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[FM22] It's only Estonia throw away - A build a nation save


danielgear
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That cup semi final game looks insane. 0-0 at FT then 6 goals in half an hour.

Given the gap you've established, and the clear and immediate impact made by your first team coming off the bench in the semi, are you considering any early moves to sell and strengthen the other teams in the league? It's a tough balance between that and trying to maintain the strongest side possible to improve the country's results in Europe.

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June 2022
A busy month for us, International football, Club football, Transfer window is open and Champions league qualifying starts. 7 games in total and some movements in and out of the club. We start with Estonia

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We were back to international football and when the group was drawn I felt comfortable, When we were leading 3-2 with 5 minutes to go vs Northern Ireland I felt comfortable. But to finish the month with 1 point and 6 goals conceded in two games shows we have issues. Especially in defence. We can't afford to be conceding 3 goals a game. We actually were the better team vs Belarus but they scored from 3 set pieces.

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With 4 games left in September and October we have left ourselves with work to do. we now need to win 4 out of 4 to have any chance of topping the group,
Between now and then we need to look at the squad. We have a lot of players the wrong side of 30 then ran out of energy in the second half vs N.Ireland and were shattered vs Belarus. Is this the start of the Estonian youth generation handover?

Fc Flora

Transfer Window

We talked a lot about building the nation and keeping the strength of teams high and developing players that might not play for me but will improve rivals, With all this in mind its influenced our decisions this month.


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My under 21s are in the 3rd division  of Estonian football and currently top of the table looking on course for promotion following last years relegation but its a bloated squad and theres a handful of players who aren't playing therefore their development is stagnating. So I have taken the decision to loan out as many 17/18 year old plus for first team football but it ha to be of the current division or above and at least as a regular starter. As you can see we have moved a few on for the rest of the season

Shien - Has the potential to be a decent first team player and will play the rest of the season in the top flight at Kuressaare, by the end of the month hes started 3 out of the 3 games. Average rating 6.7 which is a decent start

Suvinomn - A player who was never going to play for me moves to rival top flight team in search of first team football

Usta - Joins second division side who are top of their division, Hopefully he can get a run of games for the rest of the season, hes started 1/1 so far.

Purg - 4th choice Centre back with me but we have 2 youngsters pushing for his spot already, He was out of contract end of the season so I offered him out now and he moves to Levadia another rival to hopefully strengthen them.

Gritsenko - Joins Parnu who re 6th in the 2nd division and has started 5 out of 5 games so far.

Lepik, Ehin and Niit - Have all joined Harju who are 8th in the second division, All 3 have gone straight into their first team and will hopefully help them battle relegation.

Otti - joins rival third division team after making just 2 appearances out of a possible 20 for us he's already played 2/2 for them.

Pennu - He's been a star for the U21's and now gets 6 months in a higher division vs better quality teams in the worse team in that division hes already started 2/2 games and won player of the match once. Since he joined they've earnt 4 of their 11 points for the season (game changer)


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Transfers in

I mentioned in a previous post that sorting out a Left Back/Midfielder, Centre Midfielder and Striker were my pressing issues over the next 6-18months. So this month I made some moves.

We start with Kevin Kauber, He plays for relegation candidates Vaprus and is second joint scorer in the league with 10 in 21 games, He was out of contract at the end of the summer and I thought he'd be an ideal backup to Sapovalov but it concerned me Vaprus wouldn't get anything if he left on a free and if I just signed him now I'd not use him for the rest of the season whilst he's starting weekly for them. So I decided I'd sign him and loan him back to them for free, so they get €41,500 upfront and save his €1,000pm wages which will pocket them nearly €50,000 (big money in Estonia) but I did not add on a sell on fee, 1 due to his age and 2 because they're getting an immediate return now which is likely to be higher value than any sell on.


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Kauber joins with a DNA score of 34/30, his balance and passing are the only real concerns and all round his attributes are a decent level.

With that move we have addressed the back up striker position, now for the left sided issue I did something on FM I don't think I've ever done, a part exchange deal

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Trevor Elhi joins us from Nomme Kalju for €72,000 (no sell on fee he's 29) and I sent them a replacement in Ken Kallaste so they can have an immediate replacement for him. Kallaste who was leaving on a free at the end of the season goes to a rival and gets to start every week maintaining their strength hopefully. He's started 2/2 for them so far and Elhi joins us at left back so we can push Kosker forward to play Left midfield. Lepik will stay as the second choice as we can rotate the two positions between the 3 of them LB covered by Elhi/Kosker and LM covered by Kosker/Lepik.

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Technically he could be better but for an Estonian he's decent, Physically hes much more suited for the Left back role than Kosker. His DNA score is 41/30 so thats great aswell.

This leaves centre midfield as the only area to focus on this winter.


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An excellent intake! This is what we need, The next generation of Estonians coming through.

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More good news, We have an extra Estonian team in Europe with 3 teams now in The Europa Conference league and the 1 spot for the Champions league has a better chance at making the group stages.

Now with the off the pitch dealt with lets talk about on the pitch.


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We battered Nomme Kalju 4-1 to start the month off with Poom scoring and Jurgen getting a hat trick, we followed that up by drawing to Levadia 1-1 with Zenjov scoring (he will be leaving the club this winter after agreeing to a move to Kairait of Kazakhstan and he got his €2,500pw contract he wanted. We squeezed past Vikingur 1-0 thanks to a Vassiljev penalty in europe before smashing San Marino side Tre Penne 8-0 with 4 scorers, Mannilaan scoring a double after making his debut from the bench a youth prospect to watch. We then finished the month vs Shein's new team with a thrilling 3-2 win Koskor scoring his first since moving forward to Left midfield and a Sapovalov double.

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This leaves us 8 points clear at the top and it's nice to see the 4 european spots highlighted on the table now. A busy month overall and hopefully we can keep winning in Europe and I'm excited to see this youth intake.

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2 hours ago, Shrewnaldo said:

That cup semi final game looks insane. 0-0 at FT then 6 goals in half an hour.

Given the gap you've established, and the clear and immediate impact made by your first team coming off the bench in the semi, are you considering any early moves to sell and strengthen the other teams in the league? It's a tough balance between that and trying to maintain the strongest side possible to improve the country's results in Europe.

It was a crazy match in extra time. Hopefully some of the moves I made in June will strengthen a few of our rivals and improve my potential sellable assets long term

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Just got caught up on all of this.  Best of luck with Estonia.  That's the challenge in the save after you get Flora into European knockout competitions for a few years in a row.

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3 hours ago, keeper#1 said:

Just got caught up on all of this.  Best of luck with Estonia.  That's the challenge in the save after you get Flora into European knockout competitions for a few years in a row.

Cheers @keeper#1 Yeah it’s a fine balance, I want to compete in Europe but I don’t want to tear apart rivals teams as I need them to be able to compete too

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2 hours ago, danielgear said:

Cheers @keeper#1 Yeah it’s a fine balance, I want to compete in Europe but I don’t want to tear apart rivals teams as I need them to be able to compete too

Maybe hop to another Estonian club after you build up Flora? 

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20 hours ago, Matty Aqua said:

Hit you up in the Discord about a few things!, already smashing the league with Flora!

Sorry Matty, didn't get the discord notification have replied now

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July 2022

I have been playing but been too busy to update so here we go, we enter July and august which are the busiest months in Estonia as along with league football we also try and juggled European qualification too.

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We started the month off losing 3-2 to second place TJK Legion despite goals from Alliku and Sapovalov, we bounced back pretty quick ending the tie with Cardiff met uni by beating them 9-0 with Sander Puri scoring 4 of the 9 goals. We fully rotated for the second leg with fringe and youth and still came away with a 2-1 win Jurgens and Mannilaan both scoring. We left it late to beat Vaspras 2-0 with goals from Koskor and Jurgens. Before losing 2-0 to Slavia Prague in the first leg, a 1-1 draw vs Maardu was before the second game vs Slavia Prague in which we lost 3-1 to drop into Europa League Qualifying stages. We ended the month by thumping Tartu JK 3-0 with a Sapovalov double and Lepik getting his first after a run of games.

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We still maintained our 7 point gap despite dropping 5 points this month in the league which still gives us some breathing room going forward for more rotation.

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August 2022

August quickly rolled round and another 8 games this month, After dropping out of Champions league qualifying I really wanted Europa League football just for the better financial rewards vs the Europa Conference but just with these qualifying games we've boosted the balance to a whooping €6.75m which puts us on a solid financial footing anyway. 

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We started the month gaining a 2-1 first leg lead vs Riga with Sapovalov getting both the goals before a rotated team managed to earn a 2-1 win vs Paide, Progress in europe was ensured after thumping Riga 3-0 with three first half goals one each for Sapovalov, Poom and Sommets ( leave him alone russian clubs). A rotated team struggled to break down bottom of the table Nomme United even after 20 shots and a xG of 2.18. Next up was Rosenborg who raced into a early 2-0 lead before Alliku got one then Jurgens equalised late on before a real kick in the teeth winner for Rosenborg to give them a slim lead. Nomme Kalju smashed us 3-0 a rotated team couldn't cope with them. The biggest game of the season so far saw us lose 1-0 to Rosenborg to send us into the Europa Conference League for a second year running. We ended the month drawing 0-0 with rivals Levadia meaning we dropped 7 points in the league this month.

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But somehow our lead extended to 9 points, there seems to be no spilt this season so we play everyone again one more time so with 8 games to go and a 9 point lead we shouldn't lose it from here. We do however have 6 Europa Conference League games to contend with too and a tough draw

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FCSB were champions of Romania, Viktoria Plzen were Czech cup winners and Dnipro finished 3rd in Ukraine, 3 bigger countries and competitions. Aim is to try and have something to play for going into the final game, but in all honesty just picking up a few points would be nice.

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Unlucky with the European qualification, it was always going to be tough especially drawing the likes of Rosenborg.

I too am experiencing the challenge of navigating the qualification matches and the issue it brings in relation to squad rotation. 

Given the nature of the save the victories in continental games are what draws down those lovely coefficient points. 

Cardiff Met result was class, obviously my highlight of the update for its obvious reasons.

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3 hours ago, MattyLewis11 said:

Unlucky with the European qualification, it was always going to be tough especially drawing the likes of Rosenborg.

I too am experiencing the challenge of navigating the qualification matches and the issue it brings in relation to squad rotation. 

Given the nature of the save the victories in continental games are what draws down those lovely coefficient points. 

Cardiff Met result was class, obviously my highlight of the update for its obvious reasons.

Cheers Matty, 
Ideally I’d want the more prestigious competitons like you said for the coefficient points.

The squad rotation has been the hardest part but hopefully over the next few seasons some youngsters will emerge to strengthen our depth 

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September 2022
International football is back this month we also have Europa conference League football as well as domestic football and our youth intake. We will start first with the international side of the save.

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We came back with a relegation game with the Faroe Islands and it finished a draw, we performed poorly but Jurgens came off the bench and scored with his first touch to secure a point. We then held belarus for 92 minutes before the stole a win a game in which we deserved a point in fairness.

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We have a big match vs Faroe Islands next month which is a must not lose to avoid relegation.

Back to FC Flora now....


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We started the month beating Kuressaare 2-0 with Sapovalov getting both goals before a 1-1 draw vs Paide, Mannilaan has earnt himself a promotion to the first team squad now after his performances for both me and the Under 21s this season. Our Europa conference league campaign started with a 1-1 draw with Sapovalov on the scoresheet again. A 1-1 draw vs TJK legion all but ended their title challenge with Sapovalov scoring again. We then earnt our first ever group game win in europe by beating Viktoria Plzen 2-1 after coming back from 1-0 down due to late goals from Sommets and Sapovalov. We then thrashed Vaprus 4-0 a Jurgens double with Puri and Lepik also on the scoresheet before maintaining our unbeaten start in the ECL with a 4-0 win over FCSB thanks to a Jurgens hat trick and Zenjov goal. A great month really we are in a great position in the ECL and 1 point from winning the league.

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September Intake

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A golden generation. Hopefully this can be the start of a conveyor belt of talent and with the Under 19s in the league pyramid they will play senior football from a young age.

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While Estonian talent leaves a lot to be desired we have to start somewhere and I think now is the perfect time to start fine tuning our youth recruitment. I will now go out and scout the other intakes and try and bring the best youth Estonia has to offer and develop it here. We have to be careful to only offer youth contracts as otherwise they can't play for the U19s, this comes with a risk of them being poached but hopefully the compensation will be worth it or we will be able to compete and turn them pro.

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October & November 2022
I've bundled these two months together as whilst a lot has happened there was only 3 games in November so it didn't warranted another post really but we have a lot to cover.


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We started off with a tight game vs Northern Ireland which went in their favour after we gave away a silly penalty at 0-0 when we were on top, Sorga scored a late one to make it close on the scoreboard. We then bounced back smashing Faroe Islands 4-1 Sorga with a double, Jurgens scoring again and Liivak wrapped up the game late on.

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I'm glad not to finish bottom but with a few close games we could have done a lot better. No games now until March at the earliest gives us a break ahead of qualification.

FC Flora


The first bit of news landed that the Under 21s won their title so they move back up to the league directly below me which is important for the development of my youngsters to have them playing the highest standard possible.

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They won the title with ease and the three top performing players have been getting game time with the seniors as the season has gone on and will certainly be in the first team set up next season.

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All 3 will help fill gaps in the squad by departures and all 3 have performed well in their appearances so far.

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The month started off by securing the title with a 2-0 win over Maardu Sapovalov and Alliku on the scoresheet. We walked into the next round of the cup brushing past Reunited 3-0 before taking down Tartu JK 3-2 both with fully rotated teams and Jermatsenko scoring a double from midfield after his promotion to the senior team. Then followed two massive results in Europe first we thrashed FCSB 4-1 with Poom scoring a hat trick before we beat Viktoria Plzen 1-0 to secure progression to the knockout stages! A massive feat for the club. We came crashing back down to earth after being held 1-1 by already relegated Nomme United to finish the month.

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Title in the bag, 1 league game to go.

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Progress secured before a dead rubber game vs Dnipro

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Two titles in two seasons a great start to my tenure in Estonia, but it doesn't stop there, I mentioned in the previous post following the youth intake I want to snap up the best Estonian talent so we can help their development and also to help the Under 19s get promoted so even younger youth players can play a higher standard, they missed out on promotion in the playoffs this year and we had the issue with youth contracts so all the players you're about to see have been signed on youth contract deals and all deals have 40% of next sale clauses on, which I think is fair considering their current clubs have developed them to this point.

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These 7 players are the best of Estonian youth outside the club, joined with the players in my youth intake they should be good enough to win a promotion or 2 in the next 2-3 years before progressing to the Under 21s and hopefully the senior team. I felt it was important to get these players on board now and develop them early to benefit the nation and their clubs will hopefully feel the trickle down effect. We now move on to November


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A 2-1 loss in the dead rubber Europe game before we beat Nomme Kalju 2-0 it was great to see two club youngsters Lepik and Valja score and then we progressed to the Quarter finals of the Estonian club which won't be played until March.

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11 point gap shows the group behind us need to improve and I'll look to help them in anyway possible.

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Following the final game in Europa Conference league we had a bank balance of €9m and with the players coming in and the progress we're making I thought it was an ideal time to ask the board to make off the field improvements which they agreed to do.

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Hopefully this will help improve the standard of players throughout the club going forward. A great season overall and I'm going to do a squad update post next.

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End of Season 2022 Review
After winning the title in my first season we certainly laid down a marker in Estonia and we wanted to ensure we retained it this season, The benefits from the continental qualifying has helped me make improvements off the field which I hope we eventually help feed back into the country, players who don't make the grade here could improve rival teams. I'm trying to keep wages low so I can afford to loan players out and cover the wages myself giving other clubs more money to spend elsewhere on improving as you will see by my transfer dealings later in the post.

Lets have a look at the squad, how we performed and the changes this winter.

Goalkeepers


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Nomm played every game but 2, Paplavskis is too good to be a back up and at 23 needs game time to improve so he will be loaned out to a top 2 division club this coming season. Nomm at 24 is a solid keeper and not an area I need to look at improving.

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Moskvin looks to be Nomm's eventual replacement, I also like the age gap between the 2. Nomm is good and young enough to keep the number 1 spot to give Moskvin time to develop. Moskvin has been promoted to the U21s already. Mottus is the U19s keeper and I'm currently trying to move on Grunvald, Lapa and Hendrikson.

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I've also just signed up Rutt as an emergency back up to Nomm which allows Paplavskis join Narva JK for first team football.

Centre Backs


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We managed to play most of our games with the pairining of Lukka and Avilov with Lipp rotating in to give both rest when needed. Between the three of them they performed well and theres not a real reason to try and improve here.

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Subka is my 4th choice but hes in the U21s for game time and is only called up in case of injury. With 9 potential 3* plus players here we need to manage their development well with a mixture of loans and games in my youth set up. Subka and Hansen start for the U21s with Kaos at RB, Seeman and Orren start for the U19s with Orren as cover for the U21s and Otti as cover for the U19. Touglas hopefully will be moving out of the club within days.

Wingbacks


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Lilander and Koskor were my main pairing until Elhi joined then Koskor moved forward to LM. I'd like to see more assists from them this season its maybe something I need to address in the tactic. Jarviste is a RM who covers the RB spot and Schjonning Larsen will move out on a loan to ensure first team football.

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As i mentioned Kaos is the U21 RB, Mark plays RB for the U19s. Kutt is the U19 LB with Gritsenko at LB for the U21s. Unt and Niit both out on loan to ensure first team football. Again a nice selection of 3* plus potential for us to try and develop. With the age of the first team players Left back is the more pressing issue. The plan is for Kutt to have a year at U19 then U21 then hopefully he will be around 3* CA in time for when Ehli contract ends that he can step into the first team. Gritsenko at 18 needs to develop this season, his key attributes are coming on nicely with stamina and work rate a focus this year. At right back we have time to take a more measured approach. We're 3-4 years away from needing Mark or Kaos to be first team ready so we can take that bit longer to fine tune them.

Centre Midfield


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The centre midfield has had the biggest overhaul this winter, Puri and Vassiljev have both retired. Kreida has been snapped up by a Swedish side and Miller has left on a free to join rivals Nomme Kalju. Leaving just Poom and Soomets to fill 3 spaces. As you can see the Centre midfielders create a lot of our goals. 4 players assisting 9 times all averaging an assist every 4 games. So big boots to fill.

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We decided against signing anyone and have promoted 3 players from within. Jermatsenko has actually beaten Shein and Vaija out in the preseason matches on performance so he will be rewarded as the player to start the season with Sommets and Poom in the midfield with Shein and Vaija looking to break into the team. I did look around for potential upgrades but all would have weakened rival teams massively. Plus we want to show our youth they have a pathway here.

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Again we have 11 potential 3* or above youngsters here So i've tried to make sure players are getting game time and rotating this upcoming season and theres also a path ti the first team for anyone whos performing well. It was tempting to put a few like Nurmik in the first team but I feel theyd be better served working their way up with a season at U19/21 first.

Wingers


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14 goals for Alliku from right midfield and 9 assist add in 8 from Zenjov, 4 Koskor, 4 Lepik and 4 from Mannilaan it shows how involved the wingers are for me. With Zenjov and Puri leaving Lepik will get more game time. Ojamaa missed most of the season with injury so at 31 I'm not sure what to do with him he's in his last year of his deal so he may just stay here and leave at the end of contract. We did make one signing to improve the options.

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The signing of Viidas was to an ensure a young Estonian talent didn't rot away in another country but also due to a lack of depth in the winger position here at the club as you will see here.. 

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We have two potential Left midfielders in Kaivoja and Hansen but with Vassiljev as the only young right midfielder it felt like adding Viidas was the right thing to do here.

Strikers


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Jurgens 22 goals will be hard to replace this season luckily we have Sapovalov and his 32 goals what a player he has been for us and Kauber who we signed back in June.

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In Nuuma, Tamm and Tamme we have 3 potential long term first teamers. all 16 will need time to develop. Usta, Kondratski and Ehin have 3* potential too. Ehin and Kondratski will get loans for first team football while Usta will be in the U21. The 3 16 year olds will rotate in and out of the U21/19 getting a mixture of different levels to help their development.

Its not just on the pitch we improve its off the pitch too and I mentioned early on I wanted to develop Estonian coaching too so it was great to see my U19 manager make the job to the top division for his first senior job


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WIth the success of last season and the run in europe prize money has jumped massively for us.

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Add on the fact I've managed to keep wages down to €11,000pw (budget is 22,000) Its helped us once again make improvements in the structure of the club 

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Excellent academy coaching will hopefully improve the quality of the youngsters coming through the intakes.

We then found out who we were drawn again in the Europa Conference Knockout


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Its not a two legged affair. One game winner takes all. We then had the draw for Estonia's European Qualifying group and it was not good at all.

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We're the weakest team by far, The target has to be to try and not finish bottom of the group. 

We finished the winter before pre season started with some good news. 


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Our club has been included in the top 10 clubs responsible for the development of talent in Europe with 44 players on the list. We should look to build on this going forward and hopefully we can make the top 5 soon enough.

To round off this post I'm happy with how the season went and whilst I think we're probably a bit weaker than we were 12 months ago in terms of playing squad but I'm hopeful this minor drop will benefit us long term as we look to develop the future. My biggest concern in centre midfield but we have a transfer window in June before the European qualifiers start if I feel we need to go out and spend on improving that area we have money to spend.
If we are going to develop the next generation of Estonian talent we need to make sure there is a direct pathway for these players and I'm hopeful that when situations like Kreida leaving for a bigger club we will be able to fill the gaps with youth players.


 

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Pre season and March 2023
We had to start pre season early with the Europa Conference League first knockout a full month before the start of the season.

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A long pre season and a loss to Anderlecht ends our great run in Europe the prize money overall earnt us €9m which is life changing for the club. We managed to rotate the squad to build up match fitness ahead of the season that hopefully we're ready to start on all cylinders.

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We won another trophy, winning back the Superkarikaas we lost last year but we also beat local rivals FCI Levadia which makes it sweeter for the fans. I mentioned in the previous post about Artjom Jermatsenko being in good form and he was player of the match in the final, opening the scoring then assisting one of Sapovalov's two goals. We then beat Paide 2-0 to progress to the semi finals of the cup Sapovalov again scoring a double. And then we found out who we will meet in the semi finals..

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This shows the progress the Under 21s are making and we will see how close they are to the first team.

We also started our European Championship qualifying with Estonia with our newly revamped squad. We had a lot of players the wrong side of 30 so now seemed the perfect time to bring through the next generation in a group we are likely to lose every game but it hasn't started well.


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On paper we matched them, Better possession, same shots, similar xG but they were ruthless from set pieces with 3 headers from corners and 1 from a free kick, scoring only 1 of the 5 from open play, the score makes it seem a lot worse. Maybe the set pieces at international level need a bit more fine tuning. Something to look at going forward. 

 

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11 minutes ago, danielgear said:

A long pre season and a loss to Anderlecht ends our great run in Europe the prize money overall earnt us €9m which is life changing for the club.

How are you going to invest? I have just secured a serious wedge and am going to invest in the infrastructure to help build the club off the field and attempt to improve the quality of the U22 players, given their importance due to mandatory requirements to field one per game.

The international result was pretty harsh as the scoreline certainly didn't reflect the run of play.

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9 minutes ago, MattyLewis11 said:

How are you going to invest? I have just secured a serious wedge and am going to invest in the infrastructure to help build the club off the field and attempt to improve the quality of the U22 players, given their importance due to mandatory requirements to field one per game.

The international result was pretty harsh as the scoreline certainly didn't reflect the run of play.

We have spent nearly €5m of it already on off the field improvements, upgrading the Junior coaching, youth recruitment, training and youth facilities in the hope that long term we will reap the benefits for this run. We have €4m transfer budget which is pointless really as the highest valued Estonian who’s interested in joining me is valued at €150,000. But it gives us the flexibility to spend it on Estonian youth talent and reinvest in the playing squad should we ever need too. 

 

Yes it was very frustrating as we matched them to see every set piece end up in the back of the net. :mad:

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April 2023
We start our league campaign with a massive 9 games in the first month due to the cup games in march and a few weather postponements we are already bottom with some teams having played 4 games already. 

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What a start to the season 9 games 9 wins! We started with a 2-1 win over Levadia with Sapovalov and Jermatsenko on the scoresheet, we then thumped TJK Legion 3-0 Sapovalov double and Lukka scoring. a late Sapovalov penalty kept the run going vs Tartu Jk with a 1-0 win. Jermatsenko kept up his great form with a double in a 2-1 win over Kuressaare. Paide were beaten late on thanks to a late winner from new signing Viidas to make it 3-2 after Sapovalov scored 2 again. Maardu were then beaten 6-0 with new striker Kauber getting a double with Poom, Valja, Koskor and Alliku also scoring. Tulevik were brushed aside 3-0 Sapovalov at the double again and Koskor scoring again. Nomme Kalju back to back next up first game was 3-1 with Sapovalov scoring another double and Sommets scoring and the second game finished 1-0 with a late Sapovalov winner to round off the busy month.

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An early 12 point league between us and 2nd place has opened up already, and a special mention to Jermatsenko who has repaid my decision not to buy a centre midfielder this winter with a great month

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So far this season hes played 12 games, scored 4 set up 3 goals and an average rating of 7.19 which isn't bad for a 1.5* current ability player. All in all a great start to the campaign, we have shown in previous years its vital to build up a decent gap as when the European playoffs start and we have to rotate the quality drops off and so do the results so I'm happy we have done that.

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I'm doing a very similar save with Hibs / Scotland.

Lots of unexpected problems and decision raise their heads with this type of challenge.

As regards your 'DNA', it's possible to get the determination and work rates of your players (at least those at your club) by fining for poor performances.

If the money keeps coming in, it will be interesting to see if your board are happy to keep improving the facilities.

If not, there's only so many ways you can spend the money.

You're limited with transfers because you can only buy the best Estonia has to offer. Like, I'd love a good right winger, but I'd say I have 2 of the 3 best Scottish right wingers at my club already, and the 3rd guy is 35 years old, so not far away from having the top 2. 

This leads on to another problem of whether you want to have  to have your nation's most promising players backing up your nation's starters at  your own club. However, if the alternative is them not getting any matches at all at a big club, at least you can control the number of matches they're getting at your own club. You can also control their entire development and tactical familiarity of course.

Another decision when managing both club and country, if there's overlap, is how much you play your guys for the national team if they're tired or even jaded. If they're clearly better than the alternatives, then ok, but if it's a close decision. On the other hand, there are benefits to getting your guys international experience.

And there's a lot more problems and issues, but as I say, it will be interesting to read your experience and progress.

I tend to spend more time on my thread discussing these issues than the actual results. I agree with your approach of knowing what you want and a plan for how to get it.

A few questions;

  • How many of your national squad are from Flora, and how many starters?
  • How's the DNA going?
  • Are you seeing improvements in Estonia's coefficients, league rating etc? Maybe you're single-handedly bringing these things up.
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I had the same problem when I managed a minor in international level mate. Set pieces where a nightmare and we conceded many goals in the start  and in the end of every half.Progress will come but you must have patient. 

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5 hours ago, vikeologist said:

A few questions;

  • How many of your national squad are from Flora, and how many starters?
  • How's the DNA going?
  • Are you seeing improvements in Estonia's coefficients, league rating etc? Maybe you're single-handedly bringing these things up.

@vikeologist

We have about 7 in the squad, none are starters one was (Kredia) but he just left us for a bigger club in Sweden. DNA is changing slowly but surely, getting a mixture of the 3 I wanted scoring 30 is proving a challenge but we will get there. We are improving in the coefficents, this coming season 4 Estonian clubs enter the playoffs, 1 in CL and 3 in ECL. None in EL. That was before my run this year so hopefully that will improve it too. If we have another run this season I might invest in a player from each of my rivals for a reasonable sum 1, to improve my side but also to help them improve. I always try and have the best Estonian players I can in my squad but if bigger clubs come calling I will help them move on and play a better standard. I get your point about having the best and second best but at the moment that isn't an issue. From the starting XI in my last match only two play in the country and neither for me.

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4 hours ago, Sheriff7 said:

I had the same problem when I managed a minor in international level mate. Set pieces where a nightmare and we conceded many goals in the start  and in the end of every half.Progress will come but you must have patient. 

I've adjusted my set pieces now so hopefully that will help

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May 2023
After an unbeaten start we have another busy month where we have league and cup games.


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We started the month carrying on our fine form with a 4-2 win over Vasprus, Sapovalov with a hat trick and Poom got the 4th. We made short work of Kuressare with a 2-0 win Alliku grabbing a double. Then we played the semi final vs our u21s who we beat 4-0, Sapovalov scored a hat trick and Koskor also scored. Next up we lost our first game of the season vs Vasprus who we had beaten a few games before. A poor performance and we just couldn't break them down. Next up was the cup final in which we retained the cup after a 1-0 win with another late Sapovalov goal securing the trophy. We then lost 2-1 in the derby vs Levadia with sommets on the scoresheet before a 3-0 win over second place to extend our lead at the top to 14. Another Sapovalov double and a Alliku goal to secure the win.


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Rauno Alliku is still rated our second best player at the age of 33 and he's still scoring and setting up goals. 

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JUNE 2023

A quiet month on the pitch for the club and we seem to have hit a bit of bad form, 2 losses last month and only 1 point from a possible 6 this month, I think I've ran the team into the ground as they are knackered but with champions league playoffs around the corner we started rotating and the drop off in quality was a bit of a concern mainly in midfield so we have tried to address that this month. 
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The loss vs Tartu JK was abit strange we really struggled to put our chances away and with 15 shots and an xG of 1.86 we clearly did more than enough to win we then went to Maardu and again we should have won, we underperformed our xG but we did come back from 2-0 down. I don't think its anything to be concerned about because we are still creating chances we maybe just need to look at being abit more solid defensively and maybe not having a natural DM playing in that position is starting to hurt us?


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We're still 9 points clear with a game in hand so its not a bad place to be in but the next 3 months will be very busy (hopefully) so we might be grateful for that gap. But I've decided we need a DM and we started looking through our scout reports and one man stood out.

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With a DNA score of 37 we have got a ready made player who should help us the next 6 months and hopefully we can change his mind about a transfer as he wasn't interested in that at the moment but we have a €350,000 option if he changes his mind but at the least he will hopefully paper over the cracks and buy me another 6 months to see if one of my youngsters emerge in the U21s or if my scouting team find a replacement.

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That has concluded my transfer business for the year with a lot of investment in youth players. Viidas and Vaher the only first team players which were a free transfer and a loan.

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One player left this season Kreida went to a better standard league which benefits the national team hopefully but also that is the sort of value top Estonian players are worth, A realistic move for him on the back of some good form. The only worry is they are in a relegation battle so he maybe be in a non loaded league next season.

Now off the pitch we had some good news, the yearly club rankings


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A massive jump and put this with the competition ranking news

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We are improving the nation an 11 place increase is a great start. We followed this up with an intake preview

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Another potential golden generation hopefully we will start seeing the rewards of the investment in the club infrastructure.

We now turn our attentions to a hard international month for Estonia.


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We tried addressing the set piece issue by switching to a more man marking defensive set up but it felt like over the two games the Serbians were a foot taller than all my players. Vlahovic ran wild too with 5 goals in 2 games and the gulf in quality was there for all to see.

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We certainly expected to finish bottom as its a strong group and we have introducing a few youngsters to the national team but not a great start to qualifying for us.

We ended the month with an interesting situation, Oliver Jurgens who we had on loan last season has been released by Inter Milan and there seemed to be no interest in him, I managed to agree a deal but he would break the wage structure earning 4x the current top earner which I felt like I couldn't do so I withdrew the offer. As it stands SPAL and Grasshoppers are showing a minor interest so with the normal transfer window not closing until September I've decided to let it play out. If he's without a club come the end of the window we might revisit it as he's too good for the country to not be playing for anyone. Maybe i could pay more in bonuses and fees and try and really drive down his wage to more inline with our current structure. One to watch

Overall a poor month on the pitch but July brings the start on Champions League playoffs and hopefully we can make it into at least Europa League this year.

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JULY 2023
July brings the start of the Champions league qualifying we hopefully have two busy months ahead of us. First of all I'm happy to say Jurgens has managed to secure a move to SPAL in Italy Serie B.

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For a lot more money than what I was offering to pay him, Intrestingly SPAL now have 3 Estonians in their squad which is interesting.

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We started the month beating midtable Tulevik, Alliku getting the on scoresheet at 33 he shows no signs of slowing down. A stunning 5 minutes against Paide saw us go from 0-2 down to 3-2 before we conceded in injury time. My players were dead on their feet after 75 minutes which was a worry ahead of the qualifiers, We then lost a top of the table clash to Nomme Kalju which let them close the gap. Shamrock Rovers were brushed aside with two back to back 2-1 wins in which we never looked in trouble at any point. Before another 3-3 draw this time vs Kuressaare with late goals from Alliku and Viidas bringing us back from 3-1 down to draw. We played a much bigger club Astana and held them 1-1 at home in the first leg before drawing 0-0 with bottom of the table Vaprus.

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The gap is now down to 5 which is a worry. we still have a possible 5 european games next month aswell as the league so we can't afford to keep dropping points. Without poaching better players from rivals I think we will have to accept the gap in quality between the first XI and second XI until our youngsters start coming through to close that gap.

This month I read an article about how every winter Red Bull Salzburg bring one player up from their B/U21 team for the second half of the season to be included in the first team squad and get game time where possible and I do like this idea. So I've decided its something I'm going to do going forward. At the end of the June transfer window I'll assess any gaps in the squad and promote a players who's been playing well for my U21/U19's who has the potential to be a first team player long term. So the first player who has been selected is 


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He's been playing well for the U21s and fills a gap at Left Midfield. Lepik is out for 8 Weeks, Ehli for 7 so this allows Kosker to drop back to left back and Hansen to get some game time rotating with Viidas. Whilst he has a lot of developing to still do (hopefully) His basic attributes for the winger role line up nicely and with the games he plays I won't ask any more of him that to just play the role he suits and we will see how he gets on.

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August 2023
I know we started this season early due to the Europa Conference knockout stages but It's worrying how tired my players are, I'm using rest days and trying to rotate as much as possible but my main XI are hitting 35-40 games already plus pre season and its starting to affect performances. by half time I'll have players shattered and we are conceding late goals a lot. I'm hopeful we can ride it out until the end of the season and hoping we can still take the title but it will be something we need to address going forward. My first thought its having 3 XI's, 1) Strongest XI 2) 5 strongest 5 rotated 3) other 5 strongest and another 5 rotated. Keeper will play across all 3 line ups. But that's next season. Now we are in the most important month of the season for us..

 
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We started the month with a massive victory over Astana in the Champions League which put us two games away from making the group stages. Sapovalov hat trick and the deciding goal in extra time was massive in a 4-3 AET win. Sapovalov made it back to back hat tricks as we beat rivals Levadia 3-1. Next up was Olympiakos we took a 1-0 lead vs Sapovalov but they equalised and scored a winner in the last 10 minutes but we were still in the tie. I had to rotate vs TJK Legion with the second leg up next and we lost 2-0 before we were knocked out after a 1-0 loss to Olympiakos we thought we had won the game when Sommets scored on 78" but it was disallowed and they then scored late on as we attacked. We took out our frustration on Tartu JK with Sapovalov getting his third hat trick of the month in a 5-1 win, Poom and Kauber also scoring. Next up was Norrkoping currently top in Sweden and we shocked them winning 1-0 in the first league with young Stanislav Hansen getting his first for the club, 90 minutes away from the Europa league group stages. We followed up with a 3-1 win over Paide with Jermatsenko, Lukka and Alliku scoring before getting blown away in Sweden 3-0 by Norrkoping which saw us drop into the Europa Conference League for the 3rd season running.

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A two point gap and 6 extra matches in Europe to content with, Its nice that Nomme Kalju are challenging us again this season though. Europa Conference League didn't seem too bad until we had the draw for the group.

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2 big clubs in Sassuolo and Red Star, it looks like we will be battling Teplice to not finish bottom. Some transfer news this month too. We have made two signings to join us at the end of the season. 

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Lepistu joins us from rivals Levidia, He is out of contract in the winter and his transfer plans said he was looking to leave for a new challenge, Vaher has no interest in making his move permanent so I've bought in Lepistu to fill the gap at DM. I paid a fee to make sure I get him signed before he goes to the free agency market plus Levidia get €50,000 now with potential to nearly double that and a future sell on should he move on.

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His DNA score comes in at a massive 45, and at age 30 he brings experience to a youthful side he has a good range of attributes to play at the DM role and hopefully his age means theres still a pathway for a youngster or two to emerge.

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Next in the door will be Henri Jarvelaid at left back from rivals Nomme Kalju for €75,000. Ehli hasn't done a good enough job and his replacement is a former FC Flora player who funnily enough replaced him at Nomme Kalju. 

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Aside from Stamina his physicals are outstanding as I want more from my left back offensively, he can also dribble and cross. His positioning and passing are slight concerns but hopefully has he spends most of the game in the oppositions half his physicals will help for any tracking back that is required. 

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I talked about getting the U19s promoted so my youth are all playing as high a standard as possible so now we have a squad in all 3 top divisions in Estonia next season as my U21s have secured survival in the second division and this ties in nicely as next month we get our new crop of youth intake. 

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September 2023

After the disappointment of missing out on at least the Europa league we went into September with two international games to start the month.

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We changed the tactic slightly for this month, to be a bit more defensive and retain possession, and vs Portugal it seemed to work, We limited them to a lot of long range shots and Jota broke the deadlock with a dribbling run inside the box. So after that I felt confident we could go to scotland and do the same but little did we know Che Adams was Messi for the day, he totally destroyed us. Coming deep, getting the ball and taking on half the team before slotting away. We controlled possession and actually created a fair few chances ourselves. 

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Back to domestic football and the only way to describe it is our season is falling apart. (Is it the patch :lol:

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We started the month dropping two points to Maardu, it was nearly 3 but Sommets scored and equaliser in injury time. We beat Nomme Kalju's 3rd team 2-0 to progress in the cup before another draw in the league this time vs Tulevik, 4 points dropped in two games. Red Star made easy work of us beating us 3-1 before we won a massive top of the table clash vs Nomme Kalju 1-0 with a Sapovalov goal from the spot. 3rd place TJK then beat us 1-0 to drop us down to second with a game in hand. Urmas Ivanov became our youngest ever goal scorer after coming off the bench to grab a late winner vs Kuressaare to send us top again on the same points.

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I am worried about our form and Nomme Kalju have been on fire and are the inform team. With 6 games left its going to go down to the wire. We had our youth intake aswell which I'll post about next. Watching the games we're playing well we have been guilty of missing chances and I do think we have missed Jurgens this season because last year if Sapovalov didn't score he would pop up and score. Kauber hasn't contributed anywhere near the same amount.

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Kevin Kauber hasn't scored much at all, Brent Lepistu looks good for this league!.

Must have been so frustrating to get bumped out of Europe for the 3rd time after winning the first leg against Norrkoping! 

Edited by Matty Aqua
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Youth Intake 

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First things first following the U!9s promotion their manager has earnt a move to the Meistriliga, the 3rd of my managers and coaches to make the step up. So the next crop will have a new manager at the helm next season.

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5 potential elite talents join the club. Two new centre backs and 3 midfielders.

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Sander Poom (No relation is rated first team ready by my staff so he will be promoted to the U21 straight away and he will be joined in the U21 by our newest youth recruit..

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Signed from our local rivals for a massive €215,000 and 40% sell on but even my national team think he is ready for a senior squad call up. As Alliku is hitting 34 this year I see him as his successor, a year in the second division for the U21s will allow us to judge if he's ready for the step up.

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We really lack depth at the defensive midfield role and we have already signed Lepistu to join in the summer but he is already 30. Kutt comes in as a potential long term replacement for him. He will start as a squad member for the U19s and we will see how he progresses.

I mentioned in the august post about having 3 starting XI's next season so I have come up with this...


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It will be subject to change and I've included the signings coming in this winter. But the plan is rather than wholesale changes we have 3 XI's saved and we rotate between them. I've tried to maintain a spread of the quality between 2nd XI and 3rd XI. Hopefully this will ensure when we hit july/august the squad fitness levels will still be decent. Obviously injuries and suspensions will influence it but I really need to rotate better next season.

 

 

Edited by danielgear
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7 minutes ago, Matty Aqua said:

Kevin Kauber hasn't scored much at all, Brent Lepistu looks good for this league!.

Must have been so frustrating to get bumped out of Europe for the 3rd time after winning the first leg against Norrkoping! 

6 goals in 37 appearances. Jurgens had 22 last season. Sapovalov had 32 last season and is 42 this season as it stands but it seems like if he doesn't score we are lacking someone to pick up the slack. Yes i've been watching Lepistu for a while but didn't want to weaken a rival but with him wanting to leave anyway I thought now was the time to step in.

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1 minute ago, Shrewnaldo said:

Tell the truth, how quickly did you check Sander Poom's information tab to see if he was your in-game son? That's gutting

He looks great though. Proper prospect. You tempted to switch to a 10 at all?

My mouse never moved so quick! But alas not to be, don’t remember last time I had a son to be fair. I have him earmarked as a Mezzala, if I can get that stamina, work rate and composure up along with a few traits. Whilst not tied to the 4141 I do feel like he suits us there.

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In my national save I've had 2 players with my surname on loan, because they've both been amongst the most promising Scottish players. It does feel a bit weird though having players in the team with my surname.

I've had sons before, and a few non related regens I've decided to treat as my nepotism-advantaged nephews, but I've never had someone with my surname in teams on merit before.

A few years ago, I had a real son, who was rubbish when he came through, but I was managing a top team and developed him to the point where he was in the Scotland squad.

Scotland had 3 really good strikers, and then a huge ability gap to the rest of their strikers, at the top of which pile was my son.

My son was in a Scotland squad that reached the World Cup final. (I wasn't managing the national team), and was a constant in the squad for 2 or 3 years.

The kicker, he never picked up a cap. Not even for a garbage time minute, and why would he? The other strikers with broken legs were better than him.

I did watch that World Cup final though, and dreamed of him coming on in the final minutes, wandering gormlessly about in his customary fashion, and the ball hitting him inadvertently in the head and going in for the winning goal.

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3 minutes ago, vikeologist said:

In my national save I've had 2 players with my surname on loan, because they've both been amongst the most promising Scottish players. It does feel a bit weird though having players in the team with my surname.

I've had sons before, and a few non related regens I've decided to treat as my nepotism-advantaged nephews, but I've never had someone with my surname in teams on merit before.

A few years ago, I had a real son, who was rubbish when he came through, but I was managing a top team and developed him to the point where he was in the Scotland squad.

Scotland had 3 really good strikers, and then a huge ability gap to the rest of their strikers, at the top of which pile was my son.

My son was in a Scotland squad that reached the World Cup final. (I wasn't managing the national team), and was a constant in the squad for 2 or 3 years.

The kicker, he never picked up a cap. Not even for a garbage time minute, and why would he? The other strikers with broken legs were better than him.

I did watch that World Cup final though, and dreamed of him coming on in the final minutes, wandering gormlessly about in his customary fashion, and the ball hitting him inadvertently in the head and going in for the winning goal.

Oh imagine if he did!

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October 2023
A season which began with so much promise has been spirally out of control domestically..

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We started the month with a 1-1 draw against Teplice which on paper is a good result until you see it was a 93rd minute equaliser. A 2-2 draw vs Vaprus is another 2 points dropped which was made worse by the fact we lost to our local rivals 4-3 to drop down to second for the first time in a long time. A 4-3 loss to Sassuolo wasn't the end of the world but then bottom of the table Paide knocked us out of the cup too.

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Following this month I've gone and looked at the tactic and see if I can spot where its going wrong. We are still dominating games, we are probably not creating enough clear cut chances, a lot of our shots arent from favourable angles. I've given it a tweak and adjusted a few player instructions in the hope we can turn the form around asap. 

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Set Pieces at international level are really getting on my nerves now! a close game with Bulgaria in which we led 1-0 for a long time was undone by 3 set piece goals. We never expected much from this group and the benefits of a few younger players getting top level football will hopefully pay off long term.

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3 hours ago, danielgear said:

Following this month I've gone and looked at the tactic and see if I can spot where its going wrong. We are still dominating games, we are probably not creating enough clear cut chances, a lot of our shots arent from favourable angles. I've given it a tweak and adjusted a few player instructions in the hope we can turn the form around asap. 

What are you looking like tactically at the moment?

Is it a case of you've been too nice to the opposition by strengthening them or do you feel a bit weaker in the league at the moment?

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November 2023
Tactic tweaked...


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A 4-2 loss in europe to the strongest team in our group was a decent start. 2-2 vs Paide was a concern as we let them equalise in injury time. We bounced back winning 2-0 vs Tartu Jk with Sommets getting both before beating maardu 3-1 with Sapovalov getting another hat trick. Teplice were just too strong in Europe as we rounded off the month

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One game to go and we need a favour from bottom of the table already relegated Paide. 
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Out of Europe with hardly a whimper.
Internationally we didn't fare any better this month. We played two games


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We feel a long way off even Scotland. Outclassed in both matches and we end the group stage.

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I wonder if we need to change the tactic, the 4141 which I favour just doesn't seem to suit the national team for some reason. I'm not using the same one as Flora as thats set up for a dominating team and built around player traits. Also we can't seem to play two games back to back. players are shattered but thats an issue with FM that dates back years. Much to think about before our next game in March.

 

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3 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

What are you looking like tactically at the moment?

Is it a case of you've been too nice to the opposition by strengthening them or do you feel a bit weaker in the league at the moment?

I've tweaked the tactic to this

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And results have picked up since then. I've removed the play more direct and added work ball into box. My main thinking was hopefully it will allow the players to rest more in possession. We were playing a very fast vertical style which created a lot of chances and usually Sapovalov would finish them off (he has still with the 50+ goals this season) but the issue seems to be more we're conceding and late in games aswell. I've had to add the Goalkeeper distribution PI's because he just kept lumping it long still but we are noticing a difference already.
I do think a lot of factors are at play. First our quality hasn't improved much, we're still around the same as when we started 3 seasons ago but we wanted that to keep other teams stronger, I've also played 13 games more than my rivals this season and we have a small squad because I want to ensure the youngsters are playing games for U21s and U19s not sitting on my bench for 15 minute run outs. With the latest intake our overall numbers have increased so next season I can probably rotate a few more youngsters into the squad and the intakes from season 1 & 2 are closer to first team age now.
Watching the games we were probably lacking composure at both ends so hopefully a less direct style will calm them down a bit on the ball, I did consider dropping to balanced but I do still want them to be positive with the ball just maybe shorter passes and less distance ran.

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December 2023
Its the final day of the season, We need to win and hope bottom of the table Paide can do us a favour.

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We did our Job, 3-0 win and a dominant performance, Sommet is one of the main players to benefit from the tactical switch mentioned above. He seems to be enjoying the work ball into box as it allows him to pop up in space. 
We followed that up with a 3-0 win vs Red star in Europe. hopefully we can build on this next season added with rotation that ensures we don't blow a lead like that again.
Now how did Nomme Kalju vs Paide finish?


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3-3! And we take the title on goal difference!! Wow what an end to the season. We probably didn't deserve it overall but I'm glad to have pipped them so we get that Champions league money. Hopefully Nomme can challenge us again next season but due to them being as good as us and not us throwing it away.

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No knock outs for us this year. But another european adventure again. Season review up next 

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