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  1. Seriously guys, this looks like a sea change. On par with the introduction of the tactics creator. Breaking it down in different phases of play makes it feel so much more lifelike, and would be a great improvement even without additional instructions. It should also become clear to everyone that counterpressing is a whole other animal than pressing high. And providing style templates should also make so much easier for beginners to jump in, while also providing something for players who just don't want to be bothered all that much with tactics. My only concern is that there's no slider to adjust vertical compactness (depth) as there are sliders to adjust horizontal compactness (width). Someone suggested that can be done by adjusting your roles, but that wouldn't be satisfactory at all. I'd like to be able to freely determine who stays back, who links up play and who acts as point man, while separately instructing how close the lines stay to each other. I'd rather not be forced to tell my striker to drop deep instead of being available to make runs, just so that I can have the team play more compact. It would be like doing away with the width sliders and having to rely solely on sit narrower/stay wider PIs.
  2. It got even better. There first was bad news though: Shengelia twisted his ankle at training and was going to be out for 3-4 weeks. Exactly during the busiest period of the season. I also had to miss Holm for 3 games due to his red card against West Ham. Yet, despite missing 2 of my best players and after a tough game, my team returned victorious from Goodison Park, with a 1-2 result. The following game Exeter undeservedly beat Newcastle by 2-0. 4th win in a row. 7 games unbeaten. Another surprise was that Ritchie scored for the 2nd game in a row and was the team’s joint top-scorer, with a tally of 4. The game against City ended in 0-0 draw and the takeaway from this game was that Iori got his 2nd MoM award in 4 games. He then got his 3rd MoM against the Tottenham. Exeter spectacularly was leading by 0-3 by halftime, although the Spurs pulled back 2 goals during the 2nd half. Another minor point was that Holm got injured and I again had to miss him for several games. All in all, Exeter won 5 games and drew once during the month December. Iori became PL-player of the month while I bagged my first manager of the month award. Early 2019 continued in the same vein: 2-1 home against Aston Villa, 1-1 away against Portmouth, 2-0 home against Ipswich, 2-2 away against West Brom and 1-0 home against Derby. The upshot of this unbeaten run of 11 games is that Exeter is no less than 6th in the league, with 46 points. As many as big bucks Chelsea. Things didn’t go as well in the FA cup however. After the humiliation in the League Cup I fielded a team that mostly consisted of 1st team regulars in the game against low ranked CH-side Barnsley. Despite that I only managed to win by 1-0 after a difficult game. The next game was against fellow PL-side Sunderland and ended in a 0-2 victory for Sunderland, after a particularly poor performance. 5 players had a rating of 5. There’s the mitigating circumstances that Holm and Shengelia weren’t fully fit, and that I had to revert to the 4-4-2 due to other injuries, but it was still very disappointing. Did one signing in the transfer window, that of the Swiss winger Rapp, but he’ll only be joining next summer. With Holm, Ritchie, Hallgrenn and Dutton-Black injured in short order I was looking to sign another left-winger or an attacking midfielder for additional depth. I came close to signing winger Orlando from Portsmouth for €850k, but in the end we couldn’t agree on wages. Still might sign him later on. Udinese made an enquiry for defender Lindsetmo, which I rejected, which made him unhappy. He’ll get over it. Looking forward, I’ll probably avoid relegation. I have games against Liverpool, Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea coming up so I may lose a few games, but I’m having the hope Exeter will already qualify for Europe in its first season in the big boys club. In other news: Abramovich sacked Gazzaev, who promptly disappeared from the face of the earth. The sacking was enderstandable: while he won 3 CL’s with Chelsea, he only won 2 titles in 7 years. His 3-4-1-2 will be missed however. Chelsea also made a few more big signings. Brings their total for this season to €196m. Their total over the past 4 season is €779m. Remember, this is by the standards of 2007. West Ham is looking an increasingly good prospect for this season’s title. They’re 9 points ahead of Arsenal. Their striker duo, Bourgeois and Aguero are topscorer and vice-topscorer. The former also became world footballer of the year, despite often not even getting called up for the French national team.
  3. Disagree that control mentality is the go-to setting for Olsen's style. Especially the defensive mentality, but also counter, will naturally encourage your defenders to play direct and avoid risks. I'd then increase closing down TI's to compensate for the low default closing down with these mentalities. Next to more direct passing TIs ofcourse. I also disagree there aren't many coaches that practice this style anymore. Hodgson, Allardyce, Moyes... Philosophy being king is a bit of stretch. It's closer to the truth to say that there's split between actively seeking possession and actively rejecting possession.
  4. The 4-0 victory against Portmouth was soon followed by the first League Cup game, against L1-side Barnet. Last year I hadn’t played a single 1st team regular in that game and the team got booted from the tournament by L2-side Kettering Town. For some reason I figured that couldn’t happen again, so I again chose a team consisting entirely of substitutes and reserve players. 0-4. It was only the League Cup, but it still was a come-down from the high after Portmouth. It also showed that while my first-choice team may be competitive in the PL, there isn’t much depth in the squad. In the PL Exeter went through a string of 9 games without a victory. The heaviest defeat was at Old Trafford, where Exeter were beaten by 4-0 and Horvath in particular was poor. The margin was exaggerated though and my team deserved a goal or two. I also wasn’t too worried about the winless streak, since performances were decent enough and aside of United the team also had to face Liverpool and Arsenal. Exeter were even equal to Arsenal although the gunners were more efficient and won by 2-0. The next victory arrived in the away game against Wigan, who simply got run ragged. Yet the final 0-1 scoreline was the result of a howler of an own-goal. That illustrates the problem I was having at the front. Litteri’s performances were very mediocre and he had yet to score a goal. Simmonds was equally unconvincing and Kulovits was still injured. Litteri did finally score in the following game’s 2-1 victory against Middlesborough, after 10 hours of play. In the defeat against Chelsea Exeter were hopelessly outplayed, although the damage was limited to 2-1. Then came 2 more victories. First a simple 2-0 against Hull, in which Kulovits returned and immediately scored a goal. And then there was a narrow but deserved 2-1 victory against competition leaders West Ham, despite a red card for Holm halfway the game. In others words, 4 victories in 5 games and none of those were stolen. After 17 games played Exeter are now sitting 9th, comfortably above the relegation zone. I’m rather happy with my team so far and I probably won’t do any signings during the winter transfer window. If I do sign someone it's likely to be a left winger, since Hallgren has been injured twice already, which required me to play Holm as AM for much of the season so far. Litteri doesn’t seem cut out either to play as a lone striker, either to play at this level of football. It wouldn’t be so bad that he can’t keep the ball if he would score, but he doesn’t. I’ll probably continue with Kulovits, who provided far more of both in the few games he’s played. I also just realised that the ratings system in FM07 seems geared towards defenders. 9 of the 10 players with the highest average rating in the PL are defenders. I had been rather impressed with with Gerrard’s performances so far, he has the best average rating in the team behind his CB-partner Gutierrez. However, realising how ratings are skewed puts those performances in a different light. Gerrard is injured now and Iori, his replacement, instantly put in a MoM performance against West Ham with a rating of 9. I may continue to choose Iori over Gerrard, although that would leave me without a leader figure in the 1st eleven.
  5. The debut game was away against Manchester City, who were starting their second season in the PL since their promotion. They’re one of the lower-rated teams, so a good opponent to ease into the season. Unfortunately, I had to miss Litteri for several weeks due to injury. I replaced him with Castles, instead of Kulovits, hoping I could utilise his speed. The game was fairly closed but even. City got a few chances in and so did Exeter, although Castles was ineffective. I was satisfied with a draw until the 90th minute, when Shengelia played a lovely ball into the run of substite Kulovits, who proceeded to dribble past his marker and ram it into the far corner. First game and first victory. Shengelia was a major presence in the midfield and MoM. For the next game Exeter received Tottenham for the first competitive game at the new stadium. They’re one of the bigger teams in the league and feature former Ballon d’Or and FIFA World PotY Ben Sahar. The final score was 0-2, which was hard to argue with as they were clearly the stronger side. It wasn’t a totally one-sided contest however and the team created a couple of good chances, while Horvath stopped a penalty. It was a similar story the following away game against Aston Villa. Exeter did initially manage to go ahead: Shengelia impressively ran with the ball from well within the own half, straight through the center of the pitch, when he was stopped by a last-ditch tackle when facing the goalkeeper, upon which Kulovits nicked in the loose ball. Villa quickly equalised through a penalty however and scored the deserved winning goal in the second half. The worst was that Kulovits got injured by the end of the game, with what turned out to be a months-long hip-injury. The following game against Portsmouth was going to provide a good measure of the team’s value. Against a middling team (though they did won the title several seasons ago) in a home game, Exeter should at least get a draw. A defeat or a poor performance would not augur well for the rest of the season. Litteri had only just returned from injury so I chose Simmons as lone striker, hoping for the best. It turned out to be a corker of a game. Exeter won by 4-0, which was a just reflection of my team’s superiority. Simmonds rose above himself and netted a hattrick. Holm was another player who delivered a standout performance, with 2 assists, while Shengelia again was a huge presence in the midfield and scored from a free-kick next to delivering an assist. So, 4 games in and it’s going as well as can be expected. The overall picture I have is that the team can compete at this level. I’m quite happy with how the 4-4-1-1 is panning out. The midfield triangle pushes opponents to the wide areas (few of them play 3 central midfielders) and the crosses they put it from there are typically dealt by the aerial presence of the centre-back pair. This pair is providing a solid defence and Gerrard actually has the highest average rating in the squad after Shengelia. Quite surprising for someone I once signed as a back-up rightback. Behind him Horvath is the shotstopper I hoped he would be. Replacing a striker with an attacking midfielder has also been allowing the team to keep possession within the opposition’s half, while maintaining sufficient counterattacking threat. Shengelia is providing dynamism, passing and direct runs with ball. On the flanks, Holm is providing creativity and skill while Peters is providing speed. Holm will play in the hole the next game though, as Hallgren is injured. It is possible I will play him there permanently in the future, since he would add dribbling to the position, as well as passing and running. However, that probably would require me to sign a new left-winger first, unless Ritchie or Dutton-Black surprises me. Simmonds’ performance does create a dilemma. Litteri is mostly fit now, but I can’t very well bench Simmonds after his hattrick. At least I won’t have to choose between either and Kulovits for a while. The league as of mid-September 2018:
  6. Both approaches are equally valid. It just depends on your preferences. If you like to vary tactics according to opponent and you switch players for specific jobs to that end, like Ferguson used to do, then you could go for specialisation. If you want vary tactics with the same set of players, then you'd instead try to make them versatile. Or if you believe in total-football-esque ideas of fluidity and that every player should be able to play in every position, then you would try to create all-rounders. THOG has a few things to say about such matters in Lines & Diamonds.
  7. Well, the 2018-19 season is about to start, the first in the PL, so I figured I’d write another update. Made far more signings than originally had been my intention. 12 so far, of which 5 currently are first-team choices. Together they’ve only cost me a little under €1.4m though, of which €400k in actual transfer fees and the rest in signing bonuses. With one of these signings I did raise the club record for highest transfer fee by €10k (previous record was the €190k I paid for Keith Southern, way back in 2008). My wage spending rose by over a half, from ~€80k/week to €127k/w. Yet, that’s still only 3/5th my allotted wage budget. Seriously, at some point I’m just going to use whatever funds the board provide to me and to stop penny-pinching. It’s not as if I need to be terribly concerned about finances at the moment. The club has already sold over €10m in season tickets and will be getting €19.75m in TV money. Previous season’s total revenues were only €18.6m. There was a hole to the tune €4m I had to plug by selling players, but if I assume total wage costs will double from last season’s €6.2m, I should still end up with a surplus. With money from those 2 sources alone. It won’t come as a surprise that I’ve told the board to spend on upgrading the training facilities. Let’s discuss the squad. Without a doubt my top signing of the summer is that of 22-year-old Giorgi Shengelia, from Georgia. He’s above all a physical monster: fast, strong, with a good leap and tireless. He also provides excellent passing, dribbling, finishing and dead ball ability. On top of that he’s fearless and determined. How he came to arrive at the club is something of odd story. Previously, he was loaned out by backwater club Dinamo Tblisi to Serie A clubs for 2 consecutive seasons. First to Mantova, and then to Atalanta, with which he became champions of Italy. Then his contract ran out and he had half of Europe watching him, including major sides Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool, Inter, Lazio and Juventus. Yet when I took my chances and approached him, nobody made a rival offer. Doesn’t matter, I look forward to making him a major part of my team. He will be partnering Lallana in the midfield, who will replace Gilmour as the number 6. Was thinking of Letting Gilmour go, but decided to retain him for another season. To provide a bit more continuity and as a thank-you for past services. The next most important signing is that of Christian Horvath, a 24-year-old Austrian goalkeeper. He’s a first-rate shotstopper and courageous. He’s also fairly eccentric, which I normally avoid, but he was one of the best keepers I could find who was interested to join and available for free. Plus he’s young so there’s resale value. I feel a bit bad about relegating Harper to the bench as he made a lot of great saves to help win the promotion, but I’m just not confident he’s good enough for the PL. Then there are the Nordic signings I mentioned my previous update : Kenneth Holm, 23, from Norway and Christian Hallgren, 21 from Sweden. The Norwegian I plan to play as a left-winger in place of Exeter-grandee Ritchie, but he’s equally comfortable in the midfield or in the hole. He’s quite the all-rounder, technically excellent, creative and a flair player, but also someone who’s willing to get stuck in and put in an extra shift. And a bit of an athlete too. The Swede is also an athlete, a bit faster even, who also knows how to pass the ball and to put in some hard work. He’s naturally an AM, and I’ve been toying with a 4-4-1-1 in the pre-season to field him there, though he may yet play as a second striker in a 4-4-2 or end up on the bench. I plan to play Litteri as main striker in any case, and Kulovits as the first substitute. Rob Peters will stay on the right flank. For the central defence I signed César Gutiérrez, (26, Chile) and Krzysztof Lagiewka (35, Poland). I’ll probably partner the Chilean with captain Anthony Gerrard. I might replace him during the course of the season with the Pole or with Iori, but for now I’m keeping him there for continuity and to provide leadership. Ritchie Mills will stay as RB, but Lindsetmo will replace Taylor on the opposite wing. Mills got into the semi-finals of the WC with Wales, playing most games until he got red-carded. I hope he won’t be fatigued by the end of the season. Then there’s a few more back-up signings: Josh Dutton-Back (30, AML/R, England); Louis Castles (27, ST, England), who is the record signing I mentioned before; Jordan Lotiès (34, DR, France), who had a previous stint at Exeter and I let go for some reason; Paul Gallacher (39, GK, Scotland) as another back-up keeper; and Magnús Skúlason (19, DRLC, Iceland), who is the 6th Nordic player at the club. The friendlies went well. Of the encounters against PL-sides Middlesbrough and Aston Villa, plus Espanyol and AC Milan from abroad, the team won twice and only lost against the Milanese. Though I alternated between a 4-4-2 and 4-4-1-1, I otherwise left my defensive counterattacking tactic intact. According to the bookies Exeter will be battling the drop and it’s hard to disagree. The club already was amongst the smallest in the Championship, but in the PL it’s a dwarf. Early performances may be especially difficult, with all these new players gelling in. The team won’t have to play any of the big 4 until late October though. I do believe I’ll succeed in avoiding relegation. And then to turn Exeter into a stable top-tier club and get closer to the dream of an European adventure. Maybe win a cup too, with a bit of luck? Elsewhere, Arsenal is tipped 3-1 by the bookies to succeed themselves as champions, followed by ManU, Chelsea and Liverpool. Chelsea broke the world transfer record: €89m for someone called Soares and that probably won’t be their last big signing. France won the WC, and they feel a lot more plausible as a winner than was the case with the previous ones, Croatia and Nigeria. Giorgi Shengelia: Christian Horvath: Kenneth Holm: Gianluca Litteri: Line-up: Squad overview, good thing there aren't homegrown rules:
  8. Re my question from a few days ago, and apologies if I'm pushy, but I was rereading this thread and I noticed this post: https://community.sigames.com/topic/373890-the-ask-si-anything-thread/?do=findComment&comment=470737 Neil Brock replying no to a question on whether a scout's reputation affects how much information he delivers. This matter actually prompted my own question. See, I had came across a very old post by Glen Wakeford of SI, saying the following: As you can tell, that contradicts what Neil Brock said. Before I'd read that I believed staff reputation had no other function other than signalling the person's qualities. It made me wonder whether reputation also had a benefit with coaches in player development, which has been claimed at times, without official confirmation AFAIK. If nothing else, could it be confirmated that Wakeford's statement is wrong or out of date if that were the case? Thanks.
  9. For once and for all, does reputation (in itself) affect the performance of staff members and if so, how?
  10. IMO the "mentalities" with generic roles are the pre-defined tactics. It just got less and less obvious as the tactics creator evolved over the years. Not in the least by renaming it "mentalities" (suggesting it just affects mentality), from "strategies" (suggesting something broader). I agree though that SI seriously needs to make labels and descriptions accurate and clear. However, this has been an issue with the series since forever and they go backwards as often as they go forwards.
  11. I did it! I’ve taken Exeter to the Premier League. And in impressive fashion at that. I’m struggling to write a coherent account though, or to come up with a solid explanation for what happened. Certainly, I was confident of reaching a mid-table position before the season, but I also felt the the individual level of the squad was barely sufficient for the Championship. Yet, Exeter won the title with a record amount of points. From late November, the team went on an unbeaten run of 25 games, only failing to break the league record because the season was over. Somehow, the team would grind out results, one game at a time. Most victories were with a margin of 1 goal, including a stretch of 5 1-0 victories in a row. The typical title of a post-match report was “Exeter steal narrow win”. Somehow, every time things could have gone either way, it went the way of Exeter. If the AI were capable of emotion, it would have been exasperated. I always felt things wouldn’t last, yet Exeter at first overtook Everton and Newcastle to reclaim the top spot. Then on the 40th matchday it pulled 6 points clear of Newcastle. And after the following fixture it was also 5 points clear of Everton. And it stayed that way, without drama or fuss. To illustrate the scale of the performance, the aforementioned pair each ended with 93 points, which in any other season would have guaranteed the promotion. Exeter also didn’t lose a single game against anyone else from the top 6. Finally, I beat Plymouth in the return derby, after falling behind. Most satisfying game of the season. As for explanations, it wasn’t because of absent competition, as the strong finishes of Newcastle and Evertons show. Getting media comments and team talks right probably was a big factor. Going with “they could cause us problems” and “wish luck” most games kept pressure at bay. Switching to more cautious tactics and replacing Edwards with Harper in goal kept things tight in the back. The fact that time and again the team managed to score that crucial goal from the few chances it created is the big mystery. Litteri did well, scoring over half his games, yet many of those goals came from the early season. When he didn’t score, there somehow always was someone to take his place though, often from a set-piece. Having been booted out of the cup tournaments early, so my players were fitter, as well as sheer luck must also have played a role. Anyhow, the promotion couldn’t have come at a better moment. I had always wanted to enter the PL only once the grounds would have a capacity of at least ~20k, and the new stadium of that size will be finished in the summer. I also expect promotion to provide the revenues to pay for the debt taken on for that new stadium. So it all works out very neatly. Now next season. That’s a big headache. My players performed heroically, but I definitely don't trust them to keep Exeter up next season. Can’t replace the entire team though, so I’m focusing on a new centre-back and a new holding midfielder, as well as a new goalkeeper to lesser extent. I’ve already signed Christian Hallgren (21, AM/FC, Sweden) for €20k, and Kenneth Holm (23, AMLC, Norway) for free. That’ll bring the size of the Nordic contingent at my team up to 5, of which 3 from Norway alone. Arsenal once more became English champions, although a resurgent ManU and a surprising Liverpool put up a strong fight. ManU won the CL as consolation prize. Chelsea only finished 4th and haven’t won a single trophy. I guess they’ll spend another couple of hundred million this summer. Real got more out of its spending splurge, winning the double in Spain. Final table: The unbeaten run: Squad:
  12. Out of curiosity, which edition(s) are you referring to?
  13. The winter transfer window has finished, with 2/3rds of the games played, so this seems a good moment for another update. Things are going very well. As I mentioned in the previous update, Exeter had a flying start to the season, eventually clocking up 8 victories and 2 draws before the first defeat. When the goals stopped coming from set pieces, the strikers took over and most notably Litteri, with 2 hattricks. The team then went through a bit of a slump however. The main cause was an irritating tendency to concede and after a particularly poor display (conceding 3 goals twice in a row) I benched a portion of my defensive compartment. Most of them returned to the starting line-up, but goalkeeper Preston Edwards stayed on the bench in favour of Matthew Harper. I also re-educated myself about media and teamtalks and decided to play more defensively around the same time. Whatever the exact cause, we only conceded in 5 out of 15 games since then. Now we’re 3rd, right on the heels of Newcastle and Everton. Everton has been stumbling of late and Newcastly sold its 2 best players, so a promotion spot looks very achievable. Regardless, 2017-18 is already certain to be the best season in the Championship yet. Even better, Plymouth with its new-found wealth is merely 8th, though we only managed a 0-0 draw in our encounter. Things didn’t go so well in the FA Cup however. As in the League Cup I got booted in the first game, this time against Leeds. Guess that’ll help keeping my players fit. I wasn’t very active on the transfer market during the window. I did sign Italian centreback Lorenzo Iori (24) for €150k, who was a panic signing when the team was struggling. He presents me with a bit of dilemma: on the one hand, he’s probably intrinsically the best of all my centre-backs, but on the other hand, the current centre-back pair has been doing excellently. Gerrard and Duxbury have together collected 8 MoM-awards. Another arrival has Christian Lindsetmo (19, DRLC, Norway) who I had a signed for free in the summer, but who could only be transferred in December because of reasons. A talented player who’s already put in some good performances and who’s valued at €1.5m. A final sign was Matthew Sinclair (19, ST, England) a fast back-up striker. I also accepted an offer on leftback Billy Stewart to make some space on the bench. Meanwhile Manchester United has been continuing its revival and is leading the PL. Chelsea is surprisingly only 5th and they’ve spend another €62m buying a midfielder. Similar story in Spain, where Real is only 4th. Together they’ve spent €584m this season. Carlos Vela became world footballer of the year. Alan (Souza Francisco) world player of the year. Table:
  14. End of transfer windows update: Exeter have been off to a flying start of the new season, winning 5 out of 5. May well be my best start ever in this save. Oddly enough, it’s been the defenders who have been leading the way. Centre-back Gerrard has scored 2 headers from corners and right-back Mills has rifled in no fewer than 4 free kicks. Altogether, 10 out of 12 goals have been from dead-ball situations. Though the team has been fairly solid, I don’t expect things to continue to go so easily given these statistics. My biggest signing, striker Litteri, has also been a bit disappointing so far, having scored only once. I hope he’s just still getting used to England. However, I got booted from the League Cup in first the round. A defeat against L2-side Kettering. Resting my entire first choice squad perhaps was a bit optimistic. It did take 30 penalties in the shoot-out to settle the game. There’s over €4 million on the bank balance and starting the season with 15/15 is better than not starting with 15/15, so life’s good. Elsewhere, Plymouth has had a good start in their return to the CH, winning 3 and drawing 1. Plymouth are a bunch of stinky pants. Chelsea has ended up buying players for €222m, though also selling for €119m. Real spent €256m (€85m outgoing). By 2007 standards, these are massive sums.
  15. Thanks. City were in the Championship actually.
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