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[FM21] Swiss Army Knife


_Ben_
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ST Gallen seems to be your "bogey team" as well as chief competitor. Do you think a rivalry will develop?

In my Grenoble save (I stopped posting but continued playing) Luzern has become a major player in world football even with AI management. I think you found yourself a "Sleeping Giant"!

 

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48 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

ST Gallen seems to be your "bogey team" as well as chief competitor. Do you think a rivalry will develop?

In my Grenoble save (I stopped posting but continued playing) Luzern has become a major player in world football even with AI management. I think you found yourself a "Sleeping Giant"!

 

I certainly hope so, yes. There is definitely one between myself and Torsten Frings, their manager but I want that to run deeper that just personnel. 

Interesting - can you share some screenshots of their rise please? I'd be interested to see their club page and any key players. They definitely are a club with a lot of potential as they've got a good youth system and are located in a really nice part of the country, and that really plays a part.

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I overstated their "greatness" but they won the league last season and have won the last two Swiss Cup's

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but they did have Arjen Robben as a manager....and that began their current success....

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The reason I noticed them is that they seemed to go after many of the same players I am at least scouting and they pulled the trigger on some large transfer fees ($20M+)

 

 

This was all done by AI without my interference but the Swiss Super League is "Playable" in the save.

 

 

 

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On 13/06/2021 at 16:38, _Ben_ said:

Thanks!

Where would you play Tichy then? Bare in mind that my left back does little to no defending!

Further up the page is the list of leagues loaded but, yes, I’ve got about 10 African leagues loaded. 

Got it, are they loaded as playable or view-only?

I'd probably just play him as a winger, not as adventurous as you :lol: Of course he could well work as a marauding wing back too but I'd be concerned about his defensive abilities (or lack of) when playing the bigger sides in Europe.

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On 15/06/2021 at 14:26, Hootieleece said:

The reason I noticed them is that they seemed to go after many of the same players I am at least scouting and they pulled the trigger on some large transfer fees ($20M+)

This was all done by AI without my interference but the Swiss Super League is "Playable" in the save.

Interesting. Thanks for the shots.

They aren't a team I've ever really see do well before but the infrastructure here is good, so I can see that it might happen.

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12 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Got it, are they loaded as playable or view-only?

I'd probably just play him as a winger, not as adventurous as you :lol: Of course he could well work as a marauding wing back too but I'd be concerned about his defensive abilities (or lack of) when playing the bigger sides in Europe.

They are playable. 

I'm trying out a few things with the defensive shape I play:

My plan, in these big games is to take the game to the other teams. My back 4 shifts into a three and the left full back becomes a wing back/winger. Most top teams play a 4-2-3-1 and I'm aware that my back three + DM is man for man with their offence but, when we add in that my wide players man mark their full backs, as well as the compactness - the only spare man is actually one of their centre backs. I'm trying to stop them from having possession between the lines but maintain my offensive prowess through quick transitions.

I have to say - when it works, it works quite nicely!

 

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March 2034

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Good, bad, good, expected, good.

Lausanne are becoming a really good side - which is great to see. As mentioned before, their recruitment is spot on and I just didn't know the players I was facing and, as such, really underestimated them. They battled hard and deserved the three points, even if we did beat them on xG, and, average quality of chance. March saw the end of our Champions League run, too, as we were outplayed by Lyon. I felt we had a chance after the home leg but we really didn't turn up to France and they pushed us aside. As expected as it was, I felt that we didn't give a good enough account of ourselves at a time whereby I'm actively trying to take the game to the opposition. We lacked creativity. We looked second best. We deserved to go out. However, the rest of the league has been relatively pain-free and St. Gallen have dropped points too, meaning our gap is 13 points with 24 left to play for.

----

I received news that my intake would be good this year and it certainly hasn't disappointed:

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Alain KongnyuyEdoardo ApollonioZhao QiEmmanuel Addai-MandelaArtuur TangheSerkan Arat.

When you consider that 2* is around good enough for the top flight you will see just how strong this is. Not only do I have at least six of this group who could make it to the top flight, but I've also got five of them who are not far from that level, right now!

In Kongnyuy and Addai-Mandela, I am adding to my African contingent with two very strong defensive players. They are joined by two creative outlets in Apollonio and Qi, who could turn out to be a top quality playmaker. I quite like the look of Tanghe, although he'd be more of a creative midfielder than a forward, for me and Arat, despite his height, could be a top centre back - certainly the best Liechtenstein have ever produced. I like the overall suitability to the club DNA, with more and more people coming through with decent levels of Determination. We are still working towards securing better personalities but that is a long term project and we have the base within the squad to impact this, anyway.

I will continue to monitor young players from around the world (mainly Europe due to age restrictions) who can join this squad and, hopefully develop together.

I am delighted to see the change in perceived PA once they signed for me, too:

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Fabian Alich has kind of appeared from nowhere, but there is, potentially, a very good group of players within this squad. The likes of Davidov and Ntiamoah as well as Niang and Diop (not pictured) are likely to be moved on for profit and I am able to sell on players who are not performing or developing - this would include the likes of Hlouska, who has been poor since joining. I am working towards an end-goal and those not on board need to be moved on for the sake of this project.

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We have the finances not only to fund this but to also create a juggernaut from it - with the steady movement of players through the academy, either to the first team or other clubs. It's certainly a very promising period of time here.

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That is an absolutely ridiculous intake :eek:. Five or six truly world class talents in my opinion. Very excited to see how you can develop them.

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You can’t win with kids :brock:

Thats just a ridiculous intake :cool:

Going to fun to see how they develop.

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On 18/06/2021 at 02:28, Fudal said:

That is an absolutely ridiculous intake :eek:. Five or six truly world class talents in my opinion. Very excited to see how you can develop them.

 

On 18/06/2021 at 09:59, Sonic Youth said:

You can’t win with kids :brock:

Thats just a ridiculous intake :cool:

Going to fun to see how they develop.

 

On 18/06/2021 at 13:38, Hootieleece said:

Luzern the Barca of Switzerland!

 

Thanks all! I've added to my development squad thanks to some quick scouting missions and I hope, as you say, to create the Barca of Switzerland with a nice conveyor belt of talent either moving to the first team or to other teams in the league.

Here are the four additions:

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I need to re-run the face generator at the end of the season but I've picked up some nice youth here, including one from the Fribourg academy, which is a nice little touch.

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48 minutes ago, karanhsingh said:

How do you usually scout these players? 

My scouts work on regions - looking for players between 15 and 21 with good Determination and Natural Fitness. I have tried to pull together a variety of nationalities to increase my wold knowledge and they then, when possible, scout the area they are from. Further filters in the scouted screen remove poor Anticipation, Decisions and Consistency and then I move in from there. 
 

As it’s March, I was able to sign all of these through unprotected contacts and, as such, just pay compensation rather than an up-front fee. 

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April 2034

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Three league wins in a row! I, genuinely, never saw our rise being as quick and as meteoric as it has been but we are truly a great footballing side and are building a fantastic future - one that I am going to be a part of.

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It hasn't been the easiest month, on paper, but we've managed to keep things tight in the league, create chances and pick up the points. I was disappointed to lose against Young Boys in the cup, but it's been a longer season than normal with our European excursions so I can't really complain too much. I have been able to rotate the team quite well this season and the majority of players have performed well for me, which is undoubtedly the reason for our success. However, I am also prepared for a player to not perform and this month the inclusion of Andre Almeida, a replacement for the injured Magola over normal winger Schonfeld, has paid off as he's found the net three times.

---

In line with the great players at the club, I'm also trying to slowly build a backroom team that matches that quality. When I took over, I identified the key staff members that I wanted to work with and have slowly been upgrading them as their contracts have expired. I am now left with a much stronger core team:

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I have kept Renato with me throughout and, despite continuously failing his Pro License (staff PA is clearly full then), he's very good at what he does. I have now upgraded all key areas, have a great personality installed as HoYD in Regis Le Bris and strong rated staff elsewhere, all roughly matching my staff DNA.

Whilst my first team coaching setup is not where I want it, yet, largely due to the fact that I've only just taken over this part of recruitment, I have been able to quite quickly establish two decent set ups for the u21 squad and u18 squad:

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I'm starting to be able to pull better personalities and ratings (of which I quite like for staff, actually) again with the suitability of my DNA, where working with youngsters is necessary. Alexander Frei is a Swiss legend and I really hope my kids would aspire to be as good as he is. Pairing him with the penalty king of Crystal Palace in Milovejevic and there's a strong team there.

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It continues into the younger squad with Alessandro Florenzi currently in role here. My plan is to promote from within so these staff, should they succeed, will be able to move up to the u21 squad and then maybe the first team, too. I've picked up a couple of newgen young staff in Ntambwe and Remedi through job adverts and hopefully they can cut their teeth and develop before progressing, too.

I have also pulled together quite the recruitment team and, this paired with my increased size gameworld, is performing really well:

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A few years back, Medvedev uncovered Chinese prospect Wang Tao, now at Man City and Goran Vucevic identified Romanian first-teamer Ionesi last summer. The recruitment team is developing and I hope to add further different nationalities and regions of excellence as I expand my empire.

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Lastly, an ode to earlier parts of this save:

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Ales Ribic, a top player from my first intake at Meyrin, the youngest ever appearance maker and goal scorer at Meyrin and the Swiss fourth tier and now, a full Swiss international with one goal in four games at Luzern. Not a superstar but certainly a player that adds something to my team. Sadly, Meyrin are about to be relegated to the fifth tier as their recent history has gone in a very different direction to mine, but we may cross paths again at some point.

He's not been the only winner of late as Toni Gonzalez has picked up the NxGn Award, despite not quite finding his feet as I'd have expected.

 

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On 16/05/2021 at 14:55, _Ben_ said:

It's been on and off for months, if not years now, but finally being able to move on with a new board in place is good news. I have spent the last couple of windows, on and off, seeing the below message when trying to sign anyone, including promising youngster Moldawsky just weeks ago. I have still been able to scout for youngsters and, now I've finally got my additional leagues to actually load, will continue to build up knowledge of players like the Israeli youngster, who, annoyingly (now), doesn't actually want to agree a pre-contract anyway! 

Just wanted to highlight this point on Moldawsky, the player I missed out on (largely) due to a takeover...

In the end, he went to Bayern, then moved to Frankfurt where he's netted 15 in 21 appearances for them this year. Talk about a missed opportunity! (I must add - I am loving this about a bigger database. I'm finding players and then not 'winning' on them all and they are still having great careers elsewhere - there is so much more 'narrative' to this).

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17 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

My scouts work on regions - looking for players between 15 and 21 with good Determination and Natural Fitness. I have tried to pull together a variety of nationalities to increase my wold knowledge and they then, when possible, scout the area they are from. Further filters in the scouted screen remove poor Anticipation, Decisions and Consistency and then I move in from there. 
 

As it’s March, I was able to sign all of these through unprotected contacts and, as such, just pay compensation rather than an up-front fee. 

Understood - for some reason when I send my scouts out to specific countries (where they have full knowledge) they just aren't returning enough players. It's like not even one a month sometimes. Now I just have them all doing the entire scouting range out of frustration.

Anyhow, congratulations on the successive league titles, things are going very well indeed :thup:

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I think I am going to have to re-read your training sections....because I can't seem to keep players fit with my "Work Hard, Play Harder" approach.

There is a good chance I will eventually try and emulate your conveyor belt of talent.....in SLOVAKIA!

 

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On 21/06/2021 at 07:36, karanhsingh said:

Understood - for some reason when I send my scouts out to specific countries (where they have full knowledge) they just aren't returning enough players. It's like not even one a month sometimes. Now I just have them all doing the entire scouting range out of frustration.

Anyhow, congratulations on the successive league titles, things are going very well indeed :thup:

How big is your database? How many leagues loaded? Are you using Full Detail on anything? I've found upping that has found way more players. I've got scouts attending youth competitions and the like, which is really beneficial for the type of player I'm after.

On 21/06/2021 at 13:29, Hootieleece said:

I think I am going to have to re-read your training sections....because I can't seem to keep players fit with my "Work Hard, Play Harder" approach.

There is a good chance I will eventually try and emulate your conveyor belt of talent.....in SLOVAKIA!

 

There is no work harder for me! It's work smarter!

I have a small first team (about 24 players, although three or four of those are youngsters and play less) so I need to keep them fit. Therefore, I would say I take more time off than most. I think the biggest thing for me is reducing the intensity of sessions mid-season, front loading any physical training and then tapering down to match day, so we are fresh and less likely to get injured.

I've not been on the boards that much this week but I'll catch up on your thread shortly!

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11 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

How big is your database? How many leagues loaded? Are you using Full Detail on anything? I've found upping that has found way more players. I've got scouts attending youth competitions and the like, which is really beneficial for the type of player I'm after.

Large database - 6 nations playable and another 12 odd as view-only. I also load players from top/ continental clubs in all continents, and for this particular save from Eastern Europe as well.

My computer slows down if I do a lot of playable leagues hence this is what I usually work with. So maybe that's the difference.

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May 2034

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May saw us coast home with a perfect record and no goals conceded as we have won our third title, although our record is four points shy of what we have managed in the last two years. The inclusion of Vaduz into the top flight sees six clubs entering European competition next year, with St. Gallen reaching the Quarter Finals of the Conference League, won by Malmo. It was a really poor season for Zurich, who, if they drop out of the league, would offer a similar job to the one I took at Luzern - a team far too big for the league they're in with the infrastructure to bounce back and more if they can get the right person in charge.

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We continued to outscore our xG and xPts, which is amazing and shows that we are still adapting and performing better than we possibly should be. It'll be interesting to see just how far we can go domestically as we are touching both ends of the quadrants - aggressive and clinical and quiet and impenetrable, but there is always scope for me. Basel (top right) are now the retain the ball kings of Switzerland and we sit quite low down in terms of passes attempted but out counter attacking player is sublime, slick and dangerous.

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A lot of headers attempted but a lot of them won. As we sit deep and compact, we restrict space and almost encourage a big ball up field which we've got better at dealing with of late. St. Gallen are the only side with a better SoT % than us this year and I'm really going to go for it over the coming years and aim for the 100GF target - to do that, we'll need to nail things like our crossing, which is neither here nor there. A mid-range attempted and a decent completion rate but we can utilise low, drilled crosses in our offensive transition and I feel we do miss out on that sometimes.

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Defenders

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The primary roles of my defenders vary by side - with the left footer being the more aggressive in terms of ball winning and move production, often having the freedom to launch more direct balls to the flanks - and that should be reflected in the interceptions and tackles of these players, with the right hand side player (Adilovic and Ionesi - right footed and better positioning) charging out less and covering more whereas Cifuentes and Osemene (left footed and better anticipation) would be expected to meet the opponent higher up the pitch. What is not shown on their is their use of the ball. Below is how they rank against the rest of the centre halves in the league who have amassed over 1000 minutes this year, with a special eye on Carlos Perez, who is out on loan with Vaduz:

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This is putting the players in a percentile rank and, despite Cifuentes attempting so few tackles (what is that saying by Maldini again...), he wins a ridiculously high number of them and records a great number of key tackles when they are needed. Adilovic has been the best on the ball and Kostadinovic raises some questions in that area but Ionesi has had a wonderful strong first season at centre back, arguably playing the easiest games (given his group high pts/game). My plan for next season is to see whether Perez will stay in this league, at a club of higher standing than Vaduz before replacing Kostadinovic, who is clearly the weakest link here. Aside from that - I've really got a strong side and specific targets moving forward:

  • Develop the transitional output of Cifuentes given his ball playing ability (Passing 14, Technique 12, Vision 12)
  • Assess the development of Carlos Perez

Defensive Minded Players

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This group consists of the right full back, who is far more defensive than his left sided counter-part and the defensive midfielder, under a variety of role-guises, with the most used being a DM(d). The primary job of both of these areas in my philosophical style is to win the ball back and also be confident moving the ball to the left hand side, where our overloads take place.

This is a poor area for me, average rating wise, but these players are no-frills and are rarely picking up goals, assists or creating headlines. Fidan Castro's trait of Gets Forward Whenever Possible is hampering our style somewhat and he is the least likely of the three to be here next year, but I have nothing in stone, yet aside from maybe some extra cover for Zehnder.

Central Midfielders

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An area of my team where I want players to contribute to all phases, really. Ideally - in our counter attacking setup, we'd have players with the intelligence to move the ball on as well as get forward and score themselves. I like to have players with the intelligence to chose when the pass is right and, with that, I have no worry about some extra ball turnovers. I think that, when you compare my lot with the league, you'll see that:

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Now - I have highlighted the playmaking, ball winning and scoring areas for my four midfielders as well as identified two players who could improve my team who are in this league. Firstly, when looking at our data - your eyes are not deceiving you - Dantas is in the lowest percentile of passes completed - just 79%. However, look at how many of those are key, create chances and turn into assists. Likewise, Gonzalez and Kabashi do the same - they don't attempt many as we often bypass them, but when we do - they are super creative. I must say that I have lacked a ball winner this year and I think, against some of the more physical, defensive blocks, have struggled without the mettle and engines that my midfield just don't have. Going forward, even though the overall goal tallies don't look great - you can see that Kabashi actually has done really well to create and score a few and Gonzalez and Dantas are taking shots at good opportunities. I'd like to develop the way Gonzalez is playing to incorporate more offensive risk as he's a great finisher - but I've yet to unlock that.

I've also highlighted Erdi Tunc and Nathan Follonier of St. Gallen (on loan from RB Salzburg) and Thun, respectively, who could add something that we don't have. In Tunc, I have an runner in the midfield and someone who has created a lot of chances and taken a good amount of shots. In Follonier, I have that engine I have missed - tackles are higher than what I have but there is also a decent ball player in there and someone who hasn't shied away from creating in what has to be considered a poor Thun side. For what it is worth, Tunc would cost upwards of €7.5m and I'd have to agree something with Thun as they're not looking to sell their top prospect.

My aims for the summer are pretty simple - I don't think Shpendi is ready nor do I feel he's really found his part to my midfield. I'd like to upgrade that area. I'd also like to see how I can further the scoring prowess of Toni Gonzalez.

Wingers

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I class my left backs and right side midfielders as wingers, as they essentially perform the same job, although the overloads on the left allow the right winger to get forward and offer more in the way of a goalscoring threat - even if I do not value their Finishing attribute to be among their most important (see 8 for Magola, for example). However, it is the DR Congolese man who joint tops my scoring this season, completes an inordinate amount of distance/90 and is far outperforming his supposed rotational option, Schonfeld. Andre Almeida made a small cameo at the end of the season and is solid but is too young and lacks top flight experience, which does give our summer signing from Thun, Josef, a year extra to sort himself out.

Mojsovski has been rock solid again and Vielliard has impressed on his first season in the first team. 

There is very little I'd like to do, short term, with this area of the team although I do feel the urge for that marquee signing again and I feel that the left back is arguably the joint best (with DM or RB) option for it to come.

Forwards

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My left winger (Inverted Winger) and the shadow striker form this part of my analysis.

Even after a quieter seasonAnderson Costa has still managed to lead the scoring charts, which is wonderful and shows how important he is to the style of the team even if his attributes, overall, aren't that striking. That is clear when viewing his international record as he struggles far more as a striker for the Swiss side. 

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It is interesting to look at the comparison between quality of chance (probably your penalty takers) and consistency of chances, through total xG, and see that Costa not only gets into those areas really well but also scores a lot of goals. It is nice to see that the other three players, who amassed over 1000 minutes, are not anomalous and are holding their own within the league, although the performances of Jonathan Royer have flattered to deceive somewhat. Much can be said though for the emergence of Miguel Pedroso who scored ten times (2 for the u21 side) and assisted nine more, putting himself in the 90th percentile for goals and assists per/90 - not bad for your first season!

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I'm not sure what I want to do here. I sometimes feel that real competition for Anderson Costa is needed but then, when I watch him, he is un-droppable so I persist with other options. However, neither Royer or Taseski has really done a lot this season.

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With much to ponder, I will bask in another great season and enjoy a record breaking World Cup call up, with nine of my players off to Japan for the summer...

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Interesting breakdown. It shows that looking at your team by pure stats not only doesn’t give the full impression of how a player is playing, but might actually show that a player had a good season (even if it doesn’t look as good as previous seasons) like Costa.

Your wingers run a lot on average. Are they the tiredest players after a match? Do they need to do the most work/running? I’d have usually expected more assists, but I’m not sure your tactic doesn’t work that way as your strikers assist more.

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On 26/06/2021 at 01:03, Sonic Youth said:

Interesting breakdown. It shows that looking at your team by pure stats not only doesn’t give the full impression of how a player is playing, but might actually show that a player had a good season (even if it doesn’t look as good as previous seasons) like Costa.

Your wingers run a lot on average. Are they the tiredest players after a match? Do they need to do the most work/running? I’d have usually expected more assists, but I’m not sure your tactic doesn’t work that way as your strikers assist more.

You make a really good point here and one I've been looking at for a little while to get the best out of what I have at the club right now. I think a slight change in duties may be the key to unlocking the winger assist issue (and more):

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Looking at Magola, who has poor Finishing, I think it'd make sense to drop him to a support duty but include a new Individual Instruction - to get forward whenever possible. His Pace, Natural Fitness and Work Rate is all good enough to allow him to get forward just as much but also to start a little deeper and, hopefully, be able to supply more balls through rather than be on the end of them. His 18 goals from just 11.31xG shows a huge overperformance and one that he, surely, can't keep up. 

Likewise, it allows Gonzalez to move to a Mez(a), making the most of his Finishing ability and utilising his playmaking skills a little closer to the goal, hopefully increasing his assisting output, too.

I've not played anything with this yet, but, on paper, it could work!

On 26/06/2021 at 01:06, Sonic Youth said:

I like how many Swiss players from your team made the Swiss World Cup team :applause:

 

On 26/06/2021 at 08:50, karanhsingh said:

That's a great turn out for the WC! You should go watch the Switzerland games.

Oh I will be! Unfortunately, Costa got injured in the warm ups and is out for 2 months but there are still a huge number there, still...

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June 2034

I welcomed back a smaller group of players thanks to World Cup, with a host of them away on international duty in Japan. The first weeks of training are so important and I must consider the impact of a selection of important players not being comfortable with the style that we play. However, I chose to build the first week around physical play with special attention on Match Tactics, giving the core of the team (that were there) a good heads up on familiarity. The second week is a time to spend as a team, working together with focus on our ability on the ball (this doesn't specify keeping it, merely using it). Week three then really hones in on the units and styles that we blocks that best suit our style of play - Transition using direct play and down the wings, with overlaps but also defending, not necessarily from their six yard box, but from our forwards.

The three weeks of June look like this:

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Unfortunately, those not at the club enjoyed an absolutely dire summer:

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----

On the transfer front, I'd reluctantly accepted an €18m bid for Osemene but was shocked to see that he rejected Sheffield United and Arsenal. However, the news that Darko Mojsovski is unhappy has led to me moving into the transfer market myself:

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Nikita, who holds a Norwegian passport, joins from Rosenborg for €5.25m and, although not a full back, yet, is really strong in comparison with the man he'll likely replace and is coming off the back of a strong career to date, with 0.34 goals or assists per/90 and a solid Average Rating. I like that his player performance, albeit in the Eliteserian, is strong and addresses an area we've been weak in, balls into the box to create chances. Although he'll be moving backwards on the pitch, the freedom which his role gives him should see him be able to utilise his Crossing, Dribbling and all-round speed. I also like that he's got a good Long Throw and it's something I can look to take advantage of down the left hand side. I think that the worry of using a non-natural defender on the left is now offset by the fact that my right back is far more defensive and creates an offset-three, rather than an Inverted Wing Back, leaving a 2-2 in the defensive area.

Combine the slight tweak tactically and a player upgrade in the month of June - I feel that we're making the right choices to improve our style and on-field performances.

----

I do have other targets that I'm looking at, Đani Mihajlovic being one, but I face competition against the likes of Man City and Everton so don't hold out much hope. July will be quite busy, I think...

 

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Do you have any tips on getting clubs to make offers for your players? 

On my save we had a run to the europa semi finals but still no interest at all. 

You seem to get quite a few offers so just wondering why that is. Or did it take you a few years of sustained performance and I just need to be more patient? 

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On 28/06/2021 at 19:41, karanhsingh said:

Do you have any tips on getting clubs to make offers for your players? 

On my save we had a run to the europa semi finals but still no interest at all. 

You seem to get quite a few offers so just wondering why that is. Or did it take you a few years of sustained performance and I just need to be more patient? 

Not doing anything specific, really. We're playing well, which helps and the only other non-gamey thing I can think is that, because of the sudden influx of altered leagues, that teams are still trying to fully align their full squads. It may calm down in the years to come.

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24 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

Not doing anything specific, really. We're playing well, which helps and the only other non-gamey thing I can think is that, because of the sudden influx of altered leagues, that teams are still trying to fully align their full squads. It may calm down in the years to come.

You mean because you added leagues mid save? 

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1 hour ago, karanhsingh said:

You mean because you added leagues mid save? 

Yeah.

Teams in active leagues tend to run larger squads and there is now thousands of extra players - so bigger clubs' scouting networks will have grown, too.

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3 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

Yeah.

Teams in active leagues tend to run larger squads and there is now thousands of extra players - so bigger clubs' scouting networks will have grown, too.

Fair enough. I may do the same. 

I think there is too huge a gap between my league and the other active leagues which are essentially the top 5 

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July 2034

9b2c79666ae292dfe68138c0994432cd.png

A nice little bit of pre-season action followed by two solid league performances.

In the absence of Anderson Costa, Jonathan Royer has been deputising in the Shadow Striker role and was the hero in the late win over Vaduz, where we managed to squander a whole host of chances before that. I'm quite happy with the early signs of team shape change: Gonzalez, my most creative player, now in a free, attacking role, has nine key passes to his name in the league so far. 

Early signs suggest that we're in a good place.

---

We have been incredibly active in the transfer market, essentially being pillaged by larger sides, leaving me with no choice but to accept given the repercussions on the remainder of my squad.

Alban Shpendi was the first out as he made a move to Bayern, for a fee considerably less than what I really wanted but on the back of what really wasn't a great season and for a player who has really yet to find his place within my squad - not a ball winner, nor a runner, nor a creator, really. Alban will spend 12 months on loan here though before moving permanently to Germany, which means I don't necessarily need to find an immediate replacement nor fast track an academy player. He joined Darko Mojsovski, who made his move to Leicester for €6.5m. Again - probably less than I wanted but we already had brought in Zakharov, for €1m less than this, so I wasn't too worried. Fidan Castro was next to leave as he departed for Spain and Villarreal. This was a deal I was less unhappy to see though as his traits, in particular, really didn't with how I see the new role at right back going forward. Lastly, and the biggest transfer out (second biggest in my reign after Stefan Lolic), was the deal that took Felipe Cifuentes to Barcelona for a fee that will fetch me nearly €35m. Even though he is a product of the Real academy, a move to Barca is one that I simply could not turn down and I wish him the best.

Combining that with a series of loan moves, we have brought in €46.5m this summer, leaving our balance very healthy indeed...

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Moving into the market, myself, armed with a WARCHEST of over  $80m, I did make a purchase that I'd hinted at before:

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I managed to beat the suitors for Mihajlovic, who, at 17, becomes a very expensive signing at €5.5m, just €500k shy of my record spend - however, already is a very strong first team player and could become much better. My first job is to ensure that he works away from that less-than-positive personality, being mentored by Levin Zehnder, the player he'll rotate with and a team leader. Following on from that, I'll be looking, initially, to boost his Strength (13) as I feel the playmaking attributes (Passing: 9, Vision: 9) are a) less important for the roles I like at DM and b) will be more effective to focus on later in his career. If I can ride the wave of natural physical improvement with specific foci - I feel that I can make somewhat of a beast of the 6'4", 85kg 17 year old Eastern European wall.

I then had to fill the rather large gap left by Cifuentes:

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Endri is a solid centre back who joins for €4m from Lausanne after coming through the Thun academy nearly nine years back. He's been an important part of both sides and his arrival, albeit as a backup centre back for Osemene, shows my intent to keep a Swiss core and to also to give funds to clubs within this league in order for them to strengthen. I have always been impressed at the recruitment model that they have used and this money will hopefully be re-invested straight into that. Ademi has less scope for development but is already a fairly solid Ball Playing Defender and a left footer, to boot (meaning that tactically, things don't have to change). With any potential that is left, I will put time into his Defensive Positioning (Marking: 13, Decisions: 14, Positioning: 14) as that feels the most appropriate.

I'm not sure if I am done with deals, in or out, yet, but am wary of the impact that too many changes will have on us.

---

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Lastly, I declined a job offer this month.

In another world, one where this thread title wasn't called 'Swiss Army Knife' - I'd have taken it as a realistic step into the Red Bull model, keeping my eye out for the Leipzig job and then on into the rest of Germany. I've been at Luzern for six years and we're building something  special here, but, given the really slow pace that I'm now playing at, I'm happy to be slowly ticking along here.

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Made my way through a few of your threads today and I just wanted to say great job! It's been fun reading about your saves and how you play the game.

Did you ever share your spreadsheets anywhere? Over the years I've written a number of python scripts and spreadsheets and I'm just looking for ideas on where to go on a new sheet that covers alot of aspects of squad management. Your screenshots look kind of like the best sheet that I can find out there.

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Quite the off-season! Your defence raided :(

I’d never noticed that Alban Shpendi was 98kg and only 6’!? :eek:
Who’s the heaviest in your game?

I really like Mihajlovic. Just needs free kick excellence and   is almost Sinisa Mihajlovic like!

Cifuentus to Barcelona is a controversial move for sure! Did the Barcelona fans say anything about that?
 

The positive start to the season helps you nicely with the new players settling in and with the tactical adjustments.

Everything looks promising this season :thup:

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15 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

181d7b0eaffe27ee5caa8535853a8cc0.png

Lastly, I declined a job offer this month.

In another world, one where this thread title wasn't called 'Swiss Army Knife' - I'd have taken it as a realistic step into the Red Bull model, keeping my eye out for the Leipzig job and then on into the rest of Germany. I've been at Luzern for six years and we're building something  special here, but, given the really slow pace that I'm now playing at, I'm happy to be slowly ticking along here.

That would have been an intriguing club to move to.

Does the Red Bull model translate into FM well?

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9 hours ago, drhay53 said:

Made my way through a few of your threads today and I just wanted to say great job! It's been fun reading about your saves and how you play the game.

Did you ever share your spreadsheets anywhere? Over the years I've written a number of python scripts and spreadsheets and I'm just looking for ideas on where to go on a new sheet that covers alot of aspects of squad management. Your screenshots look kind of like the best sheet that I can find out there.

I haven’t used it on this save but either check the Redditch or Volta thread and I definitely uploaded!

Thank you for the kind words, also. 
 

28 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

Quite the off-season! Your defence raided :(

I’d never noticed that Alban Shpendi was 98kg and only 6’!? :eek:
Who’s the heaviest in your game?

I really like Mihajlovic. Just needs free kick excellence and   is almost Sinisa Mihajlovic like!

Cifuentus to Barcelona is a controversial move for sure! Did the Barcelona fans say anything about that?
 

The positive start to the season helps you nicely with the new players settling in and with the tactical adjustments.

Everything looks promising this season :thup:

I also didn’t know - but, in 2032 (at generation) he was 75kg. The next screenshot, in the summer of 2033, he was 94kg so I must assume either a bug or a really strange growth cycle! It’s certainly not something that is evident in the match engine though.

It’ll be interesting to see if Barca play Cifuentes - I hope they do as it makes me feel ‘better’ about the raid on my defence!

Mihaljovic could be quality. I like that he’s got to usurp Zehnder and develop well to have a chance - which is of great commendation to how my internal development policy and structure of the club is working. 
 

37 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

That would have been an intriguing club to move to.

Does the Red Bull model translate into FM well?

I think I’d have done it in most other situations - but, I’m not playing as much at the moment, so I’m happy to play through a club I know rather than have to learn a new one!

Matias Almeyda had led them to ten straight leagues but moved to Dortmund, so I’d suggest that it’s not incorporated too well!

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August 2034

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A tough little month for us...

We started with a bore draw at home to Basel, where both teams, combined, managed less than 1.0xG before another draw away at St. Gallen. I'm less concerned at this as, essentially, they are my biggest challengers and not dropping points against them is only a bonus. Next up we faced a Fribourg side with only Rafael Steenbergen left from my time there and, to be fair, he was a thorn in our side. They scored from a speculative effort and created just 0.17xG themselves but, again, we were somewhat short of ideas up top and surprisingly open at the back.

We then lost.

Lost.

But I love it. 

We went into the game without big (probably bug) Alban Shpendi but Lausanne moved from their normal 4-1-2-3 to a flat 4-3-3 with far more attacking players down their right hand side. This absolutely destroyed us: left back Zakharov was constantly caught out upfield and our two centre backs couldn't handle the presence of three strikers, with our right back failing to tuck in like he should. I switched it up on the half hour mark to a 3-4-3 (three centre backs, two wing backs, the normal midfield duo and then three shadow strikers) but we were just tactically inept. Our players are far better than theirs (despite my regular praise at their recruitment model) but they just had a better plan. Their goal was fortuitous - a long shot that went in off Zehnder for an own goal on the hour mark but we didn't have the players on the bench nor the nous to unlock their defence.

We may be reigning champions and the best side in the league but we cannot get complacent and we cannot underestimate the quality of opposition nor the ability of players. It's woken me up to the fact that this isn't just a walk in the park domestically.

---

My shopping spree ended, for the time being, anyway, with the purchase of a Chilean full-back:

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Cash-strapped GZ City sold us Pablo Troncoso for a fee of €1.7m and I see him as a direct replacement (and upgrade) for Predrag Kostadinovic, who moves to Brescia for €2.9m. Pablo has had a solid career to date but the combination of his defensive prowess and technique and passing ability made him an ideal choice for the right back slot. I've recently started to teach him the trait of Tries Long Passes as I feel that it'll really allow our transitional play to flourish, making use of the pace ahead of him. Again, like Ademi, he's older than most I sign but I see him as the perfect foil for academy graduate Kongnyuy as well as Patrick Bocaly, who joined my u21 squad over the summer from Monaco.

I like that I'm building and developing a strong squad, but the first XI, in particular, is taking shape now:

dd6045c1dce0f8e9eb27546db2c0216f.png

There is a strong representation of academy players: Herzog, Zehnder, Gonzalez, Kabashi, Pedroso and Costa along with Magola and Osemene, who have been with me since the age of 18. As we progress, I hope that I can continue to sign young players from other academies - with the Home Grown Status being both a nod to the academy production line and the coaches themselves, who develop the young players from our global network. Bocaly is an excellent example of this slight shift in direction as, at 16, he'll get his education with us but the only difference is that we didn't generate him - in itself, not a real football termin a game where I'm looking for realism.

The team is young, hungry and well suited to the overarching DNA that I expect from my team. I do feel that we lack experience, given the huge successes of now-rotation player Tiago Dantas, but it appears that actual game time has very little impact on the ability and standing of a player within the squad, merely reputation. We can break the bank, with over €100m in the coffers, but there has really been no need to, at this point. That is what it would take to bring the kind of reputation and ability to really make a difference - €30m+.

Looking at the whole first team, DNA aside, we are increasing the overall ability:

Centre Backs

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Very happy with the suitability of the players here. Ademi's deal gives me the luxury of five players and, even with Perez probably being the weakest, there are players for every opponent and style we play.

Ball-recyclers (Right Back and Defensive Midfielders)

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I need to work on the ball-playing ability of Mihaljovic but, aside from that, we are relatively strong. Zehnder is small and we have to choose the opponent wisely for him to play but I foresee Troncoso being used as a DM and Mihaljovic as a RB should I need to, given the similarity in their roles.

Creative Midfielders

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Top quality here. I need a replacement for Shpendi and would very much like to find a carbon copy of Dantas, but one who isn't 33 years old.

Wide Players (Left Backs and Right Wingers)

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Zakharov is a top player but I'm questioning the crossing ability of Schonfeld as a winger as Vielliard is young enough to develop. 

Forwards (Left Wingers and Deep Strikers)

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Taseski needs to improve on his 1 goal in 20 appearances to date as he's solid on paper. I think this really exposes the weakness of Ribic.

 

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5 hours ago, john1 said:

tough start to the season :( 

Agreed. It'll come good. We need to go back to basics - practice what we preach on the training ground, discuss performances and keep morale high and identify opposition threats better.

We also need to get further than our u21 team in the cup...

d43715d1ba63aec6d41672613056bb0e.png

...oh, wait...

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7 minutes ago, john1 said:

Wow, how did you lose to Solothurn?! :eek: And yet U21 progressing into next round...

My u21 squad are about the 12th best side in the country! They just finished runners up in the second tier and Solothurn have just been promoted to it!

I can't even spin you a web of lies here about our performance..

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Two big chances for them, two goals. Whereas we had 14 shots with an average xG of less than 0.10 - largely because of this - a passing network that is rigid and lacks movement between the lines or banks of defenders. They defended brilliantly, we couldn't find enough to break them down.

All well and good but its Barca next...

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September 2034

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When things aren't going quite right, it's time for an inquest. If I can work out exactly what is going wrong, I'll come out of this much stronger. As from the post above - we were at our worst as we lost to Solothurn, a second tier side, in the cup before, expectedly, losing to Barca. The wins over Thun, Sion and table topping YB are pleasing, on paper, but have papered over some considerable cracks....

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MUTINY!

Every single member of the first team came to me with a concern - and that was that they no longer liked Alban Shpendi, as he missed training for the fourth time since re-joining on loan after his career defining move to Bayern. Some players wanted re-assurances that I'd come to them, rather than than any action taken but others asked for him to be sold. Easier said than done when his loan cannot be terminated as a non-Swiss transfer outside of the window. Needless to say, with comments like this when I've discussed his conduct - he'll be spending the rest of this calendar year in the u18. As a loanee, I cannot fine him, which has caused some unrest within the squad and I get their annoyance. So, problem one - morale is lower than normal at this point of the year.

My next port of call is to look at each area of the pitch. We're conceding more than last year, but, with Cifuentes, Mojsovski, Kostadinovic and Castro all moving - you can probably see why.

However, the stats paint a slightly different picture:

8d85f28adc8b48160c0fe1b518c1490f.png

Now - I must note that these stats come from the central defenders - of which, only Cifuentes would have counted as last year. As a large team within my league, I don't necessarily rely on the right back to provide much more than a numerical assistance, moving play on and the left back - well, he's actually a left winger! We are performing around the same in all areas and, interestingly, not doing a lot more, which would indicate that we're not suddenly absorbing loads of pressure. However, the Interceptions increase shows that, maybe, we are fending off more balls into our defensive third than previously.

Problem two - a big turnover of players in the defensive area, although those with more defensive responsibility, are performing at around the same level.

Next issue - we're not creating as much...

a4336cd0cf7a0a974395a6796363174e.png

My worry with moving Gonzalez to a Mez(a) is that he was just going to be too direct and more focused on scoring. I think that this something that we are seeing in the centre of the park. More shots but less assists, chances created and clear cut chances. The average remains the same for key passes (2.98 per game) and the passes attempted and passes completed are remarkably similar too.

Problem three - we've lost a handle on possession and creation of chances from the midfield.

Potential solution? A few years back we moved away from an AP(s) to a CM(s) with traits to act as a playmaker. Now I don't want us to stop going direct and bypassing the midfield but I do feel that we're missing out a lot from some really creative players. Particularly with the winger being less aggressive now and the HB(d) no longer in role (I was always reluctant to admit the ball-playing potential this role has) - I think we're now not using the ball as well and no longer making use of the midfield. 

Next issue - is that all because my strikers aren't finishing?

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Interestingly - we're creating better quality chances, but scoring less - therefore converting less of the shots.

The higher quality xG tells me that we are creating decent chances, albeit slightly less than before due to the potential issue in the middle of the park but there is very little you can do to out of form strikers other than get them back in form! Anderson Costa had no pre-season thanks to an injury so is playing catch up but Taseski, at least, has improved his 4% conversion rate from last year - although is still the weakest at 13%. I actually don't think there is a problem here. Goals will come, fitness will return and form will grow. These forwards are the best in the league for a reason.

---

So, how do we win?

1. Give the team time to bed in. Ensure that the Community Outreach and/or Team Bonding sessions are in weekly (or as often as possible in CL weeks) until at least Christmas.

2. Ensure that we are all familiar tactically. My new players are all familiar with their preferred roles but Team P/R/D isn't quite fluid yet - I need to get some more game time (that's not an option) but also ensure I add a little more in the way of Match Prep blocks.

3. Terminate Alban Shpendi's loan. Obviously

4. Comment on three performances per game. Either good or bad. Discuss, ideally with a reason (i.e. pick the 'your passing wasn't good enough' rather than the 'I'll drop you if you don't get better') to raise morale and ensure high standards.

5. Give the AP(s) role a go again in the middle of the park.

 

Easy, right?!

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Morale is big contributor to your defensive woes....when it rains it pours!

The idea of using Community Outreach and Team Bonding  can work Miracles.  (I usually Community Outreach after Home Games and Team Bond after Away matches.)

For all of us attacking the edges. Dominating the Middle of the pitch, like that of the Center of a Chess board, allows you to control the game.  Win the Midfield and the rest will follow.....

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4 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

no longer liked Alban Shpendi, as he missed training for the fourth time since re-joining on loan after his career defining move to Bayern

In early versions of this game, when players did that and where really annoying, I’d give them goalkeeper training. And fine them too of course :brock: :D

I don’t think it’s as possible to do now with all the team interactions stuff.

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4 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

These forwards are the best in the league for a reason.

I nearly posted about forwards and creativity needing new players in your last breakdown from the stats, with an extra creative (possible youngster because of Dante being 33), while two of your forwards are looking like the others, Ribic as mentioned, and Royer and Taseki not contributing enough. Pedroso is not strictly a forward but has those tendencies kind of like Deli Ali. Which left only Costa.

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

093e468b790a1d384fc00db3484b4a7e.png

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

----

@Sonic Youth

Yep - no GK training for him unfortunately!

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

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

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@_Ben_  I think you are right about your CM, but maybe your formation doesn't feature him as much as you think or maybe you are looking at a wrong stat to judge performance.

I would want to know how many Key Passes he has made as well. Assists and Goals are good, but if your CM is leading the league in KP's he's doing his job.   He  looks to have the attributes and PPM's to be a "Midfield Maestro"!

 

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19 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

@_Ben_  I think you are right about your CM, but maybe your formation doesn't feature him as much as you think or maybe you are looking at a wrong stat to judge performance.

I would want to know how many Key Passes he has made as well. Assists and Goals are good, but if your CM is leading the league in KP's he's doing his job.   He  looks to have the attributes and PPM's to be a "Midfield Maestro"!

 

I am getting to the point whereby I worry we can't play as a counter attacking side because we're just so much bigger in stature than other sides. Also, playing fast paced vertical football does tend to leave some midfielders as passengers yet that is a risk I'm willing to take to get some of the football I see!

Oh, I love Key Passes and this is what backs up my belief in them. Below are the Swiss + Top 5 European League central midfielders, who have played at least one full match (as it's early season) sorted by Key Passes:

f08cb35e304b9b83de995470d335d32d.png

Both centre mids are outperforming Pedri, arguably the best midfielder in the world right now!

 

 

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1 hour ago, _Ben_ said:

I am getting to the point whereby I worry we can't play as a counter attacking side because we're just so much bigger in stature than other sides. Also, playing fast paced vertical football does tend to leave some midfielders as passengers yet that is a risk I'm willing to take to get some of the football I see!

Oh, I love Key Passes and this is what backs up my belief in them. Below are the Swiss + Top 5 European League central midfielders, who have played at least one full match (as it's early season) sorted by Key Passes:

f08cb35e304b9b83de995470d335d32d.png

Both centre mids are outperforming Pedri, arguably the best midfielder in the world right now!

 

 

That is good to see.

Have you thought about lowering the LOE and the Defensive Line to force teams into getting Counterattacked? whiled keeping the same roles, TI's, Pi's and upping the mentality.

I did it with Flamenco in a Brazil save.... Set up like I was "Parking the Bus", with support and Defend roles and only 2 Attack roles with deep LOE and Deep Defensive Line and an Attacking Mentality. Nobody could stop us. I beat Barcelona, Man City, PSG in the Club World  Championships.

And it worked in the Domestic league as well for 3 seasons until I got bored.

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42 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

That is good to see.

Have you thought about lowering the LOE and the Defensive Line to force teams into getting Counterattacked? whiled keeping the same roles, TI's, Pi's and upping the mentality.

I did it with Flamenco in a Brazil save.... Set up like I was "Parking the Bus", with support and Defend roles and only 2 Attack roles with deep LOE and Deep Defensive Line and an Attacking Mentality. Nobody could stop us. I beat Barcelona, Man City, PSG in the Club World  Championships.

And it worked in the Domestic league as well for 3 seasons until I got bored.

This is a good thought, thanks!

As we play without a recognised striker - we are already really compact, so moving the LOE lower will not really do a lot but In have pushed the defensive line back, as seen below. We have four attacking roles (LB: WB(a), LM: IW(a) - to focus on the overlap and space overload, CM: Mez(a) and AM: SS(a) so now it's just about role tinkering against different sides. I've played around with a BBM(s) in place of an AP(s) or a CM(s) in the middle of the park and an A(d) instead of a DM(d) in the holding role. It's all about what is working and when - and it's great fun to explore!

cc41cd21d9b698cfbe34f71d3e167d32.png

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