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[FM22] Matryoshka


_Ben_
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10 hours ago, brookie1402 said:

A small sample as you acknowledged but it is interesting that a negative reaction tends to mean a lower rating for the following week (with the exception of Magomedov), and a positive reaction seemingly increasing the training rating (apart from Zarutskiy).

I tracked training ratings for about a 6 month period on FM19 but frustratingly never took notice of reactions to warnings and praise for whatever reason. I only used it to try make my save more authentic, i.e. consistently good trainers tended to play more games for me, relative to their squad status.

Absolutely. I've always tried to keep it realistic and play those who train well, but that's not always possible. It was just interesting to see whether I'd have repeat offenders of if there was a grace period of positive reactions, which would wear out over time. In that case, I'd probably look to sell that player.

---

Thanks  @karanhsingh!

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September 2027

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Another ridiculous month, both in terms of fixture congestion, and, as such, actual quality training time and also performances. We continue to blow away our opposition, even second tier Khimki although a draw against old side Mashuk ended our insane 100% record.

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We started with a strong showing against Taganrog, once again using our set piece prowess to give defender Zarutskiy his first two goals of the season. One of our nine penalties so far this season (!!!) was converted by Kaplenko before Budonov ended his slightly barren spell before half time. Hilariously, all eight season ticket holders and their four friends were treated to a walkover against Tuapse, although another late concession soured our win slightly - given how we are working in that marginal gains and marginal losses area. We then were poor, for no apparent reason, against Mashuk, barely creating anything of use against my old side. We roared back, with another two penalties, against Pioner before demolishing struggling second tier Khimki in the cup. Another two clean sheets and doubles from Budunov, taking his tally for the month to ten as we beat Stravropol and Nalchik. 

We started October away to Rotor in the game that will surely decide the position of first and second this season.

---

I think that the continued success, whilst obviously hugely attributed to the level of players and style of play that we have, is also down to the squad management techniques that I have been working on as this save has developed. As I'm sure you've noticed, I struggle to get into a game unless I throw my all at it and, with Russian names not the easiest to learn and remember given that I'm not a native speaker, I like to spend as much time learning about them and their reactions to things to try and build that knowledge.

I've had some problems with complacency over the last month or so and I've been trying to dig a little deeper into the reasons why. Now, I know there are several different styles towards picking teams - @Jimbokav1971 is a massive user of the 'PA over CA approach' and that works wonderfully for him; it is also worth noting that he was my inspiration into youth development so it's a style I'm also well versed in. However, my approach currently is to look at a realism approach. I try to pick my players based on their morale and training performances and then look at things like fitness, form, ability, potential etc. With a winning team though, I sometimes get blinded with player performance and this has led me down to a little issue:

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The above pie shows the breakdown of minutes across my first team. I very clearly have a first XI, which is great. However, when that said XI are expecting to play, regardless of their morale and performances in training and when this team is winning, because they're better than the opposition, I guess they are feeling that there is no competition and no necessity to all perform well. I've been pretty tight in terms of using team talks (a lot more gestures used for me this time around) and shouts for individuals during games to try to remedy this. I have been utilising the Focus or Fire Up for these complacent players, given them two shouts before removing them from the game. However, I have been moving to completely dropping them, and almost (as I can't actually say this to them) showing them that they aren't irreplaceable. This, in conjunction with the discussions around poor performance (> 6.5 gets a warning and > 6.0 gets a fine) and positive praise around good performances, has seen some good relationships build:

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I can certainly say that there is a link between a lack of complacency and a relationship with their manager as there has not been a single issue with either of the top three players in their combined thirty-six appearances this season. These are also the players that are training the best and, largely, performing the best. However, my best performer, Arsen Kiselov, is currently unhappy. I recieved a derisory bid from top flight Lokomotiv Moscow, where I knew he'd get no football. I want to keep this realistic so I rejected, knowing that he'd probably be unhappy but hoping that my relationship with him and his current form, below, would see him not be too upset. I was wrong.

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He was listed as being 'Close' to me but, following a disagreement with the reasons why I rejected the bid (that he wouldn't experience togetherness like we have now and it was a bid of £5k for a player with eighteen goal involvements in fourteen games!), it's now dropped to no relationship. An injury put an end to his suitors but I know that I need to rebuild his relationship if/when he drops this concern as a) it'll impact his performance on the pitch and b) it'll help me retain him unless I feel that the money and offer of first team football is realistic for him.

You can further see the impact that this kind of man-management has had on the team:

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I genuinely believe that, although we have the best squad and human tactics are probably better than AI ones (especially with the CA of the managers at this level), our success is attributed to the 'Very Good,' 'Excellent' and 'Excellent' ratings here. We are such a tight-knit group and I always give the most positive praise in press conferences (and I notice that it does make a difference to some players - more digging required to find out who/why) as well as praising and criticising performances with explanations (again, more digging required to see how much a warning about passing impacts passing in the next game).

---

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This made me laugh and was quickly rejected, given that it'd be the third time I'd take over a team between 10th and 14th after exactly fifteen league games. I have a job to do here at Anji and we're doing really well so far!

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3 hours ago, Shrewnaldo said:

Long throw attribute - 3

Not far off! His Long Throws attribute is 7. The league average is 4.12, with Rotor the best at 5.87 - so it's clearly not an area that is excelled in at this level. However, my first question comes around what exactly the Long Throw means - is it accuracy or distance?

I also like to use the long throw routine against teams that are poor at heading, although Legion don't necessarily fit that bill, coming in the top right quadrant. I'm yet to find a way that can see me 'turn off' certain set piece routines for different opposition as I certainly wouldn't be using this against the Russian Burnley, for example.

However, and this is big speculation...

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First half long throws (left) vs second half (right). Now, I feel that the throw that caused the above goal was somewhat anomalous. He doesn't normally get the ball that far. A quick look at the game was gusty. Notice in the second half that, although we have a different taker (and why it's a question rather than a statement or some evidence), the distance of the throws, on average is less. Are we throwing into the wind here? Is that something that SI models? They've, I believe, made reference to wet conditions somewhere in the tool tips, and altitude plays a part, so what about wind? There seems to be no other logical reason to include weather if it doesn't impact these kind of outcomes.

Just some food for thought! 

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1 hour ago, _Ben_ said:

... However, my first question comes around what exactly the Long Throw means - is it accuracy or distance?

Perhaps the attribute is intended to define how well the player can deliver the hard, flat "Delap" throw - which is why players with a lower attribute end up doing the stupid loopy things that sometimes get shown in the game and causes so many problems.

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4 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

Not far off! His Long Throws attribute is 7. The league average is 4.12, with Rotor the best at 5.87 - so it's clearly not an area that is excelled in at this level. However, my first question comes around what exactly the Long Throw means - is it accuracy or distance?

I also like to use the long throw routine against teams that are poor at heading, although Legion don't necessarily fit that bill, coming in the top right quadrant. I'm yet to find a way that can see me 'turn off' certain set piece routines for different opposition as I certainly wouldn't be using this against the Russian Burnley, for example.

However, and this is big speculation...

0303d742bd5b79dd2564acc93c684e2b.png

First half long throws (left) vs second half (right). Now, I feel that the throw that caused the above goal was somewhat anomalous. He doesn't normally get the ball that far. A quick look at the game was gusty. Notice in the second half that, although we have a different taker (and why it's a question rather than a statement or some evidence), the distance of the throws, on average is less. Are we throwing into the wind here? Is that something that SI models? They've, I believe, made reference to wet conditions somewhere in the tool tips, and altitude plays a part, so what about wind? There seems to be no other logical reason to include weather if it doesn't impact these kind of outcomes.

Just some food for thought! 

Amazing. I literally don't think about half these things :lol: food for thought indeed...

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11 hours ago, Shrewnaldo said:

Perhaps the attribute is intended to define how well the player can deliver the hard, flat "Delap" throw - which is why players with a lower attribute end up doing the stupid loopy things that sometimes get shown in the game and causes so many problems.

Potentially. I'd like to think that it improves the ability to, on average, deliver long and accurate throw ins.

8 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

Do you ever see throws going backwards and then switched to the other flank?

Sadly, I can't impact attacking throws in our own half. If I could - I'd very much like a short throw, probably to my HB, who is good on the ball, who can then quickly switch to the winger or even Mezzala on the other flank. That'd be the start of some lovely fluid counters..

8 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Amazing. I literally don't think about half these things :lol: food for thought indeed...

Just some ideas at the moment! I really think that I'm still just scratching the surface of this game, which is mad!

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October 2027

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The last of our hectic months as, following the winter break, no month has more than five fixtures.

It started on a positive note as I signed a one-year contract extension, which will, almost certainly, see me play in the FNL, second tier, for the first time in my career. There was also so more good news within the camp, as Arsen Kiselev decided that he no longer wanted to pursue a move to another side. As you can see, we are dominating this league but it's really a tough place to come, which is how I feel I got this job in the first place. The Rotor job is currently vacant and SKA Rostov are having trouble finding their next manager. You can see from the media prediction that the bigger teams aren't quite doing as they should right now! I certainly think Anji fell into this trap in those first months after their relegation. Fortunately, it seems that I am the man to change that and get them back up!

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Although we tasted defeat for the first time this season, in a really competitive match against top tier Akhmat, we were, again, wonderful in the league, recording another 100% record. The Rotor game saw me employ a slightly different shape, as, at that point, I didn't want to lose and for them to close the gap. But our more conservative style saw us keep the ball more and restrict them, even if it did restrict us, too. A late goal from Budunov was the difference. We have followed that we three commanding wins before a really poor performance against Kuban where you'd have been lucky to have noticed the team that is top and the team that is just in mid table. Our shooting boots were then forgotten as we only put one past Tuaspe, recording a much lower quality of shot than we normally do.  The Legion game, for me, was a niche milestone as our teamsheet shows that we put a complete team of players with names ending in 'OV' out. Only in Russia! It also was a milestone for Uljanov, who became our youngest goalscorer.

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Whilst, as a defender in my past (poor) footballing life, I always want a tight defence, I really need to pay homage to this incredible attack. Our statistics are so far ahead of the rest of the league and I want to dig into why. Now, I know that there have been comments made on these boards about crossing being overpowered and corners potentially exploitable - however, I have purposely ignored those threads and I am unaware of any workarounds. We are a team who are good at dribbling and get players into the box (one forward and two mezzalas) so, therefore, crossing is something we would naturally focus on. I also now have some slightly taller players so I have an array of corner routines that looks for those players - certainly not, in my eyes, exploiting the match engine. What I do have though is Raul Budonov, the focus of most of my crosses, who has two amazing traits: Shoots with power and Tries first time shots - this means that he tries to get on the end of our low crosses and literally blasts them into the next. It doesn't work every time as he lacks a bit of composure but he's absolutely lethal at finishing our moves.

Here is the breakdown:

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Now, something is amiss here. We've actually had a ridiculous eleven penalties in the league, scoring nine of them and I would definitely say a large proportion of Budunov's strikes are not placed! However, it shows that we do what I want us to do really well - get it wide and get it into the box. When you look at the spread of scorers, you can see that, DM aside (penalty taker), our goals are coming from where you'd expect - some taller defenders scoring and two worldies from my left back.

To further this, I'm in the process of adding some slightly different traits to my starting central midfielders so that we can change the play by swapping their positions (both are weak left footers, so it doesn't matter which side they play right now).

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I want Kiselev to be my creator whereas Kulikov can be more of my scorer. Whilst Kiselev is outscoring him 12 to 1 this season, several of those have been penalties and free kicks and I want to make complete use of his Vision and Passing ability combined with the trait where he looks for the pass, which I have once, unsuccessfully, tried to remove.

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1 hour ago, _Ben_ said:

Potentially. I'd like to think that it improves the ability to, on average, deliver long and accurate throw ins.

Sadly, I can't impact attacking throws in our own half. If I could - I'd very much like a short throw, probably to my HB, who is good on the ball, who can then quickly switch to the winger or even Mezzala on the other flank. That'd be the start of some lovely fluid counters..

Just some ideas at the moment! I really think that I'm still just scratching the surface of this game, which is mad!

Absolutely agree! All depends on how much you want to go in depth. 

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November 2027

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Just the two games before the mammoth winter break and two points points leaving us twelve clear with thirty to play for me. I have a few plans for the winter break, most notably, looking to see if I can make any early moves for the summer. However, with us likely to go up, that is difficult as the mechanism doesn't allow players to see that until the season rolls over.

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Both games showed us to be at our dominant best, with a lot of rotational players performing well against a strong Stavropol side.

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In order to answer @karanhsingh's question, here is a little more depth in our overall shape. I've gone into lots of depth about specific areas and specificity around our playing style, but less so our shape and the triggers in which induce changes to my shape. Again, I feel that there is more to this than maybe I initially felt, so I've grouped together the three things that I've put together on the pitch.

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So, for reference, the shape is the same as it was when I was at Mashuk. I decided on this and, in particular, the two full back roles because:

  • One full back was a good passer
  • Neither full backs were fast or good crosser

But, it was something I liked and, given that this is exactly true again, have kept it. I've developed the central midfielders into two Mezzalas, both on attack and supporting wingers so that we can really overload those spaces and they have an out ball when they drive through the middle. I've gone for an attacking, Advanced Forward to get on the end of crosses and a Half Back to attempt to recycle some possession because, as you see, we don't have much!

In terms of Team Instructions - my mantra is always less is more. I only really want to use instructions here that I can't do via Player Instructions. All three 'In Possession' instructions advance our crossing ability as we run wide (as all four midfielders are runners and whip the ball in for, at least, two of three men there. I like the Counter and Counter-Press as it really helps the speed in our transitions and we do trigger the press more often, although that comes from what, to me, is my biggest tactical advance.

Opposition instructions are set permanently. I may move away from them in special cases but they are built into this tactical style and are not just simply an add-on. We don't want extra pressure on the full backs as I haven't got men advanced there and, if I did, I'd ruin the compact shape that the 4-1-4-1 builds. We tackle them hard but don't do anything more than normal. I do ask my striker to chase around a bit but it's only when the ball gets to the DM, which, at this level, tends to be the biggest player rather than a player who can actually use the ball, before we trigger an intense press. All three goals this season attributed to defensive mistakes have come from winning a duel here.

Now the next thing that links in is my Match Plans. I could, absolutely, do this manually, but I like the friendly reminder that it does it for me. I have several plans in place, including a shut up shop in the last five (in response to some early season late concessions) but these are the two most important. Right now, we have one shape and that is for a number of reasons:

  • We only have two senior strikers at the club so there is no point looking for a shape with two up top.
  • I don't want a shape with wingers as it reduces that compactness I have mentioned.
  • could move the HB back as both my players there are also centre halves, but we've not, at this level ever needed that.
  • I don't have Wing Backs, so that shape wouldn't work.

These Match Plans actually change my formation. I know I can do it without that but at this early stage, I just wanted to see that my formation was called a different name. When we score, we press a little less and organise a little more, knowing that the most common time to concede is when you've just scored. I keep that on for ten minutes. When we do concede though, I push further forward, press and harry more and really use that Determination that I value as a squad attribute (see, it all links together!) to get back on terms. There is also a bit of a luxury one that adds some more freedom and gets us moving around a bit more when we are 3+ goals up. But, again, all this is within the same shape - just slightly altered instructions. 

As we move on, I expect us to be able to train three different shapes - maybe a 3-5-2 or something and then use Match Plans to create, at least, three versions of those for the same situations: standard, losing (for 10 mins) and winning (for 10 mins).

---

As I said, I got extremely lucky that Anji played so similarly to how I did at Mashuk (see the passing and possession stats from when I took over) as it meant that this wasn't a style rebuild but more an evolution. I am really open to see how my career progresses from here but there will be one question that I need to consider when I take over at a new club: 'Does this club fit my ideology or do I have to approach my playing style in a different way?' I'd like to build a realistic career and, as you do, you always look at the best - have Pep and Klopp ever hugely deviated from their style? Have Pep and Klopp had the ability to pick teams that already reasonably fit their style? I think that is way I will want to go.

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2 hours ago, RogerC said:

Great read so far! Complete domination!! Match plans is definitely something I have to experiment more on. Love the apparent simplicity of your tactics, really less is more pretty much always.

Thanks! In terms of the Match Plans - I love them and have really grown into them. Ignoring the shapes, my plan will be to have something like this:

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We train three tactics, but within each of those tactics lies a further match plan that essentially sees us have fifteen game plans and then the ability to more things further, if necessary.

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Winter Break (November 2027 to February 2028)

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Very little going on, so a chance to refine my mid-season plans.

I'm still working on the schedules that allow the most physical development as well as match fitness and tactical preparation, given that we don't tend to train any physical attributes during the season. The idea here was to give them a bit of a shock when they came back, but work on their moral and togerthness before slowly adding in tactical work. I don't know whether those Match Prep slots in week two actually have any use as they are, in effect, still building up to that Gareji game and I know you can't stack training - otherwise you'd just do every session on Attacking Movement and be unstoppable! Never the less, it does break up the physical work, which, by week two, is intertwined with some whole team area specific work. We then break off a little more and, during the four pre-season games (two against stronger opposition - Gareji and Zaqatala and two against weaker), we really nail things like set plays and more Match Prep stuff.

It's dull and really only the best trainers excel here but there is nothing negative in a conversation with those poor trainers, who largely accept that they have been shirking on Boot Camp week, which, in turn, will raise their morale and build some bridges with me as their manager.

Overall, this, and pre-season training are quite high on my list of things to monitor, work on and develop.

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Strangely, I was again given far more youth candidates than even my preview suggested - this time 27, taking my tally, in just two years here, to a ridiculous 64 players. I still have no idea why this is happening and am not sure if it's going on at other clubs too, as they only sign the pick of their bunch, as we will no doubt do. Furthermore, the star rating went from 2.5 stars, on preview, to 5 stars on entry. This is really strange and not something I had at Mashuk - it'll be interesting to see if this happens at clubs in the future (just imagine thirty seven players when I have world class facilities! This, to be completely fair, would be realistic as, although I see the meaning behind that arbitrary 16 players with one goalkeeper, these bigger clubs would have hundreds of players on their books).

Never the less, and, to be expected, the quality, overall, is poor. Here are the top players, sorted by current ability:

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Rəşad Muradov and Ramazan Djabrailov are by far the stand out players, with the latter already good enough for this level.

Whilst I am really not going to be able to develop the attributes much at this level, I really think that Ramazan is a great Mezzala option, as his left-footedness and overall Finishing ability will complement Kiselev's. The players that I retain, and most importantly the two mentioned above, will join the standard training that I run for the youth side, of which the General sessions are led my by HoYD and the individual training by me - Resad will train as an Advanced Forward and Djabrailov a Mezzala, both working on an additional focus of Attacking Movement. It's not a lot, right now, but I don't necessarily need to change a huge amount, just hope that they develop well.

However long I stay at Anji for and however many of the crazy intakes I experience - I need to remember one key point. We are working strongly towards the club culture:

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As of right now, we have a young squad that is getting younger all the time, given me recruitment focus. But we are also affording minutes to the most promising academy graduates and trying to mould them into usable players at this level or elsewhere. Right now, all of these players, from my own academy, have or will likely feature this season:

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Edited by _Ben_
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On 04/12/2021 at 14:05, _Ben_ said:

 

However, my approach currently is to look at a realism approach. I try to pick my players based on their morale and training performances and then look at things like fitness, form, ability, potential etc.

This is interesting, especially about training performances. Might have to try that out on my save, thanks for the idea!

Another thing since you do a lot of PPM training, does that change anything in the CA of the player or is it something else?

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Realism is probably the best approach and admire yours @_Ben_, but I must say I don't get to bothered with training and youth development in the reserve teams.

I dabble in training and decide on Roles and ppms for players in training and add training sessions to the schedule for the first team.

 

My realism probably ends with not using the editor.

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Just gone all the way through this @_Ben_ Brilliant stuff, :thup: not just from you, but also those engaging in the thread. Some great comment and questions and I'm sure if you are anything like me you absolutely love the interaction. :applause:

It's amazing that no matter how detailed we both go, there are so many avenues to explore that we invariably seem to explore different areas. I love your data analysis but it just seems like too much like hard work for me. There are a few things that you have touched upon that I found really interesting. 

  • Defensive corners. To a certain extent I just accept that my young squad are just going to concede more goals than a team of experienced campaigners, but I also have to accept that we know that both near and far post deliveries are OP and it's my personal choice to take short corners and not take advantage of that. It's just one of the ways that the game isn't balanced properly at the moment, (has been the case for years) so I tend to just ignore it. 
  • Youth Intake numbers. This is very strange and I hope it resolves itself before it becomes too much of an issue. While it might not be a problem now, I worry if it might be a problem at a club with better facilities where your were getting too many good players through. 
  • PPM's. When you think of PPM's, do you think of PPM's that would suit an individual player, or do you pick PPM's that would adapt the player to the role you want? (or even perhaps a little of each). I really think PPM's are so important. 
  • Training Performances. I only look at the 1st weekly feedback each month. In previous issues I found that doing it every week meant that the players became overloaded with praise/criticism, and it soon became counter-productive. It has always been just a conversation with me rather than a fine though, and this is something that I plan on changing, (even if just by way of an experiment). I have 4 squads in my current save so I get 12 positive training feedback reports each week, (but remembering that I only action the 1st report of the month). I put my arm around the top performer in each squad, (and praise), and just praise the other 2 in each squad. At the same time I point at the worst performer in each squad and just criticise the others, (if there are any). The problem here is that poor training performance invariably seems linked to unhappiness so digging an unhappy player out isn't always the best move. 
  • Match performances. I know we have spoke elsewhere regarding the "gaming" of the Det attribute, (and something else that I now can't remember), and it seems, (from other sources), that this is done by fining for poor performances and/or disciplinary issues. The only problem I have here is that I need to agree this at the outset in the code of conduct and I'm not really sure where to start. Any suggestions? (This is usually something I delegate and never stray from it for fear of upsetting anyone). 
  • Morale. While body language is something I take great notice of when I play games, I obviously can't do this when I'm using the IR Button. What I have noticed however is that morale, (and even very small amounts of specific unhappiness that doesn't actually reduce the overall morale), has an ENORMOUS impact on the performance of my GK from dead-ball situations. With that in mind, if I was playing a save where my GK wasn't taking my set-pieces, I would be asking my most happy, settled players take penalties and direct free-kicks. 
  • Relationships. Although I only respond to 1 in 4 training reports, (either positively or negatively, no matter what the extremes), it seems to work really well in terms of building relationships. 

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In fact there is only 1 relationship which isn't very close. 

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What I would say though is that I know for a fact that there are players who had good potential but who were lower down the pecking order and left because they were unhappy, (and I was happy to see them leave because I couldn;t find a place for them), but these players don't appear on the list at all for some reason. 

Something else I should point out is that there are no less than 4 agents whom I am very close with, (and this is by design rather than by accident). I regular "bung" both players and agents cash bonus payments in order to secure longer term deals. 

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  • Long Throws. I dabbled with this early in the save, but I didn't have anyone with the "Long Flat throw" PPM and if I'm going to do something it's not going to be half-arsed so I held off at the time. I now have a player with 14 for Long Throws and the PPM and it might be time to have another little look. With regards to wind impacting on the game, yeah, you would hope so wouldn't you, but if that was the case then the 1st question I would want to ask is where is the indicator telling us which way the wind is blowing. If it's a factor then we need info. Maybe this is a feature that's still in the process of being developed fully. My take on long throws, (linked to real life more than in-game if I'm honest), (and after seeing Sam Muggleton use it to great effect with playing for Barnet), is that accuracy with long throws isn't really a thing. A player will have a range and he will be able to pretty much land it on the button, (wind aside), and what's probably more important for the outcome of the recipient is off the ball movement and physicals. The team with the ball knows how far the thrower can throw it. It's a given. It's up to them how they disguise that and move the defenders around to their advantage. The other thing I would say is that I used to see young Muggleton use his Long Throws to great effect from defensive positions too. This unfortunately doesn't seem to be replicated in game. (Look at 4 mins and 2 seconds into this video for an example). He's the best I've ever seen at long throws at any level. he actually threw the ball out of the stadium one day, (on purpose). There are some great long throws earlier in this compliation. 

Anyway, apologies for such a long post. Great thread as always. :thup:

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27 minutes ago, Jimbokav1971 said:

Defensive corners. To a certain extent I just accept that my young squad are just going to concede more goals than a team of experienced campaigners, but I also have to accept that we know that both near and far post deliveries are OP and it's my personal choice to take short corners and not take advantage of that. It's just one of the ways that the game isn't balanced properly at the moment, (has been the case for years) so I tend to just ignore it. 

I'm certainly not trying to exploit anything but I'm really focused on the marginal gains (and, in future, plan to dig into things such as involvements from my substitutes) as I really want to learn and develop how to get the very best out of a team. I had seen the near post tactic that apparently exploited them but have now seen that they've patched it out. I'll see what changes!

30 minutes ago, Jimbokav1971 said:

Youth Intake numbers. This is very strange and I hope it resolves itself before it becomes too much of an issue. While it might not be a problem now, I worry if it might be a problem at a club with better facilities where your were getting too many good players through. 

Yep - whilst good and probably realistic - this is not working as intended.

31 minutes ago, Jimbokav1971 said:

PPM's. When you think of PPM's, do you think of PPM's that would suit an individual player, or do you pick PPM's that would adapt the player to the role you want? (or even perhaps a little of each). I really think PPM's are so important. 

The player first and foremost but then that is because I have already considered how that player may fit into my system. At these lower levels where player development and recruitment is more hit and miss, traits are super important to get that edge.

32 minutes ago, Jimbokav1971 said:
  • Training Performances. I only look at the 1st weekly feedback each month. In previous issues I found that doing it every week meant that the players became overloaded with praise/criticism, and it soon became counter-productive. It has always been just a conversation with me rather than a fine though, and this is something that I plan on changing, (even if just by way of an experiment). I have 4 squads in my current save so I get 12 positive training feedback reports each week, (but remembering that I only action the 1st report of the month). I put my arm around the top performer in each squad, (and praise), and just praise the other 2 in each squad. At the same time I point at the worst performer in each squad and just criticise the others, (if there are any). The problem here is that poor training performance invariably seems linked to unhappiness so digging an unhappy player out isn't always the best move. 
  • Match performances. I know we have spoke elsewhere regarding the "gaming" of the Det attribute, (and something else that I now can't remember), and it seems, (from other sources), that this is done by fining for poor performances and/or disciplinary issues. The only problem I have here is that I need to agree this at the outset in the code of conduct and I'm not really sure where to start. Any suggestions? (This is usually something I delegate and never stray from it for fear of upsetting anyone). 

I look intently, but that is because I design my own schedules. I do praise the top three each week and criticise anyone below 6 and I don't feel that it has a negative impact. Furthermore, I know that it does feel a bit gamey by fining players (that only can occur from matches and not training) but I think a real life manager would. At the very least, they'd sit them down and talk them through it. Does/could that make a player more Determined? Yes. I think so. I'm also not sure it's linked to the code of conduct at all? I can do it every match of the season and I haven't altered anything, to my knowledge.

34 minutes ago, Jimbokav1971 said:

Morale. While body language is something I take great notice of when I play games, I obviously can't do this when I'm using the IR Button. What I have noticed however is that morale, (and even very small amounts of specific unhappiness that doesn't actually reduce the overall morale), has an ENORMOUS impact on the performance of my GK from dead-ball situations. With that in mind, if I was playing a save where my GK wasn't taking my set-pieces, I would be asking my most happy, settled players take penalties and direct free-kicks. 

I'm massive, again, on both. I've seen the link between a happy player and a good body language (although personality plays a big part there too) and, as such, good performances.

35 minutes ago, Jimbokav1971 said:

Relationships. Although I only respond to 1 in 4 training reports, (either positively or negatively, no matter what the extremes), it seems to work really well in terms of building relationships.

Again - really important for me. If they like me as a manager, they'll train better and perform better. It's a work in progress as I know players will come through the academy liking me after a while/after we get success.

37 minutes ago, Jimbokav1971 said:

Long Throws. I dabbled with this early in the save, but I didn't have anyone with the "Long Flat throw" PPM and if I'm going to do something it's not going to be half-arsed so I held off at the time. I now have a player with 14 for Long Throws and the PPM and it might be time to have another little look. With regards to wind impacting on the game, yeah, you would hope so wouldn't you, but if that was the case then the 1st question I would want to ask is where is the indicator telling us which way the wind is blowing. If it's a factor then we need info. Maybe this is a feature that's still in the process of being developed fully. My take on long throws, (linked to real life more than in-game if I'm honest), (and after seeing Sam Muggleton use it to great effect with playing for Barnet), is that accuracy with long throws isn't really a thing. A player will have a range and he will be able to pretty much land it on the button, (wind aside), and what's probably more important for the outcome of the recipient is off the ball movement and physicals

See my first point on marginal gains. We had some big players so I wanted to experiment with this. It's a nice little thing and I'm learning about what makes a good long throw specialist!

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11 hours ago, raz4la said:

Another thing since you do a lot of PPM training, does that change anything in the CA of the player or is it something else?

Traits, as far as I know, have no impact on CA!

9 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Realism is probably the best approach and admire yours @_Ben_, but I must say I don't get to bothered with training and youth development in the reserve teams.

I dabble in training and decide on Roles and ppms for players in training and add training sessions to the schedule for the first team.

I was like that but I did it once and now can't go back!

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8 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

I look intently, but that is because I design my own schedules. I do praise the top three each week and criticise anyone below 6 and I don't feel that it has a negative impact. Furthermore, I know that it does feel a bit gamey by fining players (that only can occur from matches and not training) but I think a real life manager would. At the very least, they'd sit them down and talk them through it. Does/could that make a player more Determined? Yes. I think so. I'm also not sure it's linked to the code of conduct at all? I can do it every match of the season and I haven't altered anything, to my knowledge.

Thanks for clarifying that. :thup:

I saw an interview with Frank Lampard recently, (the Gary Neville one), and in it he mentioned that when he was manager of either Derby or Chelsea, (not sure which), he tried to fine players for being late to training and was told by the PFA that he couldn't legally do it. Maybe this is something that SI will have to look at in future issues. When you think about it, if someone tried to not pay me some of my salary I wouldn't accept it and footballers legally are viewed in the same way. Maybe that's how a code of conduct works because it;s voluntary?

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March 2028

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Now. Now. Now. A defeat! On the day a patch came out?! No - I've not been found out. It was just one of those. Dinamo are a good side but we were wasteful!

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We kicked off the season with a tough trip to Krasnodar's second team and came away with a draw in a game we probably should have won. However, I feel like we just didn't quite have everything that I'd seen pre-break. Whether we'd lost a bit of fitness or a bit of tactical familiarity, I'm not sure. However, once again, Raul Budunov popped up to score. The combination of Moves into channels and Shoots with power creates some wonderful goals - such as this:

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Now, given his composure (or lack of it), sometimes these do go flying 20 yards over the bar. However, he makes space really well and is lethal on the end of through balls, giving the keeper no chance.

He was far less lethal though against Dinamo, clocking up 1.14xG, and having two goals chalked off, without scoring. We did most things right, scoring well and (now post patch) seemingly keeping the ball better, or, at least, not watching the away team pass it round their defence as much. Never the less, our thirty-five game streak was ended and we we will need to go again. We did finish with a comfortable win, though, even if 0.77xG came from yet another penalty!

There is absolutely no blame in the patch here for this slightly shaky form - it's just a case of monitoring those changes I've decided to make and reacting appropriately.

---

I thought this would be a good time to have a look at a screenshot I took during the mid-season break showing our shape:

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As you can see, we tuck both of our wing backs in, allowing for the wingers (particularly Martuzaliev who has Hugs Line trait) to stay really wide. With the Mezzalas both being on attack, they often get ahead of the wingers, which is also great to see as it doubles up on the full back or pulls another man back/out - as you can see with the centre back moving to Magomedov here. It does really emphasise the importance of my Half Back and his passing range, given what he has ahead of him as well as the Off the Ball movement of my forward.

It's a shape that will change and evolve but is producing some lovely football right now!

 

Edited by _Ben_
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A really interesting shape, the full backs look integral to the build up phase and entry to the final third. From the look of the above there is also potential for either MEZ to sit in between the lines and pick up the ball which they can then progress. 

Just out of interest where are the majority of your key passes and assists coming from when playing this shape?

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11 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

March 2028.

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I love PPMs. It's probably 1 of my favourite features in the game. That being said, I think my thinking has been slightly skewed by my possibly incorrect understanding in real life of "runs into channels", and as a result how it's replicated in-game. 

My real life opinion is that running the channels is a tactic to get in behind and stretch defences, but usually not leading to a chance on goal. The channel, (between centre-half and full back), is wide by definition, and certainly an in to out run is going to take the striker away from goal rather towards it, (let's ignore wide players running the channels for the moment). In real life the players that we see running the channels often are athletic forwards, (often big), but who don't score a huge number of goals. It's because of that reason that I have always shied away this PPM for strikers in favour of other options. 

Seeing the absolute definite movement in your clip, (granted the delivery still has to be good), makes me want to rethink that though. When you mentioned the PPM previously I was intrigued and am delighted that you have followed it up with this. 

Thanks. 👍

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Very interesting shape :cool: Sad to see you suffered first defeat!

 

Is there any huge benefits of doing team and individual training schedules yourself or am I better off leaving it to coaches? I admit I have always left it to my assistant to do training side of it.

Edited by john1
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What was Raul doing during that Dinamo defeat, playing in D as well as O? It’s frustrating seeing a player playing so well but not quite getting that goal. Still well ahead though :onmehead:

The fullbacks aren’t strong crossers and are better passers? Curious that the opposition took the midfield gaps and not the wide spaces 🧐

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12 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Very interesting shape :thup:

10 hours ago, MattyLewis11 said:

A really interesting shape, the full backs look integral to the build up phase and entry to the final third. From the look of the above there is also potential for either MEZ to sit in between the lines and pick up the ball which they can then progress. 

It's a shape that I really love actually. It gives me some chances to play around with role creativity, which I also enjoy. Yes, we play with two MEZ but my aims are to have one playing as a number 10/MEZ hybrid and the other as a SS/MEZ hybrid, so essentially a deep Shadow Striker.

The full backs, as I get better, will probably be converted midfielders as I need that ball playing ability, whereas my HB will become, strangely, a QB, as I look to utilise his passing ability to play through balls. That's all a long way off though, yet.

10 hours ago, MattyLewis11 said:

Just out of interest where are the majority of your key passes and assists coming from when playing this shape?

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Kiselev is the corner and freekick taker but you can see that he and Kulikov, my other Mez, rank highly in key passes.

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They tend to feed the wide men to put the balls into the box, which, normally, Budunov scores from.

It's a quite basic system but is working well!

-----

9 hours ago, Jimbokav1971 said:

Seeing the absolute definite movement in your clip, (granted the delivery still has to be good), makes me want to rethink that though. When you mentioned the PPM previously I was intrigued and am delighted that you have followed it up with this. 

I don't know how much is Off the Ball, how much is poor opposition Positioning and Decisions and how much is the trait but it's still a nice thing to watch game in game out!

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5 hours ago, john1 said:

Is there any huge benefits of doing team and individual training schedules yourself or am I better off leaving it to coaches? I admit I have always left it to my assistant to do training side of it.

Absolutely! For one - it stops the coaches putting really physical weeks at random stages and destroying morale and allows you to actually control your reactions to what you see on the pitch. It is, for me, the most important part of the game!

1 hour ago, Sonic Youth said:

What was Raul doing during that Dinamo defeat, playing in D as well as O? It’s frustrating seeing a player playing so well but not quite getting that goal. Still well ahead though :onmehead:

The fullbacks aren’t strong crossers and are better passers? Curious that the opposition took the midfield gaps and not the wide spaces 🧐

No - he just is part of my press! The headers are from crosses. It's fine - we were bound to lose at some time and, to be fair, needed to keep the players feet on the ground!

They aren't amazing players, all around, to be fair. Therefore, keeping them tucked and not pushed forwards leaves us less exposed to counters.

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April 2028

After some playing with a program called Kitbasher, I've generated new kits for most Russian teams. Here are the new ones for Anji:

592e1ff080ffd18814d3745e2c957149.png

And in match...

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---

The program randomly generates them based on information it can ascertain from Wikipedia. These, whilst the away seems to be very similar to a ROI kit I feel, are amazing and save me the hassle of making them! I'll update most years.

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12 minutes ago, ElCuriosoJr said:

Wow, the home kit looks fantastic. 
 

thanks for sharing this. Will give it a try and create some kits for my Estonian Leagues. 

Provided that the data is on WIkipedia (there must be some code to collate colours etc as well as team logos), you can get this. If not - you can always add them yourself. I like that it generates it and you can set parameters, e.g. kit manufacturers that wouldn't make kits for you and realistic sponsors from it's huge database. Be warned - the templates file is over 2GB in size, but, early indications suggest this is good.

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8 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

April 2028

After some playing with a program called Kitbasher, I've generated new kits for most Russian teams. Here are the new ones for Anji:

592e1ff080ffd18814d3745e2c957149.png

And in match...

df4f77f4b28f98893be96c26230faaa8.png

---

The program randomly generates them based on information it can ascertain from Wikipedia. These, whilst the away seems to be very similar to a ROI kit I feel, are amazing and save me the hassle of making them! I'll update most years.

Very cool! Going to give this a try. Btw do the kits properly show up on the match engine? Seems like they do.

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April 2028

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It's been a long month for me with a really busy real life week, but we are through it! We've sealed our second title in four years and I hope to make a better attempt at the second tier than my predecessor did, who was relegated immediately. 

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We kicked off with a really strong win away at SKA-Rostov, the relegated side. I'm absolutely delighted with how we are keeping things tight at the back and, given that all four of their shots amounted to a grand total of 0.08xG, you can see that they were of little danger to me. We then backed that up with a comprehensive win over my old side, Mashuk. We took the lead and added to it just after half time, meaning that we could turn on the style a little more in the second half. Just one further goal followed that but it was a much more convincing performance than the one earlier this season. We then battered Chernomorets but fell behind inside half an hour. We did everything possible but could only come away with a draw. We sealed the title with a win against Biolog - although did concede this wonder strike, worth just 0.03xG but, again, performed really well and took our chances, unlike in the previous game. A straightforward win against bottom side Volgar-M sealed the month off nicely.

---

I just wanted to dig into a few things whilst I am here. Firstly, the drastic changes that you can see above in our possession stats. Now, I am not ever one to blame the game but there has certainly been a shift since the patch was installed - notably this comment:

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Whilst my own possession feels the same, it just doesn't feel like the other teams are as careful in possession. It's something I will have to adapt to and deal with as it really doesn't match the style I am trying to create and it has caused us a few problems, meaning that, I guess, I did build this tactic around the match engine. I think the chart below really accurate sums up what has changed:

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You can clearly see, from the dotted line - where the patch was installed, how the dynamics of a game are changing. The opposition are completing less passes and, as such, we are completing more. We're still creating, I feel, around the same number of Key Passes (although this is now, obviously, diluted as we are passing it more in general, but I do feel a concern for my two wingers:

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The top row are their /90 statistics for the past five games. They are then compared with the overall statistics from the season (as I didn't have the patience to work out the overall minus these five!). The arrows are then showing whether these have increased or reduced. The outcomes are quite alarming. Whilst both players are completing more dribbles, Begun is completing nearly twice the amount of passes and is completing nearly twice as many as before. The problem here is that he is a really poor passes and, as a striker converted to a winger, I want direct running and either crossing or shooting. He's shooting more, although the same can't be said from Serder and is creating more but things just don't feel right. The eye test tells me that they aren't running at defenders and crossing from the by-line.

And, to back up this argument, here is where the assists are coming from in those five games:

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One goal from a cross from the left but nothing from the right. We could say that Serder is out of form (7.0, 6.7, 6.8, 6.6, 6.5 in his last five) but there certainly feels like more of an issue. One that I will continue to monitor as we go. Serder has, in my opinion, had a great season and I do not feel that I can criticise if he's just going through a bad patch. I've been far less impressed with Begun as he lacks the Natural Fitness and natural winger ability to really do the job that I want. 

---

Whilst talking about issues, and a strange topic as we've won the league, I want to look at my striking prowess. We've been lucky this season. That's not something I'd normally say about a team who have ran away with the league, but we have. Here are our striking statistics:

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Budunov is a beast and has been feeding from crosses out wide (although, reading above tells you that this isn't quite right currently) and Kiselev is a dead ball and long shot expert whilst Kaplenko is my penalty master. Aside from that, there is really little else to shout about in terms of goals. I want more from my SS/Mez hybrid, Kulikov and I'm concerned that my wingers aren't chipping in either.

The summer will provide a chance to refresh and rebuild with, hopefully, a few better players in order to try and change some outcomes here.

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11 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

Congrats on promotion and winning the league :applause:

Does this means through balls are now OP instead?

No - just one of two ways that we can play as I like to either overload the flanks or the centre, based on opposition formations and areas to exploit!

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May 2028

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Just the two games in May to round off the wonderful season and we won both, even though we have been out xG-ed both times, the only two times this entire season! Referencing the above findings again, I'm not sure whether my wide men are as effective as previously but, without injured Raul Budunov, I did struggle with having nobody really to lead the line. We had our midfield to thank for three of the goals but academy graduate, and debutant, Rasad Muradov did net a debut goal, from close range.

The season ends like this:

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With two of the three top scorers, two of the three top creators and the top goalkeeper, it's hard to see any other result other than what we have had here.

We have been sublime, leading the league from, literally, day one and nobody has come close. It's interesting to see that Rotor and SKA Rostov, the two teams relegated to our league in the past two years, haven't been able to keep pace, although Rotor have faired better of the two. It does give me hope that, providing their team wasn't changed hugely (ours wasn't) upon relegation, we should be able to perform at a level better than they did.

----

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In terms of headlines for the team - you can see our attacking prowess clearly. We shot more, dribbled more, was fouled more and scored more. As we do look to utilise our wide players, I want to look into the cross completion - although, from eye, it is going to largely be down to defensive teams filling the box against our one, small, striker. Any time we've been able to drill the ball in, ahead of their defence, we've profited. I'd expect, and will check that, this level rises next season as the mentality of opponents inevitably changes. At the back, we've cleared and blocked less, intercepted more and generally kept tighter than the other teams. This is largely down to our compact team shape and, in my belief, sensible pressing strategy.

As per my philosophy, I have wanted to focus, as a team, on just a two things:

  • Winning the ball back as intelligently as possible (i.e. interceptions over tackles)
  • Moving it forwards quickly (progressive passes and dribbles)

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For the first of those categories, I can take a look at these four charts. t the end of last season - I set myself some targets based on them, with particular focus on our possession gained and the area of our defensive actions.. Here is my reflection upon them:

  • Decrease in 88% of possession gained from within our own half. Ideally, this figure will be in the 70's. This is down to 87% - not quite the result I was aiming for. Although we have moved to winning the ball much closer to the halfway line than before.
  • Decrease in 90% of the defensive actions in our own half, ideally in the 80's. Particular focus on the defensive actions directly outside of our box - I'd like this figure below 25%. Defensive actions in our half now stand at 87% rather than 90% and we are down to 29% directly outside the area.
  • More pass attempts in the final third, up from 17% to around 20-25%. This will show that we are taking the game to the opposition a little more. Not quite 20%, but we have attempted 19% of our passes in their final third - again, moving closer towards the opposition goal.

I simply cannot believe that FM does not measure team Key Passes (although I accept, reluctantly, that they don't measure progressive passes separately from all passes) and, therefore, cannot test the theory that we get the ball forward quickly. However, the combination of clear cut chances created and dribbles made shows that we are moving the ball forwards and making things happen:

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Everything, team wise, is great but - with us being promoted - I don't really want to commit to any tactical KPI's at this point, as we just need to adjust first.

---

In terms of player performance - I have split them into their roles:

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The upgrade to Semenov was a great bit of business and the young man has impressed hugely, recorded a massive (club and league record) 25 clean sheets. He's also not made a mistake and (as both have) have improved their distribution from the back, up from around 30% pass completion last year. Whilst he's lacking a couple of key attributes, he's ultimately a really solid goalkeeper and will be essential next year. Staver, despite not being friends with me, is ample backup at this stage.

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I've grouped my Half Backs and Central Defenders together here, for ease. Kaplenko is, by far, the best, but that's due to his sixteen goals this season, mostly from the penalty spot. He does his job defensively, although there is a clear disparity between the Half Backs (he and Gusengadjiev) and centre backs in terms of interceptions. This is a key area of my play - winning the ball intelligently, and I want to focus on how to do this - considering he (Kaplenko) actually leads the tackles/90 statistic in terms of amount. Kudryavtsev is leaving and Machilov has just asked for a transfer so those, along with the returning Bykovskiy and potentially moving on Idrisov, means that this is an area I need to work on and get right over the summer, considering that I don't rate Zarutskiy's attributes too highly either.

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Here are my inverted wing backs. I was concerned going in with just three and I will already be losing one as Tikhonov is moving on in the summer. It's not a huge loss quality wise but this area needs reinforcing. Fortunately, Gaidarov has been very good, racking up a great combination of Interceptions and Key Passes - literally the cornerstone of my tactical ideology. Kairaliev has also impressed on the other side, with just slightly less offensive output, also failing to find the net - four times less than Gaidarov. Any replacements here, I feel, will be backup for the two main starters.

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I've also been short here with only three central players before the arrival of the talent Djabrailov. However, Kiselev is an absolute machine - with thirty four goal contributions, a huge number of key passes and also a decent shift in the press, too. Kulikov has flattered to deceive somewhat but will hopefully grow into his role as my SS/Mez hybrid, although I do have reservations about his finishing ability after this was decided by his statistic return in front of goal by my recruitment team last summer.

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The two right sided players have been great but I'm less convinced about the left hand side. I wonder how much comes from the combined twenty one assists on the right compared to four on the left and neither of my left sided players being good crossers? They retain a similar amount of cross completion, but clearly these are less dangerous crosses. Marjanov has been excellent in all of the positions that he's been deployed in. There'll need to be some serious consideration about how the left flank lines up next season.

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My main man in Raul Budonov - a great scoring return but also chipping in with three assists. To be fair, he was quite ably supported by Puchkov but he's clearly not as good on paper, although his key attributes are, arguably, on a par. Muradov did all he could in his sixteen minute cameo! Changes here may come from Begun moving back to a rotational forward option, depending on what is available over the summer.

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It's been a great first full season here and I'm looking forward to playing the transfer market a little bit. Thanks for all of the comments and upvotes - it's great to read that people are enjoying reading as much as I am playing!

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