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[FM23] Deportivo La Coruna: Redemption and a return to the top flight?


Jtomsett11
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The why

My first proper memories of Champions League football are of Manchester United overturning their deficit against Juventus in the Semi-finals with a Roy Keane-inspired comeback, followed by their victory against Bayern Munich with those late goals from Sheringham and Solksjaer. I was entranced by the drama and sheer occasion of the Champions League. Closely following these games in my memory is the two-legged Leeds vs Deportivo affair in 2001. At the time, Deportivo were the Champions of La Liga and had belitted Leeds in the build up, with midfielder Victor stating that Leeds "were the weakest team left in the competition". Leeds went on to win 3-0, with Deportivo only managing to get 2 back in the return leg and Leeds going through. 

At this time and at a tender age, I believed Deportivo to be Spanish giants of similar ilk to Madrid and Barcelona and at the time, Valencia. They beat United twice in the group stage in the next season, while they were extremely close to making the final in 2004 against Mourinho's Porto , where they ultimately fell to a penalty for a 1-0 aggregate loss in the semis. Diego Tristan. Roy Makaay. Excellent players I throughly enjoyed watching. 

Although I was aware that they had fallen on hard times, I had no idea how bad things had gotten. In discussing teams for FM23, I mentioned to a friend that I didn't want to have to work as hard as I had with Jersey Bulls on FM21, but still wanted some sort of redemption story to keep me motivated by a single club. He suggested Deportivo La Coruna. My initial reaction was "that's not really a challenge enough", thinking of them as still being in La Liga. It was only when I took a deeper look that I realised that my then-burgeoning interest in football at the end of the century coincided with Depor's most successful period, at odds with large chunks of their past and their most recent history. My impression of Deportivo La Coruna as a Spanish giant couldn't really be further from the truth.

For me, a successful save on football manager is about the story. In the past, I'd discuss progress while driving in the car as though I were the host of the local radio show analysing the clubs progression under my managers helm. Having started posting on the career update for a journeyman career in Scandinavia for FM21, I then felt the draw that was the story of Jersey Bulls. It pulled me in until I felt I had to play as them and write about my progress with them. I'm feeling a similar draw now. Time isn't on my side anymore, and I want to avoid instant result to immerse myself more deeply this time, but I'm committed to seeing whether I can bring Depor back to La Liga and back to the success of the 2000s. 

Edited by Jtomsett11
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The who

RC Deportivo La Coruña logo.svg

Real Club Deportivo de La Coruña

Commonly known as:

Deportivo La Coruña

Deportivo La Coruna (I shall be ignoring the tilde, apologies my Spanish friends! However, I shall place emphasis on the 'n' when I say it in my head to make up for it), also known as Deportivo, or Depor, were founded in 1906 and currently play in Primera Federación, the third tier of Spanish football. This is a far-cry from their most recent success, as alluded to in my above post, which began with their Promotion to the top tier in 1990-91. Prior to that season, their highest finish was 2nd in 1949-50 and they had not won the Copa del Rey.

In just their third season back in the top flight, they finished second in La Liga, following that up with another second place in 1994-95 and ending their 99 year wait for a major trophy by winning the Copa del Rey. They beat Valencia 2-1 in the final. They won the cup again in 2001-02 ("El Centenariazo", the 100th year of Copa del Rey, beating the Galacticos of Madrid in Madrid), following on from their maiden La Liga in 1999-2000 and finished 3rd in the league twice in a row before an 8th place finish in 2004-05 spelled the end for Javier Irureta, who had managed since 1999 and taken Depor to new heights.

Historias del fútbol: El 'Centenariazo' - AS.com

However, things were about to get a lot worse than 8th place in La Liga. The success of the late 90s and early 2000s had been bankrolled by Augusto Cesar Lendoiro who became president of the club in 1988. More specifically, they had been bankrolled through a series of loans. He convinced Mauro Silva, Bebeto and Donato, a trio of Brazilians to join the club and they helped take the club to within a spot kick of winning the league in 1993-94. In 1999-2000, it was playmaker Djalminha and Maakay who had been attracted to the club and helped win the league. Maakay got 22 goals that year. By 2007, the superstars had been replaced by youngsters who couldn't achieve Champions League football, and so began the decline with the club losing millions for every year they didn't qualify for the promised land. 

By 2013, and their second relegation back in the second tier (after relegation in 2011 and promotion in 2012), the Spanish Treasury were involved, demanding Lendoiro resign by Christmas to allow the club's administrators to keep the club from being wound up. At this point Deportivo's debts were around £160 million. The new president, Tino Fernandez, paid off the loans owed to the government and halved debt in 5 years, but the local fanbase were unhappy with constant hiring and firing, including 3 managers in 2017-18 alone as their most recent 4 year stay in La Liga was ended.

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Fernandez was replaced with Zas in in 2019, but he lasted just 3 months. New president Vidal then swapped debt for shares with bank Abanca - they now owned some 78% of the club. Each season they remain out of the top flight requires further investment; Almeda were rumoured to have invested £30 million in 2021 just to keep the club afloat as they fell further into the third tier.

All in all, this is a club that has fallen far from their peak. What hasn't fallen is the support; they have over 20000 season ticket holders even in the third tier and the Deportivistas as they are known, are probably key to their revival in a football manager sense. Large crowds equal money equals budget. As you can see from their history below, a return to the top-flight and a consistent stay there could spell their most successful period yet: they're currently at rock-bottom. 

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Edited by Jtomsett11
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The what and the how

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I took this image from the club's ticket website. The main aim of this save is to get Deportivo back into La Liga and to improve on their one League, two cup and three super-cup total trophy count. I imagine this is going to involve some severe balancing of the budgets, or a very quick ascent to La Liga, or most likely, probably both. I like to keep a tight financial reign on a club, so this shouldn't be a problem.

I'd love to get back to the Deportivo of the 1990s and 2000s, with Brazilian world cup stars and big European transfers pulled off, but hopefully on a more sustainable footing. Expect a focus on youth initially (not necessarily home-grown), but a move into the markets if we become more successful.

I also want to try out new things tactically. I've played with a 4-4-2 or 4-2-4 or occasionally a 4-5-1 since FM10, so it would be good to try, say, a back 3! Beyond this I'm keeping my aims fairly limited. Time is not my friend anymore, so I'm not going to commit to attribute tracking as I have done in my Jersey save. That's not to say it won't appear at some point!

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  • 3 weeks later...

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The eyebrows have been raised!

Firstly, this is a team that is way too big for this level. These are our facilities, which are a very good starting point (bar youth recruitment).

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We're also hot favourites to win the league, and without me touching the squad, no fewer than 7 of our side are in the Dream Eleven.

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This should be a walk in the park, but then it should also be a walk in the park for Deportivo in real life and they currently sit sixth.

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We're well set financially, but the projections are for the money to evaporate over the year. Our wage budget currently sits at £89,000 a week but we are using most of that. We don't want to be sitting in this league too long.

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Squad depth

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Having played through the entirety of FM21 with Jersey Bulls, I've forgotten that feeling of inheriting a squad of unknown players and having no real idea who they are or where they play. It's initially quite daunting. I can see quite quickly that some of our highest rated players are pretty old. Gomez, MartinezCarneroBergantinos and Mackay are all the wrong side of 30 and some are very close to retirement realistically. This looks like a decent squad to win promotion followed by quite a lot of refreshing being required. I'm going to try and use the squad depth and work out whether I'm playing 3-5-2 or 3-4-2-1. Looking at this initially, with one striker and a tonne of inverted wingers, I think the latter is more likely.

We also appear to have quite a bit of depth and talent in the B team and U19s.

B Team

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I particularly like the look of Ares, although he's another inverted winger, Puerto and Barcia, but that's purely from potential without looking at their attributes.

U19s

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Again, a few with potential here. The B team don't seem to have any fixtures, but the U19s do, so I'll have to manage this well considering the size of the B team squad and the age of some with good potential. I don't want them stagnating.

 

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Squad planning continued - some old faces!

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Now, I'm not completely set on this formation. I've had some mixed success in my 4 friendlies so far, including a turgid 0-0 that made me re-think having two DMs. The only two players not in the squad and registered are Mendes and Isi in the midfield. I could move Mendes to this squad, but I don't think he'll get much game time, while Isi isn't registered and I don't have space for him. That's probably an issue as he's a new signing and might be annoyed if we don't select him. 

This is what the tactic looks like so far.

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The idea is that my wingbacks push up, creating overloads that we also exploit with our wide centre backs. We should also retain the ball well with a pretty solid back 6/7 as we build up slowly. I'm going to wait until the end of pre-season before I go any deeper than that as I'm tweaking each game as I see things I really don't like (such as no shots for a whole half). 

The starting eleven as per the squad depth above, looks like this:

GK - Mackay

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He actually started out at Deportivo, but didn't make a first team appearance (29 for the B Team) until he joined again last season. 

LWB - Antonito

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Another who started at Deportivo, but never made the grade whilst the club was successful. He also re-joined last season.

RWB - Carnero

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Yep, you guessed it, he started at Deportivo! Carnero even played 5 times in 2009/10. Average age so far just over 34!

CB x 3 - Lapena, Martinez and Granero

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Our first player to still be in his 20s... followed by two old souls again. None have played for Deportivo in their junior years. Martinez is reasonably well suited to the wide centre back role, but Granero isn't quite as suited but Lapena really isn't suited to it so he'll play in the middle. 

DM: Bergantinos

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An absolute Deportivo veteran,he's played in La Liga and La Liga 2 and is still a quality player at 37 years young. By the way I normally don't have players over 30, so this is a real departure from the norm for me!

CM: Villares

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I really like the look of this guy as he's an all-rounder. Is he my roaming playmaker of choice? Probably not, but at this level he's probably fine (I have no real idea yet what this level looks like!) He's been at Deportivo for 4 years.

AML and AMR - Ibai and Narro

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Ibai looks quality from a technical point of view and I'm looking forward to utilising his dead-ball ability. He clocks in at 32 years on the planet, so is pretty young compared to the defenders. Narro has had a good start to pre-season so is ahead of others in the position. He's the youngest starter. We have a lot of options on the wing!

ST - Quiles

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He looks a decent striker and we've just signed him to a new deal as he's only 27. His age also means he can run, which will be useful!

I plan to show some of the younger players as they play more, otherwise it's death by screenshot!

Next up for me is sorting out the staffing situation, as I always find in Football Manager that you can rapidly improve the staff in every department at every club without fail and without too much effort if you're willing to put some time in. We've also got some Deportivo legends on the staffing team who I'm very keen to keep in their roles.

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Interesting change in direct!

Djahalma (sp?) was an absolute own goal back in the CM days :brock:

Depor were like Valencia for a time, though Valencia didn’t have that great fall. Valencia just got that great debt.

Will be interesting to see how you approach Spain, and your tactics :thup:

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On 12/11/2022 at 06:18, Sonic Youth said:

Interesting change in direct!

Djahalma (sp?) was an absolute own goal back in the CM days :brock:

Depor were like Valencia for a time, though Valencia didn’t have that great fall. Valencia just got that great debt.

Will be interesting to see how you approach Spain, and your tactics :thup:

Yeah, with less time to commit and a desire to not use instant result, I needed something that would prove relatively easy to pick up and play but would offer a long term challenge. I feel that Depor probably do that, as to win La Liga again I'll have to put in quite a bit of time and effort!

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Staff revamp

One of the things I put quite a bit of effort in is ensuring that my coaching teams, medical teams and recruitment teams are as top notch as they can be for the club at that level. It feels quite 'gamey', as the staff that clubs start with often have attributes that don't make them the best coach or best physio, for example, but they're employed on large contracts and have been in the role for a while. It's therefore quite easy to upgrade across the board for relatively little financial cost. The impact of a better coaching staff, or better medical team is not something I've ever looked in to, so I just assume it makes training and medical care more effective.

With Depor, I want to do something slightly different, and that is to retain as many players as possible on my staff. The reason for this is we have a number of current players who are pretty old. It would be great to employ them, allow them to develop (hopefully) and see if we can do this successfully. I start with three staff members with ties to the club.

Fran is our HOYD. He has a decent personality, but I'm not exactly blown away by his stats. However, for our current position in Spanish football, he's pretty good.

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I've not gone all the way back, but Fran was a big part of the successful Depor side.

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Manuel Pablo played more recently, so is associated more with the worsening situation for Depor over the years. He's a decent enough U19 manager. In the long term it would be good if his technicals developed for training purposes.

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And finally, Dario Cotelo, who I wouldn't say had the best career as a goalkeeper with 20 total appearances, but he came through the youth ranks so he counts!

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I immediately set out looking for anyone associated with the club.

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So close! Probably too much to expect Valeron to join us at this point.

Instead, I've strengthened the rest of the staff team around our homegrown talent.

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I've kept the medical and recruitment teams a little light so we don't tie down average staff to long contracts, and hopefully if we see any retirements we'll be recruiting from our own team soon.

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Pre-season

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Really we've only faced one decent side, Vitesse. Overall, I'm still pretty happy with the results. We're pretty solid defensively, but we do sometimes struggle to open up sides and that's the concern going into the season proper.

As the pre-season has gone on I've experimented with changing from two DMs to one CM and one DM to two CMs. I think a lot will depend on how superior we are to the opposition in the league. If we're needing to break down teams, then having essentially just three forward players with the support of the wing backs is probably going to restrict us in the opposition box. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

August 2022

Well, it's been a tough few weeks work-wise, illness-wise and game-wise, leaving me only able to update you on my progress now. 

August had just the two league games, both at home, and we dominated both, but unfortunately could only pick up the 4 points.

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I'm already a little concerned with our ability to break teams down.

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Of the 22 shots, 11 were from headers (corners) which our attacking wing backs seem to be winning a lot of, to no avail. 

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You can argue we should have scored, but really we're not creating high quality chances here.

Against Unionistas, we were a lot better, creating an extra clear cut chances and burying two well made goals with overloads in the box.

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However, 27 shots for an xG of just over 3 means we're taking a lot of low quality shots again. Time will tell, but I think we've got some tweaking to do tactically before our domination turns into goal scoring.

Ahead of the Linares game coming up next, I'm tweaking things to see if we can do more. It's quite a while since I had to think in detail tactically (due to using instant result in my last career and having a very successful tactic prior to that that just seemed to 'work' in Scandinavia) and I'm sure I'm making school-boy errors here. My thoughts are to shift another midfielder further forward as we haven't seemed to need any defensive cover yet.

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September's fixtures:

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October 2022

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10 points from 5 games isn't horrendous, but when we're odds on to win the league, it's also not great.

Against Linares, my dream of my wide-centre back marauding forward to score came to life, with Martinez getting two goals, one smashed in from the edge of the box after a great move with Antonito providing the perfect cut-back from the wing. However, despite winning, we scored two goals from set pieces and barely edged 1xG despite having 18 shots. 

Against Racing de Ferrol we reverted to our previous formation, mindful that the two goals we conceded late against Linares were probably due to how little protection the backline had. 2-0, all looks good. However, although ours shots on target ratio was up here, the goals were from a penalty and a rebounded set-piece with the goalkeeper lying on the floor. 

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The Celta Vigo B game was incredibly frustrating. I went back to the more advanced tactic I used against Linares and immediately regretted it, as 3 balls over the top saw them home. The xG match story again tells of my main problem; low quality shots, but lots of them.

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We're currently failing to create spaces, overlaps, through balls. We scored from a corner again.

Talavera: 25 shots. 9 on target. 1 penalty and 1 decent goal. A win, but not a happy one for me (as a team that needs to win the title to retain my job). 

San Fernando, the worst game yet. 17 shots, just 5 on target. 

What makes the situation more pressing is that Cordoba have been on fire this season and are taking the league by storm. Currently the chairman is relatively happy, but I'm not sure for how long he will be.

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October's fixtures

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3 home games, we really need to start scoring more fluidly and in mind of that I'm likely to tweak some roles and duties. I am committed to the three-man defense, so it's elsewhere I'll have to tweak.

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October 2022

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This has not been a good month. We've actually missed 4 penalties in the first 4 games, one in each. Three for Gomez and one for LWB Carnero. I'm so frustrated that I've put our keeper on pens. Against Merida, I decided we needed more players getting forward as it simply didn't happen against Algeciras. I ditched the IF's and added two extra strikers, a stretch for our squad with only two players naturally capable of playing there. Both of our goals came either directly, or indirectly from set-pieces, where I think our set up means we've got enough players forward to compete. The 5-2-3 did not come off against Rayo Majadahonda though, as we were outplayed for the first time in almost every way. 

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I dropped a striker back to AMC for the next game, and while we played a lot better, we couldn't find a winner once we'd equalised. AGAIN, the goal came from a knock-on from a set-piece.

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Cordoba have continued their excellent form, although they did lose their last game. We're going to need to find form, create chances and hope they continue to lose if we're to have hope of winning the league. I'll admit, I'm really struggling to make a back 3 work. We've now tried about 5 different versions to try and work the space more and it's not really working.

I don't think this helps.

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Or this. I believe this is mainly about us taking lots of low quality shots, but also there are some glaring misses and 4 missed penalties in there. Martinez and Quiles are joint top-scorers on 2 goals each. 

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November's fixtures

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A big month where we face top of the league and fifth. 

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November 2022

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The World Cup may have kicked off, but for us the football continued. Our players are way too old to be called up even if they were good enough!

This month nearly broke me. I considered completely ditching the back 3, ditching the save and starting again, downloading a tactic to make life easier. I took an entire week between the Cultural Leonesa and Cordoba game and then spent an hour looking through the statistics and trying to work out a way to break teams down without opening ourselves up.

Coruna 2-0 Sanse

Against Sanse, I really felt the 3-4-1-2 (or whatever you call my below formation) worked well. We had 7 shots on target, including our first keeper goal of the save, but more importantly those chances felt like bigger chances. We used Olabe as a mezzala (attack) and that definitely added to the overloads and the number of players arriving in the box.

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Looking at the numbers, non-penalty xG was still pretty low, but it felt much getting shots on target and a win under our belts!

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Alcorcon 2-2 Coruna

Ah, such a frustrating game. In other times, I'd shrug off this draw, as a poor error from CB Granero and a free-kick got them the two goals, while two well worked moves earned ours, with Quiles and Narro getting the goals. However, we're definitely still vulnerable in behind and our mezzala isn't doing much for our protection.

Cultural Leonesa 2-2 Coruna 

And the game that nearly broke me. I moved the attacking mid back so we could play with two mezzalas and a deep lying playmaker who would sit and protect, and we were quickly 2-0 up through two brilliant moves. Poor defending then let them back in, and they adjusted to our tactics in the second half and we barely had a sniff. It worked so well for about 50 minutes offensively, where we've struggled, and then we ruin it all with lapses in concentration!

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Absolutely to nobody's surprise, the players were not happy. I managed to tell them something (I've forgotten what) and they accepted it.

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Oh, and Andrade decided to weigh in on me too.

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I then took some time off, and on resumption of playing, decided to do a little research about the use of wide-centre backs and wing backs, two positions that I've said above I've not used before. 

The original aims of my tactic were pretty basic - I wanted to use a different formation, but I also said I envisioned building up slowly and creating overloads.

On 11/11/2022 at 22:56, Jtomsett11 said:

 

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The idea is that my wingbacks push up, creating overloads that we also exploit with our wide centre backs. We should also retain the ball well with a pretty solid back 6/7 as we build up slowly. I'm going to wait until the end of pre-season before I go any deeper than that as I'm tweaking each game as I see things I really don't like (such as no shots for a whole half). 

 

However, in creating my tactic, I've also included high pressing and a high line, and I've ended up with lots of players on attacking roles. I think this is resulting in a lack of time and space to build up and allow my wing backs and my wide centre backs to get into decent positions to overload the other teams, resulting in us taking lots of pot-shots. We're also not allowing teams to move forward much, meaning we're working with very limited space in behind. I've quite enjoyed trying to get the mezzalas to work, but wanted to therefore return to my first tactic but without the incessant pressing.

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We now have a balance of supporting and attacking wing backs, with supporting and attacking inside forwards. A complete forward on support should be less isolated.  A mid-block, although I've just realised I left 'trigger press' on 'much more often' which doesn't really fit :lol:. We're also going to focus down the right where we have our attacking wide-centre back.

I felt a lot better about this going into the Cordoba game.

Coruna 5-2 Cordoba

Now, the scoreline suggest that this was quite easy. In reality, we were 0-2 down just before half-time.

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Both goals felt quite unlucky, with our defense just out of position slightly against (so far) the best team in the league). However, even before we got a goal back, I'd been pleased with us creating a few decent chances (+0.3xG). Once we scored, we continued to create fluid team moves and continued to score. The 5 goals scored is the highest we've had in my time here. Does it mean everything is solved? No, of course not, but I do feel a lot more positive about the next months ahead now.

After a couple of very indifferent months, we're not in a great place in the league. We're going to have to keep winning games if I'm not going to get sacked!

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The real focus has to be on developing our approach in the Cordoba game to improve these statistics:

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December's fixtures

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I think we probably need 9 points to avoid being in contention to be sacked.

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  • 2 weeks later...

December 2022

December has been a tough month for injuries. 

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Our keeper is out for a while, while we've had both of our right wingers injured, although Narro's is a short-term injury. 

Results wise, this has not been the month we needed following our excellent result against Cordoba. 

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Scoring has become a huge problem again, and I'm not convinced I can get the 3 at the back working with the players disgruntled at me and knowing I'm going to need to win promotion to avoid a sacking.

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We've actually set a couple of records despite poor form.

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Most of these have been draws!

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He played really well in the cup, so hopefully this is the start of him contributing more for us.

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I'm not sure whether to stick or twist tactically. I'm starting to think that I may be sacked regardless at the end of the season, so what I need by then is a tactic I can use in the do-over, as I'd like to stick to getting Deportivo back to their best regardless of the outcome of this attempt. I have a 4-2-4 and 4-4-2 I've developed, but we're going to need an extra striker if we're to play 2 up front, seeing as we only have Quiles and Santamaria. 

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Transfer window

I've decided to bring in another forward and a left back, as Simao is upset at game time and refusing to accept my promises of coming on as a sub, so we're going to let him go. Ibai Gomez is similarly upset and despite his qualities, I've moved him to the B team as nobody wants him and we're going to utilise Mella from the left wing as more of a winger to try and add some width, with our right winger as an inverted winger. I don't need upset players in the squad considering how little the squad thinks of me!

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Only the bottom two, Tono and Martinez are mine, while only Svensson and Simao are outgoings I've been responsible for.

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Martinez comes in for his pace and his ability to be another striker, allowing us to play with 2 up front. He'll either be brilliant or just a decent fall-back option.

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Tono comes in for free, is a significant upgrade on Simao and is better even than loan LWB Carnero. He's on a hefty wage, but we still have £6 million in the bank and my policy of sticking with the squad we had hasn't worked so far!

 

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January 2023

We started out with a great cup win against Lugo, who are in LaLiga Smartbank (the league above us). 

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We came back from 3-1 down and won, utilising our 4-2-4 formation for the first time. The draw for the third round gave us a brilliant tie.

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We actually did really well, keeping them to 1-1 at half time, but we ran out a steam in the second half and lost 4-1.

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Still, that was welcome relief from the league, where we played a lot better in our new formation, but just cannot score the goals.

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We're creating more, hitting the target more, but missing some absolute howlers. Confidence is low.

We followed that result up by losing to Badajoz in our worst performance for a while.

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However, in the final game of the month we did win and Mella became our youngest goalscorer with a really nice finish.

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This victory was fortunate, as the fans were starting to turn on us.

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I forgot to take a screenshot of the table, but at this point we were still in 4th.

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February 2023

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It feels like two steps forward and one (or more) back at the moment. 

We started out too offensively against Celta Vigo and were 3-0 down at half time. What followed was a great half and in the end we were unlucky not to pick up a point. Two great victories followed, both games us benefiting from early penalty goals which set us nicely on our way. I was sure we'd end the month with another win, but we couldn't find a way past San Fernando.

Two players having a role recently are Mella and Barcia, a CB promoted from the B team when we were struggling for numbers.

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Mella's overall stats don't look great, but as you can see from his form, his last 5 games have had an average rating of 7.10 with 1 goal and an assist and his overall game play has been really positive.

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Barcia's introduction has coincided with some of our better displays and I like the way he plays as a ball-playing centre back. He's got significant development to do, but he's having an impact.

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We're up to third, and although we're really not doing well enough, 10 points from 5 games is much better than we were doing mid-season. I think the best we can hope for is a play-off place and going up that way and hoping it's enough to keep my job.

 

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March 2023

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Okay, we're a little dodgy in defence, but this is overall, much better. 

Quiles has been in really good form recently, scoring a hat-trick against Rayo and one against Merida as well as 4 last month. 

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Our entire team was 'complacent' against Algeciras, including Quiles and it was our worst performance for ages.

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We've got a good gap to 6th and with 8 games to go it's just about adjusting our tactic to make us more secure without losing our goal-scoring ability that we've only recently found.

This is what we've been using, although I've been experimenting with one or more of: pushing the winger and inside forward back; dropping the mentality to positive; and dropping the high line back. 

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Goalkeeper goals

After our dreadful penalty taking of the early season, our keepers have been having much better success.

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Mackay has 3 from 4 attempts, while Sousa has 2 from 2. 

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  • Jtomsett11 changed the title to [FM23] Deportivo La Coruna: Redemption and a return to the top flight?
On 20/12/2022 at 08:53, willemvandoorn15 said:

I hope youll pick up the pace, i dont think youre doing too badly, youll get promoted next year or the year after that, you have too much quality not to.

 

On 20/12/2022 at 11:15, deltablue said:

Good luck pushing for promotion.

Thanks both. I think I'm going to miss out on automatic this year for sure, and then it's the lottery of the play-offs. To be honest, it's taken me a while to get used to the game and find a tactic, so I'm hopeful we'll get automatic next year if we miss out and the board honour the last year of my deal!

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April 2023

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So close to the perfect month! This is more impressive when considering that between the Sanse and Alcorcon game, we lost both of our roaming playmakers to injury.

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Olabe has been excellent this season which 13 contributions from 34 appearances. He's regularly creating chances and succeeding in the tackle too. He's a real miss. Isi is less of a miss as he's just been a backup option, but his injury coinciding with Olabe's means I'll push Villares from BWM to RPM and bring in 20 year old Val, who's been getting some game time but not enough considering he's got 5 star potential.

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This is the first time I've won this, which shows you how average we've been.

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We're 10 points behind, but that 0-0 draw against Cultural Leonesa is one I think we might regret, as we'd have closed the gap to 8 points and we still have Cordoba to play.

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We really should have won it as well! 

Expectations and finances

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I'm starting to think I may keep my job even if we don't go up, we're still at a 'C' for board performance even though we're unlikely to win the league. I have one year left on my contract and recently gained a coaching badge which has boosted my reputation from 0.5 to 1 star which seems to have helped the players like me a little more. 

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Another season in the third tier might be a little painful financially, but we're still above water and likely will be at the end of the season.

4 games to go

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If we win our next 4 games I think we'll be close to automatic promotion. Cordoba lost their last game 4-0 so it's the perfect time to play them and put some pressure on!

 

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Youth intake 2023

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This was what the preview said.

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Ignoring the two non-green players, this is what we got. 

Yusuf looks the best, but his personality suggests he isn't going to develop much. He could make a decent roaming playmaker if he does develop, but 3 determination and unambitious...

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Edited by Jtomsett11
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Mid-May 2023

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Things are getting tasty! Just before the Cordoba game, Mella got ruled out for 5-7 weeks, a huge blow as he's been great on the left wing. I used Narro there Zalazar on the right, both played really well and we won convincingly. 

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We were solid against Ceuta, with Quiles and Soriano getting the goals. Importantly, both Castilla and Cordoba dropped points. We now need to beat Castilla and Pontevedra and hope Cordoba don't take more than a point from their last two games. A very small chance I appreciate, but I can't quite believe we've managed to pull the gap back to just 5 points.

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Game day 37 May 2023

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We did our bit convincingly. Compared to how we played earlier this season against them, we're now so much more fluid and convincing.

Cordoba were away against Linares. 

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Damn! We left ourselves too much to do!

 

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End of May 2023

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Well, we had a perfect month, but it wasn't enough to win automatic promotion. We end up second, just 3 points off top and we end up ruing our early season experimentation with 3 at the back. We've got Gimnastic in the play-offs, so we'll see if we still end up going up.

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The board aren't happy, but they haven't sacked me.

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Crucially, I'm gaining some support and have managed to start my next coaching qualification. Nobody is unhappy about me directly anymore which bodes well for next season, regardless of where we are playing.

Tactical progress

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I think this sums up some of our recent success. We're creating very good chances from through balls, cut backs and generally excellent play, while defending very well. The left wing issue may be due to a slight shift from using our left back as a full back to an inverted wing back to try and allow for more cover in midfield.

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The only instructions we generally change now are altering our press to a mid-block and adjusting the defensive line back or forth one notch depending on the opposition, while dropping our mentality to balanced when we're nicely ahead and want to take fewer risks. It seems to be working well judging by recent form.

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We've been by far the form team of the second half of the season. Just a shame about the first half!

Before we get to the playoffs, one player has signalled he's retiring.

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He wasn't getting game time anyway, so we'll try and sign him as a coach and see how he develops.

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June 2023

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:(

Another season in the third tier beckons. Can only blame ourselves really. We go again next season (as I haven't been sacked!) Makes it more interesting doesn't it, that I haven't easily gone up in season 1? That's what I'm telling myself :lol:

Interestingly, 3 teams from our division go up.

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This is probably good news for us, with Castilla being very capable. 

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These are the teams relegated from LaLiga Smartbank. I think we should be favourites next season...again! This time hopefully I can make sure of automatic promotion! Famous last words!

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As long as you stay in your job, you’ve now got more experience and a better handle over the team. You can count the past as ‘consolidation’ as long as you make it stick now!

Interested to read how you approach summer with the threat/opportunity of next season, too. 

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On 22/12/2022 at 10:55, deltablue said:

Given your form you should hopefully be able to do it.

 

15 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

As long as you stay in your job, you’ve now got more experience and a better handle over the team. You can count the past as ‘consolidation’ as long as you make it stick now!

Interested to read how you approach summer with the threat/opportunity of next season, too. 

I agree, I'm much better positioned now to push on with the team. 

I'm definitely now 'in' to the save too, and have gone much deeper on analysis and started my attribute analysis again to help me get to grips with the three squads and renewing contracts. I think my next move is to do my own training before the start of pre-season as well to try and give us another edge next year.

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IWB(S) vs WB(A)

One of the most effective changes I've made recently is to move one wing back to an inverted wing back, via moving them to full back which didn't prove successful in my aim of being less open. At the time we were conceding a lot of goals and having to score 3 or 4 to win games.

If you look at the heat map of our players against Castilla (3-0 win on the left)) vs our 2-1 loss to Algeciras (right), you can see our left back is much more tucked in and there's a lot less space to exploit. The gap between our LCB, LB and LCM is also much smaller now and I feel like this is helping us a lot. Our tactic with a BWM on the right of centre midfield means we normally have a lot of cover on the right even with the RB as an attacking wing back, so it was the left that was the problem. Despite 'losing' an attacking outlet, we have improved significantly both offensively and defensively and you can see from the heated areas around the LB that a lot of our play is building from this area now.

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It's obviously not perfect - we didn't get promoted - but I'm really pleased with this overall. I also like how 17 tucks in the space between our AF (9) and BWM (5) enabling exploitation of the space.

I've been seeing the effect of the change to an inverted wing back in games, but thought the above illustrates it quite nicely too.

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End of season report 2022/23

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This made me laugh! I'm not sure it was a superb season considering we didn't get promoted! I am content overall due to our second half of the season.

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We've changed formation now, so this isn't really accurate but I'd probably only substitute Sanchez for Santamaria as a DLF.

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Tono was a really good signing and has played well both as a wing back and now an inverted wing back. He'll be first choice DL next year.

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I can't disagree with any of these awards really.

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Goalkeeper goals - 8 for the season. We didn't have them on free kicks this season so I'll consider that next season.

Player performances

GK

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Mackay has the better average rating and points per game ratio. Interestingly they have exactly the same expected save ratio and save ratio so I'm not sure if these stats are working as intended? 

CBs

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Ignore Trilli and Bergantinos who didn't play as CBs. 

It's interesting that Martinez and Granero, who didn't play much in the second half of the season, had the 2nd and 3rd best average rating. Apart from Granero's key header success, Barcia and Lapena come out really well, particularly for presses complete, interceptions and key tackles. It suggests our new tactic is better at allowing the centre backs to press and pick up the ball with the other side under pressure to complete passes. Barcia won the most points for his games played. Puerto should have had more game time for his potential but I never really trusted him.

WB/IWBs

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Ignore Barcia and Martinez.

Antonito actually did better than Trilli by most measures (pressed, crosses, interceptions, dribbles and points won) but I did prefer the younger wing back and he did pick up 6 assists in 29 games. I don't think Carnero or Antonito want to stay which is a shame as they'd be good backups. Tono comes out top for interceptions and progressive passes, perhaps indicating his slightly different role to Carnero. 

CMs

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Ignore Granero

Interestingly, I think Val is the best ball winning midfielder, with the highest interceptions, solid presses completed, blocks and clearances. Bergantinos and Villares were the other two to play there. Olabe contributed the most goals and assists although it's clear Isi should have got more than 0 assists and 2 goals from his XA/90 and XG. 

AML/R

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Zalazar was the best on the right with 13 goal contributions, while on the left Mella was my favourite despite just 5 goals contributions. His dribbling really created problems towards the end of the season before his injury and he's the highest for dribbles completed/90.

Narro made a decent impact on both sides, but I preferred Soriano who scored quite a few goals towards the end of the season. Peke saw game time limited and his average rating is the lowest of the wingers. 

ST

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Quiles, Martinez and Santamaria are the three to look at here. 10 assists and 7 goals in 36 games for Santamaria after a dreadful start means he's now one of my favourite players. Quiles also improved to score 20 goals in 40 appearances and I think he could improve on that next year. Martinez was poor and as you can see I've got Martin on a trial as we need 4 strikers next year. Kevin is someone already in the B team who I'm taking a look at.

Plans ahead of next season.

I've got three jobs on my list ahead of next season.

  1. Attribute analysis of each role to help me assess squad depth and update the squad planner, with a plan for each player in the U19, B and first team. 
  2. From that identify any areas we need reinforcement. Early thoughts are 1-2 strikers, a LB and a RB due to players leaving. 
  3. Set up training for next season to suit our tactic and build familiarity and squad cohesion - something that really cost us last year.
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Attribute analysis June 2023

Goalkeepers

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We've got quite a few goalkeepers, but very few capable of first team football.

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Mackay and Sousa will be offered new one year deals to continue their roles, with Rios and Suarez in the B team or out on loan, while Vallejo and Angueira will be in the U19s. It's a shame this squad planner doesn't show potential ability and doesn't seem customisable (I'm sure someone has made a skin with it) as you can't see from here that Vallejo is 4.5star potential. 

LBs

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Tono is clearly our best option and with Carnero refusing to let us offer him a contract this leaves us pretty short at LB to be honest. Lachevre can play at LB and of course, as an inverted option, having a right footed player isn't a problem, but I'm definitely going to need to strengthen this area.

RBs

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Our best 4 options here won't be here next year or aren't suited to right wing back, leaving Trilli as our best option. Again, this leaves us short.

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Lachevre and Curras are likely to play in the B team, although if Teijo is promoted from the U19s for being too old, we'll loan Curras out. 

LCB (ball playing defenders)

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Most players are better suited to the right centre back non-ball playing role, but this leaves us with two good options and a youngster for the U19s. Retu is being sold simply because he wants £2k a week to stay and we need to watch our wage budget. Granero doesn't want to renew, and Bergantinos is retiring. On paper this leaves us weaker, but we've been playing Barcia anyway as first choice and he's done well. He also has 4.5 star potential.

RCB

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Lapena is a good player and Sanchez is a decent backup with good pace (15). Puerto has 4.5 star potential but needs to go on loan really, while the others want too much to stay or are asking to leave.

BWM

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Villares was superb last season and Val really improved in the second half of the season. Mendes needs to go out on loan, leaving Lopez in the B team.

RPM

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Villares is top of the attribute analysis, but Olabe did brilliantly last year so will still start ahead of Isi, who has accepted a new deal. We've got loads of players for this role so we've got quite the competition for B and U19 team places. Yusuf and Padilla have 5 and 4.5 star potential respectively, but Padilla has the better personality so he may be the better prospect in the long term.

AML winger

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I've kept the attributes for both right and left footed players on both sides in case we switch sides of the winger. Gomez is leaving and Quiles plays up front, but after that this makes quite interesting reading, with our U19 winger Guerrero rating very highly (but as a right footed right winger). To be honest, we have so many options here.

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The top four are in the main team, as is Kevin who will be a striker backup this year, while Gomez will be our B team winger and Crespo our U19 winger.

AMR IF

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The problem for quite a few players is while we play a winger on the left and an inside forward on the right, we really only want left footers or both footed players. Guerrero won't be getting games in the first team with this rating for example.

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Top 5 are essentially the 5 players we will have for the two wing positions. Padin and Ares (who does have 4 star potential) B Team or loan, with the remainders in the U19s. 

DLF

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Lots of players capable of playing DLF but not many good ones except for Narro (a surprise) and Santamaria (not a surprise - he played there last season). (Pedro Martin is on trial and competition is hot).

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We need an extra player here, Diez is a good option for the future.

AF

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Martinez didn't really do much this season and if Martin doesn't sign, we're a bit short as many of the players at the top are wingers. 

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I've decided to include Kevin here, although his lack of acceleration (8) worries me. Lets see how he does as he has 3.5 star potential and 15 finishing.

Transfer plans

We definitely need a LB, a RB and a DLF. Otherwise, I'm pretty happy. There's a lot of interest in Martinez (the CB, not the loan striker) and he's on £9.5k a week and he's 34, so if we receive an offer and can find a replacement who is younger, better and cheaper, I'd take a CB too.

 

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Transfers June and July 2023

Striker

Martin looked really good as an option at DLF and AF, but he went to Cordoba for £14k a week (they pipped us to the title). We nearly got Vydra, but he went to Malaga and was looking quite expensive anyway (£9k a week wages)

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We did manage to find someone much cheaper in wages on a free from Valencia.

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Rodrigo wanted just £2k a week and he rates 67.74 for DLF and 72.24 for advanced forward, making him a great option in both positions. Perfect!

At LB, we picked up Varela on a free from Alcoyano who play at the same level as us. He scores 70.03 as an inverted wing back despite his lack of right-footedness. He's a solid all-rounder which is perfect.

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At RB, we picked up Blas, who just happens to be a youth product who never made an appearance for the first team until now!

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He scores 69.19 at RB, so is just ahead of Trilli, but we'll favour the 20 year old to help his development.

Finally, originally of Real Madrid and Villarreal (but B teams in both cases), De La Fuente also joins as a really competent ball playing CB. At 76.20 he's our best player, period. However, we'll still try and favour Barcia to develop him. 

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Transfers out

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5 loans for development purposes, Martinez did indeed leave (thus De La Fuenta's arrival) and Svensson leaves as I just don't fancy him ahead of our current wingers and strikers and £100k is quite a lot.

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Training - my first attempt at pre-season and my own schedules 

First off, I forgot to credit @shaunvamos in my earlier post about attribute analysis. I asked for his templates for my Jersey Bulls save and wasn't going to use them this time as they do take time, but couldn't resist the temptation to analyse my players from that perspective.

I've also been reading @_Ben_'s Age of Empires thread and saw a link to @danielgear's pre-season training article, so I've been inspired by both of them to have a go at my own pre-season and training for the season ahead. We'll see how it goes, but I'm borrowing heavily from their approaches.

Pre-season

I didn't have the 6 weeks advised, so had to fit my schedules into 4 weeks and my assistant arranged 3 friendlies that I couldn't cancel, meaning I couldn't quite have the friendly cup double headers. However, I was still pleased by the outcome, with nearly all 23 of my players match fit, very few injuries and no complaints in training.

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I probably could have played some tougher teams though! I will definitely be trying this next season, although the pre-season length seemed to be decided for me this year - anyone know which staff responsibility setting that comes under?!

Training for the season

I've devised two schedules, for 2 games a week (early on we play Wednesday, Sunday) and 1 game a week (most of the season just Sunday games). I'm then adding match reviews manually and altering set piece training each week to cover different aspects. I've picked things I want us to work well on.

We usually press teams, have a lot of the ball, exploit the wings and we're pretty crap at finishing. In the first month of the season (I'll eventually get to posting about the actual season) I didn't use match practice, so I've changed that now as I think it was affecting our performances. This second month felt much more fluid without giving away too much.

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Staff hires pre-season

A pre-stated aim of this save is to carry on the theme of having Deportivo youth graduates and playing staff then given roles within my non-playing staff.

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Bergantinos is quite expensive for a youth team coach, but I'm hoping he can develop into a decent coach with some badges.

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His mentals are reasonable, but he clearly struggles with actual coaching. 

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Carnero, who wouldn't sign on a free transfer, then randomly retired without any notice and appeared as a DoF.

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No, I don't think we'll be signing him yet. He wants too much money for his terrible ability!

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Season preview Aug 2023

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Once again this suggests we should be strong favourites for the league. We're really in a good position as only one side has been relegated to play in this division. If we don't do it this season I'll surely be sacked.

Support for the club remains strong, but I'm going to have to do something about this managerial support. My B licence should be done by the end of October so hopefully that'll give a nice boost to their support of me as will winning lots of games (hopefully).

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It really doesn't help that Mackay doesn't like me (again), this time because he wanted a new striker signed. I did sign Rodrigo, but as he delayed signing a contract by a week or so, the Brazilian arrived before he sealed the deal so he think I reneged on my promise. 

We start off with 6 games which I think are very winnable. We don't know how good Mirandes will be after their relegation so that could be a tougher game, but it is at home.

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Finances in August have been boosted by season ticket sales. We're expected to go down to £3 million by the end of the year. I shifted almost all our transfer budget into wages to help us keep all of our better players and sign the new ones, so we haven't spent any money but do have a wage budget expenditure of £120k a week on players alone.

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16 minutes ago, Jtomsett11 said:

I've also been reading @_Ben_'s Age of Empires thread and saw a link to @danielgear's pre-season training article, so I've been inspired by both of them to have a go at my own pre-season and training for the season ahead. We'll see how it goes, but I'm borrowing heavily from their approaches.

Pre-season

I didn't have the 6 weeks advised, so had to fit my schedules into 4 weeks and my assistant arranged 3 friendlies that I couldn't cancel, meaning I couldn't quite have the friendly cup double headers. However, I was still pleased by the outcome, with nearly all 23 of my players match fit, very few injuries and no complaints in training.

Great to hear the process worked well for you. 

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Sept 2023

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A good start, if a little frustrating at times. 

Amorebieta 1-4 Coruna

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A great start to the season owed a lot to Santamaria continuing his fine end of season form, with 2 goals and 2 assists. However, early on we didn't look like we'd score more than the one goal until Mella scored an exquisite chip from outside the area. Rodrigo also got a debut goal, playing as an AF due to an injury to Quiles.

Coruna 2-0 Sestao River

I rotated the entire defence for this game as I'm very confident with both our first and second string being strong enough. I also rotated most of the team, with Soriano and Peke coming in on the wings and Isi and Val in the middle. They all did their jobs, Santamaria finishing the game off after a De La Fuente debut headed opener. 

Cacareno 1-1 Coruna

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This was a real frustration, we had 13 shots from inside the penalty area and some of real quality, but after Rodrigo opened the scoring, we conceded a silly penalty and then just couldn't find the winner. I'm concerned we're going to spend another season underachieving on xG.

Fuenlabrada 0-1 Coruna

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A 65th minute keeper penalty saw us over the line, but an xG of 3.62 indicates we should have won by more. 

Coruna 4-0 Real Aviles

Finally a convincing goalscoring performance. Quiles opened the scoring and after a Lapena header I decided to bring on Kevin for his 4th game as a sub; he responded by providing an assist for Rodrigo and then scoring himself. That's 1 goal and 2 assists in about 100 minutes of first team football.

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Okay, we've had 29 shots so some are very wasteful (despite 'work ball into box many of our shots are from range), but 13 on target and 4 goals is much better.

Coruna 0-0 Mirandes

The relegated side held us. As you can see from below I rotated the entire front 6 with the exception of Villares who usually plays at BWM, but shifted here as Isi, our backup roaming playmaker is out for 3 weeks. Kevin deserved his start, but it didn't work as he missed two big sitters. 

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Normally, 14 points from 6 games is pretty good.

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Unfortunately for us, Algeciras have started brilliantly and won all 6 games. Looking at goal difference, I predict a 3 way battle between the two of us and Celta Vigo B for the title.

October 

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Just the 5 games as we move to our 1 game week training. I've prioritised match practice and chance conversion as stated in the post on training to try and ensure we can finish slightly better! Celta Vigo B is the tough game, they beat us 3-1 at home last year and I don't want the same happening again!

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October 2023

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This was aptly timed as it moved my managerial support up to 'average'. I got approval for the A licence which also takes 4 months, so we should get another boost at the end of January to managerial support.

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A 100% month that moves us top of the league! We're not free-scoring, but we're extremely solid, only conceding once and that was a penalty. Out of 3 goals conceded, 2 have been penalties in 11 games.

Rayo Majadahonda 0-2 Coruna

This was actually a really tough game. We opened the scoring, Olabe delivering a great pass for Mella to run on to and slot home from just outside the 6 yard box, but then Rayo had quite a few chances.

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I shifted the AML and AMR back into ML and MR slots to provide a bit more solidity and this seemed to work after the break as Rayo only had one more shot. Olabe scored a header from a great move and although our further chances were of relatively low quality, we saw out the game really well.

Coruna 2-0 Badajoz

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A pretty simple win, a penalty to start us off and a 32nd minute finish from Quiles after a good through ball from IWB Tono meant we could take our foot off the pedal in the second half, which we subsequently did. The only bad news following the game was this:

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I think my new training is working well except for CMs as all our injuries have been in this position so far, probably due to the requirement of the role and the fact I rotate less here. Isi is just back from injury, but we're promoting 15 year old unambitious Yusuf as he's our next best RP who is eligible to play.

Coruna 2-0 Racing Rioja

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Santamaria seems to score in fits and starts. He produced a brilliant display here. For his first goal, he dropped back from the CB in the box as Zalazar chased a brilliant ball over the top from Isi and then played it back along the ground for Santamaria to slot home. His second was a great turn and finish inside the box from a loose ball. Should we be scoring more? Yes, yes we should. We still waste 3-4 very, very good chances a game.

We did give a debut to Yusuf as Isi is still unfit.

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We were now also 17 unbeaten, but with our biggest test against Celta Vigo B next.

Celta Vigo B 0-1 Coruna

The most pleasing performance of the season. I altered the tactics based on our games against them last season, going for a 4-4-2 who would press, but not counter-press, meaning we'd be solid and in position to press before doing so. What resulted was the most convincing 45 minutes of the season, with the exception that we still can't really finish!

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Santamaria was again key, putting the into the box from near the corner flag after a great run for Tono to smash home.

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I think our start was brilliant and we just outfought them, pressing them brilliantly and restricting them to just a few opportunities.

San Fernando 1-2 Coruna

After the last game, I thought I'd stick with the team and formation as San Fernando were 6th and doing well. 

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We really lacked cohesion and were giving the ball away frequently in the first half. About 30 minutes in I went back to 4-2-4 to try and stretch them and it seemed to work, but we missed our best chance and then the game was relatively equal until Lapena gave away a penalty to allow them to take the lead.

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However, super-sub Kevin replied instantly, volleying home Narro's header back across goal. The winner was even better, with fellow-sub Soriano winning the ball near the half-way line, lofting a ball over the top for Kevin to bring down and smash home from inside the box. 

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Will he ever amount to anything? Probably not. Those 2 goals won us the game though, and he's proving an excellent squad player.

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We're top as Algeciras have dropped 4 points this month, and we face them away in November which could be a key game. One thing that's interesting is that both Algeciras and Celta Vigo B are overachieving according to xG, while we're underachieving. In fact, we're the worst team in the league! I wonder if this will even out over time, or suggests that they will drop more points at some point as they're not creating as much as us. 

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Player performances

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These are all the players with a 7+ average rating. Santamaria is top scorer on 5 from 11 games, while Zalazar has 4 assists in 9 games. All but one defender are over 7 on average which is no surprise when we've conceded just 3.

November

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4 games, one a week again. I'd take 10 points with a draw against Algeciras; really they're the only side that should cause us any problems!

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  • 2 weeks later...

November 2023

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3 wins out of 4, but we lose against our title rivals which is a blow.

Racing de Ferrol 1-3 Coruna

Before this game there was some big news in terms of squad morale.

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Mackay is our veteran keeper and our team leader, but has been unhappy (again, he was last season) due to a failed promise which I only didn't meet as I signed Rodrigo before Mackay agreed his new contract. I've seen an instant bump in managerial support from this, and couple with my new coaching badges, the team are more behind me than ever.

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I was really pleased that we were able to come back from 1-0 down to win this game. We were really effective in the second half and 3 wingers scored to seal the three points.

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This I presume is only a record since I've taken charge, but it's a sign we're moving in the right direction.

Algeciras 1-0 Coruna

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We've lost top spot, and to be honest we probably deserved the loss even if it was overall, quite an even tie.

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Our first half way appalling, but going behind seemed to galvanise us and after a few subs we missed two really decent chances. I'm still confident we'll overhaul Algeciras, but it is annoying to lose to them and lose our unbeaten status in the process!

Coruna 2-1 CD Coria

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Santamaria masterclass with two great goals from our DLF. Their consolation was just that; the result was never in doubt.

Coruna 4-0 Merida

Bad news before this game.

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While Isi has done well this season, he can't match the output of Olabe so this is really disappointing. I'm going to have to look at a replacement I think to maintain our title challenge.

The game itself wasn't affected by his injury, as we dispatched Merida. Santamaria took his goals for the month to 4 and grabbed an assist as well. I've not had a DLF score so many goals for a long time.

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Where does this leave us?

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We're second, but Algeciras dropped points with their first loss of the season to Racing de Ferrol so it's only on head-to-head. Alex Barba RELEASE, who scored against us at the start of the month, set Racing on their way to a 2-0 win. 

December

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We probably won't advance in the cup as Levante are La Liga, but we should be looking at 9 points in the league really.

Finance and board support

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This isn't looking great currently, but if we get promoted I think we'll be fine and if we don't get promoted I won't get a new contract, so I'm not going to worry about it!

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I need to be top and clear for these to budge higher I think.

 

Edited by Jtomsett11
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December 2023

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Zamora 1-2 Coruna

We opened the month with a good away win against in form 4th placed Zamora, with Rodrigo scoring two really good goals including a fantastic mazy run from the half-way line. We should have had more than 2.

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The day before this game I thought we'd signed a decent replacement for Olabe in Sene.

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A free transfer who looks pretty good and arrives on a relatively low wage. However...

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His first day at the club and he's out for a month!

After the game, I also noticed this.

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This despite Algeciras dropping points meaning we moved two points clear at the top.

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Coruna 5-1 Alcorcon

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A really impressive and efficient performance, with Quiles back in the goals, clearly motivated by being dropped for the previous game. 

Unionistas 0-0 Coruna

To add to our midfield injury woes, our 3rd choice RPM Isi joined those on the physios table shortly before this game.

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We played well enough despite this, but missed the penalty and ultimately paid the price by dropping two points. However, I hadn't really noticed that Algeciras had lost their previous game, making it 3 games without a win. Therefore we end the league in December on 45 points, 3 clear at the top.

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Copa del rey: Coruna 0-1 Levante

Considering that I played a relatively 'reserve' side here, I was really pleased. We held the La Liga side for large parts of the game and could have equalised towards the end. They scored their only clear cut chance which was the difference maker.

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Despite being knocked out of the cup, our improved league performance means the board now rate me as a B-. That's the first time they've been pleased with me!

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January

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This is a pretty light month and we should be winning all three games.

 

 

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January 2024

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A really successful month (ignore the friendly cup!). We came alive in the second half of the season last year and perhaps we'll kick on again this year, even though we've been pretty good so far.

Coruna 4-0 Linares

We completely outplayed Linares, and what's even better is we're getting more clinical. 4 goals from just 2 xG.

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Zalazar came on and scored a very good close range finish and then a superb 25 yarder. It's also good to have Quiles scoring more consistently now, while Santamaria was awarded a new contract recently and has continued his excellent season.

Coruna 4-0 Amorebieta

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Another really good performance. Rodrigo is playing so well at the moment, but I've made a real error with him as you'll see soon. Ares is a youngster who returned off loan and looked good enough to play, and he's proven so after Soriano got injured at the start of the month.

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One game, one goal and one assist. A great performance. 

Sestao River 1-3 Coruna

A win to make it 100% for January. However, this one wasn't as straightforward as the scoreline suggests, as we contrived to be as complacent as possible after half time. If they hadn't been so profligate we'd have potentially drawn this game. Ares gets his second in two games, a lovely driven finish, and Quiles is on the scoresheet again.

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Another loss for Algeciras sees us extend our lead.

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We're now 8 games unbeaten.

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February

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The Mirandes game could be tough but otherwise it should be wins all the way.

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Transfers and contracts Jan 2024

One of the issues of playing in the third tier with Deportivo is that my players are mostly good enough for second tier sides, but want to sign short deals as we're in the third tier. This has come back to bite me.

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Rodrigo may not always be first choice, but he's been great in both DLF and AF roles and scored and assisted crucial goals. After he signed this he scored 2 goals in his best performance yet, and I really regret not realising he was on just a 1 year deal.

In light of this I signed a few deals.

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The first two are important players in my squad, while the latter two are just developing. Suarez is likely to be our backup keeper next year after developing on loan.

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However, we're still in the third tier and we've used up our wages. We still have a few players who are on 1 year deals, including Quiles and a number of youth prospects. We can't afford to sign them all to deals until we go up, so we do risk losing them to foreign clubs on frees. Quiles is my priority but he wanted £13k a week when I tried which I can't offer him.

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