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My First Career Thread - The Flying Donkeys


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After years of reading through some captivating career updates, I've finally decided to create my own thread, so here goes.....

 

 

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Chievo Verona


Why Chievo Verona? Well I mean if their nickname wasn't already enough to convince you, I feel they offer almost a blank canvas for you to go and make yourself a legend. Situated in the north of Italy, somewhere between Milan and Venice, the Flying Donkeys (:lol:) have only ever won 4 trophies, with their biggest achievement being a Serie B title in 2008. They do however have great training and youth facilities, with a 31,000 seater stadium. They do have some pedigree in Serie A, having spent 17 of the past 20 seasons in the top flight, even finishing as high as 3rd in 2005/06. However after being relegated in 2018/19 and failing to bounce straight back in 2019/20, my aim is to get them back in to Serie A and build a dynasty at the club.

Whilst starting in Serie B might seem a bit of head start for some of the hardcore career content-makers, I'm making the save harder by only giving myself a semi-professional footballing background to go with my coaching badges. Furthermore, I've turned transfers off, so I'll have to make do with what I've got whilst trying t stay on course for the board's objectives of finishing in the top 3.

Let's meet the squad:

GK'S:

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Pretty solid in the GK department. Semper looks good for just 22 years old, whilst Seculin looks like a perfect experienced back up option.

DEF:

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Again I'd say we're fairly solid here. In Vaisanen, Gigliotti, Rigione and Leverbe we have 4 CB's that can all fight for the starting CB spots. In Colley and Cavar we have 2 youngsters with potential to grow in to good players. At RB Mogos will likely start, with Renzetti occupying the opposite flank at LB. In Cotali and Pavlev we have solid, if not spectacular, cover on both flanks. 

MID:

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A bit of a mixed bag here. Whilst we have some quality starting options in Viviani and Palmeiro, we don't really have much depth, especially as I like to play 3 in midfield. We have plenty of options out wide, so it's about finding the perfect balance and seeing how I can utilise the likes of Giacheccherini and Garritano in CM. I'm planning to bring in a defensive-minded option for DM/CM to offer more depth in the January transfer window. 

ATT:

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A complete mix of strikers here. Dordevic and De Luca are target men, Margiotta is a deep lying forward and Fabbro is a nippy little forward who likes to get in behind. Grubac isn't good enough. Dordevic is one of the club's highest earners on £23k a week and club captain, so he's likely to be leading the line, with Margiotta potentially being retrained to play deeper to make the most of his 16 passing, 15 first touch, 15 technique,13 flair and 13 vision. Fabbro will likely be my inital back up striker, with the De Luca hopefully going out on loan when the window restrictions allow.

All in all, it's a solid starting squad, with adequate cover in all but DM for a 4-3-3. 
 

The Aim:

As alluded to at the beginning, the aim of this save is to build a dynasty at Chievo. Their lack of any real success is one I hope to change, starting with promotion back to Serie B. I want to utilise and improve on the club's great youth facilities whilst being savvy in the transfer market. It's also a chance for me to have a crack at writing a career thread, something I've wanted to do for a long time. 

I'll now begin to work my way through pre-season, in which I'll try and nail down a tactic and starting 11, whilst filling any gaps we have on the staff roster. I'll pick this up next at the end of pre-season. Wish me luck and come on the Flying Donkeys!

 

Edited by smplfc123
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Good Luck! Italy can be tough and frustrating as you look for consistency to go on European Adventures!

But it is a good area to look for Wonderkids and other Good players....ALWAYS scout the players that are let go by the Biggest Clubs. They will often provide the building blocks till you can compete at the top of the table.

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1 hour ago, john1 said:

Good luck in Italy :D They was decent team few years ago! Especially when they had Sergio Pellissier :cool: 

Thanks @john1, he's DOF here now!

21 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

Good Luck! Italy can be tough and frustrating as you look for consistency to go on European Adventures!

But it is a good area to look for Wonderkids and other Good players....ALWAYS scout the players that are let go by the Biggest Clubs. They will often provide the building blocks till you can compete at the top of the table.

Thanks for the advice@Hootieleece, will definitely keep an eye out!

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Posted (edited)

Pre-Season

So with our final warm-up game completed, It's time for a round-up on our pre-season.

DNA:

Whilst I talked about my aims in terms of promotion and trophies in the opening post, I didn't talk about the DNA as I still wasn't entirely sold on which direction I wanted to go in. After a long night of thinking of different routes to take, including tactics, signings, staff etc. I've decided on creating and instilling a club culture that buys in to it's country's recent real life success.  

In order to do this, the foundations that I'm laying will have a strong Italian hold. From staff to players, I want the club to be rich and proud of the country in which they represent. I want home-grown players and staff, but it's not for one moment going to be an Italian version of Brexit (Italexit?). I'll still purchase who I think fits the role perfectly, but I'll put a lot of emphasis in to bringing Italian youngsters in to our U20 and U18 sides. I'll try to bring in the best Italian or Italian speaking coaches to create a culture around the club where everyone is on the same page.

On the pitch, the aim is again to take inspiration from Roberto Mancini's incredible recent success with The Azzurri. I want us to be passionate and solid in defence, whilst having the ability to switch our in possession options from a possession-based style to direct counter one. 

This will be a big factor when it comes to new signings, as I will demand a style that will require composure, hard work and determination. The players are going to work their socks off for this club and each other, with no one being bigger than the club and no luxury signings just because their technical attributes are high.


Staff:

The first task I set myself  was to sort out my backroom staff. With transfers being turned off, I had to rely on bringing in those currently unemployed. In total, 17 members of staff have been brought in. As previously stated, the DNA that I'm going to instil in to this club is to build a rich culture of Italian football. Due to this, 16 of the 17 staff I hired are Italian, with Spaniard Vicente coming in as a scout. 

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The recruitment drive leaves in a good position off the pitch, with the likes of experienced Italian defenders Nicola Legrottaglie and Andrea Barzagli joining the coaching set up. 

Tactics:

So as mentioned above, first and foremost my tactical base will be around building a solid defensive platform. As a naturally pragmatic manager, who first started to really enjoy the tactical side of the game when the likes of Mourinho and Benitez were tactically battling it out with Chelsea and Liverpool respectively, I'm not one for creating high-pressing 4-3-3's with 9 of the 11 players on attacking duties and using every tactical instruction available (No offence intended for those that do, it's just not my style). 

When in possession, I've created 2 tactical options. (These are both still a work in progress and will be tweaked as the season unfolds)*

Option 1:

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In this tactic we are looking to be more direct in our attack, with shorter and quicker passing. Our higher line of engagement is coupled with the IW(A), CM(S), AM(A) and PF(A) all pressing high in a split block in order to unsettle defences and counter from the front. Depending on how the opposition line-up, I will make tweaks to try and exploit weaknesses or spaces that the opposition are leaving, with us switching to maybe a more direct passing style for example.

Option 2:

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One thing that some of you may pick up on instantly is that the roles of the back 5 stay the same. As mentioned previously, I want to build a solid defence and for me the best way to begin that process is to keep things simple at the back and to not have too many changes between different approaches. The lower tempo here is for us to control the game, with the IW(A) and CM(A) still offering penetrative runs to ensure we don't become too passive. 

 (These are both still a work in progress and will be tweaked as the season unfolds)*

Friendlies:

So with all of that set up and worked out, let's have a look at how we got on in our pre-season friendlies:

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All in all, I'd say it was a solid pre-season. We started with 3 games against division rivals Monza, Cittadella and Brescia, winning 2 and somehow losing to Monza despite battering them in every department bar the score-line. Our lack of proficiency in front of goal hurt us again against lower opposition Virtus Verona, however our final 5 games saw us click in to gear in attacking sense, with excellent wins over Hoffenheim and Rijeka. 

We start the season off with a tough trip to promotion-hopefuls Empoli, but we do have some winnable games on paper in our opening 6 or 7. The media have predicted us to finish 7th, one place below the previous years' finish, with the board expecting us to make the top 3.

If fewer than 15 points separate those teams in 3rd and 4th come the end of the season, then the teams in 3rd to 8th place enter a play-off for the final promotion spot. My aim this season is for promotion, therefore finishing 8th at worst (so long as 3rd isn't 15 points ahead of 4th). 

Wish me luck!

Edited by smplfc123
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A decent philosophy to look to adopt, IMO I feel that all managers should have the responsibility to harvest the best local talent which the country of choice has to offer. I really like that you are looking to attempt to play a possession based game but also have the ability to counter effectively, similar to myself at Bodo! 

Just out of interest what does your midfielders/defenders attributes look like when looking at the comparison tab, particularly the technical/physical tabs?

Keen to see if I can suggest any tactical tweaks! 

 

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2 hours ago, MattyLewis11 said:

A decent philosophy to look to adopt, IMO I feel that all managers should have the responsibility to harvest the best local talent which the country of choice has to offer. I really like that you are looking to attempt to play a possession based game but also have the ability to counter effectively, similar to myself at Bodo! 

Thanks mate. It's going to be tough given the pull of the major clubs in Serie A, but the challenge makes the save all the more interesting.

2 hours ago, MattyLewis11 said:

Just out of interest what does your midfielders/defenders attributes look like when looking at the comparison tab, particularly the technical/physical tabs?

Keen to see if I can suggest any tactical tweaks! 

 

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Another reason for me not playing a high line is we don't possess the quickest of CB's. They're not slow, but all of them register Acc and Pac at around the 11 mark. Whilst the composure and positioning are above the average, they're both not high enough for me to consider pushing them up higher, especially with the low anticipation within the group.

I've ensured that our training programme incorporates plenty of technical coaching to enhance some of player's technical abilities, along with assigning some of those struggling with individual training programmes.

As for the Midfield:

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As stated in my opening post, I believe the midfield to be the weakest part of the squad to start with, with too many 'average' options. Viviani and on-loan Palmiero are the only 2 that offer any real quality in there to begin with and it's definitely an area I'm looking to strengthen. 

And please by all means suggest tweaks, I'm really not precious and I'm definitely not a tactical genius, so any suggestions are always appreciated. This will be the first I properly do a deeper dive in to save, I'm aiming to really go in depth with transfers and building the club, so again any advice is always welcome.

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I think you will have more joy in relation to the first tactic, I say this because despite your midfielders having decent intelligence when looking at their mental attributes, they are below average in relation to off the ball and passing, both of which I feel are essential for a slower build-up due to allowing the defensive block to set.

Do you have the capacity to play a 4-4-2? By moving the AM to create a two man partnership (TM/AF) I feel would give the side more penetration and also provide the Winger with a fixed target for crossing, the AF can also stretch play allowing the IW the space to play between the lines. 

Agree with your comments regarding the defence, excellent positioning, strength, jumping and heading would mean they operate best when in shape.

Again this is just my interpretations, I am by no means an expert, especially as you have the knowledge of your players! 

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5 minutes ago, MattyLewis11 said:

I think you will have more joy in relation to the first tactic, I say this because despite your midfielders having decent intelligence when looking at their mental attributes, they are below average in relation to off the ball and passing, both of which I feel are essential for a slower build-up due to allowing the defensive block to set.

Yes I definitely agree. The squad and midfield in particular are a long way off being able to master the 4-1-4-1 possession based system as of yet. It's definitely an area I'm looking to strengthen when I get chance to in January. As for now it's being used as a 'see the game out tactic' should I go a couple of goals ahead. The lower tempo in possession and extra defensive cover out of possession will hopefully help close games out for now until I can recruit the players able to use the 4-1-4-1 in a more attacking sense.

10 minutes ago, MattyLewis11 said:

Do you have the capacity to play a 4-4-2? By moving the AM to create a two man partnership (TM/AF) I feel would give the side more penetration and also provide the Winger with a fixed target for crossing, the AF can also stretch play allowing the IW the space to play between the lines. 

I do and although it's not a starting tactic, it's one I do switch to in game on a regular basis. De Luca and Dordevic can be the perfect foil for Fabbro in 2 man strike force, I just prefer to begin with an extra man in midfield. I'll definitely be using a 4-4-2 in-game throughout the season though.
 

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So with us reaching the end of December, I felt it was time for our first proper update. Here's how we've fared in the league and cup so far:


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Well I'm definitely happy with our start to the season. A very solid 1-0 away win against promotion-hopefuls Empoli was followed up with a 2-0 home win against lower-league opposition Pro Patria in the cup. We followed that result up with another 4 wins in the league, with the 1-0 away win against Lecce being the pick of the bunch. Another straight-forward cup victory in the following game allowed me to gift some game time to those who hadn't really managed to get much of a look in up to that point.

A 2-2 draw away to Reggina in which we conceded an injury-time equaliser was our first dropped points of the season. A further 2 draws followed in winnable games and left me fearing a mini-slump had hit us at the worst point, with an away cup game against our fiercest rivals up next. Despite still making changes to give game time to those who hadn't really made much impact in the league, we managed to pull off a great victory:

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The stats show that we were more than a match for our Serie A city rivals and it was great to get such a notch in my Chievo belt so early in to my reign. The result did seem to overwhelm us a little, with us suffering our first league defeat at home to Brescia in the following game. We won 4 and drew 2 of our 7 games in December, with another frustrating 1-0 loss at home to Frosinone being our only poor result. With that in mind, here's how the table looks going in to January:

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If you had offered me 2nd going in to January, I'd have definitely taken it. Yes there's a long way to go yet, but our defensive record is proving to be a real solid foundation for us. This of all things has pleased me most as defensive stability is a big part of the DNA that I'm trying to instil in this club.  

How To Separate Personal And Business Finances - Minutehack

As for transfer dealings and the financial situation of the club, I can't see there being too much happening in January. Luca Garritano has been sold to Serie A outfit Crotone for £675k as his current deal was due to expire at the end of the season and he had no interest in renewing with us. Giaccherini has been offered a pre-contract deal from Russia and with him being on a whopping £27.5k p/w at 35 years of age, I'm not even going to try and convince him to stay. I would like to bring someone in at CM, but our finances aren't great and I'm not sure i'll get the kind of player I want for what I have available. We are currently 1 year in to a repayment plan on a £41.5m loan, so with low crowds and TV money, the purse string really aren't loose.

I'm hoping the current squad will be enough to see us through for now and ensure we hit our expectations of at least finishing in a play-off spot.

Up the Flying Donkeys!

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Given the clubs financial situation I would suggest implementing a wage structure to help ensure you can help get the finances out of the red.

As for your performance in Serie B, you are doing exceptional....nice to see the Granata (Salernitana) sitting top of the league too 😜 (my main save in FM20). 

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You are doing well. Defensive Stability works wonders for league performance. Scoring comes and goes but if you are good at keeping them out of the net you ALWAYS have a chance!

 

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Nice start, and well placed for play-offs/promotion.

What, no funny books and age issues? That’s not the Chievo I remember! :herman: :D

And then you tell us about 35 year olds on big wages and paying back loans :eek: :thdn:

Looks like you’ve got to clean up a bit of a mess!

 

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On 17/07/2021 at 13:48, Sonic Youth said:

Nice start, and well placed for play-offs/promotion.

What, no funny books and age issues? That’s not the Chievo I remember! :herman: :D

And then you tell us about 35 year olds on big wages and paying back loans :eek: :thdn:

Looks like you’ve got to clean up a bit of a mess!

 

When setting this career save up, I somehow missed the financial situation of the club. Currently the overall balance is about £1.2m in the red, with 4 players earning £23k p/w + and 3 of the 4 being aged 31, 33 and 35 respectively. Thankfully 3 of the 4 are only contracted until the end of this season, with me unlikely to renew any of their contracts (Obi, Giaccherini and Dordevic) unless they reduce their wage demands drastically.

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January Transfer Window Update

So with January done and whilst there weren't too many deals to shout about, I felt I'd throw in a little update. As the only deals weren't really done until deadline day, let's have a look at how we fared during the first month of 2021:

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Well 3 wins and 2 defeats out of 5 might not sound like a great month (for some), but with 1 of those defeats coming in extra time away at the San Siro against Milan in the Cup and with us recording wins over 1st and 3rd in the league, I'm definitely labelling it as a successful one.

We kicked the year off against 1st placed Salernitana. The 2-0 win was hard-earned, with our efforts in making a solid defence part of our DNA really coming to the fore against the league leaders. A heart-breaking 94th minute Tomori goal prevented us from a memorable 1-0 away win at the San Siro. With momentum on their side, Milan then raced in to a 3-1 lead in extra time, with us grabbing 1 back, which was the least we deserved. That result hurt us and it showed in a poor performance away to Entella, with us being 2-0 down within 14 minutes. Pisa had started the league campaign winning 8 from 8, but their recent slump in form had seen them drop to 7th by the time they visited us. We compiled their misery, with youngster Bertagnoli scoring 2 and creating another in a brilliant display. We followed that up with a big win over 3rd place Empoli. Bertagnoli again with the goal for us.

Those results have left the table looking like this going in to February:

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So with over half of the season done, we are currently sitting in 2nd, with a solid 6 point lead over 3rd place Empoli and just 1 point behind Salernitana. I'm very happy that our work in the defensive department has paid off, with us conceding just 13 goals in 20 games, with Empoli being the only team to have conceded less.

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So as this is a January update, let's talk about the transfer business. We did very little in all honesty. Garritano was sold to Crotone at the start of the window for £675k, but with not much to play with in terms of transfer and wage budgets, I hadn't really planned any incomings.  However, deadline day saw a host of clubs make bids for our Finnish CB Sauli Vaisanen. With CB being our strongest position and Vaisanen unhappy with me rejecting initial bids, I finally accepted a £325k bid from Viktoria Plzen. This means youngster Marin Cavar moves up to 4th choice CB.

This deal gave us a little more room to move in the market and with time we running out, we struck a loan deal for Alessandro Deiola.

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The 25 year old is good physically, but also has decent enough mental and technical stats to provide cover in CDM/CM for us. The 6 ft 3 powerhouse was transfer listed, but a loan deal for 6 months with a £1m optional fee seemed like an excellent deal for us. 

It's all set up for the second half of the season and I'm hoping we can hold on to our place in the top 2.

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3 hours ago, MattyLewis11 said:

A cracking update, so unfortunate to see Tomori score late on in the San Siro! It would have no doubt been a memorable victory for you! 

 

Thanks @MattyLewis11. We are moving along nicely, but my choice of a very low reputation is hindering me a little, with the managerial support still in the red at the moment despite our good start, meaning every dropped point adds a little bit of pressure.

Tomori's goal was such a painful one to take, but in all honesty I was never going to win the cup and whilst we could have maybe earnt a little more from a cup run, my focus needs to be 100% on promotion.

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Posted (edited)

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In order to do this, the foundations that I'm laying will have a strong Italian hold. From staff to players, I want the club to be rich and proud of the country in which they represent. I want home-grown players and staff, but it's not for one moment going to be an Italian version of Brexit (Italexit?). I'll still purchase who I think fits the role perfectly, but I'll put a lot of emphasis in to bringing Italian youngsters in to our U20 and U18 sides. I'll try to bring in the best Italian or Italian speaking coaches to create a culture around the club where everyone is on the same page.

The paragraph above is taken from one of my opening posts regarding the DNA I'm trying to instil in to this club. I want Chievo to be a club that really values developing Italian players, whether they are home-grown by ourselves, or youngsters we've brought in from elsewhere in the country. An early success story has emerged in season 1, with Massimo Bertagnoli already earning himself a new contract despite having plenty of time remaining on his previous deal. 

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The 22 year old has been in scintillating form for us, notching up 10 goals in 20 starts from the LM position. Thriving off the freedom to cut inside as an inverted winger, the lad is playing above his current attributes for me. There's still plenty of improvement needed, with more creativity for others required, but I'm glad we've tied this lad down for a while and hope that his development continues.

 

 

Edited by smplfc123
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Posted (edited)

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The Title Race

So with 30 games played and just 8 remaining, it's time to have a look at how the title race is shaping up going in to the final stretch. 

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So as you can see we're still clinging on to a top 2 spot as we enter the business end of the season. Our form since January has been solid if nothing else, with 4 wins, 4 draws and 2 defeats in 10 league games. We've only scored 10 goals in those 10 games and as the table shows, scoring goals is not our forte, with Salerntiana netting 15 more than us at this stage. Despite a midweek mess-up away to Vicenza in which we got hammered 4-0, our defence has remained solid and given us the platform to win games by a single-goal margin on a regular basis.

During the run in, we do have to play Salerntiana away in game week 36, so as long as we can hang on in there until that point, we'll potentially have the title in our destiny. The table-toppers are also playing Empoli in the next few weeks, with us playing 4th placed Venezia next, so there' scope for plenty of change yet in the top 4.

Edited by smplfc123
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During the run in, we do have to play Salerntiana away in game week 36, so as long as we can hang on in there until that point, we'll potentially have the title in our destiny.

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I said it. Despite never having confidence in my ability to succeed at FM21, I said it. Those incredibly risky words ... "so as long as we can hang on in there until that point". It's normally after muttering those words to myself where it all goes downhill and I end up bottling promotion (Yet to be promoted on an FM21 save).

However, an unbeaten April in which we took 11 points from 15 has left the top 4 looking like this:

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With Salerntiana away next, it really could be make or break. A win and results elsewhere could guarantee promotion. A draw would keep us in top spot with 2 to go, but will open the door for Empoli to pinch a place and defeat would see us slip to 2nd. If Empoli beat 12th placed Brescia at home, we'd only be 3 points clear of them with 2 to go and the nerves really will start to kick in. Since game week 5, we've only dropped out of the top 2 twice and on both occasions, we only dropped to third and were back in 2nd the following week.

 IT'S MAKE OR BREAK TIME PEOPLE!!!!!!!!

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A drab match in all honesty. The 11 shots to 4 might make you think that Salernitana were on the front-foot for most of the game, but the comprehensive highlights will show the game stunk of 2 teams more concerned with not losing than going for the win. I did panic a little when they got the breakthrough just before the 70 minute mark, but thankfully on-loan Ciciretti came on to bag an equaliser. Empoli thumped Brescia 3-1, so that leaves the top 3 with us top on 69 points, Salernitana 2nd on 68 points and Empoli third on 65 points with just 2 games to go!  

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We followed our draw with Salernitana with a 1-0 home win over Entella. With Salernitana matching our result, the title was in our grasp going in to the final day. All we had to do was match their result. They were at home to relegated Reggiana and we were away to Pisa, who still had a hope of finishing in the play-off spots.....

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Unfortunately it just wasn't meant to be. We dominated the first half and when 22 year-old sensation Bertagnoli netted his 13th goal of the season, I could see the officials placing the yellow and blue ribbons on the title. Unfortunately, we weren't able to double our lead despite our dominance and it came back to bite us. After Pisa equalised in the 64th minute, we threw everything at them to get the win, but it just wasn't meant to be.

Heartbreak for missing out on the title, but I still have to remember that the aim this season was to give myself a chance of gaining promotion. The board wanted top 3, the media predicted 7th and I managed to take us to 2nd. I can't be too displeased with that! I'll go away and take some time to evaluate the season and squad and come back with a season review with a look ahead to next season's plans.

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3 hours ago, smplfc123 said:

Thanks @MattyLewis11. Will there be a Bodo update anytime soon? Appreciate you've been away this weekend.

I am away for a week, so unfortunately you will have to wait a little longer! Looking forward to jumping back into the save though mate 👍

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Season 1 Analysed 

So with our promotion sealed, I took some time to analyse what went well and what went wrong in season 1 and what we can do to improve in season 2. There does have to be a dose of realism added to our potential improvements for season 2, now that we'll be playing at a higher level against some very good teams. Here's a general look at how we fared:

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As you can see from the graphic above, we performed much better defensively than we did with our attacking efforts. Having mentioned before that part of the DNA I want to instil in to this club is to build on a solid defence, I have to be happy with how we performed. 

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As shown again in this graphic, we were the best in terms of the fewest shots conceded, the fewest goals conceded and kept the most clean sheets, recording 19 of them in 38 games. On top of defending well, we kept the ball well. Our 2 man midfield of Viviani and Palmiero controlled games well, with our AM linking up the play well.

Where we fall down a little is in attack:

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When I say fall down, I think it's a little harsh on the team. We did register as the 6th highest scorers in the league with 50, so it's not as if we won our games 1-0. We were actually quite clinical in front of goal, but we the analysis suggest we didn't really take enough shots. In fact, we didn't even register in the top 8 for shots taken in the league. Yes there has to be a balance between shooting aimlessly and registering more goals, but I do think in order to get enough points to stay in Serie A next season, we need to be slightly more aggressive in attack and hopefully we can bring in more quality upfront. 

And that leads us nicely in to the squad:

Goalkeepers:

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There won't be any change in goal for us this season. Semper has been excellent and still has plenty of room to grow. The only change might be bringing in an experienced back-up to replace Seculin who's asked to leave for a new challenge. I won't actively sell him as he's solid enough as a back-up, but i'll keep my promise if an acceptable bid comes in.

Defenders:

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A tricky one here. Defensively we've been very solid, but I do worry about the ability of some of these at the highest level. Leverbe is pencilled in as my first choice CB and I'm confident Mogos and Cotali can do a job at RB and LB respectively. I'll keep Rigione for his experience, but Gigliotti has kicked up a fuss at not being offered a new contract with a status of 'important player' as I don't feel he's good enough to make the step up as first choice. I'll move him on to remove the disruption from the dressing room and will look to bring in an experienced replacement. 29 year old Italian Marco Capuano is being lined up on a free transfer. The question is then do I go with Leverbe, Capuano and Rigione as my main 3 for the 2 spots, with Cavar as 4th choice back up, or sign someone better than the original 3 and push Rigione down to 4th choice and loan out Cavar? I'm also undecided on the cover at both FB positions. Pavlev has the potential on paper, but was underwhelming in his starts last season and Colley isn't good enough. I'll probably keep Renzetti for another season to offer cover at LB.

Midfielders:

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Definitely an area of the squad I need to strengthen. Deiola hardly featured on loan and I don't have enough in the bank to consider spending £1m on him. I do however need cover for Viviani and Palmiero. Luckily the latter has agreed to join us permanently on a free transfer next season, however Joel Obi (Who covered as CM not wing back) has also agreed a pre-contract, leaving us to join Arsenal Tula in Russia at the end of his current deal. Out wide we have Bertagnoli, Di Gaudio and Canotto who can fight for their places, but i'd like to bring in one more. Giaccherini will be released this summer freeing up £27k a week and Ciciretti will return to his parent club. Margiotta has played this season as an AMC and will continue to provide competition for that spot, but it's another area I'd like to add some more quality.

Forwards:

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Our weakest position and one I definitely need to strengthen. Fabbro did manage to notch up 10 goals, but I fear he'll get eaten alive by the defences in Serie A. Dordevic will be released due to his ridiculously high wage and I'll probably look to loan out De Luca. That leaves me looking for at least 2 strikers. If I do manage to bring in the right players though, I feel with our defensive platform, we stand a chance of surviving.

And that moves us on to the aim for next season. Simple, survival. I don't care how we do it, I just want to survive our first season in Serie A in order to give us a bit more of a solid foundation to build on for the future. 

To do that, I still think I need the following:

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1 x CB
1 x RB
2 x CM
1 x WGR
2 x FWD

And this all on a budget of:

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I'm hoping once the new pre-season kicks in, I'll get the financial update regarding sponsorship and tv money etc. and the board will then loosen up the purse strings, but until then, it's time for a spot of bargain hunting.

Wish me luck!

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Trying to bring in players that will improve our squad on a very small budget is hard, especially when I've only got a 1 and a half star reputation as a manager. What doesn't hep either, are messages like the one I've just had come through.... 

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I'd like a takeover to go through if it improves the financial situation of the club, but not at m expense! I'm hoping my promotion will give me some time if they do go ahead with the takeover. Either way, having not brought anyone in as of yet, I'm now under an embargo :seagull:

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Ahh, that's a bittersweet ending to the season. Congratulations for the promotion, commiserations for missing out on the trophy.

Hope your scouts find some good loan options to tide you over for the first Serie A season, then after a year at this level you'll have plenty of cash to splash next summer.

Also (cheap pun alert)...

On 13/07/2021 at 13:19, smplfc123 said:

but it's not for one moment going to be an Italian version of Brexit (Italexit?)

Italeave.

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4 hours ago, DaneBramage said:

Ahh, that's a bittersweet ending to the season. Congratulations for the promotion, commiserations for missing out on the trophy.

Hope your scouts find some good loan options to tide you over for the first Serie A season, then after a year at this level you'll have plenty of cash to splash next summer.

Also (cheap pun alert)...

Italeave.

Thanks mate. It’s proving to be a extremely tough window. My low reputation and the club’s poor financial position is making the task of improving the squad almost impossible. It looks like it’s going to be a case of using pretty much the same 11 and just bringing in some squad depth and hoping we can scrape survival.

 

Ah man, why didn’t I think of Italeave :applause:

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Chievo Verona - Summer 2021 Update

With us now a couple of games in to the Serie A season and the transfer window slammed shut, I felt now would be the best time to post an update on the summer's events. It was a tricky summer. My 1 and a half star reputation already meant I was going to be against it going in to this summer, but when the board announced we were under a transfer embargo and that the potential new director would be looking to replace me as manager, it looked like I wouldn't even get to build on our success of last season.

Thankfully, that success was the defining factor in me keeping my job once the new board was put in place. The embargo was lifted, but the finances weren't really affected. I mean I didn't want a sugar-daddy owner, but the new owners haven't really changed anything financially. The debt hasn't decreased and my transfer/wage budgets didn't increase, so I can only assume they're going to ride out this first season in the hope we survive and then build from there. The lack of any real budget made improving the starting 11 a tough task. In the end, I decided I had no choice but to look to bring in squad players to fill gaps more than own starting positions. 

Outgoing:

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I think the best thing that I can say this window is that I didn't lose anyone that I wanted to keep. Leverbe was wanted by a couple of clubs at one stage, but thankfully the interest disappeared. After complaining that he wasn't earning enough, Gigliotti was sold to Galatasaray for £600k. Nuno Pina, who had spent last season out on loan, made the switch to NAC Breda for £500k. What helped improve our budget somewhat was the likes of Obi, Dordevic, Giaccherini and Renzetti all leaving on frees, giving us room to adjust the budgets accordingly.

With that extra money, managed to make the following signings:

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Marco Capuano was the first new signing through the door, with the experienced CB joining on a free to take Gigliotti's place in the team. Palmiero, another free signing, was good for us last season and I was delighted that I was able to bring him back on a free.

Ivan Rossi and Jacopo Segre are solid if not spectacular and should provide decent back up to Viviani and Palmiero in the CM slots. Adli and Brunetta were the most expensive signings, with those fees being spread out a lot more than the caption suggests. 21 and 24 respectively, with 2 attacking midfielders will hopefully give us different options in attacking mid and out wide.

Albert Braut Tjaland was loaned straight back to Molde for 5 months as part of the deal to increase his playing time. The final signing was due to Margiotta damaging his cruciate ligaments, putting him out for 9 months. This meant I needed someone who could ideally cover a number of attacking options. Step forward Gennaro Tutino. The 24 year old racked up 29 goal contributions for Salerntiana in their Serie B title winning team last season, with 19 goals and 10 assists. With an option to sign for £1m at th end of the season, I feel it could be a shrewd move.

Serie A:

Whilst the window was ongoing, we had 2 league games to play. The fixture list wasn't the kindest, with our first 5 league games matching us against Atalanta, Torino, Milan, Spezia and Napoli. First up was a home game against Atalanta:

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An excellent start to the season and a relief to get some early points on the board! Capuano couldn't have asked for a better start on his debut, but when Ilicic equalised just after half time, I feared the worse. Step forward Pietro Rovaglia. The youngster was out on loan in Serie C/A last season and with me struggling to find anyone to bring in upfront, I decided he would remain in the squad. He paid me back instantly, coming off the bench to net the winner. 

Our second game however, saw us come crashing back down to earth:

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I'm not saying it to be bitter, but generally Torino weren't that good. Where they excelled was in being clinical in front of goal. It's a bit of a footballing cliché, but teams at the top level can punish you even if they aren't at their best and that happened here for us. 

Review:

All in all it's being a mixed summer. We survived a takeover, didn't lose any star players and got 3 points in the board after 2 league games. Financially we still aren't great but if we survive they should improve massively. I don't feel the squad is good enough long term, but with the budgets I had available, I don't think I could have done much more. I'm hoping we can remain solid at home and continue to pick up points here and there. I really do believe it's going to be a very tough season, but I'm absolutely relishing it. 

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The financial crisis which you are in has no doubt set you up for a very tough season! Kudos for pulling off the result against Atalanta 👏 this hopefully will show you that your players can compete at this level it may well be that you rotate your squad and be selective over what games you will look to pick up points on and others where whatever you get is a bonus! 

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Transfers, new boards, greener pastures. It’s all about survival this season.

Good beginning to Serie A, with a very fast goal in your first win of the season :thup:

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On 23/07/2021 at 23:41, MattyLewis11 said:

The financial crisis which you are in has no doubt set you up for a very tough season! Kudos for pulling off the result against Atalanta 👏 this hopefully will show you that your players can compete at this level it may well be that you rotate your squad and be selective over what games you will look to pick up points on and others where whatever you get is a bonus! 

Yes it's going to be tricky for sure, but I'm actually looking forward to the battle for survival more than the battle for promotion last season.

On 25/07/2021 at 05:03, Sonic Youth said:

Transfers, new boards, greener pastures. It’s all about survival this season.

Good beginning to Serie A, with a very fast goal in your first win of the season :thup:

Thanks @Sonic Youth. I was frustrated that I wasn't really able to implement my DNA this summer, with only 4 of the 8 signings being Italian and only being able to bring in 1 youth player in Tjaland. But I keep reminding myself this is a long term save. This first season in the Serie A is all about survival. Then we can build on the DNA project that I've designed for the club.

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Chievo Verona - End of 2021 Update

So as the title suggests, we've come to the end of the calendar year for 2021. The fixture schedule meant we had a tough start to life in Serie A, but we managed to secure and early 3 points against Atalanta. A quick thumping back down to earth followed, with a 3-0 defeat away to Torino reminding us that we are in with the big boys now. Let's have a look how we did following that Torino result:

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It's been tough, I'm not going to lie. We gave it our best against Milan and Napoli at home in September, but their class told and with those 2 defeats being almost inevitable, it was vitally important that we picked up points in the 2 away games. Unfortunately, the lack of a win in September had knocked our confidence and self-belief, with games such as Bologna, Udinese and Verona being ones I had earmarked for us to get at least a point from. Strangely, the 1 point we did pick up was against Roma. 

This made November look even more daunting as we sat in the relegation zone. Juve gave us our first real battering since Torino, whereas we actually took the lead away to Inter, but again, their quality eventually told with 2 second half goals. This made our home game against fellow promoted strugglers Cittadella almost a must-win so early on. We were brilliant. We went back to basics a bit as we had moved slightly away from last season's tactics in order to find a result, but our return to a 4-4-1-1 paid off. 

That win seemed to give us a massive boost We followed it up with an excellent 2-0 away win in the cup against Udinese and a 3-0 home win against fellow strugglers Sampdoria in the league. We gave Sassuolo a good run for their money before another massive victory over 20th placed Cagliari. We were outclassed by Vlahovic and Fiorentina in a 3-1 defeat in what was a disappointing end to a good month.

Those results have left the table looking like this:

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If you had told me that after 17 games we'd be out of the relegation zone, I'd have bitten your hands off! It's no surprise that all 3 of us promoted teams are in and around the relegation zone, but it's really helping us that the likes of Cagliari, Sampdoria and Udinese are having poor seasons as I was afraid the promoted 3 might just get cut adrift. 

Are we going to do much in the January transfer window? I doubt it.

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Even with a little bit of jigging, we really don't have much to work with. Tjaland does return from Molde, so he may get given a chance off the bench despite his age. There's no one that's really wanted by others and I'm not actively looking to offload anyone, so I think it'll be pretty quiet to be honest.

The aim now is to just repeat what we've done in the first half of the season. As long as we survive, I'm happy.

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Tough start to Serie A. Looks like you’ve turned a corner though, to have a better second half of the season.

Your doing ok in the cup too :)

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8 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

Tough start to Serie A. Looks like you’ve turned a corner though, to have a better second half of the season.

Your doing ok in the cup too :)

@Sonic Youth Famous last words and all that..........

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:lol: :seagull:

January started with a massive game against fellow promoted strugglers Salernitana, a game in which I felt we needed to get something from with the run of fixtures we had coming up. Unfortunately Bertagnoli's red card after just 33 minutes meant we couldn't hang on and it was a big blow for us. We did manage to get a point in the next game against Lazio, who were poor, but our cup run ended in the next game away to Inter. Without wanting to rattle of the usual clichés, it was very unlikely that would we go and win the cup, so going out now means I can focus on just remaining in the league.

Remaining in the league is something that really is going to take a lot of focussing on! We put up decent fights away to Atalanta and Milan, but the results were as expected. It was the 2-1 home defeat that really hurt us against Torino as it was one I was hoping to pick up at least a point from. Those 4 defeats out of 5 saw us drop to 19th.

Whilst it was against tough opposition in which I expected to lose, I felt a change of approach was needed. Too often at this level the 4-4-1-1 is being exposed with a lack of natural DM, regardless of the defensive shouts on the CM position. 

With that in mind, I switched to a 4-1-4-1 (DM Wide), so the wide players further up the field, with a natural sitting role in CDM to protect us on counter attacks. I've changed the AMR role to an AP in order to give Adli a bit more freedom and the results against Spezia were instant!

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The young Frenchmen had the game of his season, registering a brilliant goal and an equally brilliant assist for Tutino. Our midfield and defence were much more solid, with us having extra numbers back to block the opposition shots in our box.

That win will hopefully give us the boost we need to kick on. It's lifted us out of the relegation zone, but Cagliari are now on a bit of a run under new boss Maurizio Sarri:

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It's looking increasingly likely that the final target needed for survival will be likely to be around the 34/35 point mark rather than the magical 40. Having looked through the final standings for all of the top leagues last season, 35 points was enough to keep you up in pretty much all of them.

My only worry is that the 3 below me are all quite experienced Serie A teams. I get that it won't always be the 3 that come up will go down, but I really don't think all of the current bottom 3 won't come good at some point. This means I really need to get us on the other side of Cittadella and Salernitana, who are doing slightly better than us at the moment. 

February sees us start with a trip away to Napoli, but after that, we have Parma, Bologna and Udinese and I feel like this is a really important month for us to try and build some momentum.

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Those results against Samp and Cagliari could be massive come the end of the season! Let's hope that 35 points is all it will take to keep you in Serie A, you most certainly will need to take all the points from Udinese! One positive is that your goal difference is pretty good, you aren't exactly leaking goals and hopefully with a bit more luck can pick up more points.

Is there a trend in relation to when you are conceding? 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, MattyLewis11 said:

Is there a trend in relation to when you are conceding? 

Well this is what forced me in to my change to be honest. The stats backed up what I thought I was seeing, with my analyst reporting that we're conceding a high portion of goals that have been assisted from just outside our box. This is why I've introduced a DM in to our midfield, in the hope to bring down those numbers.

Edited by smplfc123
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The Season Finale - 2021/2022

So with 15 games to go I had put myself in a position that gave me a fighting chance of survival. We had only managed to pick up 5 wins and 4 draws from 23 games, but our ability to keep games fairly tight even when we lost meant that our goal difference was always decent compared to some of those around us. Here's how the season played out:

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February and March were pretty much the story of our season. We put up a decent fight away to both Napoli and Juve in games that realistically, we were always going to lose. We couldn't find the killer instinct against fellow strugglers Udinese and mid-table Parma, but then went away and produced a season-best performance in the capital to take all 3 points. Although we followed the win up with 2 defeats, we were still holding on to 17th position at this point with 30 games played.

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And once again, we continued to push me in to an early grave. An excellent point against Inter set me up for 3 potentially winnable games. Cittadella were just above us, Sassuolo were on the beach having already secured a mid-table spot without being able to threaten those above or below and Sampdoria were sitting below us in 18th. Typically, we failed to have any cutting edge against Cittadella. In a move to make sure that didn't happen again, I loosen up in defence to bolster our attack and it works, with us bagging 2. The problem being that Sassuolo bagged 3. This left us in a precarious position going in to the Sampdoria game. We were now sat in 19th position and about to play a game we really couldn't afford to lose.

After just 38 minutes, we find ourselves 2-0 down and I genuinely started to plan in my head, for life in the Serie B. Somehow, we mounted a second-half comeback to give the 2005 Champions League Final a run for it's money. Palmiero and Leverbe had us level by the 57th minute and then summer signing Albert Braut Tjaland put us ahead in the 69th minute. The following 25 or so minutes felt like 25 hours, but we held on and those 3 points put us back up in to 17th with 4 games left. 

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So it all came down to the final month and again, if you had offered me that at the start of the season, I would have bitten your hand off. With a squad not good enough for this level and very little money to invest, I always knew this was going to be a long hard slog. But the fixture list had been kind. Despite having to play Europa League hopefuls Fiorentina and Lazio away in the final few weeks, we had also been given home games against bottom club Cagliari and 19th placed Salerntiana. Yeah...............

Cagliari were on form under new boss Sarri and in their final 11 games under the smoking Italian, they picked up 5 wins and 3 draws. 1 of those wins was a demolition of us. We've stayed tight in a lot of games this season, but they blew us away and we just had no answer for them. So obviously this meant that we went away to 8th placed Fiorentina and kept a clean sheet on our way to securing all 3 points thanks another Tjaland goal. 

That result kept us in 17th and I was certain that it had kept us up, with Salernitana up next at home. But no, once again we slipped up. Tjaland put us in to an early lead, taking his tally to 6 goals since returning from his loan spell with Molde, but then we capitulated and it meant that going in to the final day, we were in 17th position on goal difference.

17th. Chievo Verona - 31 points (-21 GD) - Lazio A
18th. Sampdoria - 31 points (-27 GD) Napoli H
19th. Salernitana - 29 points (-23 GD) Torino H
20th. Cagliari - 28 points (-27 GD) Spezia H


That's how the table looked going in to the final fixture. I just didn't know how to feel. With us picking up wins away to the likes of Roma and Fiorentina, part of me thought maybe it was best that I wasn't at home playing against a relegation rival as that's where we've crumbled the most. Despite giving it our best shot, Bosko Sutalo broke our hearts in the 76th minute, grabbing the winner for the home team, cementing their place in the top 4. 

With all 3 relegation rivals playing at home, I knew that our time in Serie A had been short-lived.

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"I knew that our time in Serie A had been short-lived". OH NO IT ISN'T!!!!!!

Miraculously, Sampdoria and Salerntiana fell to single-goal defeats and whilst Cagliari beat Spezia on the final day, it was only by the single goal, meaning we stayed up on goal difference!

I must be honest, I almost feel embarrassed to survive on 31 points, but I'll take it. Our finances will be in such a better position now and hopefully i'll be given the funds to really improve the squad. Last season's lack of funds and pulling power meant it was about squad depth, this summer, providing I get the backing, will be about improving the starting 11. We might have survived, but in my books, there's too many areas where we simply weren't good enough. But for now, I'm going to let it sink in and enjoy the fact we managed to survive. It gives us a good foundation now in which I can instil the DNA that I talked about in the opening posts.

Bring on the summer and next season.

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