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That There Phil

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  1. Preseason 2021/22 Squad Not much change here, other than a couple of our newly signed youngsters being part of the first team squad. With Berge leaving, Jorrit Hendrix will rotate with Melegoni in the DLP role, while Riccardi will move to the left side of the midfield three and Bellingham will move from a substitute role to challenge Zaracho for the Mez(a) role on the right of the three. Tactics I felt like I'd drifted away from my initial tactical identity a little bit, so some more tweaking towards the latter end of last season sees us start the new campaign with the following 3 tactics. I've also started dropping the DLP into the DM slot against opponents who play a 4231, otherwise my back three can be exposed versus the opposition front 4. Mentoring We still only have 4 mentoring groups at the moment, but several of our players are now approaching 24 when they will start to mentor others, meaning we will be able to increase the number of players being mentored, including starting to bring youngsters into the first team squad to be mentored. Preseason Results We had our usual preseason schedule. A quick whistle stop international tour - to China this season - followed by some games against local minnows to ensure we go into the new season with the highest morale possible.
  2. I don't at the moment because I binned all of my U18 and U23 players in the first couple of seasons. I'm just starting to fill the squads up again now, but the hierarchy in reserve and U18 teams seems to be very erratic, so it's hard to settle on the right players as mentors. The long term plan is to rotate players from the U18s into the first team squad to be mentored for shortish periods at a time, but it remains to be seen whether it works or not in the longer term.
  3. Transfer Window Summer 2021 Outs I was generally pretty happy with my squad, but I had to make the tough decision to move Sander Berge on due to his personality stubbornly refusing to move. He'd been tutored constantly for two full seasons and hadn't made a single gain, so despite being a consistent performer for us he had to go. RB Leipzig came in with an offer of £40 million and he left with my blessing. Ins I'm focusing almost entirely on the future with my transfers in now, and several new young faces arrived at the club. First up is Gastón Chávez who you may remember I agreed a deal for last summer. He's a little rough around the edges, but he'll go straight into the first team squad as our backup deep lying forward, replacing Rodrigo Palacio, who at 39 is very much an emergency backup in his last season before retirement. Next up is 16 year old Czech striker Petr Benes. Dirt cheap at £950k, he's a very low risk signing. He has an awful lot of developing to do in order to get anywhere near the first team, but he represents a guaranteed profit if he doesn't make the grade here. Nicolas Roy is a young french prospect who joins us from Lyon in a £6 million deal. I'll look to develop him as a Mez(a) to play on the right side of our midfield three. There's plenty of work to do on his mental and technical attributes, but he has bags of potential so I'm confident he can make the grade with a bit of luck. Our penultimate signing is Craig Wylie, signed from Hamilton for a bargain £500k. He doesn't seem to have quite the same potential as the previous 3 signings, but could still be a very useful player in the future. At such a low price this was a no brainer of a signing. I've saved the best until last, and I managed to get my hands on David Mendes after a couple of months of stalking him. I had to pay through the nose at £22.5 million, although he didn't demand too much in terms of his contract. He's ready made to drop right into our first team, and already has determination 17 and a model citizen personality. Along with his 2 footedness he really is a dream of a signing, and if he develops well he could be challenging Fedor Chalov for the main goalscorer job sooner rather than later.
  4. May 2021 & Season Review Results The month began well with two wins and two clean sheets, including two goals in two games for Fedor Chalov. A disappointing 1-1 draw with Aston Villa followed, before a narrow 1-0 loss to Manchester City. We finished the season with something of a whimper, a 92nd minute equaliser salvaging a 1-1 draw against Everton. Final League Table Despite our slightly disappointing end to the season, we secured 4th place and a second consecutive season of Champions League football. We finished one place lower than last season, but it's still a huge over achievement, so I'm not concerned about that. We did finish much closer to the top two this season though, only 5 points off second and 6 points of first. Other Competitions We did brilliantly in the Champions League, coming through a tough group before finally succumbing to Manchester City in the quarter finals. We had a disappointing exit from the FA cup in the 3rd round, but we did have a very tough draw against Manchester United. Just like in the Champions League, our good run in the Carabao Cup was ended when we met Manchester City in the semi finals - Pep and his boys are quickly becoming my nemesis! Team Stats We put in some brilliant defensive performances this season, conceding the fewest goals in the league and keeping the most clean sheets. I think that was at least partially influenced by the fact that lots of sides have been much more defensive against us this year, and that also contributed to a slightly disappointing 7th place in terms of goals scored. Hopefully we can improve this as we gradually increase the quality of our squad. Player Stats Fedor Chalov scored fewer goals than last season - a combination of fewer appearances due to Champions League commitments, and teams being more defensive against us. He did still finish 2nd in the scoring charts though behind Harry Kane who was helped by 10 goals from penalties! Our two left wingbacks occupied the top 2 places in terms of distance covered per 90, and Luca Netz was in 4th place in dribbles per game, showing what a key position the left wingback role is for us. Mentoring Another month with no mentoring success, but the avalanche of squad's general character increases continued: Karol Fila gained a point of determination whilst maintaining his model citizen personality, and Jude Bellingham also gained a point of determination and became our 13th model citizen - an increase of four from the same time last season. Close Season Priorities I'm pretty happy with where the first team squad is, right now. There is still some improvement in personalities which needs to happen, but my main focus now will start to shift towards stage 2 of the plan outlined in the opening post. Looking for a team of younger players for the future who can be developed and brought into the first team as and when needed.
  5. There's such a huge random factor involved in mentoring that stuff like that can happen just by chance.
  6. He's been great for me, and still has significant influence in my mentoring groups.
  7. It looks like age might finally be caching up with Rodrigo Palacio. Fortunately we only have 2 games to go this season, and he will only be an emergency backup player next year before he retires in June 2022. Hopefully we can still get some mentoring influence from him in his final season.
  8. March - April 2021 Results March began in routine fashion with a 2-0 win away at Southampton, and continued in the same vein with a comfortable 2-0 home win against Fulham. The final game in a quiet month was the 2nd leg of our Champions League tie against Schalke, and a second consecutive 1-0 win gave us a 2-0 victory on aggregate. We drew Manchester City in the quarter final, giving us a tough route to the final 4. If March was routine, then April was anything but, and it began with a visit from Liverpool who were directly below us in the table, and most likely to take our Champions League spot. We matched them for most of the first half before Mohamed Salah got his marching orders for a bad foul in the 40th minute. We went for the jugular against 10 men in the second half, but we couldn't beat an inspired Allison and ended up with a slightly disappointing 0-0 draw. We went away to Manchester City in the Champions League and gave a really good account of ourselves, grabbing what I hoped would be a crucial away goal in the 49th minute, and holding out for a creditable 1-1 draw. Fixture congestion meant we put out a weakened team against second placed Arsenal, and they did themselves proud, only losing to a single deflected goal. Man City were in town next as we looked to book a place in the next round of the Champions League, and despite fighting back twice, we just couldn't find a winner, and ultimately went out on away goals after two solid results. We rounded out a tough month with a visit to top of the league Tottenham, and despite being dominated on the pitch, we held firm after scoring an early goal and left with the points. Table The tough schedule in April saw us drop a place to 4th and has me looking over my shoulder at Liverpool who are only 3 points behind. We do have two games in hand though, and if we win them it will put us on the verge of securing 4th place and Champions League football for a 2nd year in a row. Mentoring We didn't have any mentoring success, but there was some other positive news to report. Camavinga gained a point of determination and took his place as our 12th model citizen. Interestingly he hasn't had any gains from mentoring - his first was from his welcoming period and the latest from the squads general character. And speaking of welcoming periods, Damian Ferrer gained a point of determination from his. His personality hasn't changed, but it's the first step on his journey with us.
  9. He's good alright! He's also not interested in joining us. Sad times.
  10. Oh, hello there..... Scouting in progress. Please be good, please be good, please be good...
  11. A Note About Notes I have to confess that if I'm not careful, I can often find myself clicking the continue button over and over in an attempt to get to the next match as quickly as possible - especially when things are going well. To make sure that I don't neglect important tasks by doing this, I use the system of notes in the game to stay on top of things. To get to the notebook, simply click on the home screen, then click notebook. As you can see I currently have the following 6 notes (I put them in upper case because it makes the reminder harder to miss in my inbox): Check for expiring contracts - Reminder: 1st December, yearly. This is a reminder to check the player search and my shortlists for players with contracts due to expire in the summer, meaning they can be approached to sign on the 1st January. I search at the start of December to give me a month to get any scout reports etc that i need before making an approach. Check for youth - Reminder: 23rd July then every 3 months. This is a reminder to search for any promising youth players. I have various ways that I do that, which I'll do a full post on later on so won't go into detail here, but I'll spend anywhere between 5 minutes and a couple of hours performing various manual searches to supplement the suggestions that my scouts provide. Clean up shortlists x2 - Reminder: 3rd February and 3rd September, yearly. This is a reminder to go through my shortlist and get rid of any players that I'm no longer interested in. Perhaps they're too old, or they've signed for a big club putting them out of reach financially. Whatever the reason, I like to keep my shortlists streamlined and stop them becoming bloated and difficult to manage. Development Centre - Reminder: 1st of the month, monthly. This is a new addition, recently stolen from Oliver Jensen. I've kind of neglected the development centre in FM 20, but it's a great place to get an overview of how your young players are developing; who is developing nicely, who needs work, and who is ready to move up to the next level. You can then take the appropriate action as soon as possible to keep their development ticking along. Mentoring Check - Reminder: 15th of the month, monthly. This is a reminder to check my mentoring groups to make sure they are still optimum, or if I want to make any tweaks to them. It's obviously crucial in this save, but I make sure to micromanage them in all my saves - looking for those incremental improvements that can give me the edge. Training Check - Reminder: 8th of the month, every 3 months. I manage the individual training for all my playing squads, so this is a reminder to go through all of the individual training assignments to make any changes that are needed as they develop or if things aren't working. To be honest I'd rather do this every 2 months, but the only options for reminders are monthly or three monthly. Some of the dates I've chosen for things are deliberate, such as cleaning up shortlists just after the transfer windows close, but others are pretty arbitrary just to make sure that everything doesn't happen all at once on the 1st of the month. I'd be interested to know if you do anything similar and what notes you use - basically I'm looking for more good ideas to steal!
  12. Youth Intake 2021 Our 2nd youth intake is another disappointing one and I have no idea where we managed to find a Swedish/Lebanese player! A quick look at the overview tells me that there's only one player worth keeping in terms of personality and potential, and that is Tom Harrison. He looks like a decent prospect as a central defender, with attributes in all the right places and a good personality. He does have low natural fitness though, which I hate. If he develops into a world class player then I can probably overlook that, but otherwise I'll probably look to develop him to sell on in a few years time.
  13. I'm glad you're enjoying it and that it's inspired you to try something similar. Just remember that what I'm doing is really extreme, but if you improve the personality of your squad more slowly (not that hard with Arsenal), then it can only benefit you in the long term. Just make sure you get rid of Ozil as soon as possible! Parolo and Blind are both great tutors, just beware of passing on any of their player traits. I took a bit of a break due to being a bit burnt out with FM, but I'll be playing some more and updating later today.
  14. To be honest I don't think I'll be able to afford his wages even if Liverpool accept an offer, but a boy can dream!
  15. I'm in desperate need of a new deep lying forward this summer, but Trent Alexander-Arnold is unhappy at Liverpool and potentially interested in joining us. He'd be an absolute monster in the RWB role!
  16. February 2021 Results A comfortable 3-0 win over Watford began the month, immediately bouncing back from the disappointment at the end of January. A 2-0 win away at Leicester followed, with Chalov making the difference in an otherwise tight match. Schalke proved to be a much poorer side than I expected, but we could only manage a 1-0 win despite dominating from start to finish - hopefully it won't come back to haunt us in the second leg! A 2-1 Yorkshire derby win over Leeds rounded out the month, although we were left hanging on at the end of the match. Table 3 wins from 3 in the league has seen us open up a bit of a gap between us and Liverpool in 5th, although we could still drop down a place if Man City win their game in hand. The race for the top four looks like it will go to the wire this season, and although I'm more confident than last year, we still have to play most of the teams around us so anything can happen. Mentoring Lots to report this month! A mentoring success for Wisniewski saw his determination rise to 17 and become our eleventh model citizen. It's been 18 moths of mentoring to get this first increase, so if you're setting up mentoring don't panic if you don't see immediate results, it's very much a long term process. Goncalo Ramos gained a point of determination from a 'squad's general character' effect, taking him up to 17 whilst keeping his model citizen personality. It's not all good news though, Francesco Laurenzi lost a point of determination from the 'squad's less desirable characteristics', but must have increased some of his hidden attributes as we also get a 'squad's general character had a positive influence' message. Laurenzi is only 19 so he has plenty of time to hopefully regain his losses through mentoring in the future.
  17. Sounds good. Beware of perfectionist personalities though, they have low temperament, so can cause issues down the line. My mentoring groups are usually 1 mentor and 2 mentees. I've experimented with 2 mentors and 1 mentee, the thinking being that there might be twice the chance of influencing the mentee, but never really saw any success. Like I always say to questions about mentoring though, the random factor is huge so I'd never say that anything is definitively better or worse, I can only talk about what seems to work for me.
  18. Thanks. it's a very extreme experiment, and I wouldn't expect anyone to play a real save like this, but if people can learn one or two things then I'm happy.
  19. Thanks. I'm the same normally, This save is just meant as an extreme example to see how far the mentoring model can be pushed. I've been helped in my recruitment early on by the fact I've managed a lot of these players before and so know that they can be mentored fairly easily into model citizens. I'm not sure how sustainable it will be in the longer term when it's all newgens and I have no prior knowledge.
  20. January 2021 Results Another packed month began badly with an unlucky 1-0 loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup. That was followed by an even worse result, being dominated by Manchester City and losing 3-0 in the Carabao Cup semi final first leg. Fortunately we got back to winning ways in the league as we beat Crystal Palace - it wasn't our usual goal fest against them with a solitary Fedor Chalov goal sealing the points. 2 more league wins followed, beginning with an impressive 2-0 win against Chelsea, before putting Brentford to the sword by the same scoreline. We managed a decent 0-0 draw away at Old Trafford, before what proved to be the oddest game of the season in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi final. 3-0 down from the first leg, things looked to be over when we conceded early on, but Rodri very kindly got himself sent off for a bad tackle, and we scored 4 unanswered goals to bring us level on aggregate. Jude Bellingham had a chance to win it for us after being put clean through on goal in the 93rd minute, but only succeeded in hitting the post. That meant penalties which we duly lost. I was hoping to erase the memory of that game in our final league match of the season, but unfortunately we put in one of our worst performances of the save so far and lost 2-1 away at Wolves. League Table So despite a poor end to the month, taking only 1 point from our final 2 matches, we maintain 3rd place on goal difference. However with both Manchester clubs and Liverpool breathing down our necks, it's going to be tough to hold on to. Mentoring More success to report this month: Fillip Melegoni gains a point of determination from being tutored by Fedor Chalov, his personality remains at resolute, but he's only 21, so plenty of time for further improvement. We also had a 'squad's general character' increase for Pietro Rovaglia, increasing his determination by a point and becoming our tenth model citizen!
  21. What is Aouar's influence in a mentoring group? If it's average or below (which it probably will be due to his age) then you can mentor him with anyone with significant influence. They don't have to be above him in the club hierarchy. You might want to check your captaincy, according to that picture Fletcher and Palacio are captain and vice captain. I'd sell Depay and Lopes Immediately. You can't afford to have them influencing players outside of mentoring.
  22. I take it by highly influential you mean from the club hierarchy screen? If so, then the answer is yes. It's about their level of influence in their mentoring group rather than their place in the club hierarchy. I find 3 gives me the best results, but there's such a huge random factor involved that I couldn't say that it's 100% the best size. I've also had some success with groups of 4 with the following structure: 1 Significant influence model citizen with high determination + 1 average influence model citizen with slightly lower determination + 2 light influence players with lower level personalities and lower determination.
  23. Transfer Window - January 2021 I'm pretty happy with where the first team squad is at the moment. We have a young squad who are developing well, supplemented with a few older heads, so there was no transfer business for the first team at all. Rodrigo Palacio is now 38, so will definitely need to be replaced in the summer, but he can do a job as back up for the rest of this season. The only player I brought in was the guy: Damián Ferrer comes into our U18 squad initially, as well as providing a 3rd GK option for the first team in case of injury. He already has some really strong areas in his game, and can certainly develop to do a job for the first team in the future. Personality wise he has determination 15 and a professional personality, providing a solid base to build from.
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