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[FM22] Parma, reviving the Gialloblu


KlaaZ
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On youth and development

As most people who read my previous journals know, I have a soft spot for finding and developing youngsters, especially newgens. I believe there's nothing more satisfying than finding a young gem, preferrably from a smaller nation, at a young age, reign him in and to mould him into a top player.

At Parma, there was a lot of work to do in the beginning. The youth setup was lacking and the facilities were quite average. Even now, four seasons in, we still 'only' have excellent youth facilities. That said, we've made a lot of progress, both in terms of facilities, recruitment and coaching, and it's starting to show its results. Our last intake, for example, was very interesting.

Something widely known is that the Head of Youth Development influences the personalities of the players from the youth intake. That's why, two seasons ago, we hired Vincent Kompany to fill the role after he was sacked by Anderlecht. Kompany, as you can see, is a model professional, which means his professionalism is 20, as high as it can be. I feel professionalism is probably the most important hidden attribute related to players reaching their potential (although ambition and determination play a role as well). 

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What is less known (or so I've read), is that the personalities of the rest of your youth coaches also play a role. I'm unsure if they influence the youth intake, or if they can either influence personalities afterwards or will be more efficient in their training role. Either way, I pay special attention to the personalities of my coaching staff. As you can see below, three of my staff, including the manager and the assistant, are model citizens, and we have one perfectionist.

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That said, let's dive into the youth squad. In the overview, you can already see that there is a lot of potential present. Manzarano is the only one who was signed from another club, for 50k from some obscure Spanish club. 

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Our biggest prospect right now is probably Matteo Mele. Mele joined Parma from the academy at the end of the first season and already made eight league starts last year, filling in for a tired Lucca because of the European campaign. He scored two goals and generally did well enough for his age. His physicals were a bit of a problem so far, but lately he's been showing marked improvements in that area. I'm hoping that in a few years time, he'll be our first choice to lead the line.

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I'll come back to the other prospects at another time, currently have to pause this save because I'm trying to figure out why I can't register Obregon despite releasing another player who occupied a non-EU slot.

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I have a save on my laptop (as I move on a weekly basis and switch between laptop and desktop) from just before the final game against Napoli. Might replay, release the non-eu player and see if I can register him then.

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3 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Nice write up on the youth :thup:

Thanks! I fixed the Obrégon issue, but not in a way I liked. I reverted to an earlier save, dismissed two non-EU players and I still couldn't register him. So I went back again, bought the editor, gave him a second nationality within the EU before he joined and voila. Not ideal, but according to the rules, I should have been able to register him so...

This also means that I sold Lucca to Leipzig instead of PSG. Everything else remains the same I think. 

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Transfer news

As stated before, Lucca had concerns about wanting to join a bigger club and as I couldn't talk him out of it, I decided to cash in. Leipzig will be his new employer as they met the price tag of 86M which we put on his head. This also means that we break the club record of another striker, Hernan Crespo, who moved to Lazio for 80M back in the days.

The good news is, this gives us quite the bank balance AND budget to play around with, so we already invested, with five new players filling the ranks. 

The pick of the players signed is Mateo Obregon. The Argentinian wonderkid signs a five year deal and with a release clause of 87M, he'll be very hard to pry away. As stated earlier, we pay River 10.5M to make the switch.

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Apart from Obregon, we once again dive into the Scandinavian market. We pick up young speedster Rindsem from Rosenborg for 5M (although he has work to do regarding his determination), and we sign Frode Mork with a loan back clause from Molde for 4M. The latter is looking especially impressive considering he's only 17.

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Finally, we sign two more players. Batista Mendy was the Ligue 2 player of the season and as we needed a more defensive minded midfielder, I couldn't help but sign him up for a rather modest 3.9M. And to replace Lucca, we shop at relegated Udinese and bring in Sebastiano Esposito, 22, for 23.5M. He's not as good as Lucca, but I don't think he's that far off either.

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Before I forget, we also made the deal for Katsamatas permanent, signing him from Bayern for only 3M. A steal, truth be told.

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With all of the above in mind, we're still in the market for a rotation left back, maybe a left footed central defender and most importantly, a goalkeeper. Schneller was not good enough to won't be signed up permanently and Colombi left the club as well, so if anything happens to Iversen we're in trouble.

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Transfer news

We were in talks with two goalkeepers, Caoimhin Kelleher (who we barely missed out on in 2024) and Juan Soriano. In the end, we chose the financially more prudent option and went with the latter, saving us 12M and quite a bit of wage budget in the process. 

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Our homework is done, although we're still talking with one player who might join on a free.

After signing Soriano as a goalkeeper, our primary target was another left back. We found him in Helder Sa, who joins us on loan from Dortmund with an option fee of 1.9M.

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We also shop again at relegated Udinese, bringing in a very talented midfielder. Stefano Togni is only 18 but already touted as one of the upcoming Italian midfielders. I'm not entirely convinced about his personality but I'm hoping that a strong mentoring group will improve this significantly. Togni doesn't come cheap and costs 18M. 

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Finally, we sign a potential French left footed defender from Sochaux, Rayan Guerin, for 4.5M. If the free transfer we're still hoping to finish goes through, this kid will go out on loan to get some game time.

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This also means that Balogh can leave when an acceptable offer arrives.

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On 11/06/2022 at 05:49, karanhsingh said:

If you can sort out Togni's personality you may have a real player on your hands. 

Very happy to have picked him up as the giants were circling as well. I don't think he's that bad under the hood, if it's only his ambition he might be fine even without improving. Unambitious is a bad personality but it says nothing about his professionalism afaik and his determination is ok.

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Transfer news

Three additional signings and we're done. We pick up Lorenzo Pirola on a free to provide some more depth in defense, after he was released by Inter. As a consequence, Guerin is loaned out to Ascoli. 

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We also sign up a young Australian forward, Paul Christensen, who was released by Arsenal.

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And finally, we bring in a 16-year old Portuguese goalkeeper who hopefully will sort out our 'problem' between the stakes once he matures in a few years time. Diogo Figueira was spotted by our scouts at Rio Ave and had a relatively low transfer sum at 2.5M.

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Almost forgot: Pietro Beruatto leaves for Belgian side Zulte Waregem now that we have a replacement, for a fee of 2.4M and a percentage on future sale.

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4 hours ago, Brooklyn Jensen said:

Diogo Figueira is going to be excellent! His stats are already looking so look at 16! :eek:

Yeah, very happy with him, especially for that kind of money!

@karanhsingh it's going well, now at fairly determined. :)

 

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17 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Wow :eek:

Never seen this in game or IRL!

What game was it?

CL group stage. :) We were the better team, went 0-2 up and had everything under control. Then a lapse of concentration in the 92nd, and I have no idea what happened afterwards. We just stopped playing.

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Transfer news

The January transfer window is upon us, and we've already completed a few deals. Balogh leaves for AEK as he's surplus to requirements, we receive 1.8M and 25% on any future sale. On the incoming side, we finalize three signings.

Jair Soto joins us from Atlético Nacional and immediately joins them on loan again. At a fee of 650k, this is a relativeley risk free investment with the potential of a very good return indeed.

 

We also sign an 18-year old central defender from Torino for 1.4M. Angileri will be offered out on loan to get some more match experience.

 

And finally, our biggest fish. Mathias Staelens has been on our list for quite some time and we finally moved in. We met his release clause of 18.5M at Zulte Waregem, and he chose us over a bunch of mid table English teams. He'll rotate up from with Esposito, and Mele will go out on loan to get more game time.

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Transfer news

Some more outgoing transfer news after all. Hertha Berlin came in for Farias and he was incredibly interested (god knows why, they're 9th in the Bundesliga). We negotiated the offer to 50M up front, 11M in installments and 20% of his next transfer. Farias has always been a mixed bag. He's obviously a player with a lot of qualities, but he never really got it going and the fact that he kept reacting badly when I fined him for poor performances makes me believe that he had some underlying personality issues. 

Although we have plenty of squad depth, we use a bit of the money to bring in some extra quality on the wings. Riccardo Orsolini was on our shortlist when Bologna went down to the Serie B in 2024, but he opted for a move to Portugal instead. He never got it going there and was now available for 8.5M. We had no hesitation in signing him up. He's a very all round player who I'm sure will be very successful for us.

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We also sign up Jorge Rojas, a young Colombian, on a free after he left Junior. He's immediately loaned out to Atletico Nacional as we can't register him this season.

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Below, you can also find the screenshots of our other transfers.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

How much did Staelens cost? Looks great.

You are allowed 2 non EU signings per season right?

18.5M, his release clause. :)

And you are partially correct. If I understand it correctly (because it's still vague to me), I can have up to three non-EU players at the end of June. If I have three non-EU players at that point, I can sign up to two additionals, one on the condition that he's got five international caps or has been called up twice in the previous season, the other if a non-EU player leaves (except to another Italian club). 

The non-EU signings that I've done now are in regards to the future and will be loaned out until they can be registered. 

Edited by KlaaZ
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2025-2026: Season review

Transfer news

We finished one additional incoming transfer in January: We beat Inter to the signature of another promising Scandinavian. Bellander is a Norwegian midfielder currently playing at Rosenborg. We pay 5M to bring him in, and he'll play the remainder of the season at his former club on loan.

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Serie A

We had a great first half of the season, but for one thing: We lost all of our games against the four contenders for a Champions League ticket (Milan, Juve, Inter, Lazio). This means that, despite being unbeaten in all the other games (and drawing only twice), we only sit in fifth halfway through the season.

Luckily, with the arrival of Orsolini and a few tactical tweaks, we do better in the return. We even go on a 17 game unbeaten run (including one game from the first half of the season), with notable highlights such as a 4-2 trashing of Juve, a 1-0 steal in Milan and a very important 2-0 victory over Lazio which sealed Champions League football for us. We were even hot on the trail of Juve and Inter but an abrupt 2-0 loss in Torino put an end to that dream. A victory over Verona in the pre last game locked us in third place, and we undeservedly lost again champions Inter on the final day.

To be fair, it's going to be very hard to break the top three down. Inter and Juve both had over 90 points this season, with Inter almost breaking the 100 mark, and they both scored over 100 goals, which is about 20% above their xG. In comparison, we also outscored our xG but only by seven goals. I've been wondering if this season would've been different with Lucca up front, but there's no point in dwelling on that.

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Coppa Italia

Another great cup run ended in the semi finals with a very narrow aggregate loss against Milan. For half an hour, we were on our way to our second consecutive final but then a defensive blunder allowed them to equalize and just as quickly, it was all gone.

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Champions League

We were drawn into a very tough group with Liverpool, Atlético and Salzburg. Two great home wins against the two favourites, a very spunky draw at anfield and two wins over the Austrians surprisingly had us win the group. We could even have gone unbeaten if not for conceding thrice in added time in Madrid.

We then went out in the first knockout against Dortmund because we just couldn't find an answer to their 4312 narrow formation.

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Finances and facilities

We're currently in a very healthy financial position with over 100M in the bank, mainly thanks to the European campaign and some very good transfer work (Lucca and Farias). Our training facilities are currently maxed out and we expanded our stadium to 28k seats.

 

About the squad and performances

I think we had two great transfer windows. Orsolini made an absolute difference, playing on the right in a narrow 4231 formation and averaging 7.79 in 16 league games. He scored eight times and assisted four. Obrégon was also a marked improvement at the back, and Mork recently established himself in the first team as a deep lying playmaker. 

All in all, our best deal was probably signing Katsamakas for 3M from Bayern. The kid has come up quite fast and although his season has been rather quiet, I think he's going to be a star.

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Our first signing was one that we arranged in back in February. We bring Tommaso Pogeba, who moved to Germany in 2024, back to Italy for a hefty sum of 27.5M. He's got a lot of qualities, being a very all round midfielder with a great personality and will definitely be an improvement in that area. This also means that Seoane and Henrique, who are entering their final year of contract, will probably leave the club in the near future.

 

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At the eve of our first league game, at home against Sampdoria, most of our homework is done. On the outgoing side, we offloaded Seoane and Henrique, both end of contract in the summer of 2027. The former moves to Dynamo Kyiv for 2M, the latter back to Brazil where he joins Internacional in a deal running up to 10M. We also finalize a lot of outgoing loan deals. Our two Colombian kids are still at Nacional until the end of 2026. Apart from that, we loan out (apart from a few academy kids) the following players: Ali Kadhim (Brescia), Manzanaro (Maccabi), Trier (Brondby), Angileri (Palermo), Mele (Reggina) and Guerin (Ajaccio). 

On the incoming side, we finalize two incoming signings. We finally bring in Frabotta from Brighton to rotate with Zagaritis on the left. And we bring in Bryan Cristante from Roma, 31 years old but a model citizen who looks great as a holding midfielder.

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18 minutes ago, karanhsingh said:

Nice season there, Obregon is just something else!

Absolutely, and quite strangely there is zero interest in him (and the transfer deadline is fast approaching). I was worried to lose him after just one season but it looks like we'll hang on to him at least until the winter break. He still doesn't want to sign a new deal though.

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One more signing on the deadline day. We bring in a young German defender on loan to provide some cover, with an optional fee which we might activate if he makes enough progress.

 

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It's January, and that means more wheeling and dealing! A few players leave the club. Mendy was unhappy with his playing time and goes to Mexico to try his luck, he joins Tigres in a 10M deal. Iversen moves back to Denmark, where he'll play for FC Kobenhavn. Three notable players leave the club on loan to further their development: Togni (Rapid Vienna), Bellander (Rosenborg again) and Soto (Rosenborg again). Rojas also returns from loan but will stay at the club and get some game time off the bench.

We strike on transfer deadline day deal after missing out on two potential attacking midfielders. We were in talks with a young guy from Feyenoord who joined Liverpool instead, and a very interesting Chinese player from Bayern who opted for Wolfsburg.

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In the end, we settled for Pablo Torre, who comes over from Barcelona in a deal that can run up to 27.5M.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, karanhsingh said:

You're playing a narrow 4231?

Yep, tried to get a wide one working for ages but then a youtube video from the infamous @Rashidi got me thinking about this formation and it's working remarkably well. I started from his setup and made some alterations to better suit my team, et voila!

I generally actually only adapt to formations with two strikers and an attacking midfielder, as they always cause me issues otherwise. In that case, I'll pull one midfielder to the DM slot and play the other one in front of him.

Edited by KlaaZ
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On 14/06/2022 at 12:28, KlaaZ said:

CL group stage. :) We were the better team, went 0-2 up and had everything under control. Then a lapse of concentration in the 92nd, and I have no idea what happened afterwards. We just stopped playing.

This is curious. What I've noticed in FM22 (and it wasn't there in FM20, at least to such extent) are late comebacks from AI teams. It's not like it's coded into the game somehow that "AI must come and snatch the win late in the game". It's more like it's somehow in AI game plans that "if... trailing when 75' then... change tactics and mentality to..." and it sometimes works to a devastating effect. I've often found that especially when playing at home against similar-bigger teams in the Champions League, they come out too defensively and make it easy for us. So, we score a goal, or two, or even three in the first 70' or so, are leading quite comfortably and then suddenly they gear up for the final 10-15 minutes and start to play how they should have played the whole game, putting us under pressure immediately. Sure, it's kind of a "hail mary" tactics from AI, because the game is lost anyway. What is less realistic is the timing - in real life their manager wouldn't wait to 75' make changes when they're 0:2 down - they'd make them much sooner. But in FM22 it means you have to be prepared for the switch in that last period.

It's very important to react tactically to react. You can, of course, continue to play as you play, because AI changes to more attacking and leaves more space behind and if you can use it, it could easily be another goal for you and it might work out with the same formation and instructions that you started the game with. But you might find yourself under pressure defensively and if they score the first goal, it might make your defenders nervous and suddenly it's all open and the momentum swings to their side. 

The timing of goals (all in injury time) is a rare feat, but the pattern that "you were 2:0 up and had everything under control" and then had no idea what happened matches my description quite perfectly.

 

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26 minutes ago, Draakon said:

This is curious. What I've noticed in FM22 (and it wasn't there in FM20, at least to such extent) are late comebacks from AI teams. It's not like it's coded into the game somehow that "AI must come and snatch the win late in the game". It's more like it's somehow in AI game plans that "if... trailing when 75' then... change tactics and mentality to..." and it sometimes works to a devastating effect. I've often found that especially when playing at home against similar-bigger teams in the Champions League, they come out too defensively and make it easy for us. So, we score a goal, or two, or even three in the first 70' or so, are leading quite comfortably and then suddenly they gear up for the final 10-15 minutes and start to play how they should have played the whole game, putting us under pressure immediately. Sure, it's kind of a "hail mary" tactics from AI, because the game is lost anyway. What is less realistic is the timing - in real life their manager wouldn't wait to 75' make changes when they're 0:2 down - they'd make them much sooner. But in FM22 it means you have to be prepared for the switch in that last period.

It's very important to react tactically to react. You can, of course, continue to play as you play, because AI changes to more attacking and leaves more space behind and if you can use it, it could easily be another goal for you and it might work out with the same formation and instructions that you started the game with. But you might find yourself under pressure defensively and if they score the first goal, it might make your defenders nervous and suddenly it's all open and the momentum swings to their side. 

The timing of goals (all in injury time) is a rare feat, but the pattern that "you were 2:0 up and had everything under control" and then had no idea what happened matches my description quite perfectly.

 

Yeah, I've seen it in other games as well (although not to this extent). It may also be in part down to your team becoming a bit more complacent after going a few goals up.

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Meeting the youngsters: Francesco Orlandi

We currently have two right backs at the club. Zortea is our main man, having joined us for 1.5M from Frosinone back in 2023. He's been very consistent, with Ferrarini as a (lesser abled) backup when he needs a rest.

Recently, however, Zortea was out on injury and as I didn't register Ferrarini for Europe (because we have no homegrown players from the academy), I was looking for alternatives. Obregon is fairly capable of playing in the right back position as well, but he's needed centrally so we looked at the youth squad to see who we could potentially promote. And that's when I noticed Orlandi.

Orlandi's by nature a left back, but he's accomplished on the other side of the pitch as well and as I'm playing with inverted wing backs, his left foot would not be a disadvantage there. Going by his attributes, he may actually be destined for a role in central defense, but for now we played him in the right back role and he's been doing very well there. The first team football also jumpstarted his progress, and it looks more and more likely we'll let Ferrarini go at the end of the season and give Orlandi a permanent first team spot. 

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Posted (edited)

2026-2027: Season overview

Serie A

To put it mildly, we had a great season. We started off wonky with a win, a loss (in Roma) and a draw at home against Milan, but then everything clicked. We only dropped points once before the winter break, in a home  game against Inter where we just forgot to finish the game. We beat every other team, including away wins in Turin, Naples and Rome (Lazio). We kept our good form throughout January despite drawing against relegation candidates Udinese, with four additional wins.

In February it looked like our form would finally break after two consecutive draws (Milan away and Sassuolo away), but we picked it up again with a streak of wins until the end of March, where we drew in Cagliari. April was another unbeaten month, beating Lazio, Torino and Atalanta and drawing away at Inter, and with Juve finally dropping points it seemed like we would be able to comfortably pull it over the finish line.

An away draw at Salernitana and two home wins later, we could seal the title in our prelast game at home against the Turin giant by picking up just one point. But we choked and despite being the better team, they took the three points home. This put all the pressure on our last game against Udinese, where the same rules applied. Juve trailed us by three points, so they had to win and we had to lose. If that happened, direct results would prevail and as we beat them 0-1 and they beat us 1-2, we'd lose the title.

We started well enough but our finishing let us down and when Udinese converted a penalty just before half time, I thought we were done for. But a quick glance at the other results showed Juve 3-0 down in Rome, with Locatelli sent off as a bonus. From that point on, all stress vanished. Rojas equalized in the second half, and we secured our very first Serie A title. Deservedly, after leading the pack from match day seven onwards.

Spoiler

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Spoiler

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Coppa Italia

We secured the double, and deservedly so judging by the teams we kicked out. We beat Roma 4-1 in the third round, Fiorentina in the quarter final, and Juve in the semis (with a 6-2 home win to put the icing on the cake). And we finished it by beating Inter in a spectacular final 3-4 after converting a penalty in the 121st minute!

 

Spoiler

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Spoiler

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Europe

We were unfortunate with the group draw in the CL, getting City and Dortmund (who I really wanted to avoid after last year's trashing), together with Shakhtar. We managed to secure third place through a win and a draw against the Ukrainian team and a home draw against City. 

Spoiler

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The Europa League went better. We eliminated Dynamo Kyiv, surprise package Qarabag and Stuttgart before stumbling over Arsenal in the semi finals. We couldn't overcome a heavy (and overinflated) 1-4 home loss at the Emirates, despite beating the English 1-2 at home.

Finances and facilities

With 70M in the bank, we have a very healthy financial position. The facilities remain unchanged as I don't have the option to ask the board to expand the youth setup. There are plans afoot to build a new stadium though, which got me very excited!

Spoiler

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Our defensive performance is very visible in the team of the year. Notable absence of Obregon for some reason, despite him being our best player.

 

Spoiler

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Edited by KlaaZ
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1 hour ago, john1 said:

Not bad season overall, no shame in losing to Arsenal in EL semi final :thup:

Rather unlucky in the home game really, 1.41 vs 2.18 xG, but lost 1-4. Played the 'B-squad too because of fixture congestion, the league had priority. :)

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