up against St. Gallen and, even though the tie was won, against Sturm Graz. Whilst a) the first loss was probably expected and b) we'd done enough, my concern is that having three big games in seven days is going to cause problems going foward.

However, game build up aside, the games we will have to play are tough:

19c5900f15aee7b052cef679fb4c954e.png

I've got no experience in European competition in this game but can see Schalke definitely being too strong for us and I'd imagine Sporting to be, too. Therefore, a fight for third, and entry to the Conference League, might be my best shot here.

--

5be6c069043c6e51e88e08f4c04d2ad6.png

Individually, we've been fantastic and the attacking players have all shared the goals and assists well between them, as I'd like with the fluidity of the counter attacking approach. We, essentially, adopt a 5-5 in transition with left back Mojsovki creating a sixth offensive player, leaving two centre backs, half back and inverted wing back as the more defensive players. However, credit cannot be taken away from the defensive as goalkeeper Herzog is averaging just 0.59 xGA this season, a sign that my defence are making it incredibly tough for shots to come in.

---

29a5fd3ba3ba72c1ed6df66a51bcfe7d.png

The board has agreed to invest in the youth facilities to add to our current facilities, The price of these suggest that they are already at a good level and we need to continue utilising the purple patch of academy players as the u21 squad, despite their early league form, is strong, as seen below. I envisage several more years, at least, at Luzern and, if I am even to leave, I expect to be able to leave them in a very strong place to utilise said talents.

475f1a0f3a8052c74573add4c1cb9d4a.png

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Great updates as always, things seem to be going well. Do you think your squad is on par with the likes of Basel and Gallen or are you over performing? 

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3 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Great updates as always, things seem to be going well. Do you think your squad is on par with the likes of Basel and Gallen or are you over performing? 

Thank you. I agree that we've started very strongly and I hope to be able to keep it up.

In terms of other teams - we are, firstly, financially nowhere near their level but I guess that'd be expected following a relegation whereby we lost the core of the squad and a promotion from a division that doesn't lead to massive windfalls. We are, in my opinion, tactically way more astute and I'm yet to see another team do a real tactical number on Anderson Costa - he's regularly able to get in between the lines and in behind, like this:

790f8a88023b5970049d2bf2c0fc39ea.gif

They could very much play with a DM that man marks him, probably in the HB role - a role I'd certainly think about against a Shadow Striker. Likewise, there never seems to be the deviation in play when they come up against a strong block like we have. This will always give me, the human manager, the advantage over the AI, regardless of relative differences in strength of squad.

In terms of direct comparisons - I've taken the 'Key Player' (from the team info tab) of each of the big three and compared to my best player in that position:

101f01efbcb6f22fe368ed128c93285a.png

Louis is a full Swiss international and cost Basel €10.75m from Hoffenheim a few years back. He's just as physical but technically far better than my Costa. 32 Goals in 64 games is not as good as Costa's 52 in 69 but we do really play to his strengths. As both full internationals, I'd say that there isn't a huge difference here.

af992e45d3436486168761b8b8e07bae.png

Hernan cost St. Gallen €8.25m from River Plate and was a wonderkid when I last looked at his profile. He's impacted by the 'Only' foot skew that makes Mojsovski's attributes higher given the same CA. Again, I'd say that these two are both fairly even too but the difference here is the wage that the Argentine is paid.

916b35503ba225a0b16b201c3c22564b.png

Ex Real Madrid and Valencia man Gila moved on a free and I'd say is considerably better than my top centre back Bayiha but I am aware that this is a weak point for me. 

---

Overall, I wouldn't say that they are much better than us but we are clearly better at spotting and developing talent for cheaper than they are and considerably tactically smarter. I predict a nice four way race for the titles over the next years that I'm at Luzern and hope to leave them in a position whereby they can continue to do so into the future.

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Great update as usual :thup:

Am I missing something here? Start date: 25/5/31 and completion date: 5/3/31 :eek: :confused:

Edited by john1
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33 minutes ago, john1 said:

Great update as usual :thup:

Am I missing something here? Start date: 25/5/31 and completion date: 5/3/31 :eek: :confused:

Had to figure out what you were talking about, youth facility update! :idiot:

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9 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

Thank you. I agree that we've started very strongly and I hope to be able to keep it up.

In terms of other teams - we are, firstly, financially nowhere near their level but I guess that'd be expected following a relegation whereby we lost the core of the squad and a promotion from a division that doesn't lead to massive windfalls. We are, in my opinion, tactically way more astute and I'm yet to see another team do a real tactical number on Anderson Costa - he's regularly able to get in between the lines and in behind, like this:

790f8a88023b5970049d2bf2c0fc39ea.gif

They could very much play with a DM that man marks him, probably in the HB role - a role I'd certainly think about against a Shadow Striker. Likewise, there never seems to be the deviation in play when they come up against a strong block like we have. This will always give me, the human manager, the advantage over the AI, regardless of relative differences in strength of squad.

In terms of direct comparisons - I've taken the 'Key Player' (from the team info tab) of each of the big three and compared to my best player in that position:

101f01efbcb6f22fe368ed128c93285a.png

Louis is a full Swiss international and cost Basel €10.75m from Hoffenheim a few years back. He's just as physical but technically far better than my Costa. 32 Goals in 64 games is not as good as Costa's 52 in 69 but we do really play to his strengths. As both full internationals, I'd say that there isn't a huge difference here.

af992e45d3436486168761b8b8e07bae.png

Hernan cost St. Gallen €8.25m from River Plate and was a wonderkid when I last looked at his profile. He's impacted by the 'Only' foot skew that makes Mojsovski's attributes higher given the same CA. Again, I'd say that these two are both fairly even too but the difference here is the wage that the Argentine is paid.

916b35503ba225a0b16b201c3c22564b.png

Ex Real Madrid and Valencia man Gila moved on a free and I'd say is considerably better than my top centre back Bayiha but I am aware that this is a weak point for me. 

---

Overall, I wouldn't say that they are much better than us but we are clearly better at spotting and developing talent for cheaper than they are and considerably tactically smarter. I predict a nice four way race for the titles over the next years that I'm at Luzern and hope to leave them in a position whereby they can continue to do so into the future.

That's a good comparison, the financial disparity should keep the league challenging for you as that's unlikely to change anytime soon. 

Did you put up the tactics you are using, I am curious to see how you're getting the best out of a support striker. What role does your striker play, assuming you use one? 

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10 hours ago, john1 said:

Great update as usual :thup:

Am I missing something here? Start date: 25/5/31 and completion date: 5/3/31 :eek: :confused:

 

9 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

Had to figure out what you were talking about, youth facility update! :idiot:

Ahh, didn't notice that I'd fallen foul of that little UI bug myself. Yeah - it'll be built two months before it starts!

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

That's a good comparison, the financial disparity should keep the league challenging for you as that's unlikely to change anytime soon. 

Did you put up the tactics you are using, I am curious to see how you're getting the best out of a support striker. What role does your striker play, assuming you use one? 

I have in the past, but here is the current set up:

c7dd9fad6602613aeebc1a30c8198bea.png

As you can see tell from the 'LEFT' - I have a mirrored version of this that I can use, too. It plays like a 4-3-3 in possession but, when defending, is so compact and just nullifies space for everyone other than the opposition defenders - which has occasionally caused a problem with a big hoof over the top. I moved to 'More Direct' passing when the board wanted counter attacking football and that coincided with the arrival of Ribic and Magola, who are very pacey. I'm yet to work out whether that really contradicts the 'Play out of Defence' instruction, too. 

Costa's role is essentially that of a DLF(a) without the requirement to initially drop deep. If you envisage a striker who plays on the last shoulder before moving deeper and then making direct runs, he does the latter but not the former and it's been an absolute tactical epiphany for me, watching him run riot. The 'beats offside' trait has also made this even better to see.

There are also little intricacies that I've developed too - such as Costa coming for every short throw to either pull a defender out with him or to allow him a free run back into place and having two corner routines, both aimed to the same place, but the player changed over (one stand on near post and one attack it) as a way to confuse defences as they get rotated through as the game goes on. I've never gone into this much detail before and it's paying off!

Edited by _Ben_
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Posted (edited)

September 2030

aeaf8b9dafd3b672d7073d59200cff50.png

I'm pretty happy with this month, too.

We started with a strong win over Servette where we breached their defence three times to allow Anderson Costa to score a hatrick, with two lovely chips over the keeper. Once again, our backups/injury returners beat lower league Allschwil although we did have a little scare as they equalised with an absolutely delicious backheeled goal that reminded me of the famous Nwankwo Kanu strike (it was so long ago that they didn't have enough pixels to do it justice!) We started our Europa League group stage in imperious form, limiting Sporting to just one or two attacking chances whilst being strong in front of goal ourselves. We then suffered what may be our first continental hangover with a dire and tired performance against Thun in which Marcio Veiga saved our blushes with a last minute equaliser. Zurich saw 1st vs 2nd but the gap in quality was way more than league position as we annihilated them with stand-in Shadow Striker Gavioli scoring twice. The whole 'three games in a week' caught up with us as it did in August as we couldn't string three passes together against Basel. Their two goals came from 0.46xG, which was just shy of their total 0.54 game xG - showing that they didn't dominate, but our 0.20 xG created shows that we didn't either.

Second placed, with the best goal difference, by a mile, and a strong European start is pretty much everything I wanted from this season to date.

---

93d54318cf160ae84fa770a1ad91cec5.png

However, this is a worry. Our injuries are piling up as our fixtures are considerably more congested than normal. However, this graph includes pre-season which has been exactly the same intensity as before and has actually included less friendlies, knowing that we'll be in an extra competition this year. At present, it's a monitoring job but I feel that looking at Sports Scientists as well as my Physio team may be a job to restructure if this picture doesn't improve. Luckily, we have the winter break in January in which a restructure can occur without massively impacting the day-to-day running of the club.

---

8fc63e9d549079ccfe4d4adc542c6cc9.png

I've been running just one mentoring group at the moment with Diego Careca the main focus and Nixon Mazinot as a secondary want to develop. He was Unambitious player when he arrived but the Ambition level of Yannick Bayiha has rubbed off on him, which has now led to him being loyal. This is still far from the end goal but it's good to see that it's moving in the right direction. Ideally, I'd move him into a group with an ambitious personality, but I don't actually have any that specifically name that as a high attribute.

Elsewhere, Predrag Kostadinovic has made a fantastic change to go from ineffectual to accomplished in a little over three months and is now performing really well as a centre back. The game sees best used as a Libero when playing at centre back, which is a massive compliment to his technical and ball playing attributes but, as I said, it was his pace that, for me, saw centre back as his future role. He'll continue as a BPD(c) schedule which should hit his Tackling (as no individual focuses can do that) but I've now added Defensive Positioning to work on his Marking - 11, Decisions - 12 and Positioning - 12 as these are, despite being average for this league, still on the low side for where I want to take him. I feel now is an appropriate time to increase the workload and decrease the time spent positionally as he's now accomplished and will play as a centre back to work on that.

Lastly, I'm at a bit of a cross roads with Joachim Magola. He has made absolutely no progress in his individual focus, despite training well and only has a positional change (adding MR) to his name since arriving last summer. If I add that to his up and down performances, combined with the utter frustration he brings on the pitch due to his lack of final ball or good shot, I don't know whether I'll be looking to keep him, long term. Thinking of this in a more gamey sense - physical attributes, for wingers especially, take up a lot of CA, and I don't have the money/reputation to be able to have a winger who is both strong physically and technically. I opted for Magola and Ribic, two of the former category but it is actually Pilik, who is just average at both, who performs the best across the board of scoring, creating and transitional play.  

EDIT: I crashed the game playing with the skin and lost the Basel game - so Instant Resulted until I got the same outcome. Except, it appears we were worse!

Edited by _Ben_
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3 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

I have in the past, but here is the current set up:

c7dd9fad6602613aeebc1a30c8198bea.png

As you can see tell from the 'LEFT' - I have a mirrored version of this that I can use, too. It plays like a 4-3-3 in possession but, when defending, is so compact and just nullifies space for everyone other than the opposition defenders - which has occasionally caused a problem with a big hoof over the top. I moved to 'More Direct' passing when the board wanted counter attacking football and that coincided with the arrival of Ribic and Magola, who are very pacey. I'm yet to work out whether that really contradicts the 'Play out of Defence' instruction, too. 

Costa's role is essentially that of a DLF(a) without the requirement to initially drop deep. If you envisage a striker who plays on the last shoulder before moving deeper and then making direct runs, he does the latter but not the former and it's been an absolute tactical epiphany for me, watching him run riot. The 'beats offside' trait has also made this even better to see.

There are also little intricacies that I've developed too - such as Costa coming for every short throw to either pull a defender out with him or to allow him a free run back into place and having two corner routines, both aimed to the same place, but the player changed over (one stand on near post and one attack it) as a way to confuse defences as they get rotated through as the game goes on. I've never gone into this much detail before and it's paying off!

I like it, seems well built for counter attacking football, and I like the overload on the left a lot too. 

I just assumed when you mentioned SS you would have someone playing in the striker position as well.

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I like data, but truly hate excel.....which is why I only use what the game provides.....

This home page is great!

Even if I claim to be a throwback and complain loudly about the "Stats Nerds" ruining the game and using the Mk1 eyeball to evaluate talent...LOL!

 

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October 2030

eee99d24dac40fdb9320128791e985aa.png

A little bit of a dip with a draw and a defeat and this coincides with good form from the three teams now above us, but I believe we're still doing well enough to occupy a place higher in the league, and xPts agrees with this:

a1f832eea56ad489ed8cf63f692ea66a.png

We started the month with a strong win over Rangers in, what I thought, would be the easiest opposition to face - yet they were stronger than Sporting and we had to work really hard for it. We followed up with a commanding performance against Aarau, showing that we don't always perform badly after a European tie, even if they are, arguably, the weakest team in the league. A battling draw away at Young Boys and then a positive home draw against a really strong Schalke side that preceded an away loss to St. Gallen has the created the longest winless streak for me since taking of at Luzern - a crazy fact! We ended the month with a decent win over second tier Baden - where we started our with a weakened squad but early injuries to Nedeljkovic and Pilik soon changed the dynamic.

I don't recall us beating St. Gallen, or, in fact, scoring against them in six games since promotion and this is something that will really have to be sorted if we want to become genuine title contenders. The Young Boys tie marked my 100th game for Luzern, with the other ninety-nine producing some wonderful football and performances.

---

44e095570882d8e3f615771b81e38d43.png

Injuries are easing, somewhat, but I've been inspired by a Tifo video on tactical periodisation to relook at how I develop my approach on the training pitch. I want to mesh everything together so that we train what we play and we look to develop areas that will have a direct impact on what I see on the pitch. It was the graphic, as seen below, that most interested me though.

c75a86c87d887ee1a9d5b0aa803a29bc.png

This sees the intensity build towards the middle of the week before tailing off as we approach games. In our Medical Centre, I can see that the ratio of game injuries to training injuries is not 1:1 with more injuries coming in the 90 minutes not the entire week of training. The main issue, apparently, is high fatigue from the training workload, which I guess, when leading in to matches, is more likely to lead to injuries. I feel that, on average, I don't push the intensity too high and do use the Match Prep blocks as a way to ease the players into a game but maybe I'm ordering this wrong and should be using some bits of it across the week - maybe the Defensive Shape (Match Prep) on the same day as Ground Defence (Attribute Increase) for example, as they link. What is more, we regularly switch between Sunday and Saturday games, giving me a headache on which days are rest days - as I like to do a Recovery and Match Review (Match Prep) session as well as having one complete rest day. I feel that worked well when we were in the Challenge League to keep the squad fresh. Now that I'm adding in Thursday Europa League games, I'm finding the days between that and the league tie are just Match Prep blocks, especially if we go Thursday, Sunday, Thursday and I add the full day of rest. I really need to look, and gather some information, on how things are working and how I can improve them.

---

5e11db3b013d98114a54b6f0ac31d05e.png

We now have a benchmark here that I'd like to achieve before I move on, if I do indeed decide to do that. We are 8th in the league in terms of player development - academy players playing at this level. Whilst my own list of academy players with talent, below, is strong and my best players are, in fact, academy players, we are missing the step in which players who don't make it here are moved on and good enough to continue their footballing education in this league. Basel have nine first team squad players that are Trained at club (15-21), three more than Young Boys and the same number as us - but that accounts to just 23.6% of those in this league, whilst our figure is 47.3%.

7f6b54a08ca8d8972110dca6ccc8e9fe.png

Of these players, I need to spend the next year or so identifying those who I feel will make it at my team: the likes of Toni Gonzalez and potentially Lassaad Trabelsi but also look at those high potential players like Thomas Nicolet who may become good but have really big areas of concern - such as this lad's (lack of) height or, to a lesser degree, Buhler's lack of technique.

Lot's to think about but I want to be in the top five, or maybe the top three, within five to six years.

 

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2 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Where can you see the expected position? 

As far as I know, you can’t - it only comes up at the end of the season in the report. However, the new panels that I shared on my Home Screen include a selector for the xG table - so I’ve made use of that. 

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November 2030

6b8514340315227971fd454909237687.png

A decent month, although, with only one clean sheet - I'm left scratching my head a little at the silly mistakes that are creeping into our game.

We started with a really poor win, if wins can be classed as poor, against Lausanne. We did take our goals well and, with both full backs netting, shows a real sign of our fluidity in style before Costa netted from a rare penalty that was actually awarded to us. From then on in, we were dire. Utterly dire. Lausanne should have beaten us and, if the game was ten minutes longer, they may have done. We followed up with a much stronger performance at the VELTINS-arena and were denied by a fortuitous last minute goal. A decent thirty minutes or so against Sion was enough to earn a victory and we found a bit more form against a poor Servette side before being played off the park by Sporting, leaving the group stage tentatively balanced as we head into game six - a home tie against Rangers.

Once again, the key point of this month, for me, has been the injuries, as seen below with the word 'crisis' now being banded about:

358438cb8c0beb92be6602d2c02cf309.png

I've got some ideas on this subject, but there is more to that later in this update.

---

I've spent a little bit of time sorting out my scouting assignments this month, too:

394218b5247547e938826614819706c5.png

Every scout has the same agenda - young players with good potential and two of my 'favoured' attributes that I find harder to develop: Determination and Natural Fitness. I'm starting to be able to recruit scouts of that nationality to specialise in certain areas and regions - Spaniard Duran, Argentine Obregon, Tunisian Ali Gasmi for example, even if Madagascan Boisvillers and Mozambique native Reinildo are a little lost. It's becoming reasonably fruitful and I will cotninue to scour those unfancied areas to bring through the next generation of talent, often at a much cheaper price but requiring some extra work - work that I am more than willing to put into them.

---

3382ef77182f0d4e9356cca9c2ff7298.png

This appeared earlier and has given me a managerial headache.

Young Boys are a big team. They are predicted to finish first this season but are struggling down in fifth. They could be considered the end goal of this save. However, they only have half of 'my puzzle.'  Whilst looking through their squad, I can see that they have a wealth of experienced talent and squad depth but are completely lacking in any young academy players - which is almost entirely opposite to what we have. They, clearly, have the history, but their facilities are absolutely no better than ours and, despite the fact that their u21 team plays one level higher (but are bottom of the Promotion League), the infrastructure isn't too dissimilar - yes, their stadium is 15,000 seats bigger but they pay €10m more per year on rent for it. 

This leads me to my thoughts on Luzern. We've got a great academy setup and, even though the backroom team is a work in progress, have the infrastructure to produce good players that will, hopefully, be able to cement themselves in the team in the next five years. We've already made this move since I started: Anderson Costa, Levin Zender, Darko Mosjovski, Taulant Kabashi - all brought through by me. What we lack is the experience and the depth. Injuries are killing us right now because we don't have a deep 23+ man squad that can cope with European competition so are forced to play unfit players. This is something that YB, Basel and St. Gallen all have. But that is the only difference. Luzern are, in my biased opinion, the club with the most potential in this save - and that isn't necessarily because I'm managing them. The youth that they're bringing through (which I haven't altered through HoYD etc appointments) and the core of players who were here before me are great.

The point I'm making is: If we can nail the next couple of windows, signing some 'ready made' players to compliment those 'projects' - this club will be the end goal of this save and I don't foresee any need to move, unless something amazing comes up or I reach a point whereby this job is untenable.

 

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Oh poised in Europe, with no team able to ‘just’ draw.

The league? Not sure what to make of it, except to say that still in contention for that second spot (not sure about first yet). Can you use a couple of not so developed players in your u23/u18’s sides that are close (maybe 3/4 or more the way there to first team)? Do you  have many of those types yet?

End goals are funny things. I went back and looked at your league set-up and was wondering whether a team of a larger rep/setup could be the last team, but chosen because of language you speak?

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I like your thinking and am tempted to agree, there is of course a gap right now to Young Boys and St. Gallen but not such a big gap that switching jobs would necessarily be the best move. Keep up the good work!

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4 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

The league? Not sure what to make of it, except to say that still in contention for that second spot (not sure about first yet). Can you use a couple of not so developed players in your u23/u18’s sides that are close (maybe 3/4 or more the way there to first team)? Do you  have many of those types yet?

Good point but it appears we entered somewhat of a purple patch with the academy the year before I joined. I have taken all of those promising players to the first team with me and anyone else left in their is either new this season or last - so they are some way off. Nixon Mazinot is probably the closest I have to the first team who isn't there yet and he is within my first team.

4 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

End goals are funny things. I went back and looked at your league set-up and was wondering whether a team of a larger rep/setup could be the last team, but chosen because of language you speak?

I've thought that, too. However, the only Swiss language I haven't picked up is Italian but all of those clubs are outside of the top flight and I think that's a very unrealistic step back, unless things go pear-shaped here.

1 hour ago, karanhsingh said:

I like your thinking and am tempted to agree, there is of course a gap right now to Young Boys and St. Gallen but not such a big gap that switching jobs would necessarily be the best move. Keep up the good work!

There is a gap to St. Gallen in terms of quality and Basel in terms of youth development but I think we're on a par with Young Boys now. They are on a slide and I know it takes more than three years to identify a 'fallen' team but, as I said, they are a bit of a mess and it'd be a huge clean up job.

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4 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

There is a gap to St. Gallen in terms of quality and Basel in terms of youth development but I think we're on a par with Young Boys now. They are on a slide and I know it takes more than three years to identify a 'fallen' team but, as I said, they are a bit of a mess and it'd be a huge clean up job.

Ah forgot about Basel! Btw there is some great talent that pops up in Switzerland as I am sure you have seen, in my save Young Boys have produced this Kosovan striker who looks absolutely incredible.

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9 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

End goals are funny things. I went back and looked at your league set-up and was wondering whether a team of a larger rep/setup could be the last team, but chosen because of language you speak?

 

4 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

I've thought that, too. However, the only Swiss language I haven't picked up is Italian but all of those clubs are outside of the top flight and I think that's a very unrealistic step back, unless things go pear-shaped here.

Whoops, meant to include in other countries with higher rep/club set-up (ie France/Germany?).

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6 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Ah forgot about Basel! Btw there is some great talent that pops up in Switzerland as I am sure you have seen, in my save Young Boys have produced this Kosovan striker who looks absolutely incredible.

Indeed - Swiss football is good and the fact that the youth teams play in competitive professional leagues, helps, too. My reputation isn't good enough to attract the best of the best, but there are players such as Berisha, below, who epitomise the quality available:

1b4f19fefff20c0a62c70a22f9f3f492.png

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