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Tikka Mezzala

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Everything posted by Tikka Mezzala

  1. All of the Celtic fans I know (including myself) love big Ange. It was always gonna be a difficult start, but things are improving and he's such a stand up guy! Love listening to him speak and seeing him interact with the support.
  2. I'm in my eighth season in this year's edition, which is certainly one of the longest saves I've had in recent memory. I've managed NK Maribor (season one), Zenit St Petersburg (season two-seven), and Ferencvaros (present). I had an Ajax save in FM17 that ran on quite long. Maybe ten years. Going back to the earliest versions, it's possible I played longer.
  3. It kept me in a job by improving the results for the remainder of that season. But the following season, I adopted a narrow diamond due to the strength in central areas. It brought us our first title, and then Krasnodar recovered to win the next. But a good transfer window helped me win another title (unbeaten), and then a third. I adapted again in my sixth season to play a 4-2-3-1 with some of the tips above in mind, and had another great season (beat RB Leipzig 8-1 away in CL). My final three seasons saw only two league defeats. Unfortunately we kept getting tough draws in the CL, so we never managed to make much headway there.
  4. Just wanna thank everyone who offered advice in the thread. I've played several more seasons since the last post, and I've managed to win four out of six titles with the club, including three in a row just there.
  5. Statement: "The decision to resign from my post as manager of Zenit was one of the most difficult of my life. I have been truly honoured to serve the club, both as a player and as a manager. I hope the last six years have brought joy to all who follow this great institution. It's always difficult when things end, but it's more important that the club keeps moving forward and the best way for it to do so is to shake things up every now and again. I'll always be a Zenit supporter and wish the club the very best for the future."
  6. A third straight title and a third career league and cup double mark season 2026/27. But progress in Europe remains elusive.
  7. The Coaches' Voice: Anatoliy Tymoshchuk Two words sum up Anatoliy Tymoshchuk's approach to football management: "balance" and "evolution". That's according to the Ukrainian himself. Tymoshchuk is currently in his sixth season with Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg, and his seventh year in management overall, having had a sole season at the helm of NK Maribor in Slovenia. In that time, he has delivered four league titles and two national cups. It has been an impressive start to life in the dugout for Tymoshchuk, but what stands out apart from the silverware he has delivered is his ability to adapt to new circumstances. "Five years at a single club is always going to present the challenge of preventing the team from becoming stale. It's important to always be on the lookout for signs that motivation is becoming an issue. As much as you might want to keep a group of players together for a long time, you have to keep moving. It's about evolution: adapting yourself to a continually changing environment, and giving yourself the best chance of success year in year out." Tymoshchuk's first role in management came in Slovenia with NK Maribor. It was a role that had just been relinquished by Mauro Camoranesi after the Italian failed to deliver the league title. Tymoshchuk arrived as a surprise choice for many, but it quickly became clear that he was a smart choice. In his first months in the job he helped put together strong domestic form, and had it not been for a harsh defeat at Kobenhaven in what was then a one-legged play-off tie for the UEFA Europa League, he would have guided Maribor into group stage football at the first time of asking. What stood out from the encouraging start in Slovenia was a pragmatic tactical style that saw to clear units on the field; one defending, the other trying to create chances to score. "My approach with Maribor reflected the bare facts: we had some players who were good at doing the gritty side of things well, but not so much the technical side of the game, and our attacking players were not great with their defensive organisation. I decided to try and teach the team a solid enough shape where everyone could understand their function, without complicating things too much, and where players felt comfortable doing their job." The system Tymoshchuk employed at Maribor relied upon the defensive solidity provided by the two holding midfield players. During the attacking phase, both players would regularly stay deeper, ensuring counter attacks rarely succeeded. This allowed the wingbacks to push high up the pitch, with the wide men moving narrow to support the attacking midfielder and striker. The system owes much to some of the principles Tymoshchuk learned from former mentor Mircea Lucescu. "Mircea understood that the Ukrainian players were not as technically proficient, but they had a lot of endeavour and were willing to run all day. The opposite was true of the Brazilian players. By designating certain players to perform the main defensive functions of the team, the creative players could go and express themselves. I think we're seeing much more universalism in today's game, with every player expected to be proficient in all phases of the game. But sometimes you have to try and maximise what you have, and the more specialised functional system that was very prevalent across the USSR still has its place in that regard." The 4-2-3-1 with two holding midfielders brought Maribor a league and cup double. It was an impressive first season in management for Tymoshchuk and his achievements caught the attention of his former club Zenit. The Russian side had parted company with Anatoliy's old team mate Sergey Semak after a third place finish in the league. It was a move that was always destined to happen, with the only surprise perhaps being that it came so soon. "I had no qualms about returning to Russia so soon. It was a move that I knew I had to make. St Petersburg is my home and I understand the club and its traditions." The Ukrainian inherited a talented squad, but one that was underachieving and lacking confidence. Things weren't helped by the impressive consistency of reigning champions Krasnodar who put Zenit to the sword twice in the early months of Tymoshchuk's reign. "Krasnodar were the team to beat. They were miles ahead in terms of levels, but in terms of personnel, we weren't far behind. It was about finding what worked for us. Clearly Viktor (Goncharenko) had found the right formula for his team, and it was tough to match that straight away. But I always viewed this job as something long term, and I knew that as long as I had the backing of the club, we'd get things right." The Zenit board showed unusual patience with Tymoshchuk, who matched the previous season's disappointing third place finish. The former Bayern midfielder knows that it was a tactical switch in the spring of that season that helped keep him in the job. "I took the Maribor system to Russia and tried to adjust it slightly. We played with more of a standard front three, and allowed one of the holding midfielders to make late runs from deep. It helped us win the majority of our games, but against the bigger sides, we were coming unstuck. Krasnodar were developing well and going from strength to strength, so we had to change something after the winter shutdown. That's when we moved to a 4-4-2 and brought Artem (Dzyuba) back into the side." Zenit were much more direct in the second half of the campaign and won the majority of their games. The only defeats came against Krasnodar and Rubin Kazan, resigning them to third place, but the signs of growth were enough to convince the Zenit board to let Tymoshchuk have another crack of the whip. The switch from the deep 4-2-3-1, to the 4-4-2 helped keep Tymoshchuk in a job, but it was his further tinkering that brought about his eventual success. With the sale of Malcolm, and the plethora of central midfield players at his disposal, the 4-4-2 became a diamond, allowing new signings Facundo Torres and Alan Velasco to play narrower and closer to the goal. Midfielders Fomiin, Krushyaev, and Wendel played the deeper roles, allowing the attacking midfielder and the two strikers to become a narrow front three with plenty of movement. The width came from Douglas Santos and Patric on either flank. The formation became a 3-4-3 in possession, with the front three of Torres, Velasco and Amoun (the latter being replaced by Barisic the following season) providing the ammunition. "We utilised the central players we had, and gave the flanks to our wingbacks. We asked a lot of Douglas and Patric, but they delivered for us. I knew the attacking players would give us the goals we needed, it was more of a question of how it would be defensively. We pushed our line higher and pressed with more urgency. The central players were the absolute key here and it was their work rate and positional intelligence that allowed this system to come off." Zenit would win the league in Tymoshchuk's second season, come narrowly second in his third, and then win back to back titles in his fourth and fifth years, all playing the diamond system. The European performances also brought about some positive results, with victories over Man Utd, Bayern Munich, Valencia, Borussia Dortmund, Leicester City, Real Sociedad, and PSG. Although it is in Europe where Tymoshchuk's biggest frustrations have come. "We have lost two semi-finals, one in the Conference League and one in the Europa League. But in the Champions League we have failed to go beyond the round of sixteen. That's where we need to go next. I feel our squad is still young with plenty to offer, and this is something that gave us the advantage over Krasnodar in the previous seasons, but we have to keep evolving and that means looking at how we take the next step." The 2026/27 season has seen the tactical focus of the team evolve once more, but this time the system looks to have gone back towards a 4-2-3-1. Early analysis suggests the approach is much more aggressive than the days of the two holding players, but it remains an open question as to whether the next stage of Zenit's evolution under Tymoshchuk will bring them further domestic success and allow them to take the next step in European football.
  8. The fifth season in Russia brought a third Premier Division title, but saw us frustrated by a lack of progress in Europe. Back to back last sixteen eliminations have brought about a serious mode of reflection regarding the evolution of our tactical system. One league defeat in two years is an amazing level of consistency, and our gamble on Krasnodar's levels declining has paid off.
  9. Season 2024/25, the fourth year in charge of Zenit St Petersburg, brought with it an incredible Champions League group stage performance, a disappointing last sixteen exit, an end to our run of Russian Cup finals, and a Russian Premier Division crown. We signed no one in the summer despite losing out to Krasnodar. The reasoning was simple: Krasnodar had an ageing team that was running out of gas, while we had many emerging talents. The natural decline of their team and the natural improvement of ours was going to give us the advantage. I kept my eye on transfers elsewhere, but felt confident we had the squad to make a go of it. My gamble paid off. Krasnodar clearly are a team needing to reinvent itself again, but it might take several windows. Rostov were brilliant, but whether they can sustain their rise in fortunes is an open question. Spartak and Rubin Kazan are probably better placed than Krasnodar at present to push me all the way next season. I signed a contract extension with Zenit that will keep me at the club until 2030. But the upcoming summer is going to see quite a bit of change as we look to address our fullback positions and re-energise our central midfield. We may even add another striker if we can.
  10. The 2023/24 season saw Krasnodar return to form and win their third title in four years. Still relying on more or less the same set of players that won them the title in the first year of this save, they have shown incredible resilience and an ability to reinvent themselves. The race went right down to the wire, with the crucial moment proving to be six games from the end when Rubin Kazan beat us to put Krasnodar ahead. It was a lead they would not relinquish. As disappointing as it was to lose the title, we competed, and there wasn't much between the sides. Certainly, this would not be a defeat that would guarantee my end at Zenit. In the Russian Cup we reached our third consecutive final. Sadly, it was our second defeat out of three, with Rubin Kazan adding to our title woes with a win against us in the Cup. Despite the defeat, we reached our pre-season target of making the final. In Europe, a disappointing group stage campaign in the Champions League saw us finish third. We moved into the Europa League where we saw off Ludogorets, Leicester City, and Villarreal, before Inter Milan beat us in the Semi-Finals. It was a good run and brought us as close as we've been as a club to replicating the famous 2008 win in the UEFA Cup under Dick Advocaat. An achievement that Anatoliy Tymoshchuk was part of.
  11. Our end of season sit down with the Zenit board staved off the sack, but made clear the precariousness of our position. We simply had to hit the ground running in 2022/23 and maintain positive form over the whole campaign. Fortunately, the change of tack paid off and our more positive and offensive system bore fruit. We were more aggressive and due to some shrewd business in the transfer market, were able to push our DF line higher up to play the game in the opposition half. Krasnodar had a significant dip in their performance, allowing Rubin Kazan and Spartak to finish ahead of them. We also managed to pull off a league and cup double, beating Rubin Kazan in the Russian Cup final. This mirrored our sole season in Slovenia, where we also pulled off the double. In Europe, we got to the Conference League semi-final, where we lost disappointingly to Hungarian champions Ferencvaros. Some fitness issues played their part in this defeat, but it was all about the domestic matters and keeping the Zenit job. An incredible turnaround in fortunes. Season two allowed Tymoshchuk a second league and cup double in three years; his first in Russia.
  12. I've played several seasons since my last update, due to totally being engrossed in the save and trying to figure out various problems that arose. I'll give a summary of each season below before trying to post updates during the course of a season. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Anatoliy Tymoshchuk's first season in Russia with Zenit ended disappointingly. Despite having a healthy budget to help mount a challenge on Krasnodar's title, the team came up short. A third place finish also denied the club a place in the lucrative Champions League, with a defeat away at Spartak Moscow late on in the campaign giving the capital side the runners-up spot. Throughout the campaign the team struggled to put in convincing performances and never really looked like champions. Eight draws highlights the main problem: we lacked a cutting edge. Krasnodar, meanwhile, carried on from their impressive 20/21 season with the best attack in the league. Spartak's success came down to their mean defence, conceding only fourteen times in thirty games. We managed to get to the quarter finals of the Europa League, where Tottenham eliminated us. This was beyond our expectations of reaching the first knockout round, so managed to clawback some goodwill from the board. We also reached our expectation of reaching the Russian Cup final, but failed to take the next step and win it. Rostov pulled off a shock win to deny Tymoshchuk a first trophy on his return to Zenit. The season ended with this:
  13. I understand that. But in terms of how these duties may perform against specific opponents, I'm looking for clarification on when they are best utilised/avoided. For example: if I am facing an IF(a) on the opponents left, would having a RCB(st) present the IF(a) with the ideal opportunity to get in behind me on that side?
  14. With regards to the 'stopper' and 'cover' duties, what scenarios are these duties best employed in? I know the obvious option for the cover seems to be when a team looks to get their forward in behind you. But does it have any relation to inside forwards trying to make angled runs in behind? Can a covering defender negate this movement by occupying the space the IF would look to exploit? Also, as for the space left in front of the covering defender, is it only advisable to use 'cover' when there is a player in the DM strata to deal with that extra vacated space? I have very little idea about 'stoppers'. I get the idea is to be more aggressive and step out of the backline, and the obvious risks this poses of getting turned or passed around, but what kind of set-up is it best used against and avoided against?
  15. Well, same old story. Krasnodar win 1-0. They didn't really deserve to in all honesty. Poor game won by a set piece on the stroke of half time. Best chance outside of that fell my way, when I hit the post. But the gap is now seven points, and I'm down in third. Definitely not keeping this job.
  16. I'm gonna trial this in a game I'm chasing a goal and see what it does for the team. If it looks good, I'll use it more. I would like to see Dzyuba in the box more.
  17. Dzyuba did well to get me up the park, but I might adjust thing to get him in the box more. At least when I need a goal. Fomin has been solid. He's a great option. Surprisingly, the right winger has been the main goal threat. Lots of diagonals from the IW to him. I signed Krasnodar's winger, and he scored twice against Lokomotiv. So some hope at last.
  18. The results since switching to a 4-4-2: The tactic: Krasnodar and Dynamo Moscow away to restart the league season. Two games that we simply cannot lose. I feel we're growing into this tactic, but Krasnodar were too much for us during the winter cup. Hopefully we can pull something out of the bag.
  19. They play a 4-2-3-1 wide. They seem to be quite attacking with high winbacks and inverted wingers. Their AMC runs the show a lot of the time. Remy Cabella. They seem to play with real aggression. I struggled to get out and get my foot on the ball. I actually bought their right winger, so have tried to weaken them
  20. Just got beat 2-0 off Krasnodar in the winter tournament. Haven't laid a glove on them in three games. Totally own me.
  21. I played my first game of a winter tournament against Rubin Kazan. Was 0-3 down after 20 mins. But managed to turn it around to 4-3, before conceding a late equaliser. Need to replace Rakitskiy. I have a Polish CB that will hopefully help. I'm also after one from CSKA. But I feel there's potential in the 4-4-2. I'll use Fomin in a more positive role. Thinking of Ozdoev being the CM(d).
  22. I've shifted a couple of the back-up CBs and recalled my Polish CB who I had out on loan. Claudinho and Driussi have just been sold to Fiorentina. Zappacosta has joined Marseille. I've also sold one of my back-up centre mids (I had too many) to Viktoria Plzen. Incoming, I have Patric from Lazio to replace Zappacosta. I've also brought in the Uruguayan forward/attacking mid Facundo Torres from Penarol. I'm also looking at this guy to replace Rakitskiy:
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