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[FM24] Valencia CF - Lifting The Mates


Alejandro_FM
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As a long time fan of the game and of this forum, I’ve been itching to log a career journey. I am an experienced FM player, but an inexperienced poster. So, I’ll be working to find the right balance between pontificating, and being brief, and the right frequency of updates… I've already played ahead a bit, so the first few updates will come in succession. 

Why Spain? 

I find that La Liga provides a good balance for a long term journey. Barca and Real are formidable rivals even 7-10 years into a save. In my experience, the only other league that provides this level of challenge long into the future is the Premier League. However, in the Premier League, the money in the early goings is just too easy. So we’re headed to Spain. 

I should mention, I play the game relatively slowly. Even with lots of playing time (and that’s not a given), I still take 2-4 weeks of real life time per season. I like it that way. 

Valencia Club de Fútbol ("Los Ches" - The Mates)

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Back on FM19, I had a glorious run with Valencia. They were a far easier project back then, with a strong core (Rodrigo Moreno, Jose Gaya, Carlos Soler, among others) and a squad that was arguably the 4th best in La Liga. 

Valencia of 2023 is not Valencia of 2019, though. The financial difficulties have been around for some time, but they’ve gotten worse. The club has taken on massive debt to finance the construction of the New Mestalla stadium (which was delayed multiple times in real life; in game it’s slated to complete in the summer of 2025). There’s an explicit board requirement to “buy players to sell for profit”, so like real-life, the club expects us to maintain an annual transfer surplus to counter significant operating losses in other departments. So, it should be be a challenge to balance the budgets. 

The playing staff is lower to mid table quality, with Jose Gaya as the lone remaining star from a line up that finished 4th in La Liga in 2018/19. The club has not finished higher than 9th since. They finished 2022/23 in 16th place. 

The academy set up is quite strong, and the board wants us to develop players coming through the youth system as a foundational part of the club culture. 

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Long term objectives

Obviously, over the course of the coming seasons, we’d like to achieve competition success, including winning La Liga, qualifying for Europe and being competitive in the UCL. However, this save is more about the journey and less about the milestones… 

We’ll build the club around speed and intelligence

We'll try to follow 3 simple principles with regards to squad building: 

  1. Player development focus - Prioritize the academy. Investing when possible in improving facilities and coaching, giving a path to young players and so on. 
  2. U23 recruitment focus - We’ll (mostly) limit our scouting and incoming transfers to young, unproven talent (U23). 
  3. Sustainable financial model - We won’t go into the red. What constitutes a realistic transfer and wage budget will clearly evolve over time. 

I'd like to construct the team around speed and intelligence. The (made up) club motto of Futbol Ingenioso is an attempt to paint the picture of a Valencia player as one who's quick learn and adapt and who makes good and sometimes inventive decisions in a swift manner, and has the physical and technical attributes to execute them efficiently. My aspiration is for decisions, anticipation and acceleration to be our foundational DNA attributes, impacting team selection, recruiting and contracts. 

 

That's about it. Next up, the initial assessment of the playing squad... 

 

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Initial assessment and plan

Before diving in… a few words about how I use stats and attributes 

Within FM, I somewhat distrust individual stats in the context of scouting and recruitment. The primary reasons are: 

  • Many of the leagues aren’t loaded or simulated in full detail

  • Individual stats are highly correlated with a team's tactical setup and the team’s success. 

I do use statistics extensively to assess team tactics and performance, and individual performance within the context of our own team setup. However, when it comes to scouting and recruitment, I mostly look at attributes and scout reports to assess a player’s potential fit with our team. 

Now, I don’t want to obsess over exact numerical values, so I use a color scheme to give me a quick read on a player. Here’s a bit more on that…

To make the colors more useful, I’ve moved away from the default attribute ranges by groups of five and attempted to add more meaning to the colors. The following table summarizes the change: 

Color / level 

Default range in game

Adjusted range

Green - Excellent 

16+

15+

Yellow - Good

11-15

13-14

Grey - Average 

6-10

10-12

Red - Low 

1-5

1-9

This is based on an analysis I did on 12 outfield attributes and how they were distributed across the ~430 active players in La Liga in my first season at Valencia. In a nutshell, what I realized about attribute spreads was: 

  • 15 or above implied top quartile, and for some attributes even top 10%
  • 13-14 usually implied being in the 50th-75th percentile (sometimes even 85th). 
  • 10-12 usually meant being in the 15th-50th  percentile. 
  • 9 or below usually implied being in the bottom 5-15% of players.  

There was some nuance to these findings, but I felt comfortable that the new ranges and color coding will give me a better insight into players’ readiness for the first team and their fit for specific roles in our tactics. 

Alright… now, the actual assessment

Our squad is not particularly balanced. There’s a multitude of center backs and defensive midfielders and not a lot of quality in attack. There's also not a ton of depth, but we don't have a ton of matches this season with no European competitions so depth should not be a major issue. 

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Notable players include: 

Jose Gaya - 28 year-old Spanish international left-back. An icon and club captain. One of the best in La Liga in his position. 

Hugo Duro - our man up front, a 23-year-old Spanish striker with a killer left-foot, and solid spread of attributes. 

Javi Guerra - a 20 year-old academy graduate that can play many roles in central midfield. One we’d hope to build around for years to come.  

Giorgi Mamardashvilly - a 23 years old GK from Georgia. Already at La Liga level with quite a bit of room to develop. Should be our starter for years (unless we need to generate cash). 

(SCREENSHOTS ARE FROM THE MIDSEASON)

JosGay_Profile.thumb.png.afb73008bfa7e551a912f34fefd48614.pngJaviGuerra.thumb.png.bc9fd09d08717b21b7ae0eb6089e64d8.pngHugoDuro.thumb.png.1e71bd1654e182cac6424fd5dda5aadd.pngGiorgiMamardashvili_Profile.thumb.png.6e2d02444eb6982e477a04c375688fab.png

 

 

How we lined up to start season 1:

A somewhat simple asymmetric 4-2-3-1. The initial style of play we’ve tried to implement - dubbed “Valencianos”, is a high pressing system with lots of vertical passing, an attempt to overload the left side of midfield. The idea behind this was to get Guerra and Gaya heavily involved, with plenty of options for a final pass to any of the front 3, Almeida, Canos and Duro. 

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The first transfer window has been disabled so there are no incoming and outgoings in our pre-season (playing the “Original” game mode). VAMOS LOS CHES! 

 

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Season 1 (2023/2024) - Recap

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Results

This was a successful first season in charge. Interestingly, I won manager of the year. I guess the media expectations were quite low. In my head, we’re a massive club and it’s a dream job. 

We were expected to finish 9th. A mid-table side. From that perspective, we overachieved - finishing 5th in the final table, securing Europa League qualification and coming very close to the top 4. However, we managed to incorporate a mini bottle job over the last month of the season. 
 

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We were 4th coming into the final day, with an advantage over 5th placed Atleti (having won and drawn the 2 games between the teams, earlier in season). All we had to do was beat Granada at home. We could not do it. Finished 2-2, while Atleti won comfortably and surpassed us in the table, to secure Champions League qualification.

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Performance

We slightly underperformed our metrics. The xG table actually had us finishing 3rd. But overall, I think our final position is justified. Real Sociedad was spectacular all season, conceding a league low 18(!) goals, and finished a well deserved 2nd place. We could not defeat them in our 2 encounters this season

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Style of play is something we’re still working on and evolving. However, we’ve already established ourselves as a decisive, attack minded football team. 

  • We create a lot of good chances - 2nd in xG and NP-xG/90 (1.78) behind Real, we’re 4th in chances created.  
  • We take many shots on goal  - 2nd highest behind Real (~12.95 shots/game), but a less stellar conversion rate (16%, 6th in La Liga).
  • We cross a lot - 2nd in crosses attempted behind Sevilla. 
  • We work hard on our press - 3rd in high intensity sprints, but perhaps not as high up the pitch as others (10th in OPPDA with 5.2)
  • We scored 20(!) goals from corners. Many of these are scrambles and not direct from our routines. Interestingly, I had not much to do with it as I’ve relied on my staff to create the routines
  • We’re 4h in final third passes - behind the Big 3 of Spanish football. 

 

Squad and Transfers

Three additional items to discuss looking back at season 1 - (a) Notable player performances, (b) transfers and (c) our very first youth intake. 

(a) As far as individual performances go - the ones to highlight: 

Hugo Duro - 21 goals (3rd in La Liga) and 4 assists. Surprisingly, he’s only 13th in La Liga in shots/90 (2.05), which tells me that he’s a fairly efficient striker, and also that our aggressive shooting as a team is largely driven by our midfielders and wingers.

Fran Perez - a back-up winger, was our assist leader, quite shockingly. He had 10 assists in only 6 starts - 29 sub appearances - and also topped the team chart in OpKP/90 - 1.9 and Chances Created/90 - 0.95). Not counting on him long term though. 

Sergi Canos - 5 goals and 10 assists in 20 starts (10 sub appearances). He started the season as our first choice AMR, mostly as an inverted winger. Most likely will be a backup next season (more on that below). 

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(b) Transfer news

 

As I mentioned previously, the first transfer window was disabled so the market was quiet until January. But then, the Saudis knocked on the door… 

OUTGOING - €110M in guaranteed fees

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We sold two cornerstones of the team from 4 years ago, Jose Gaya and Moukhtar Diakhabi. Raked over €100m between the two of them (not all upfront). Nevertheless, this has given the club some much needed breathing room.  Are the finances going to be too easy because of the Saudi clubs? 

 

INCOMING - €35M in committed fees

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In return, we brought in:

Valentin Barco - the argentinian left-back wonderkid. He’s still acclimating, but will be a key player going forward. 

Roony Bardghji - the Swedish right wing prodigy. Mostly backed up Sergi Canos since coming in, but will surely surpass him very soon. 

Marcel Ruiz - a Mexican center midfielder. Ruiz settled in quickly with 7 assists in 17 appearances. He was 2nd in La Liga in Assists/90 (0.47)  since joining us. 0.40 xA from open play. 

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Our wages to turnover is 2nd best in La Liga. Overall wage bill is ~€30m/year, 9th or 10th in the league, but remarkably far below any premier league team. In fact, 3 teams in the EFL Championship (Leeds, Southampton and Leicester) spend more on wages than us. We'll to spend a little more next season in Europe, but then again, this should not be a problem given the profit we delivered so far. 

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(c) And finally - our very first youth intake

What a haul it was, indeed. Our staff believes that there are six 5-star prospects and three 4/4.5 stars in this intake class of 2024! 

The assessment may be inflated given the relative weakness (in current ability terms) of our current squad, but still, this is absolutely nuts.

I excluded from the screenshot below some of the 3 star prospects, but there were a few of those too. We ended up signing a whooping 11 new guys to our u19 team. 

We'll try to give them all detailed development plans, training and mentoring as appropriate. In this thread - I'll bring on updates if/when any of them make the first team. 

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This guy is the best of the bunch - already an elite passer. Can I develop the next David Silva? Pablo Aimar? 

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What's next?

As we're preparing for season 2, I've got to think through an evolution of our tactics. I also expect to continue turning over the squad, and to bring in some fresh faces over the summer. 

Until then ... Vamos Los Ches! 

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1 hour ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Good luck with Valencia. It's a lovely city (was there last month) and a club I enjoyed managing for two fun years (chronicled on these very pages) in FM22.

I also play FM slowly, so hope you enjoy your time as and when you get to play!

Thank you @Jogo Bonito! ... lovely city indeed. I've only been once (in 2010). 

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Feels as if you now have the foundations set for next season, some big potential coming through the doors to help on the field. 

Really enjoy managing in Spain, as you said, it is nice to have a few mega clubs in the league, along with Atletico who will also be there or there abouts come the end of season. 

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Thank you @MattyLewis11 and @AlfieLucas. I am loving it so far at Valencia. Hoping to develop the next iteration of great local talent. There's proper competition so far in the league so far. I have been very impressed with Sociedad. And in season 2 (which I started), Villareal is proving quite formidable as well. 

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@Alejandro_FM love the thread so far, Valencia is always a great project to work on within football manager and I was lucky enough to attend the Mestalla stadium tour and a match vs Real Valladolid a few years ago so I do have a soft spot for the club.

Setting the ground work for future success with great tactics and transfer activity. Keep up the good work!

 

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Season 2 (2024/2025) - Offseason: 

Securing Europa League qualification for season 2 meant that our match load and expectations will be significantly higher going forward. 

We needed to do some serious offseason planning…

I often end up with a simple squad planning spreadsheet. Something I wish the in-game squad planner had, was the ability to quickly mark up on the depth chart who’s “a keeper” and who’s “expendable”. I use simple red/yellow/green bucketing, based on ability and performance, to prepare for the offseason. Something along the lines of: 

  • Green - keep/build around 

  • Yellow - keep for now/need more time to think/sell if a good offer comes in 

  • Red - sell now. Not up to par. 

This is roughly what I had jotted down after season 1 in the late spring of 2024: 

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I tend to leave out of my chart players who are either completely below par and definitely need to be sold (there are a handful of those around our squad), or simply too young to assess, i.e. academy prospects. 

My conclusion coming out of season 1 was that we needed: 

  • Two center backs

  • A right sided full-back

  • A CM - run/support (with great off the ball movement)

  • A backup / prospect striker

  • A Versatile winger (or two).

This is a lot to try to do in one transfer window. And of course, we will need to replace any unexpected player departures – we have seen the vultures circling around our GK Mamardashvilly. 

Transfer news: 

So over the course of a busy summer of 2024-

OUTGOING - €145M in guaranteed fees

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Koba, Castillejo, Mari and Comert were loaned out last season and upon returning to the club, we concluded quickly that they wouldn't feature so they were sold for modest to decent returns. 

Diego Lopez was a backup in the front 3 last season and was just not good enough to stay on – so I was happy to see him go. Gabriel Paulista was sold as well. 

The biggest one, however, was Mamardashvilly, our starter in goal. Chelsea came in and he really wanted to go, so I decided to cash in and not stand in his way. Frankly, for a massive return, which again, tilted the scales towards a significant transfer fee surplus in this window. 

Later in the window our starter at holding midfield - Hugo Guillamon - requested to move to the Saudi Pro League for a shocking €17.5m/year in wages (that’s like £290,000/week).  

That the Saudis and EPL teams come and overpay for my good (but not great) players - is making the financial side of the journey far easier than I expected it to be, especially given the debt that the club has and just how troubled they are IRL. 

 

INCOMING - €80M in committed fees

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We methodically checked the boxes per our offseason plan above. The €80m spent sounds like a lot, but then again it is spread across 9 incoming transfers, the highest of which has a committed fee of €13.5m. 

In defense: 

Valentin Gomez - a left footed center back, who is comfortable on the ball and has quite a bit of development ahead of him. Should compete with Bosseli for a starting spot next to Cenk Ozkacar. 

Sebastian Boselli - a right footed versatile defender who can play on the right, or in center back.

Alejandro Frances - Another versatile center back / right back.  Less comfortable on the ball than Boselli, but has great anticipation (#ClubDNA). 

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Upfront: 

Gianluca Prestianni - yet another argentine. Looks like a crafty winger who likes to torment full-backs (A Luis Diaz type perhaps?). 

Tobias Gulliksen - another agile young winger with great dribbling, also a hard worker who checks the box on our DNA aspirations (decisions, anticipation). 

Norman Bassette - A backup for Hugo Duro who may one day lead the line, with excellent agility, decisions and anticipations. Also a brilliant dribbler. I do wish he was braver and more composed.  

 

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And finally, midfield reinforcements: 

Eric Martel - a German half-back, anchorman type. Was brought over as a direct replacement for Hugo Guillamon. Should start over Pepelu. 

Jacopo Fazzini - when you’re after a Mezzala, there’s no better place to go than Italy. Jacopo is the quintessential Italian forward thinking CM. Should back-up Marcel Ruiz for now. He’ll get plenty of game time. 

 

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A lot of new faces, which will need time to gel together. The amount of turnover is not something I want or expect in future seasons, but the opportunities were there to upgrade the squad in so many positions, and of course we’re making the jump at playing in Europe in season 2, so we really needed the depth. 

We’re a higher quality side this season, but also noticeably younger and less experienced. 

How we lined up for the season:

We’ve evolved to a 4-3-3 primarily so that the backline has more cover when Barco is getting upfield on the left. 

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The style of play is an evolution of our progressive approach. Despite the TIs to “high press” and “high defensive line”, this tactic plays a lot like a mid-block. Teams that play patiently are able to string quite a few passes before encountering our pressing attackers. I think it’s largely due to our shape which is not particularly frontline heavy. 

Positive is the baseline mentality, but we do sometimes go “attacking” or “balanced” depending on whether we want to build-up the play patiently or more aggressively. I’d also “work the ball into the box” on occasion when we appear wasteful in possession. 

In terms of player roles, as I mentioned above in the transfer section, we brought in a number of players who can play an inverted role in the right back position. Consequently, on top of our basic shape, we’ll sometimes play with Gomez (or whoever is the right CB) as a Libero and an IFB (e.g., Mosquera or Boselli) in DR, and sometimes with an inverted wingback on the right with Martel shifting to a half-back for defensive solidity. 

Coming up… we’re headed to Season 2. We’ve got our hands full now. The media has us finishing 7th (or really tied for 5th if you look at the odds), and I’d have us there as well. More to come ….

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Edited by Alejandro_FM
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Valencia CF: Season 2 (2024/25)  Review

You gotta hand it to the match team at SI. The thrill of the FM24 match is unparalleled. The resemblance to real-life football is so uniquely present. The high and lows, the mental errors, the impact of tactical adjustments in real-time, the individual brilliance of star players. It’s all there. I love the match. Some of the rest of the gameplay is quite tedious but wow, the match is incredible.

Goal!

This is one of my favorite goals from the season, despite the fact that we don’t typically play from the back. I love that upon making that tactical change during a match, the effect on the proceedings on the pitch was so clear. 

Alright, last time around, we were kicking off season 2 at Valencia. We were competing both domestically and on the continent for the first time (in this save). So how did we fare? 

The story of the season

It started off on the wrong foot - only 5 points in the first 5 games. Then, a few tactical tweaks saw us recover and gradually climb up the table, and a good run of results coming into the new year had us 3rd in the table at the half-way point of the season. Gianluca Prestianni was a real breakthrough star in this first half, alongside a solid start from Hugo Duro, our top goalscorer from a year ago, and the club captain (since the departure of Jose Gaya). 

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Then, we had a bit of a shakeup in the January window with 3 outgoing transfers and 4 incoming. 

OUTGOING - €59.5m in guaranteed fees

UmFj7oCHAntHQXqqCZqJxCk_Zny26bvFxCzh0QQlq571tpQCdzyBztk-BVbw2RaKKLV-mWjwb9BGQ_N12ALC8GwsRhLy0ZyBnekbEK_wod3pdq0OPYIxK6zPzN5HdqnvwtZAfcXR87YptTlpJsfiyc8

 

First, Thierry Rendall Corriea (TRC) has been unhappy throughout the first half of the season - over a team talk given in a friendly match. Shockingly, I didn’t even run the friendly (i.e. used “instant result”), but apparently something was said there that made him sulk for 4 months. So, he had to go, and fortunately, the Saudis were there with a lovely pile of cash. 

Then, Jaume Domenech, the veteran backup goalkeeper, wanted a new challenge and we happily obliged. 

Finally, Barca came in and activated Cenk Ozkacar’s release clause. He rose from backup to starter this year, and a few strong performances were enough to get the big clubs interested. I then noticed that his release clause was only €23.5m and tried to renew his contract, but it was too late. He was not inclined “given the interest in him”. So he was off to Barca.

 

INCOMING - €47.75m in committed fees

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We used the cash from both sales to bring on 3 additional guys: 

Nicolas Valentini - a direct replacement for Ozkacar. A left-footed center back who is excellent physically, and highly suitable for a high line. 

Nordi Mukiele - came in for TRC, but less of a wing-back and more of a right sided center back, which suits how we started leveraging the position. 

Guillaume Restes - a prospect goalkeeper with lots of potential. 

Pablo Barrios - finally, more of a luxury buy. A young playmaker from Atleti whom they were willing to let go. He’ll back-up Guerra for the time being, but can grow into a like-for-like replacement, should our homegrown boy decides to bail. 

 

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Overall, I felt that the squad was strengthened. Nevertheless, our form during the rest of the season was inconsistent. A strong January, followed by a weak February, followed by a terrific March followed by an atrocious April, and a frustrating May. Even through our runs of bad form, our performance remained steady, meaning we were controlling matches and creating chances, just not converting. 

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What seemed at times like a season in which we’ll truly compete for the top 4 ended with us finishing 6th, 5 points behind 4th place Atleti, and 15 points behind 3rd place Villareal. 

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We did well in the other competitions - 

In the Europa League, we reached the quarter final, after finishing 5th or 6th in the league phase and beating Slavia Prague in the round of 16. Getting knocked out by Braga (4-3 on aggregate) in the quarter final was disappointing, naturally. 

In the Copa Del Rey - we overachieved by reaching the final, only to get handled decisively by Barca and finish as runners up. 

I ended the season feeling a bit deflated about the last 2 months of results, and so I spent quite a bit of time trying to understand what happened. Not sure I completely get it yet, but some of the insights are below. 

Insights from the team’s performance:

According to the xG table, we were expected to finish 3rd (as in 2023/24). Looking more closely, we didn’t underperform our metrics, it’s just that everyone above us overperformed, e.g, Villareal did by 24pts! 

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In attack, we’re still a very positive team. We had the 2nd highest non-penalty xG in La Liga (1.75/90min) and 2nd highest chances created, behind Real but ahead of Barca. We also spent a lot of time in the opponents’ half, passing 111 times/game in the final 3rd. 

Two areas I’ve found for potential improvements are: 

  1. Our wingers are quite loose in possession. Yes, it’s correlated to them being asked to dribble and create, but looks like they can improve a bit (Roony especially). They also seem a bit isolated at times in matches. 

  2. Our midfielders account for many of our shots, but they’re not all quality shots (as shown in xG/shot chart). 

So we’ll try to address these things in our tactical setup. Minor adjustments most likely. A couple of ideas are to have one (or both) wingers on support duty, and to (sometimes) reduce tempo from slightly higher to standard, especially when we’re trying to control a game. 

In defense, the metrics support an observation I made in a prior post that our system plays a lot more like a compact mid-block than a high press system, despite TIs that call for high press. We’re only 14th in La Liga in OPPDA with 5.47. Our setup is not ineffective though. We’re 4th in the league in Final 3rd Passes Against / Game - meaning we don’t allow teams to play around in our half of the pitch. 

Our xGA was 4th in La Liga, at 37.77 (0.99/game). That's not terrible, but I’d like to concede less. A couple of areas I’ve found for potential improvements: 

  1. We often get undone by momentary lack of structure or loss of concentration in the backline. For example - Atleti’s goal (what is going on in this sequence?!).  

  2. We tend to get hit on the counter by teams who are willing to concede possession. The below image is a typical outcome -- all the momentum is with us, the xG advantage, but we're not getting the win. 

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The adjustments I intend to make to address these things include adding a couple of individual instructions to press less in the back line (especially full backs), removing the “counter press” instruction at times, particularly when facing quick, direct counter attacking teams. 

It could also, quite possibly, be that tactical adjustments aren’t going to do the trick, and really to get to the next level we simply need better players, or better morale/momentum, or something else. We shall see. 

The tactic we leveraged most of the season (Though mentality was typically positive and no "work ball into box")   e2wdhaC9Eb7kXQcYe9SDlJz4pa8ZiANJRgiCfZICRZxm-R7ZiBeVFUSs9GE_m2XTCAZgh5YbF46EUu6I1F7mkPCG7yA4mIwtDPMuf97CygfkD18zGD5tEV3Cmyogn4TD6355rMoDKO3W9HxYWsmY6U4

Notable players performances: 

Attack MVP: Gianluca Prestianni, who had 14 goals and 13 assists in all competitions, established himself as the starter in the left wing. The most consistent threat we’ve posed to opponent defenses. 

Defense MVP: Valentin Gomez, who played a mix of traditional central defender and more progressive roles, had a mistake free season, and even contributed 6 assists. I consider him our best center back at the moment. 

Honorary mention: Hugo Duro, who had 29 goals in all competitions. His 24 league goals were 2nd behind only the amazing 36 years old Lewandowski at Barca. He’s our club captain, he moves so well with the ball and finishes in a clinical manner. 

I feel that our squad is strong, and even without future reinforcements, should continue to get stronger. Most of our players are young and with plenty of development runway. And as appropriate, we have an Argentinian contingency leading the way.

 

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Here’s our first team squad depth at the end of season 2 in May 2025 (my typical sub nomenclature is - S1-GK, S2-DR, S3-DL, S4/5 -CBs, S6-DM, S7/11-Wingers, S8,10 - CM/AM, S9- Striker, S12+ - 3rd tier or youngsters).

The future is bright at Valencia. 

Three of our guys - Prestianni, Roony, and Benito - are among the top 5 most lauded U19 players on the planet. Wow. 

As a reminder, Benito was the prize of last season’s golden intake which included a total of 9 players assessed at 4 or 5 star potential. I still believe he could become the next great Valencia playmaker. He has shown quite a bit of growth in his first season at the club, including a handful of cameo appearances. 

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So, surely, we aren’t going to get lucky again, right? Right? … But we did.  

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Salvador Zagala - the most promising recruit of the 2025 intake is labeled as the next Fernando Torres! He’s immensely talented, at 15! 

As a side note - why Torres? Why not David Villa? He’s 1.77m (Villa is 1.75m, and Torres is 1.86m), and he’s playing for Valencia :) … Come on, media!

So, we’re quite excited about the future here. Let’s see how they all develop.

The State of Spanish Football

Now, before we wrap up this post, I wanted to talk about The state of Spanish football as a whole. I think promoting the league would be an important part of the long term narrative and interest in the save. 

So, for starters, the domestic competition is fierce and exciting. 

After Barcelona won it in 2023/24, Real took the title this year, with last year’s champions right on their heels. Both teams have strengthened their squads quite significantly in the two seasons. Real added 2 exciting young Brazilians in Endrick and Beraldo (a CB) among others, and Barca added Vitor Roque, and our former CB Ozkacar, for sensible fees. 

Atleti has been slightly behind, finishing 4th twice in the league, and reaching the QF of the UCL. They did add an excellent young CB from RB Salzburg - named Strahinja Pavlovic. 

Real Sociedad is an excellent possession based team, with a stout defense (1st in the league for two consecutive years). They’re our bogie team (we’ve lost to them twice this season and finished behind them in the league, again). 

Finally, this season’s surprise package was Villareal. They hired Hansi Flick in November 2023, and in his first full season in charge, they finished 3rd. They’ve kept their core of players and just look very strong. 

All in all - we’re facing a challenge with these 5 teams. My near term objective is to become the 3rd best team in Spain. We’re going to focus on beating Atleti, Sociedad and Villareal. This is something we’ve not done consistently this season. 

In contrast to the exciting domestic competition, Spanish teams seem to fall short in continental football. In 2024/25, none of the Spanish made it to a European semi-final (We made the QF of the Europa, Atelti and Real made the same stage of the Champions League and Bilbao made the QF of the Conference League). This is going to have to change. 

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That’s it for now. Lots to think through as we’re preparing for the offseason and season 3 at Valencia. I am very excited about our talent and hopeful for improvements on all fronts in the coming season.

 

Edited by Alejandro_FM
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19 hours ago, Alejandro_FM said:

That’s it for now

An enjoyable read :thup:. Two good seasons, even if you haven't quite managed to reach the heights. Seems like a lot of player turnover, which  might be knocking you back a bit. But with finances what they are, I can understand the pressures (had similar with Benfica in FM23).

Hopefully, you can make a stride forward in season 3.

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9 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Another solid season even if you felt a bit disappointed in the end. Nice evolution of your squad, looks to be well thought it.

Agree it's a shame your star prospect cannot be the next David Villa, but the next Fernando Torres wouldn't be a disaster.

Thank you. Yes, I feel good about the squad. The next Fernando Torres would be incredible, no doubt. 

 

2 hours ago, warlock said:

An enjoyable read :thup:. Two good seasons, even if you haven't quite managed to reach the heights. Seems like a lot of player turnover, which  might be knocking you back a bit. But with finances what they are, I can understand the pressures (had similar with Benfica in FM23).

Hopefully, you can make a stride forward in season 3.

Appreciate it, Warlock. It might be true regarding the high squad turnover. I am planning a lot less of it in the coming offseason. We've got a solid foundation with lots of room for natural development, given the age of the players, so should for sure take a step forward next season. 

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Season 3 - Preseason / Summer 2025

Coming out of a solid 2nd season at Valencia, we entered a summer in which we emphasized stability. The amount of turnover in the squad over the last couple of transfer windows was necessary, but it also made it difficult to maintain cohesion and tactical discipline. It felt unrealistic to go through another summer of squad reshuffling, so I decided to mostly keep things as they are (mostly). 

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We moved into Nuo Mestalla, our new stadium and the driver of the club’s historic debt levels at the dawn of the save. The transition was unremarkable, through a single news event. Capacity stayed the same as “old Mestalla”, at 55,000. 

Apparently, debt is no longer considered a hindrance (according the board). Frankly, there is just as much cash in the bank as there is debt at the club (~€100m), so that makes sense. It was a lot easier to overcome the financial difficulties than I had initially thought it would be (the damned Saudi money 😅). 

Throughout June, we had 6 players called up to Spain’s U21 squad for the EURO U21. The national team got knocked out in the QF so not much to write home about. The most notable thing to me was that 15 year-old Salvador Zagala (AKA the next Fernando Torres) was among the call ups. 

The transfer window was somewhat uneventful. This is partially by design, as mentioned above. I think our players are good enough to mount a proper top 4 challenge in La Liga. Can we be the best in Spain with this squad? Probably not, but the time will come for additional upgrades. 

We did have an unexpected loss at the backup left-back position, when Jesus Vasquez departed for Schalke 04. The fee was just too good to turn down for a player who is likely at the end of his development curve (per my staff). €18.5m in (up to €20.5m) and off he went. 

Instead of directly replacing him, we brought in Brian Navajas for €6.25m (not all upfront), a promising and versatile Argentinian youngster, in fact he’s dubbed “the next Nicolas Otamendi”. Slightly technically challenged, but the mentals are awfully good. He’ll mostly play half-back or left sided center back. This decision was coupled with one to play Nicolas Valentini more as a left back . He can do the job + I could not find replacements whom I was excited about for the backup left back role. When Valentini (or one of the other handful of left center backs who can play full back) come on the pitch for Valentin Barco, they’ll play an inverted role. More on that below. 

We also brought in Luka Romero, a gifted left footed inside forward to back up Roony Bardghji. We didn’t lack depth in the position but Tobias Gulliksen who often comes in for Roony is right footed, and is more effective on the left hand side. The fee was so low (relatively speaking) at €6m (up to €7.5m) that we just had to do it. Gulliksen is versatile, so he'll also see more playing time in center midfield. 

With Navajas and Romero coming in, the Argentinian invasion continued at Valencia. We now have a total of 6 first team players of Argentine descent. The two new guys have 2nd nationalities (Spanish and Italian, respectively) which is rather convenient. 

Otherwise, we intended to make a few moves for youngsters under-18 for the future, but we struggled to find the right deals. One signing eventually came in on deadline day - a 17 year-old Spaniard called Adama Camara. My scouts were not huge fans (he was a C-, and only 3.5 star potential), but I love his decisions, movement and passing ability, alongside a professional personality. He’ll be in the U19 for now. 

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Perhaps our two biggest moves this summer were in deterring suitors who came after our top goalscorer and captain, Hugo Duro, and our shining left back wonderkid, Valentin Barco. Both of them signed new contracts with high release clauses (ICYDK - release clauses are mandated by the Spanish federation’s contract rules).  

We’re counting on Roony Bardghji (who also got a new contract this summer) to make a leap. He’s pegged by the media and staff as our best player. Let’s see him kick on. I’ve reduced his duty from attack to support, partially to get him more involved in the action, and partially so that he is more disciplined when he has the ball. I'd like to also see see Gianluca Prestianni - only 19 but our established starter at left-wing, and Javi Guerra, the local kid in center midfield, to take big strides forward this season.

Following up on our season 2 performance analysis, we’ve made a couple of adjustments to our base tactical setup, and also started training a 2nd version of it, in which the full-backs tuck in and are conservative, allowing the defensive midfielder to be more progressive. The 2nd version is more suitable to Pablo Barrios, a playmaker. When we play the base tactic, he’s typically on the bench, and either Pepelu or Eric Martel will start as a half-back. 
 

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W2SFpJUZQwBWb-7vvXaCQ7VJZjBy59kT5ygjOHSlJedkS_upNzuOSeQgZiXm70UyCVIwTSNhibRs2rfZ9sqfbllRUYdxpXiZ6BbV6GmcKt5w3T5KxyNsu8e3LtR72pxvk3mHnbC6ehDzkxDT97u8d7Q

 

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The media has us as the 6th best team in the league. I think that’s a fair assessment, but we’d like to push higher now that our squad is a bit deeper and a year more experienced. Hilariously, they have Zagala as our projected starter upfront. He’s an incredible talent, sure, but come on, he’s 15 and currently our 3rd best striker (behind Hugo Duro and Norman Bassette). 

Our wage bill has gone up to about €50m/year (around £830k/week). I think it’s at a realistic level given the club’s bank balance, but probably as high as we'd like to stretch it without competing in the Champions League. Mind you, this is still the 9th highest in La Liga, behind anyone who finished in the top 8 in the league last season and about ⅕ of Real’s wage budget who’s top of La Liga. 

Elsewhere in La Liga, Hansi Flick’s Villareal is projected to finish 4th, one spot below Atleti which now has Arne Slot in the hot seat, coming after lots of success at Feyenoord and Porto.  With Slot at the helm Atleti promises to be an attacking side. Simeone took over at Man United by the way. 

Our fixture list starts with a bang in August and September. This could either set us back or enable us to make a statement. In our first 8 La Liga matches we play 6 of the other top 8 teams of last season. The other two matches are a derby with Levante (did you know Levante was a Valencia based team?!), and Bilbao, which is always tough. Absolutely brutal start. 
 

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That's it for the offseason. We're headed to Season 3 with lots of hope and anticipation. 

As my posts now fully caught up with gameplay, I may drop a few in season updates (in a different format) as time allows. 

VAMOS Los Ches! 

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Instead of waiting to the end of the season to recap and reflect, I am going to try out a few in-season updates. At the end of the last post, I called out what was going to be a brutal start to the season. Those early fixtures definitely lived up to the hype. 

August + September, 2025

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We wanted to make a statement. And on match day 1, we sure did... We beat Real Sociedad 3-0 away from homeKnowing that Sociedad play from the back and like to keep possession, I decided to lower the line of engagement and not "take the bait". It worked like magic. They did control the game in the first half but one counter attack that resulted in a free kick ended with a glorious goal from Valentin Barco. Gianluca Prestianni added a brace in the second half on two lethal quick progressions up the field. We ended the match with more xG, and more clear cut chances, but the scoreline flatters us a bit as Sociedad had plenty of chances to get one or two goals back. 

We then proceeded to draw 1:1 on two consecutive matches, at home with Atleti in a match we dominated only to succumb to a 96th minute equalizer from 34 years old Antoine Griezmann (match report screenshot below), and away to Sevilla in a match we deserved to lose, against a team that had 60%+ of the ball, more shots and chances than we did.

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Our two losses came against Barcelona and Real, both away. Hard to complain as we were completely outplayed in both matches. Tactical maneuvering I tried didn't work out. 3 additional wins at home against Levante, Betis, and Athletic Club were more along the lines of what I'd expect us to be at home. Dominant the stat-sheet, creating chances and converting them. 

In between there was one Europa League match which we deservedly won vs AEK from Greece. By the way, we got a tough slate of fixtures coming up in Europe (screenshot below), especially away. We'd be proud to make the top 8 in the league phase. 

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Marcel Ruiz our mezzala, who almost got sold to Wolfsburg on deadline day, has been on a tear in September, scoring 5 goals in the last 3 matches, including a hattrick against Athletic Club. Otherwise, Gianluca Prestianni has been our most creative and consistent thread, scoring 6 goals in 8 league matches and adding a handful of assists. On the other hand, Hugo Duro, the 2nd top scorer in the league last season, is still without a goal after 8 league matches. He has had a rough start to the season, and I'll have see if the problem is with service or touches or whether he has regressed as a finisher. 

 

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Elsewhere in Spain - the "big 3" started the season strong, and they are top of the table after 8 matches. We are where you'd expect us to be, in 5th. Overall I am pleased with how we opened the season. We got through the difficult start to the schedule and hopefully things get a little easier later in the Fall. 

P.S. - Osasuna started very well, but their underlying metrics (xG, xGA) suggest they'll eventually regress. They happen to be our next opponent... Vamos Los Ches! 

 

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On 13/12/2023 at 13:39, Jogo Bonito said:

Nice pre-season review and good to see you kept hold off both Duro and Barco.

I never got a new stadium when managing Valencia, although it's been in the pipeline for what seems like 100 years. Hopefully that will inspire your boys to even better levels of performance.

Good luck!

Thanks, and yes I do hope so re: the stadium ... oddly it didn't seem to improve capacity relative to "old Mestalla"... still nice to have it! 

Edited by Alejandro_FM
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Season 3 - October through December, 2025 

The league campaign

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We’re at the half-way point of season 3, and our league form has been nothing short of spectacular. We won 11 in a row (including the last match of September) and in that run conceded only 2 goals. We find ourselves 2nd in the table, 7 points clear of Real Madrid in 3rd. Barca, by the way, is on pace to 102 points for the season and seems poised to wrap up the title by March. Can we keep this run going in the second half of the season? The metrics suggest that we probably won’t, having been a little lucky in defense. Nevertheless, we’re very close to where our performances suggest we should be.  

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Our defensive metrics show a massive improvement. Our opponents have the lowest conversion rates on one of the lowest shots on goal number in the division. We're certainly more disciplined in defense, and perhaps the individual instructions we added to our back line (they all "close down less") made a difference. 

Our main man of the first half has been Marcel Ruiz, adding 9 assists to his 6 goals. He is a player at the peak of his game, and our 2nd highest earner at (€3.4m per year). I am not keen on paying him more given his limited growth potential, and unfortunately his release clause of €45m is highly doable for Europe’s top clubs. I won’t be surprised if he leaves in January (currently wanted by Dortmund). It’d be a nice bit of profit. 

Hugo Duro got back to scoring, adding 8 goals in the last 10 matches (after going scoreless in August and September). 3 of these were penalty goals, so it’s not like he’s firing on all cylinders, but still it’s nice to see him back on the scoresheet. 

Gianluca Prestianni got a new contract, which has him tied to Valencia till 2030. He was announced Europe’s Golden Boy on Dec 31, scoring 12 and assisting 14 in 42 matches in 2025. What a budding star this 19 year old is. 

GK Marco Carnesecchi deserves a shout as well. 10 conceded goals, 11 clean sheets in 18 league matches and the team’s highest avg rating overall with 7.28. His save percentage was 89% in the first half - by far the highest among starting goalkeepers. Is he the reason we’ve overperformed expected goals against? 

While we were flying high in the league, The Madrid teams were somewhat inconsistent. I expect them to surge in the second half of the season, and Osasuna and Rayo Vallecano to shrink back to their normal sizes. 

The biggest disappointment of the first half has been Real Sociedad. They’re 12th in the table, sacked their manager Alguacil in early December and brought Thiago Motta (who led Bologna to 6th in Serie A) to replace him. Let’s see what they do going forward. Sociedad’s staunch defense and possession system was such a feature of our first two seasons in La Liga. We need strong competitors to the big 3. 

The Europa League

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Our European campaign has been less glamorous so far. A frustrating loss in Monaco was followed by inexcusable back to back draws with Braga and Basel. We then recovered with back to back 5-0 wins over Panathinaikos and Bratislava. At the turn of the year we find ourselves 8th in the league phase table, but a difficult away match at Bayer Leverkusen (who are right behind us in 9th) awaits, before we finish the phase at home with Galatasaray. We really need a top 8 finish to avoid the extra two fixtures in the round of 24. 

It is worth mentioning that I often field a fully rotated team in Europe. I prioritize the league in the first few seasons, knowing that something has to give. Our lack of consistency therefore illustrated that our 2nd 11 is still not quite where it needs to be to compete on both fronts. 

The academy received praise…

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We’ll do a proper review of our academy come the end of the season, but in the meantime we received news that our youth program is rated 10th in the world (City, Barcelona, and Chelsea were the top 3). Excellent place to be, but by the time we’re finished here, I’d like to see us in the top 3. Is that achievable? 

The manager received recognition… 
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Finally … My managerial success this season caught the eye of some big clubs, as Juve and Man United each came knocking on my door at different times this fall. Both giants have struggled in their league campaigns (being 14th and 11th in their respective tables).  I said “No, thank you!”. We’re here in Valencia to elevate the club and we’ll see it through. I might look to take on a new challenge in a few seasons, but certainly not yet. 

That’s all for now. Lets see if we can avoid a slump in the 2nd half of the season, something we were unable to do in the previous two campaigns. 

Edited by Alejandro_FM
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  • 1 month later...

I took a 5-week break from the game. Just real life getting in the way. Now I am back in the save, chugging along the second half of season 3 at Valencia. 

January-March 2026

We’ve gone through 3 months in 2026 and the team continues to fly high in La Liga. We’ve also made it to the semi-final of the Copa Del Rey (eventually falling to the best team in Spain, Barcelona), and to the QF of the Europa League - still ongoing, where we’ll face OGC Nice in upcoming fixtures in April. 

Notable highlights: 

The vultures are circling around our defensive midfield. We rejected multiple bids (Liverpool and Bayern) for Eric Martel, our starter. He may have to go in the summer. Pepelu, our backup, left for Brighton in the EPL for €14.5m (up to €17.75m). 

League results have been excellent overall with 8 wins (7 clean sheets), 2 draws and 1 loss since January. That loss to Celta Vigo was a fluke, coming at the 90th minute to their only shot on target in a match we absolutely dominated. We gave Real Madrid a 5-0 thumping at home. Still to come, a late April encounter with Barcelona at home, with the title potentially on the line. Seems unlikely given Barca's incredible form.  Nevertheless, we’re all in on the league this season and a top 2 finish seems to be in the cards. 

In Europe we have OGC Nice in the quarter final. We’ll try to continue to advance, but I am maintaining a low expectation given the strength of some of the remaining opponents, including Manchester United, Inter Milan, and Juve. 

Our cup run ended in the semi-final at the hands of Barcelona, as mentioned above. A couple of injuries to key players (Valentin Barco, Hugo Duro, Gianluca Prestianni) hurt our chances. But frankly, I completely rotated the team for both legs of the semis. Didn’t go for the cup this year, perhaps a mistake. 

The annual youth intake arrived with a less glamorous group this time around. We are attempting to sign 6 of them. The most intriguing prospects seem to be a central midfielder named Jose Segrelles and an Italian center back named Nicolo Masullo

Let’s see how we crack on with the rest of the season… Vamos Los Ches!

 

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April-May 2026 - Season 3 at Valencia CF

La Liga: 

A terrific final stretch saw us really testing Barca for the title. We started April 7 points behind leaders Barcelona. 3 draws out of following 5 games made it feel that the league title was a done deal (for our rivals). At some point Barca even increased their lead at the top of the table to 12 points. However, we finished strong, with 4 consecutive wins to end the season, including a 3-1 win against Barca at home (which gave us the seasonal head-to-head advantage), and made sure they really had to earn their title, winning on match day 38 on the road against already relegated Levante. 

We finished 2nd, 20 pts ahead of Real Madrid in 3rd and the surprise package Osasuna in 4th. I am proud of our 91 point campaign. The highest in club history. And only 3 losses throughout the year. We’re certainly ahead of schedule in the league and the board already declared victory on their “best of the rest” objective, targeted for 2027/2028. 

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Europa League: 

Last time around, we beat Leverkusen in the round of 16 and were headed to The French Riviera to face OGC Nice (5th in Ligue 1 this season). They were instantly not a match for us and we beat them comfortably 3-0 at the away leg. We made it a bit harder for ourselves at home but our aggregate win was never in doubt. To be fair, I let 4 academy players start on the day as our league fixtures were coming thick and fast in April. 

In the semis, we got Man United. A side I feared for their superior talent. However, just as in real-life, this is also a side that is underperforming their wage bill. They finished 2025/2026 7th in the EPL. Already sacked 2 managers since the start of the save (ETH and Simeone). So we played them well. Deserved more than the 2-4 loss in Old Trafford, and absolutely trounced them at home to advance to the final. Roony Bardghji was immense across the two legs, torturing United with 3 goals. 

On May 20th, inconveniently scheduled midweek right between two La Liga matches (with title implications!), we played another former great side - Juventus - in the Europa League final. They’re playing quite well IRL, and they won the scudetto in season 1 of this save, but in this season, season 3, they’re a mid-table side in Italy, playing boring, cautious football (coached by Conte, who else?!). Juve was no match to our boys. We held them to 1 shot over the 90 min, which was not on target by the way, an xG value of 0.07, against our 18 shots and 2.50 xG. The score line sells short our domination and the trophy justifiably became ours. 

Europa League champions!

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Team performance: 

According to the xG table, we were good but not THIS good. Overachieved expected points by 12 (Real really underachieved as they finished 20 points behind us). Nevertheless, our defensive effectiveness improved significantly (xGA was ~31 goals relative to 38 last year). And in attack xG rose from 69.5 last season to 78.2. So, we improved on both ends and were more than deserving a top 3 finish. 

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I am definitely content with our tactical adjustments. We were able to hold on to our setup for the majority of the year, and certainly the entirety of the second half of the season. This is how we played for the majority of the matches, including the UEL final and the home thrashings of Barcelona and Real.  

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A couple of keys to this structured, positive pass and move system: 
The fairly narrow shape and the lateral movement of the midfield players due to their roles and duties, mean that players are close enough to each other to have plenty of passing options, both laterally and going forward. 
There’s box penetration from both flanks, giving variety and unpredictability to the final pass. 
The three players in the defensive strata who take very few risks make us solid at the back. 

I am not sure it’ll work with any side, but this system suits our team’s strengths and weaknesses quite well. 

Player performances: 

This was a very balanced performance by the squad this season, with a whole set of guys contributing significantly to the success on the pitch. Gianluca Prestianni, who was arguably our best player in season 2, was somewhat hampered by injuries and into the void stepped not one but the entire front line. 

Hugo Duro (23 goals in all competitions) and Norman Bassette (21 goals) have been reliable finishers. 

Roony Bardghji (11 goals, 11 assists), Tobias Gulliksen (12 goals, 12 assists), and the aforementioned Prestianni (13 goals, 8 assists) had solid seasons from the wings. 

Marcel Ruiz (14 assists) and Javi Guerra (11 assists) were creative out of midfield. The latter was the 3rd highest rated (7.31 avg) in La Liga this season. 

Marco Carnesecchi was immense in goal, conceding only 22 league goals and achieving 21 clean sheets. He didn't win GK of the year in Spain because Ter Stegen and Barcelona conceded only 20 league goals and kept 22(!) clean sheets - and of course they won the title. 

Lots of solid contributions.

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Again, a very balanced team which key players across the pitch. If I had to pick a top 3 - as of the end of this season, I'd say our best players are: 

1. Roony Bardghji at right wing 

2. Marcel Ruiz in central midfield 

3. Carnesecchi in goal. 

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Additional thoughts: 

As I tend to do at the end of seasons, taking a bit of time to reflect. Asking myself questions, in no particular order: 

  • Is this save progressing the way I envisioned it to?  -- it is. We're making progress, somewhat believable progress too. 
  • Is it still enjoyable? -- it is. But I am drained by some of the nonsense in the game. 
  • What’s left to accomplish?  --- a lot .. competition wins, player development, club financial health 
  • Am I excited about what’s left to accomplish? 

I have to admit, the grind of full fat FM is quite something. I love the in-season flow, including tactical adjustments, managing form and fitness. I love transfer windows and making squad decisions. However, the year-round scouting, the year-round interactions with the squad and media, and managing 50 odd contracts are just draining me. I know I can delegate, but I struggle to trust, having witnessed over and over again even staff with excellent attributes make terrible decisions. 

If there’s one thing I’d get rid off in today’s game, without thinking twice, it is interactions. They are just so superficial, so lacking in nuance. I understand that it’s very difficult to simulate real conversations, and to take into account personality, morale, and most importantly the relationships between parties. If interactions were perfectly implemented, they would add to realism and immersion, but how do you even implement them perfectly?! I’d rather they just took them off the game altogether. 

In any case, I am trying to muster the energy to carry on, because there are some things I absolutely love about this save. The youth prospects already in the team, the competitive challenges that still remain (win the title, win the UCL). These are exciting… a little break may do the trick… I am thinking about it...  

 

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On 09/02/2024 at 18:39, Alejandro_FM said:
  • Is this save progressing the way I envisioned it to?  -- it is. We're making progress, somewhat believable progress too. 
  • Is it still enjoyable? -- it is. But I am drained by some of the nonsense in the game. 

I have to admit, the grind of full fat FM is quite something. I love the in-season flow, including tactical adjustments, managing form and fitness. I love transfer windows and making squad decisions. However, the year-round scouting, the year-round interactions with the squad and media, and managing 50 odd contracts are just draining me. I know I can delegate, but I struggle to trust, having witnessed over and over again even staff with excellent attributes make terrible decisions. 

If there’s one thing I’d get rid off in today’s game, without thinking twice, it is interactions. They are just so superficial, so lacking in nuance. I understand that it’s very difficult to simulate real conversations, and to take into account personality, morale, and most importantly the relationships between parties. If interactions were perfectly implemented, they would add to realism and immersion, but how do you even implement them perfectly?! I’d rather they just took them off the game altogether. 

In any case, I am trying to muster the energy to carry on, because there are some things I absolutely love about this save. The youth prospects already in the team, the competitive challenges that still remain (win the title, win the UCL). These are exciting… a little break may do the trick… I am thinking about it...  

I have a very similar view on the comments in bold. Particularly the interactions. With each version, the game does probably get 'more realistic' and there are obvious improvements. Plus the match engine and graphics are great in FM24. On the flip side, each virtual season takes longer year-on-year, and the 'childlike' tantrums, reactions, interactions and complaining make it more of a grind than the pleasure many of us would like to see.

You're doing well at Valencia and the future is bright, with some positive targets within your reach. Hopefully if you do take a break, you'll feel refreshed and come back to this one. But sometimes the break makes it hard to re-visit the save too, as I have just encountered myself with Servette in Switzerland.

 

Edited by Jogo Bonito
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12 hours ago, rich ruzzian said:

Could next year be your year? Lets hope so

 

On 10/02/2024 at 02:59, AlfieLucas said:

Doing really well at Valencia thus far, let's hope you win La Liga now.

Thank you both! We're definitely on solid grounds now. With another year of clinical finishing and barring any major injury we should put on a good challenge for the title. I am just trying to decide whether to continue... to be determined... 

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9 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

I have a very similar view on the comments in bold. Particularly the interactions. With each version, the game does probably get 'more realistic' and there are obvious improvements. Plus the match engine and graphics are great in FM24. On the flip side, each virtual season takes longer year-on-year, and the 'childlike' tantrums, reactions, interactions and complaining make it more of a grind than the pleasure many of us would like to see.

You're doing well at Valencia and the future is bright, with some positive targets within your reach. Hopefully if you do take a break, you'll feel refreshed and come back to this one. But sometimes the break makes it hard to re-visit the save too, as I have just encountered myself with Servette in Switzerland.

 

Good to know I'm not alone in feeling this way. That each virtual season takes longer year-on-year is a real pain. I used to LOVE long term saves. 

And yeah I get what you're saying about the challenge of revisiting a save after a break. Hopefully you find something that sticks!

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