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About Kevin_M

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    Southampton, UK

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  1. A quick update - we did it!
  2. A bit of a mixed bag. a few Balanced, lots of Fairly this and Fairly that. A bit meh really. Probably time for him to go. Luckily this chap is available: It's a no-brainer.
  3. This is top stuff, herne. I already play FM in a very (scarily!) similar way to you, but I've still picked up a few ideas and things to try. For example, the thought never crossed my mind to check and see what personality my Head of Youth Development had, and how it might reflect on the youngsters we bring through. What do you reckon of this guy: His personality type is determined.
  4. I actually did switch them from season three onward. And yes, I came pretty close to quitting myself! But I'm so glad I didn't. Because without wanting to jinx it, look how we've started season five: The only changes I made to last season's tactics were to instruct the F9 to shoot less - it sounds weird asking your lone striker to do that but whoever was playing there just kept taking pot-shots from outside the box - and I told the IF to pass it shorter because he kept wasting possession with Hollywood passes. That's it. I'm so glad you said that. That's exactly why I posted it.
  5. Season 3 - Moving Up But Going Nowhere Transfers Having been resisting bids for Khouma Babacar for two seasons, I finally cracked; Everton made a bid, which I negotiated to £45m + £5m, and like Napoli did with Luan, they agreed to it. In came Andrea Belotti as his replacement. Veterans Gonzalo Rodriguez and Pedro Lopes were allowed to leave on free transfers, with Chancel Mbemba and Almamy Toure replacing them, making us significantly younger and quicker in defence, albeit less experienced. Vitolo came in to replace wantaway Dries Mertens and fan-favourite Valero was allowed to join Benfica - who's going to turn down £9m for a 33yr old? Not me. Marco van Ginkel arrived as his replacement. All in all, another good window. Less than £1m net spend, but we're getting younger, quicker and bringing in more players with the attributes I like; work-rate, determination and stamina. Tactical Changes At first, I didn't change anything from the end of last season. I wanted to see how the new recruits would fare. I really needed them to bed in quickly, because as I said in my opening post, at one point I was given five games to save my job, and that moment came after last season's eighth place finish. Gulp. Luckily the boys did me proud. We smashed our opening three league games 3-0, 3-1 and 2-1 which gave me the required nine points to save my job. We went on to collect 19pts from our opening nine games - five wins and four draws. But then the goals dried up. Belotti and Vitolo, who had started the season like a train, went from being ruthless in front of goal, to toothless. We went on a horrible run and frustration nearly got the better of me again, but I took a deep breath and thought about it. We seemed to be snatching at chances - especially against the smaller teams who were sitting back. I remembered something from a thread I'd read on the forums (I think it was Cleon who wrote it), that sometimes the way to break stubborn teams down is by being less adventurous and I decided to try something. I switched from Control mentality to Standard. Knowing this would drop my D-Line back, I pushed it up via TI because I still wanted high closing down and a lower D-Line would mean players running further to do so and tiring more quickly. I also switched to a Flexible shape to increase our creative freedom. I added the Retain Possession TI not to aid possession (we were keeping the ball well already) I just wanted us to be a bit more patient. I also changed my CMa to a BBM hoping that would help defensively, too Thankfully the changes worked. We scraped a few 1-0's with a few 0-0's sandwiched in between. From then on were okay results-wise. No awful runs of results, just a bit up and down. But crucially still picking up points. Summary Finished 6th. Scored 43, conceded 33. Average Possession: 55% (1st) Completed Passes: 81% (Joint 1st) Bleh. Well, we made it into Europe, which counts as progress I suppose. But in terms of wins/losses/draws, points accrued and goals for and against, we were not progressing. More frustration, but I will not give up. Season 4 - Turning The Corner Transfers Belotti did okay last season had a habit of missing absolute sitters, and Mario Gomez basically had a season-long goal drought so with Gomez' contract up and Dortmund making a fat offer for Belotti it was time to let them go. Before I'd even had a chance to think about a replacement, an agent offer popped up in my inbox for a Korean striker named Kim Shin-Wook. 30 years old but had good all-round stats and was a bargain at £850k. The scouts looked at him and liked him, so in he came, swiftly followed by a bid for Werder Bremen's young wonderkid, Johannes Eggestein. Liverpool came in with a frankly ridiculous £30m bid for injury-prone Marco van Ginkel - no way was I turning that down. Young box-to-box midfielder Iver Fossum was recruited to replace him. Nenad Tomovic had been hankering after a move for a couple of seasons, and when the opportunity to sign transfer-listed Martin Montoya for £5.75m cropped up, I let Nenad go. Tactical Changes Despite only being 19, Lincoln had done okay for me last season playing as a RMD, but his stats and PPM's seemed more suited to AP role so I changed it. An experiment with a False 9 in pre-season went well so I decided to stick with that. Having added the Retain Possession TI during our bad spell the previous season, I decided to remove it again to see how things would go. I also removed the Lower Tempo TI, as our switch to a Standard mentality last season had lowered the tempo already, and having this on had made us a bit ponderous at times. Summary Finished 3rd. Scored 46, conceded 26. Average Possession: 57% (1st) Completed Passes: 82% (Joint 1st) On the face of it not a lot has changed from last season. Defence was better and attack was about the same. But something has definitely changed. Between August and December we lost twice. TWICE! We had a ropey spell around New Year, then had another good run until a little stutter at the end. This was infinitely more encouraging than the weekly rollercoaster of previous seasons. The profile and DNA of the group is coming together, with lots of professional or resolute personalities, high determination and work rate, not to mention a lot of young players with lots of room to get better and some really promising youngsters doing well on loan. Financially we're doing well too - across the four seasons our transfer spend has actually been a profit of £88m. For the first time in this save, I am actually chomping at the bit to get the next season started. Onward and upward!
  6. I have to say I have really struggled with this year's version of Football Manager. With pretty much every past version of the game things would follow the same pattern; I'd struggle initially as I got to grips with that year's match engine (and also not having played for a while) but then after a period of time (and a few new saves) something would click. I have always been able to get a team firing fairly quickly. With FM16 it has felt like I'm constantly taking three steps forward and two steps back. Promising starts suddenly fade. Solid defence (or attack) one season, poor the next. A player performing out of his skin turns into a donkey in no time at all. In a nutshell, I have not been sure whether I'm coming or going. Is it just my tactics? Poor form/confidence? Players just not up to scratch? It has probably been a combination of all three, and has resulted in a lot of starts, restarts and new saves, not to mention frustration. (I should point out that I am not a tactical guru - I understand the concepts, but like many FM players I struggle to pick things out in real time, apart from obvious stuff like teams sitting back waiting to pick me off because I'm playing too high a D-line.) Right now I am four-and-a-bit seasons into a save with a team close to my heart - Fiorentina - and I think I have discovered why I have been struggling for longer than I usually do: a lack of patience. I had started several saves with the Viola before this one and never made it past season three before getting frustrated and giving up. But then I remembered my Roma save from FM15 which took a good three seasons of squad building and tactical tweaking before we won the league in season four, and then we won it ten times in a row after that. So this time I decided to stick it out. Don't get me wrong, there have been struggles along the way in this save too - at one point the board gave me five games to save my job - but we're getting there. Season 1 Style To be honest, when it comes to style I am a pragmatist. Anything other than long-ball or totally parking the bus is fair game if it gets results. I looked at the squad and saw lots of technically gifted passers, so a possession style seemed to suit, but what I didn't want was endless sideways passes, hence why I left Retain Possession off. I tried to keep it simple, and went with Play Out Of Defence, Shorter Passing and Close Down More (Control/Structured) - not too dissimilar to Cleon's Art of Possession style. Shape and roles - initial thinking Having used either a 4-3-1-2 or 4-1-3-2 since FM11 with great success, I wanted to do something different this time and go back to a lone striker and wide attackers. I decided on 4-3-3 so I could have a DM protecting the defence. I chose a CMa in midfield because I didn't really have any midfielders with the engine to be a proper BBM, but wanted another body getting forward supporting the forwards. I could have given Valero any playmaker role really but I went for the slightly more conservative DLP role to start with. The only PI's I added were instructing the 'keeper to roll it out to the CB's. Transfers I sold Ilicic to give me some cash to strengthen other areas. Cerro and Canas came in to add some graft to the midfield in the DM position, and Pedro Lopes was a brilliant bargain find, adding depth to the right-back spot and veteran determination to use as tutor for one of my promising youngsters. Luan seemed a great fit for the Inside Forward role in my system and at £7m was a bit of a no-brainer. Summary Finished 7th. Scored 41, conceded 26. Average Possession: 53% (3rd) Completed Passes: 80% (Joint 1st) Overall, not bad. A poor end to the season scuppered European qualification and we lost the TIM cup final 1-0. The main positive was our tight defence. The main negatives were a lack of goals overall and an over-reliance on Babacar to put the ball in the net. The wide forwards got a few goals but should, and could have scored a lot more. Very much a case of what could have been. Season 2 - A Backward Step Transfers We definitely had a busy summer! Napoli made a bid for Luan, which I negotiated to £45m + £5m on appearances and the crazy fools went for it. I activated Tello's agreed price at the end of his loan spell, but Blaszczykowski didn't want to come so in came Dries Mertens instead. Lucas Leiva arrived to beef up the DM position with Francisco Cerro making way, and Jonathan Calleri came in as cover for Babacar. I also picked up Federico Mancuello, a good all-round midfielder to hopefully make the CMa spot his own. Overall a good window, upgrading several positions whilst also making a profit. Otherwise known as 'doing a Southampton'. Tactical Changes My brief was clear; score more goals. But how? I didn't want to change too much, so I decided on the following: 1. Added Roam From Positions TI. Perhaps this would make us a little more unpredictable? 2. Removed Play Out Of Defence TI. This was just an experiment. My 'keeper was still set to roll it out anyway, so I was interested to see if my defenders did anything differently. 3. Swapped the RMD and IF positions. Partly to see what would happen, but also to get Bernadeschi in the role I thought suited him best, on the right. 4. Changed the DLP to an AP. Perhaps getting involved further forward would make things happen? Summary Finished 8th. Scored 58, conceded 45. Average Possession: 54% (2nd) Completed Passes: 80% (Joint 1st) Well, we scored more goals! However we also conceded quite a lot more, and our overall win/loss/draw record was about the same as last season. Really frustrating. Did my changes work? Honestly, I'm not sure. I didn't notice any glaring differences in our play, we just seemed to take more of our chances when they came. Also, this season was weird. Several of our draws were high-scoring (2-2, 3-3) which bumped up both goal tallies. We also made more mistakes leading to goals (10). Maybe our defensive record from the previous season was also distorted somewhat by the fact that Luigi Sepe was on fire for pretty much the whole season, saving 81% of shots faced. This season Rulli actually faced fewer shots overall, but saved 71%. This is another area where I struggle sometimes - distinguishing the purely tactical from other factors.
  7. Bravo, sir!
  8. What he means is that the formation you see in the tactics creator is the formation your team will take while defending during a match. To give you a real-life example, if I wanted to recreate Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid tactics in FM I'd have to use a 4-4-2 because that's the shape they adopted while defending. I'd then use player roles and duties to make it become a 4-3-3 in attack.
  9. This lad is going places.
  10. My scout doesn't mince his words ...
  11. Who said Italian football was defensive?!
  12. Started a Roma save with this tactic on 15.3 - averaged 3 goals a game whilst hardly conceding any, although I did get spanked by Chievo 4-1. Got to the start of December with two defeats, one draw and the rest wins. All in all this tactic does what it says on the tin, but I had to stop using it. I just couldn't get any satisfaction from using someone else's tactics. It was interesting to watch it at work though.
  13. While not as hardcore as some of you guys, I started a career with Novara in Italy's third tier, and secured consecutive promotions to guide them into Serie A. Had a great start there too; at one point we were fourth with a squad assembled for a mere £8m, beating Milan and Napoli, but then the wheels came off. I couldn't arrest the slump and decided to resign, hoping a new manager would spark them into life, which he did for a spell, and then they slumped again, although not enough for them to get relegated which I was pleased about. I waited until the season was over to see which jobs came up, and the AC Milan post was vacated so I applied for it. Amazingly they said they were flattered by my interest and swiftly offered me the job. Made a decent start (two wins, one loss) but I am still trying to nail down a system, so definitely a work in progress. The board are only expecting Europa League qualification but I'm confident we can compete for the title. It's been quite fun doing it this way, and I probably would have stuck with Novara to try and build them up to a top team, but the broken player interaction(s) in FM15 mean I never talk to my players unless they come to me first, and when they do that it's only to whine, so I feel a bit cold towards them. I really hope this gets fixed for FM16 (or toned down if there's another patch for this year) because something is not right there. In every previous version of FM I've always been able to cultivate a great bond with my players the way Mourinho does IRL, with lots of them listing me under favoured personnel by the end of our time together. In this version I'm about as good at cultivating bonds as Fabio Capello!
  14. I thought I'd have a crack with a lower division foreign team and chose Novara in Italy's Lega Pro Girone A and just finished the league season as Champions. However, on date 16/5/2015 I had to play the Supercoppa di Lega di Prima Divisione against Pisa with every single one of my players ON HOLIDAY. On the plus side, I holidayed the match and a team of greyed out players won 1-0 which gave me the 'Squad Depth' achievement, but still ...
  15. My observation in my current save is that there is a bit of an imbalance in the results being thrown up. For example: in the Premier League this season there have been 3 instances of 5+ goals being scored by one team in a match. In my current save which is one round of fixtures ahead (New Year's Day), there have been 12. For instances where 3 goals have been scored the numbers are similar but still slightly higher (38 in real life/48 in my save), and again for 4 goals (9 irl/15 in save). Overall the tables look quite similar; Spurs who are top in my save have only scored 43 goals compared to Chelsea's 41 in real life. Of course, others' mileage may vary but that to me suggests results are tending towards very high scoring or very low scoring, with not much in between. It's not far off, but a tweak here or there is needed methinks.