deltablue

[FM11]Deltablue Rising II: Delta's Darlings.

1,142 posts in this topic

Off to a decent start, looks like a fairly open Serie A league though which could prove tough for you. Not sure if you've posted it before and I've missed it but do Italy still have the 4 CL spots? Italy 2nd in rankings would suggest there's a load of good Italians floating around, but are they in Italy?

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[quote name='B.W.G']Good start and hopefully things can better when your players finally gel.[/QUOTE]

Yep, definitely expecting more improvement to come from this bunch.

[quote name='cerud']Decent start, room to grow.[/QUOTE]

European football would help that a lot, but definitely will be tougher later on.

[quote name='snootyjim']:D

That's fantastic.[/QUOTE]

I thought so too.

[quote name='SRL88']Nice work getting the Milan job.[/QUOTE]

[quote name='cswalk08']Congrats on the Milan job![/QUOTE]

Thanks, a very welcome and interesting opportunity to take them back to glory.

[quote name='PaulHartman71']Off to a decent start, looks like a fairly open Serie A league though which could prove tough for you. Not sure if you've posted it before and I've missed it but do Italy still have the 4 CL spots? Italy 2nd in rankings would suggest there's a load of good Italians floating around, but are they in Italy?[/QUOTE]

According to League rules they do. I hadn't mentioned it yet but definitely would (especially if it was otherwise) if we were in the mix early on so people can keep track of what position will be enough. While that means 7th, I never count on the last spot going to the league instead of the cup until I can see that it probably won't, so thinking more of needing 6th right now.

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[B]Nov 2038[/B]
[B]Milan 2-1 Atletico Roma (A)[/B]
Ambrosi got sent off in the second minute against Atletico Roma. Thankfully they were one of the easier sides, so much like Ghana-Botswana earlier in the year, we still were too strong. Chumbinho gave us a 24th minute lead, which he extended in the 38th. We weren’t so good as to be particularly superior with 10 men, simply enough to get the win, which was easily achieved though they did get a goal back with a few minutes left.

[B]Lazio 3-1 Milan (A)[/B]
We still had tough games to go in the first half of the season, a trip to Lazio being one such game. We had a very poor day collectively. Their world-class Scottish forward (no really) got a hat-trick in the first half an hour to give them a 3-0 lead at the break. An own-goal in the 52nd minute was the culmination of our only real bit of life, and while we were a bit more solid, I definitely expected to give them a tougher ride, even if we didn’t get anything.

[B]Milan 1-1 Inter (A)[/B]
It wasn’t good preparation for my first Milan derby. In the first half, Inter were just too strong, hitting us with countless chances before eventually taking the lead in the 42nd minute. We pushed back in the second half, but didn’t look like getting anywhere until Kunisch headed us level in the 77th minute to give us a point.

[B]Sapndoria 0-4 Milan (A)[/B]
Toninho gave us the lead in the 5th minute at Sampdoria, and while Chumbinho extended it 10 minutes later, the minutes in between had been filled with Sampdoria chances. Chumbinho’s second goal a few minutes later made the scoreline very deceptive, especially as Sampdoria kept pushing for the rest of the half. The second half was far quieter from both sides, though we still had occasional chances. Chumbinho completed his hat-trick 5 minutes from time, giving us one of the toughest 4-0 wins I’ve ever had.

[B]Milan 2-1 Juve Stabia (A)[/B]
By contrast, we struggled to do anything in the first half against Juve Stabia, except for a Bertoni goal disallowed a few minutes from the break. They took the lead in the 52nd minute, but we expected to win, and got it through Larsen and Di Gregorio goals in the 60th and 76th minutes, taking us to 6th without having played 2 of the bottom three yet, though it was going to be very tight for a while.

[B]Siena 0-2 Milan (CI)[/B]
We went to Siena in the cup. It started slowly but we soon ramped up the pressure. Bertoni gave us the breakthrough after an hour, and we mostly sat back, managing to stop them equalizing, then Chumbinho got another in stoppage time to send us through to the next round.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/nov38.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

[B]Dec 2038[/B]
[B]Catania 0-1 Milan (A)[/B]
In the next round, we’d face champions Catania, who we also went to in the league. I had hoped to face them much earlier when they had their ‘relegation-battling’ start to the season rather than now they’d recovered to be just above us. From the start, Alberti in goal had a massive job on his gloves to keep them out, though he managed to do so up to half-time. Things weren’t quite as tough in the second half but we still looked like heading for defeat. However after a few rare chances, right at the end of the game, Chumbinho scored to give us a robbery of a win.

[B]Milan 4-1 Siena (A)[/B]
Kunisch gave us the lead against Siena in the first minute. Much like in our cup encounter, they looked like equalizing before Toninho extended the lead in the 33rd minute. They did get a goal back shortly after the break, but Lovell and Chumbinho struck in quick succession just before the hour mark to finish them off.

[B]Triestina 1-4 Milan (A)[/B]
The last game before the Christmas break was at Triestina. The result was never in doubt. Toninho gave us a 13th minute lead. Mosquera and Chumbinho each scoring before half an hour was up. Toninho got another in the 40th minute. They got a goal early in the second half, but we still had most of the chances and deserved another at least. That maintained the 4th spot we took after Siena, but I would be very surprised if it lasted, especially with Napoli (who we’d go to next) and Roma just a point behind. However it meant we looked good so far for European qualification, which was the most I was aiming for right now.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/dec38.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

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[B]ACN 2039[/B]
I had decided that this ACN would be my Ghana swansong, as I was focussed on the Milan project and having a major international tournament alongside club games didn’t feel right. In Slovakia it fitted nicely in the Winter break so this felt like it was getting in the way of a Milan adventure I was very excited to be on (though due to a match being rescheduled, the three group games were played in between Milan games). There were also far stronger national sides up there, though I wasn’t interested in more international management for the time being. The gift that had kept on giving had nothing more to offer me. We had a tough group of Benin, South Africa and Ivory Coast. That was made worse by 2 of our best defenders, Musah and Donkor, getting injuries just before the first game that would rule them out of the whole tournament.

[B]Ghana 4-1 Benin (ACN)[/B]
Despite that we got off to a great start against Benin. An Owusu shot gave us a 6th minute own goal lead, which was extended by Frimpong in the 8th minute and Diallo in the 12th. Frimpong got another in the 33rd minute, while they got a goal back in first half stoppage time and we eased off in the second half.

[B]Ghana 1-1 South Africa (ACN)[/B]
We were rather less inspiring against South Africa. We still did enough to have earned the lead by the time they took it instead a minute into the second half. A draw would leave us in a good position to qualify and we eventually snatched it from a stoppage time own goal.

[B]Ghana 2-1 Ivory Coast (ACN)[/B]
A point against the Ivory Coast would be enough. They had won both games so far, but after a dull first half, Frimpong gave us the lead 23 seconds after the break. They equalized a couple of minutes later, but ever really threatened to get a winner. We snatched top spot at the end with Abbey setting Frimpong up for his second.

[B]Ghana 4-3 Algeria (ACN QF)[/B]
The quarter final was against Algeria, they started better, with a penalty claim turned down, but then Frimpong (who always shone in the competition) came to the fore. He got a hat-trick between the 13th and 18th minute. In the second half they came back well, but after they scored in the 53rd minute, Owusu gave us an all-important 4th, as they closed it to 4-3 in the end.

[B]Ghana p1-1 Morocco (ACN SF)[/B]
Morocco were our semi final opponents. We enjoyed superiority early on, Owusu giving us the lead in the 32nd minute, but the tables were turned in the second half. They equalized in the 48th minute, and had most of the chances as we somehow survived to extra time. We managed to come out of our shell for a bit, but again were lucky to survive to penalties. Awal saved their second penalty, but Frimpong missed our third. That was followed by another miss from them, but Gyamfi missed our 5th to take it to sudden death, where another Awal save allowed Ayew to send us through to the final.

[B]Ghana 4-1 Senegal (ACN Final)[/B]
Our opponents in the final were holders Senegal, hoping to be the first team for 20 years to win back to back African titles. They certainly didn’t play like it. The first half was remarkably easy. Owusu gave us an 8th minute. Frimpong, who had been anonymous in both our previous finals extended it 5 minutes later. Abbey, who had come a long way since I brought him to Michalovce, gave us a 3rd in the 26th minute, and Frimpong got his second just before the break. They were much better in the second half, but a single goal after an hour was all they got. After 2 final defeats in my first two tournaments, followed by just reaching the quarters last time, it was great to bow out by finally winning the ACN, the nation’s first since 2015. Farewell Ghana. It’s been great all the way.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/acng39.jpg"]ACN Groups[/URL]

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/acnko39.jpg"]ACN Knockouts[/URL]

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/int39.jpg"]ACN Final[/URL]

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Congratulations on the ACN win! :applause:

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Congrats on winning the ACN! :thup:

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[quote name='DazRTaylor']Congratulations on the ACN win! :applause:[/QUOTE]

[quote name='cswalk08']Congrats on winning the ACN! :thup:[/QUOTE]

Cheers, and vaguely on the subject of Ghana, my former Ghana defender Boateng (who was also a former club player of mine at Sportist some time before that) is one of my coaches at Milan, making this the third time we've encountered each other. Small world.

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Congrats on the African Cup of Nations! Moving Ghana back to the top :) I assume that in saying "farewell Ghana", you have left the post?

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[quote name='cerud']Congrats on the African Cup of Nations! Moving Ghana back to the top :) I assume that in saying "farewell Ghana", you have left the post?[/QUOTE]

I have. I wanted to try and get to 100 games, but even before the tournament I decided that it would be too much of a distraction (mainly the ACN finals, but also when I had a few games in one go, which happens at a couple of points in the 4 year international cycle) as I've wholeheartedly embraced the 'getting Milan successful again' mission and that's all I want to focus on for some time, with no chance even of any other club being able to tempt me away, that's how enthusiastic I am about this mission.

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A great trophy to claim :thup:.

Looking steady in Serie A too. A few surprising teams in the Italian top tier. Have Atletico Roma, Pescara and Juve Stabia had takeovers in the past?

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[quote name='Raware']A great trophy to claim :thup:.

Looking steady in Serie A too. A few surprising teams in the Italian top tier. Have Atletico Roma, Pescara and Juve Stabia had takeovers in the past?[/QUOTE]

One I'd been so close to for ages as well. Pescara aren't that surprising, from what I know they seem to be Serie B regulars to Serie A isn't that big a stretch, no more than Leicester (for example). They've had a couple of consortium takovers 10 and 1 years ago but they were already in Serie A when the first happened, and with the exception of 1 season, have been for 17 years, so that's not had too much effect. Ditto for Juve Stabia, who have been in Serie A for over 20 years, and have only had a consortium takeover (plus 2 promotions from within) since then, so like Pescara it hasn't really had anything to do with them being Serie A regulars. However Atletico Roma had a tycoon takeover 10 years previously, taking them from Serie C1 to A in 5 years, down to B and back in the meantime. Chairman 'will listen to offers', there's a loan debt on 60M (compared to a value of 23M), and (just) in the relegation zone so future not looking too great.

The thing about a long-term game is that 10+ seasons in you do get big shifts in which leagues teams are in, so as this season is the 29th these things aren't that notable to someone used to them, like I am. That said not too many surprises in the Premier League, Bristol City and Coventry really being the closest right now. Regular appearances by Huddersfield, Scunthorpe and Peterborough being the biggest surprises in recent seasons but as they're strong League 1 at worst it's nothing that major.

Anyway, still doing pretty well in the league, well on course for a first European qualification in 11 years, or even a first top 5 in 13. Up to 3rd is achievable but just the top 6 will do nicely.

[B]Jan 2039[/B]
[B]Napoli 2-0 Milan (A)[/B]
It felt odd returning to league action without the ACN having even started. And a trip to Napoli was a tough one. We’d drop down from 4th unless we won (or Roma failed to win if it was a draw), which seemed a very tall order. The first half was very tight. However they pounced to score from a rebound in the 14th minute. They snatched another before the break, and we didn’t really look like coming back in the second half.

[B]Milan 1-0 Salernitana (A)[/B]
It was a relief to next have a Salernitana side who had just three points. They way we played for a lot of the match made it seem like we’d gift them another three, or at least one. Larsen set Toninho up for what turned out to be the only goal of the game after half an hour, and while we won it was worrying looking so shaky against a side like that.

[B]Catania 1-0 Milan (CI)[/B]
We needed to step up when we went to Catania in the cup. It was a more even game than our league encounter in December, but on the other side of the coin, we couldn’t quite keep them out this time as they scored in the 25th minute. The second half saw a good fightback but not good enough to equalize.

[B]Roma 3-2 Milan (A)[/B]
A trip to Roma saw us go behind in the 12th minute. We had a good go but conceded another in the 52nd. The match seemed to be over but within 10 minutes, Toninho got a brace to draw us level, however they also retook the lead in that timeframe and we couldn’t come back again.

[B]Milan 3-1 Atalanta (A)[/B]
We weren’t having a great run, and went behind again against Atalanta in the 9th minute. Bertoni and Hoffman gave us the lead after half an hour. Our position was still pretty precarious, but Chumbinho made it safe 5 minutes from time.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/jan39.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

[B]Feb 2039[/B]
[B]Fiorentina 1-1 Milan (A)[/B]
We looked to be restoring a bit of form as we were very bright for most of the first half at Fiorentina. However a lack of finishing product cost us as they took a 41st minute lead. Toninho equalized a couple of minutes later, and we failed to get a winner.

[B]Juventus 2-0 Milan (A)[/B]
A trip to Juventus was expected to be too tough. They scored in the 12th minute and were on top for a while afterwards. We managed to liven up in the second half, and were unlucky to have a Toninho goal disallowed before they got a second. Thankfully that was the day of the ACN final, so it ended up being a good one after all.

[B]Milan 5-1 Bologna (A)[/B]
A game with struggling Bologna was a great chance to fire up again, which we took with both hands. Bertoni scored in the first minute, with Lovell following in the 22nd minute, and Chumbinho got a third on the stroke of half-time. They got a goal back in the 63rd minute, but it was just a minute later that Chumbinho scored again, and he completed a hat-trick 5 minutes from the end. It was the first of three home games that I wanted maximum points from to enhance our European chances.

[B]Milan 2-0 Parma (A)[/B]
The second, against Parma, was significant because it was a game in hand we’d had for a few weeks, so felt like a ‘bonus’ game. With Bertoni in full creative swing, Lovell and Toninho set us on our way with a goal each before 6 minutes were up. They had a few dangerous patches but otherwise we were on top enough that we really should have had a third.

[B]Milan 4-0 Chievo (A)[/B]
Chievo were the last of this trio, though a bit stronger than the others. We had easily beaten them in Verona however. They proved tougher to break through, but in the 20th minute, Kunisch headed us onto the lead (which put us 3rd as things stood, though I wasn’t expecting to move into the top 4). They hit us with some strong attacks, a warning not to take things for granted, but Lovell extended the lead in the 34th minute. Both sides had their chances for most of the rest of the game, but on balance we deserved more, and got it with a pair of goals in the final few minutes, from Mosquera and Toninho. The top 4 being the cup semi-finalists meant that 7th would likely be enough, which was just as well as we were only 2 points clear of that position (but Fiorentina in 8th, who had a game in hand, were 8 points behind), and had to go to Palermo next.

[B]Palermo 5-0 Milan (A)[/B]
From the start there was only going to be one winner. It took 24 minutes for Palermo to eventually break through, though they ran up 2 mote before half-time. We looked pretty lively in the second half but was for nothing and they tore us apart to win 5-0. It had been a major schooling and no mistake, but we remained 5th with just Inter to play out of the top 4.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/feb39.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

[B]Mar 2039[/B]
[B]Milan 1-0 Pescara (A)[/B]
The most important thing about the table after the Palermo defeat was that we remained 2 points ahead of Pescara, occupying the 7th place that I was determined to keep ahead of, and we played them at home next, which hopefully would help extend that advantage, or at least maintain it. We were frustrated in the first half as we had many chances but couldn’t grab a goal. Toninho finally scored early in the second half, but they gave us considerable pressure and it was a great relief to just about hold on to the win after another great performance from Alberti (who was still only 20) in goal.

[B]Atletico Roma 0-4 Milan (A)[/B]
Chumbinho was suspended to the trip to Atletico Roma, but Di Gregorio shone in his absence. He scored in the 19th and 22nd minutes, a penalty giving him a hat-trick in the 33rd minute, and Bertoni wrapping up in the 39th minute.

[B]Milan 2-0 Lazio (A)[/B]
Lazio was another reasonably important game regarding European qualification, though down in 9th so not as much as Pescara were, or Napoli would be. Toninho’s 21st minute penalty gave us the lead in a drab first half. We had a clearer superiority in the second half, another goal by Toninho (who had a poor injury-hit first few months but had really hit his stride recently) in the 67th minute.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/mar39.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

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Well done on the ACL victory! Can't believe you're up to 2039 already; you are flying through the seasons!!

Not going too badly domestically, although you don't seem to have a very good record against the other top six teams in Serie A ;)

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[quote name='AK22']Well done on the ACL victory! Can't believe you're up to 2039 already; you are flying through the seasons!!

Not going too badly domestically, although you don't seem to have a very good record against the other top six teams in Serie A ;)[/QUOTE]

Yep, despite that fact that this was only started at the end of Jan, looking well on course to go past 2053 for the first time. Anyway results against the top sides wasn't my most immediate concern ;) Sadly had a rather poor end to the season but still reasonably happy.

[B]Apr 2039[/B]
[B]Milan 2-1 Sampdoria (A)[/B]
We fell with a bit of a crash against Sampdoria. We conceded in the 5th minute, and just about managed to equalize from Di Gregorio before the break. We looked a bit brighter in the second half, but still fell to a late defeat in the 84th minute, having looked like we might grab a winner.

[B]Juve Stabia 2-4 Milan (A)[/B]
Things didn’t look much better at Juve Stabia, as they took the lead in the 3rd minute, then a penalty saw us 2-0 down after just 6 minutes. Mosquera headed in a goal back in the 9th minute, and as we got our confidence back, Toninho equalized in the 35th minute. Bertoni finally gave us the lead in the 51st minute, and got another or good measure in the 83th minute, completing a great turnaround.

[B]Inter 0-4 Milan (A)[/B]
Our last game against the top 4 was the ‘away’ derby with Inter. We just didn’t turn up in the first half, going 4-0 down without so much of a whimper, and simply avoided conceding more.

[B]Milan 2-1 Catania (A)[/B]
Champions Catania looked like they wouldn’t even be in Europe next season, but they still had enough about them to take the lead at the San Siro in the 35th minute, after we started brightly but just dropped off late in the half. We surged forward in the second half but they got a second goal late on, with N’Sumbu scoring far too late in stoppage time. Well we did steal a win in Sicily that should have been a Catania hammering, so we were now even with this ‘efficient’ display. What it did mean, as the 3rd defeat in 4, was that with 4 games to go we were mostly in a battle to secure 6th now. Napoli (who we played as our 3rd last game) were 6 points ahead, and Fiorentina 2 behind. However Pescara were a further 5 behind so with 7th looking enough it probably wouldn’t derail our European qualification ambition. In our favour, we had the bottom 2 sides at the end.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/apr39.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

[B]May 2039[/B]
[B]Siena 2-1 Milan (A)[/B]
We were definitely having a poor end to the season, going behind at Siena after half an hour, who wouldn’t be easy but who otherwise I’d have expected to beat. They got another early in the second half before we started to do anything, Chumbinho got a goal back in the 78th minute and we should have grabbed an equalizer.

[B]Milan 2-1 Napoli (A)[/B]
Having beaten a Lazio side at home earlier in the spring who had easily rolled us over in the away game, I hoped for a repeat against Napoli. Indeed we were far better, being comfortably on top before Bertoni gave us a 33rd minute lead. They came close to equalizing late in the first half, but otherwise weren’t too troubled, and earned our other goal from Chumbinho in the 68th minute. It wasn’t enough to retake 6th but we had an easy run-in.

[B]Salernitana 2-1 Milan (A)[/B]
First was a trip to Salernitana, long-relegated with just 9 points. However we struggled to beat them at home, and this time a penalty gave them a half-time lead. We didn’t comeback as good as we should have, Toninho equalized in the 59th minute but as we chased a winner, they got it instead. It confirmed 7th with a game left, and European football next season, but didn’t feel like triumph after that game.

[B]Milan 3-1 Triestina (A)[/B]
Triestina were last, and I hoped to make up for Salernitana at least. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was comfortable. Chumbinho gave us the lead from an 18th minute penalty, followed by Kunisch a few minutes later. They got a goal back before half-time but otherwise we cruised. Chumbinho scored again in the 74th minute and was denied a hat-trick by a disallowed goal, ending the season on a reasonably good note.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/final39.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

The poor final couple of months could only do so much to spoil a very good season. It had been a mixed start, then we seemed to hit our stride, and it looked like not only would we get European qualification but top 5 or 4 might be possible, though it did at least mean that we could survive the late slump. On the whole, it was a very promising start to Milan life, especially with 3 17yr old regulars (2 in defence) and a lot of transfer activity that wasn’t my fault last year, so it looked like we had the foundations of a pretty strong side, and we could look forward to a more gelled squad, and trimmed of those surplus to requirements who were ruining the atmosphere. It was especially good to see a lot of the players I got in having very strong debut seasons, mainly Kunisch, Larsen, Lovell, and eventually Toninho.

While for a club like Milan this was only ever going to be a stepping stone to more glory (hopefully), it was still a very good first step, a first top 7 finish for 12 years is hardly bad going. There was still much to be done, as we were on course for even better, and did poorly against the top 4 (though that was hardly an immediate priority), plus in terms of squad quality there were a number of sides with comparable players, and I didn’t think we look good enough to challenge for a CL place, though we came closer than I expected in the spring. I was hoping for 5th or 6th.

Financially, we’d actually made almost 20M this season (having been worried about being able to restore the balance which I had used up last summer), most of it month on month, and a far lower wage bill (I expected it to be around 800kpw with a couple of high-earning veterans being released, compared to 930kpw now and 1M when I arrived) plus European football would hopefully give us a big boost next year, as while I could do a lot on 20M each year, it wasn’t much in terms of competing with the big boys again anytime soon. I had actually been planning to save it up this year to have far more for future seasons but decided that there’d be plenty of money anyway so I might as well improve things more in the summer.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/stats39.jpg"]Squad Stats[/URL]

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[B]Summer 2039[/B]
I was very much looking forward the next season. We would start a European campaign (which would do wonder both for finances and rep) in the third qualifying round, which would give us good preparation for the start of the league season. Torino and Udinese returning to Serie A made it even more interesting, and I already find it a very interesting league, a change of scenery from the Premier League, and more open than La Liga, probably my favourite place in FM. I still didn’t think we could get a CL place but was expecting a much stronger European qualification than last time, though kept the board expectations to ‘top-half’ as that would still give me all the money we had to spend.

Having been worried about using up the money last summer, I had over 30M to spend), and could actually afford to go quite a bit in the red if need be, though obviously I would try not to. A gradually improving (and more gelled) squad was a good reason to be excited, and Europe would be an interesting challenge. No European football for 11 years meant that even in the Europa League, we would have a tough time of it for a while. I didn’t hang about using the budget, starting off with pinching one of the most promising forwards in Italy from Palermo (and then splashing out to get one that already looked fantastic from Juve Stabia), and while we weren’t their title-rivals yet, it would be great having him playing for us instead if against us when it came to that. I also used my non-eu transfer very early on a versatile and promising Brazilian, though admittedly far better (though far more expensive) options presented themselves later. There were also a few more Germans.

There were quite a few bargains to be found, alongside a couple of players worth splashing out on. Even without considering the reasonably heavy influx of players, it would probably take a couple of years for this side to really come together, but I was far more optimistic about being able to play with the big boys again soon, even if it probably wouldn’t be next year.

No transfer screen as it's a bit messed up showing a lot of last year's activity as well as this year.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/Digao.png"]Digao[/URL] (From Gremio)

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/Lozo.jpg"]Lozo[/URL] (From Nurnburg)

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/Pugliese.jpg"]Pugliese[/URL] (From Palermo)

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/Schmiedel.jpg"]Schmeidel[/URL] (From Schalke)

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/Terzi.jpg"]Terzi[/URL] (From Juve Stabia)

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/Wohlfarth.jpg"]Wohlfarth[/URL] (From Frankfurt)

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Well done on getting back into European competition! Hopefully next year see you in the Champions League.

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Great to see you finally win the ACN with Ghana, fully deserved and nice to see you go out on a high to commit fully to AC Milan. A decent first season, first step of many that I am sure you will make with them and getting that place in the Europa League will surely help you on the way as well.

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Good work beginning to get this club turned around!

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[quote name='cerud']Well done on getting back into European competition! Hopefully next year see you in the Champions League.[/QUOTE]

[quote name='PaulHartman71']Great to see you finally win the ACN with Ghana, fully deserved and nice to see you go out on a high to commit fully to AC Milan. A decent first season, first step of many that I am sure you will make with them and getting that place in the Europa League will surely help you on the way as well.[/QUOTE]

[quote name='cswalk08']Good work beginning to get this club turned around![/QUOTE]

Thanks guys, unfortunately a poor start means that further progress will have to wait. Not that I'm already writing off this season but definitely some growing pains to go through and I'm mostly thinking of this year as being about treading water, hopefully managing a top-half finish, while European qualification would be nothing more than a relief. Not unexpected though, having to do quite an overhaul to try and turn Milan around, as well as with a young squad that definitely has a bright future but which which wouldn't come about immediately. Wouldn't be the first time a promising first season has been followed by a disappointing second.

[B]Jul/Aug 2039[/B]
[B]Milan 4-0 APOEL (EL)[/B]
The first European game was against APOEL. Cypriot sides often had some excellent young Brazilians, but this APOEL side didn’t have such a threat. Terzi had plenty of early chances on his debut, but it was Lovell who gave us the lead in the 23rd minute. His wing partner Bertoni gave us a long overdue second in the 49th minute. I felt we deserved a couple more at least, with Toninho and an own-goal giving them to us in the 78th and 88th minutes.

[B]APOEL 1-1 (1-5) Milan (EL)[/B]
Toninho gave us the lead in the 3rd minute in Cyprus. However another strong win wasn’t forthcoming. We looked like getting more, but they equalized before half-time, having had a goal disallowed in the 10th minute, and with the job done from our point of view, the game quietened down.

[B]IFK Goteborg 0-3 Milan (EL)[/B]
Thankfully just being Italian made us seeds in the 4th Qualifying round as well as the 3rd, and we got IFK Goteborg. Terzi set Toninho up in the 16th minute in the first leg in Gothenburg. Kunisch headed in a second in the 29th minute. They soon had a goal disallowed but that wouldn’t have made much difference as we romped home, Terzi finishing the scoring off (but we definitely deserved a 4th) in the 64th minute.

[B]Chievo 2-0 Milan (A)[/B]
Before the Milan leg we went to Chievo in the first league game. It was a bit of a wakeup call. We exchanged chances before they took the lead in the 21st minute. We fell very quiet for the rest of the half, conceding another just before the break. While we were far better in the second half, we failed to get even a consolation despite plenty of attacking promise.

[B]Milan 3-1 (6-1) IFK Goteborg (EL)[/B]
We looked forward to finishing IFK off in Europe. Traore headed us into a 4th minute lead. Chumbinho added another a few minutes before half-time. Larsen got a 3rd early in the second half, and while again we deserved a couple more, instead they scored late on.

[B]Milan 1-0 Parma (A)[/B]
Thankfully we improved in the league against Parma. Lovell scored in the 3rd minute, but we failed to build on that, Chumbinho being particularly culpable, especially with a missed penalty, so dominance did not lead to more goals. It didn’t help that Terzi went off with a dislocated shoulder, and would be out for up to 2 months. At least we had a win on the board. The Europa League draw wasn’t too kind, throwing up Marseille and Rubin, though Austria Vienna wouldn’t be so bad.

[B]Sept 2039[/B]
[B]Lazio 2-1 Milan (A)[/B]
Our league away-day pains continued at Lazio, who scored 2 quick goals after 20 minutes. Lovell scored just after the break but that as much as we were able to do.

[B]Milan 1-2 Rubin (EL)[/B]
The first Europa League group game was against Rubin, who didn’t look as bad as I feared they would. Pugliese gave us the lead in the 23rd minute, in a very hectic first half. That was just after they had a goal disallowed, which would have been against the run of play anyway. However they were far stronger in the second half, eventually getting an equalizer, but while we tried to get a winner (not helped by Chumbinho being very much Chumpinho) they grabbed it instead.

[B]Milan 1-3 Juventus (A)[/B]
Juventus wouldn’t be much more fun. They took the lead in the 22nd minute, after a lot of chances, and got another in the 40th minute. They got a third just after the break before Larsen got one for us. However we had very few chances for another until late on. Against Siena, Di Gregorio gave us the lead in the 22nd minute. However it looked like we’d blow it as they had a goal disallowed, before equalizing with 15 minutes left. However we surged forward in search of a winner and Di Gregorio got it in the 88th minute.

[B]Catania 1-1 Milan (A)[/B]
We managed to put in a reasonable away performance at Catania. Lovell gave us the lead in the 21st minute, but gradually they took control of the game, and we couldn’t quite hold out, as they equalized in the 68th minute.

[B]Austria Vienna 0-3 Milan (A)[/B]
We went to Vienna in the second Europa group game, and saw them off easily enough. Bertoni and Lovell each scored in the first 16 minutes. Bertoni got another in the 56th minute, and had a late goal disallowed that would have given him a hat-trick. Once again the two wingers were setting a great example.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/sept39.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

[B]Oct 2039[/B]
[B]Milan 2-2 Pescara (A)[/B]
We were still stuttering in the league, and conceded in the 5th minute against Pescara. They kept pounding us, while our efforts came to nothing at the other end, but a quick double from Bertoni in the middle of the second half turned it around. Schmeidel’s injury left us with 10 men for the last 15 minutes, so it was no surprise that they scored to get a point.

[B]Atletico Roma 0-1 Milan (A)[/B]
A trip to Atletico Roma was a good chance to get a first domestic away win of the season. We were mostly very strong, Bertoni gave us the lead after half an hour. We slackened off late on, but grabbed that win.

[B]Marseille 2-4 Milan (EL)[/B]
An extremely strong Marseille side was unlikely to give us away win. However Di Gregorio gave us a 9th minute lead. While we faced a lot of pressure, we gave as good as we got until late in the half when they got a pair of goals in the lack few minutes. It looked like we’d blown it but in the 73rd minute, Traore headed us level. I’d have been happy with that, but Di Gregorio put us back into the lead a few minutes after that. 10 minutes later Traore rounded off an amazing 4-2 win. It was a rare bright spot in a poor season so far, and put us top of the group, level with Marseille, and with Rubin held by Vienna they were 2 points behind. After losing at home to the Russians I thought that qualifying would be a tall order, but while we still had to go to Russia, if we got something at home to Marseille next (far more likely after tonight) we looked good to do so.

[B]Milan 3-0 Brescia (A)[/B] [B]1000th career match![/B]
We celebrated with my 1,000th career game at home to Brescia. For most of the first half we had little luck in taking the lead. In the 44th minute, Terzi (who was still unfit after his injury, and had come on as a sub for his return) scored a penalty, followed by Di Gregorio also scoring in stoppage time. Di Gregorio got another with 12 minutes left, wrapping up a strong win.

[B]Milan 0-2 Napoli (A)[/B]
Napoli would be a tricker test of whether we were turning things around. They had a goal disallowed in the 5th minute, but otherwise we could have easily had the lead before they scored just before half-time. Late in the second half we turned up the pressure but only managed to concede another.

[B]Udinese 0-3 Milan (A)[/B]
We were rather slow at Udinese, but Terzi gave us a 23rd minute lead. A Wohlfarth penalty extended the lead a couple of minutes into the second half, and in the 82nd minute, Mosquera capped off a good performance by heading in a corner to get the third and final goal.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/oct39.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

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That's not the best of starts, although pretty nice to celebrate your 1000th game with a 3-0 win. Juventus aren't doing too bad are they? 30 points from 30, not bad at all!

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Just need a bit more consistency and then you could easily grab a Europe spot! Once all those young players you've bought develop though, you could become a force in the league. Might be a few seasons away though.

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Very mixed start to the season.

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[quote name='PaulHartman71']That's not the best of starts, although pretty nice to celebrate your 1000th game with a 3-0 win. Juventus aren't doing too bad are they? 30 points from 30, not bad at all![/QUOTE]

Yeah, they'll be a very tough challenge in the future, and great to have that milestone win, especially after Marseille, which has been the only real bright spot so far.

[quote name='Scarman']Just need a bit more consistency and then you could easily grab a Europe spot! Once all those young players you've bought develop though, you could become a force in the league. Might be a few seasons away though.[/QUOTE]

I'm not worried about a couple of years time, definitely got the basis of a very good side, but clearly there's a bit of waiting to do.

[quote name='SRL88']Very mixed start to the season.[/QUOTE]

It gets worse, we've only played one of the regular top 4 (Juve, Palermo, Roma and Inter), and already done 2 of the promoted sides so the fixture list won't be getting kinder for a while.

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Congrats on your 1 000 match! Hope that the season begins to turn around.

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It's going to take some stopping Juve, they're running away with it even at this stage!

Well done on 1000 games too. Not easy to reach that landmark.

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[quote name='cerud']Congrats on your 1 000 match! Hope that the season begins to turn around.[/QUOTE]

[quote name='Raware']It's going to take some stopping Juve, they're running away with it even at this stage!

Well done on 1000 games too. Not easy to reach that landmark.[/QUOTE]

It did take over 10 seasons more to do it than last career though, probably because of soe poor patches with long periods without a club and being in leagues with fewer teams early on. Still, come a long way since doing very badly in the Slovanian Second League at the start. Anyway things picked up a bit eventually. Juve's form is a bridge to cross when we come to it. Just being in the mix would be a bit of a step up from where were are now.

[B]Nov 2039[/B]
[B]Milan 1-3 Marseille (EL)[/B]
We had plenty of hope for the home game with Marseille, but they were quickly dashed when they scored in the 3rd minute, and Katsikas scored an own-goal 11 minutes later. A point would be good for us and we eventually got a goal back from Di Gregorio with 15 minutes left, but 5 minutes later a third Marseille goal left us 3 points behind them and one behind Rubin.

[B]Roma 2-0 Milan (A)[/B]
Very little happened in the first half at Roma, which was probably a good thing given I was expecting to lose. Unfortunately that’s what happened as they hit us with a 52nd minute goal, and another 5 minutes later as the only side that really did anything.

[B]Milan 3-1 Torino (A)[/B]
Torino’s return to Serie A had not been good, they had only a single point so far and failing to beat them at home would be an embarrassment. We took the lead in first half stoppage time from Toninho, not having looked like winners before that. He grabbed another in the 55th minute as we looked brighter, but failed to take advantage of a sending-off, instead conceding in the 76th minute, though a Bertoni volley with a couple of minutes left made it respectable.

[B]Inter 1-0 Milan (A)[/B]
It was back down to earth in the ‘away’ derby against Inter. They scored in the 22nd minute, and the only reason there weren’t more was Alberti keeping out a number of Inter shots.

[B]Milan 4-2 Atalanta (A)[/B]
We had a good start against Atalanta, Di Gregorio got a brace in the first half an hour. They got a goal back in the 41st minute, and equalized at the start of the second half, but we retook control of the game. Toninho scored in the 52nd minute, and Di Gregorio finished off a hat-trick in the 66th minute.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/nov39.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

[B]Dec 2039[/B]
[B]Rubin 0-0 Milan (EL)[/B]
We went to Rubin needing to avoid defeat to have a chance of going through, and even a draw would leave us at the mercy of their final game with Marseille. Both sides were very much up for it, We were probably just about on top in the first-half, though they got stronger as the half wore on. We upped the ante early in the second half, but it didn’t last and they heavily bombarded us for most of the rest of the game, even after a red card, though we still came close a few times. Terzi thought he had given us a winner in the 84th minute, only to see it disallowed, but a draw was still good as unless they beat Marseille, a win at home against Austria Vienna would be enough to see us through, and that seemed a very likely outcome.

[B]Juve Stabia 0-3 Milan (A)[/B]
Terzi had a storming game at his old club, Juve Stabia. He scored after 18 minutes, and had a hat-trick by half-time as we strolled to a good win.

[B]Milan 2-0 Palermo (A)[/B]
He got another in the 5th minute against Palermo, and we were very much up or more. Munoz extended the lead a couple of minute before half-time. They tried to hit back in the second half, but while they attacked throughout, we were able to hold firm, and get our first win against one of the big sides. It also meant that while only 9th, we were just 5 points adrift of 2nd in what was a tight top half, admittedly with some strong variances in games played.

[B]Milan 6-2 Austria Vienna (EL)[/B]
Confidence was high ahead of a European game with Austria Vienna that we were expected to win, but also needed Rubin not to in Marseille. Austria scored in the 3rd minute, but a couple of minutes later Terzi equalized. The rest of the half was very hectic stuff a we pounded them in search of the lead (which we needed, Marseille were beating Rubin but head-to-head was keeping the Russians in 2nd) while looking vulnerable enough that they could get another. After a first few months in Milan blighted by an injury and mediocre form, Terzi was really on fire right now, and he gave us the lead right before the half-time whistle. Both sides kept the pressure on early in the second half, and they got a potentially deadly equalizer in the 52nd minute. However that was as bad as things got. Di Gregorio restored our lead just before the hour mark, and while Terzi got a booking that would rule him out of the next European match, what mattered was that thanks to him we would be in the next round in the first place, as he go two more, sandwiching another Di Gregorio goal, as his tally of 4 gave us a 6-2 win to send us through, despite a Rubin equalizer in France.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/el39.jpg"]EL Group Table[/URL]

The next round would see us face Birmingham. As they were 3rd in the Premier League they weren’t to be underestimated. If we won, Sunderland or Guimaraes would follow.

[B]Sampdoria 1-4 Milan (A)[/B]
We rounded off the year at Sampdoria. They took the lead in the first minute, and we didn’t do much until Munoz equalized just before half time. It appeared as if we still had issues, but we burst into life in the second half. Traore gave us the lead in the 55th minute, Terzi scored his 9th goal in 4 games in the 64th minute, and that was followed by another Traore goal 20 minutes after his first, giving us our 4th league win in a row. Things were now looking up, and a European spot looked there for the taking, especially as the first two league games after the Christmas break were both at home against the two sides just above us. We were now looking like the Milan we should be instead of the Milan we’ve been up until December.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/dec39.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

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That's a fairly tight league table. Still a lot of opportunity for movement upwards.

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[quote name='cerud']That's a fairly tight league table. Still a lot of opportunity for mvoement upwards.[/QUOTE]

We didn't really take our opportunity to do so while we avoided most of the tougher games.

[B]Jan 2040[/B]
[B]Milan 0-1 Fiorentina (A)[/B]
Already missing Terzi for the first Birmingham game, an injury sidelined him up to that point as well. Without him we were criminally wasteful in the first half against Fiorentina, and as we gradually lost momentum, they scored in the 41st minute. That knocked the wind from our sails and we were on the back foot for the rest of the match as they came close to another goal a few times.

[B]Cesena 0-3 Milan (CI)[/B]
We had no such trouble at home to Serie B Cesena in the cup, but weren’t very impressive. Di Gregorio gave us a 5th minute lead, and we only got a couple more late on from Katsikas and Bertoni. Chievo generally looked too good for us. They scored in the 10th minute, and we only came to life near the end, however Larsen’s goal right at the end gave us a point.

[B]Milan 1-1 Parma (A)[/B]
We found things tricky at Parma. Bertoni gave us the lead after 35 minutes, but it was only Alberti who preserved the lead for most of the match, and he couldn’t quite hang on until the end as they got a last-minute equalizer.

[B]Milan 3-0 Lazio (A)[/B]
After a mediocre start to 2040, we had our first strong performance at home to Lazio. Di Gregorio scored in the 4th minute. They had an equalizer disallowed a few minutes later, but you can’t say we were lucky as we took control with a 9th minute Traore goal, and won it with a Kunisch header after half an hour.

[B]Roma 2-1 Milan (CI)[/B]
We went to Roma in the cup. The odds were very bad, but we managed to avoid being out played, though we did go behind in the 19th minute. Bertoni equalized in the 40th, and we were just as good value for a winner in the second half as they were, but in stoppage time they just sneaked through.

[B]Juventus 2-0 Milan (A)[/B]
The odds were even worse for a trip to Juventus. It was nowhere near as close. They took the lead in the 15th minute. For a while Alberti held off further goals but they broke through again shortly before half-time, even if they couldn’t after that.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/jan40.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

[B]Feb 2040[/B]
[B]Milan 2-1 Catania (A)[/B]
The month started with some bad news. Our bright young keeper Alberti was ruled out for 5-6 weeks, missing both Birmingham games (and we were already without Terzi for one leg) among other things, and very much slashing our chances of progress in Europe or being able to get into the European places. We got off to a good start though. Lovell gave us a 13th minute lead against Catania, quickly followed by Di Gregorio. They got a goal back in the 26th minute, but while they came close occasionally, we looked a lot more like getting another, and would have but Chumbinho had a goal disallowed after 80 minutes.

[B]Siena 2-3 Milan (A)[/B]
We went behind at Siena after 13 minutes. Di Gregorio equalized in the 35th minute. They retook the lead in the 55th minute, but Lovell made it 2-2 in the 69th minute and after that we ploughed forward in search of a win, which Chumbinho got with a few minutes left.

[B]Milan 2-2 Birmingham (EL)[/B]
We then had the home leg against Birmingham. We were on top in the first half, Lovell giving us the lead after 15 minutes. They snatched a 60th minute equalizer, but only had the edge for a brief time before we flew at them in search of a vital winner. Toninho scored in the 84th minute, but a controversial stoppage time penalty denied us an advantage to take to Birmingham, away goal not helping either.

[B]Pescara 3-2 Milan (A)[/B]
We looked like continuing good domestic form when Bertoni gave us a 10th minute lead at Pescara. However we just dropped away as by the 51st minute they were 2-1 up. Terzi levelled it in the 55th minute but after struggling in the second half, we eventually conceded a Pescara winner in the 83rd minute.

[B]Birmingham 4-4 (6-6a) Milan (EL)[/B]
We weren’t too confident ahead of the Birmingham trip. Kunisch headed us into the lead in the 2nd minute to give us a chance. This was followed by the much-missed Terzi a few minutes later, and at a stroke, we matched their away goals. Toninho got in on the act in the 10th minute. They needed 4 goals now, and got the first in the 15th minute, followed quickly by the second as they besieged us in search of the others. Toninho raised the bar for them with 5 minutes left, and that quietened them for a while. They got their 3rd goal in the 51st minute, and while they didn’t hit us as hard as before, they still kept threatening and levelled the aggregate score with 10 minutes left, though we still had the away goals advantage, which we held on to despite a couple of close Birmingham chances. It was a tense end to an epic tie. Guimaraes would be next in the last 16.

[B]Milan 2-0 Atletico Roma (A)[/B]
Bertoni gave us the lead after 20 minutes against Atletico Roma. We were dominant enough that we should have had more, eventually getting a second goal right at the end from a Toninho penalty.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/feb40.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

[B]Mar 2040[/B]
[B]Napoli 1-0 Milan (A)[/B]
A trip to Napoli would be tough, but as they were 3 points ahead of us in 7th, it was probably as critical a league game we’d have all season. We hit them hard for a lot of the first half, but couldn’t make a breakthrough. It was their turn to keep coming close for the rest of the match, aside from a hectic middle of the second half, but just as it seemed we had survived, in stoppage time they grabbed a winner.

[B]Guimaraes 3-2 Milan (EL)[/B]
We hoped to make amends in our next away trip, to Portugal to face Vitoria Guimaraes. I didn’t rate them, and they were easily the most favourable draw, as the rest of the sides were reasonably big names from Twente, Leverkusen, Lens and Sporting Lisbon to Juventus, Man Utd, Chelsea (who admittedly were in a similar boat to Milan and had even tried to hire me recently) and Dortmund. While he was still recovering fitness, I decided that it was important enough to put Alberti back in for. We dominated the early stages, and Larsen scored in the 15th minute, but suddenly they came out of their shell, eventually equalizing in the 39th minute, and coming out of nowhere to head in a corner and take the lead just before the break. They took a 3-1 lead at the beginning of the second half as the defence were completely letting the side down. The forwards weren’t covering themselves in glory either, so it was up to the midfield (all of whom had been good) to rescue the situation. Munoz made it 3-2 in the 85th minute, and while we still lost the game, I expected a reasonably comfortable victory at the San Siro so still felt we would be able to go through, especially as thanks to away goals, 1-0 or 2-1 would be enough.

[B]Milan 5-1 Udinese (A)[/B]
Udinese were a sort of warm-up. Toninho gave us a 19th minute lead, and scored another 20 minutes later. They pulled a goal back just after that, but in the middle of the second half we hit them with a flurry of goals from young defender Franchi, Pugliese, and Bertoni, with another disallowed later and a missed penalty.

[B]Milan 4-0 (6-3) Guimaraes (EL)[/B]
In the home leg against Guimaraes, I gambled on breaking my policy of not changing a winning team, and put Terzi back in as I felt that his form this season trumped Pugliese’s second strong game. He rewarded me with a 21st minute goal after another strong start. Munoz gave us another goal on the strong of half-time. Mosquera headed in a third in the 52nd minute. Terzi got another 10 minutes later as it was as easy as I expected, and would have been even easier as a tie if the midfield didn’t have to try and carry the team in Portugal. We drew Liverpool (5th in the Premier League) in the quarter-finals. I didn’t expect to get through whoever we drew, so wouldn’t mind too much if we didn’t, but knew we had a decent shot.

[B]Brescia 1-1 Milan (A)[/B]
Bertoni gave us the lead at Brescia in the 14th minute, but they sneaked an equalizer 10 minutes later. We tried continuously to get a winner, but while we were pretty dominant, we dropped points again against a side in the relegation zone.

[B]Torino 1-2 Milan (A)[/B]
We hoped to avoid a hat-trick of such occurrences at Torino. They took the lead in the 11th minute. We didn’t look much like coming back and even got lucky that they had a second disallowed just before the break. A Pugliese shot held us to an own-goal equalizer in the 48th minute. We did sod all until late on when Pugliese got a 84th minute winner. That took us into 7th for the first time all season.

[B]Liverpool 4-0 Milan(EL)[/B]
We needed to do better in Liverpool. The defence let us down on our travels yet again. The game was even if unexciting for a lot of the first half, but they efficiently picked us off with three goal before half-time. They got a 4th in the hour mark. Until we livened up at the end, Alberti in goal was the only player rising above the mediocrity, which says it all. We might have had a chance even with a narrow defeat, but we just threw the tie away already.

It looked like the home leg would be the last European game for at least a year, as our 7 remaining games included 4 top 6 sides (mostly away), Napoli were 5 points ahead in 6th, and even if we somehow held 7th it may not be enough. At risk of writing my end of season summary early, it didn’t matter too much as given we’d probably be a bit short of Europe with a side that just hadn’t been firing this season, we had a pretty good campaign under our best, and league improvement next season would be far more of a focus anyway.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/mar40.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

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What's your run in like? If results go your way, you could sneak above Napoli. 7th would still be a pretty decent finish though.

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Looking better than earlier in the season.

Although part of me doesnt want you to ;), you can overturn that Liverpool defeat. Just check my thread out for that :D.

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[quote name='Scarman']What's your run in like? If results go your way, you could sneak above Napoli. 7th would still be a pretty decent finish though.[/QUOTE]

Very bad, just holding on to 7th would be quite something. Inter (home), Roma (home), Atalanta (away), Juve Stabia (home), Palermo (away), Sampdoria (home), Fiorentina (away). Three winnable (though could drop points against Atalanta) and would be amazed to get more than a few points in total (if that, though an earlier home win over Palermo suggests that Inter and Roma aren't impossible) from the other four.

[quote name='SRL88']Looking better than earlier in the season.

Although part of me doesnt want you to ;), you can overturn that Liverpool defeat. Just check my thread out for that :D.[/QUOTE]

I had a feeling you'd be pleased with the Liverpool result :D

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[B]Apr 2040[/B]
[B]Milan 3-1 Inter (A)[/B]
A few injuries and suspensions played havoc with team selection for Inter, but a slightly odd lineup seemed to work as Mosquera gave us the lead after 25 minutes. They immediately equalized, but Terzi decided to show why I wanted to grab him from Stabia before anyone else did. He restored the lead in the 38th minute, and while we were on the back foot in the second half, he got another to clinch by first derby victory in the 82nd minute.

[B]Milan 0-1 (0-5) Liverpool (EL)[/B]
Before the Liverpool game, there was a rumour that a Liverpool fan based in Turkey had placed a bet on us winning 6-0. Given that Alberti was ill I felt that chap perhaps should have gone for the reverse scoreline. We had a bright burst at the start, but soon faded, especially when they scored in the 42nd minute, and we never even looked like scoring afterwards.

[B]Milan 2-2 Roma (A)[/B]
Our chances of a repeat of the Inter win against Roma took a blow when they scored a penalty in the 8th minute. Toninho equalized a few minutes later but they took control in the second half, starting with regaining the lead, but late on Traore headed in a free-kick to give us a point. We appeared to be finishing the season far better than last time.

[B]Atalanta 2-1 Milan (A)[/B]
Terzi had a goal disallowed in the 11th minute at Atalanta, but finally scored in the 65th minute. However we had been far from comfortable, and they equalized 5 minutes later, getting a slightly surprising winner a few minutes after that.

[B]Milan 1-1 Juve Stabia (A)[/B]
If we were looking like a good finish they certainly stopped being the case when we went behind in the first half against Juve Stabia. We woke up late on and Kunisch headed in a Larsen corner to give us a point, and we somehow remained in 7th, however I knew by this point that it wouldn’t give us European football anyway. Indeed we faced the possibility of finishing as low as 10th due to how tight those places were.

[B]Palermo 2-0 Milan (A)[/B]
We were likely to drop after a trip to Palermo. We had a few early chanced but otherwise had to face a continuous barrage, end eventually they broke through in the 19th minute. That was quickly followed by a disallowed goal, but they got their deserved second anyway early in the 49th minute.

[B]May 2040[/B]
[B]Milan 5-1 Sampdoria (A)[/B]
Chumbinho was given a chance against Sampdoria as Terzi had a hernia, and he scored in the 16th minute. Sadly the rest of the side seemed to have given up, and they scored a penalty after 40 minutes that seemed to be the signal to play even worse. However Chumbinho scored again in the 48th minute and we sparked back into life. Toninho gave is a third within 5 minutes, Munoz scored in the 69th minute, then set Chumbinho up to complete his hat-trick in the 82nd minute.

[B]Fiorentina 0-2 Milan (A)[/B]
We would need to get something at Fiorentina to stand a chance of being above 9th. We managed to keep it fairly even for the first half, but they definitely on balance had the lion’s share of chances, Alberti definitely earning his summer holiday. We occasionally probed to try and get a breakthrough, and got it from Di Gregorio in the 65th minute. There was still no guarantee we’d get anything but Bertoni secured the win (and 7th) in the 84th minute, also denying Fiorentina a CL place.

[URL=" http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/100/final40.jpg/"]Final League Table[/URL]

It had been a bit of a difficult year, repeating last year’s 7th was better than it looked like being, as most players either never really shone at all or only in short bursts. We got first wins against Palermo and Inter, but dropped points against 4 of the bottom 5 as a sign of our continuously blowing hot and cold at different times, and never really sparking to life as a team. However that sort of showed what we could achieve when (and it was definitely ‘when’ and ‘how much’ not ‘if) we did, and there was no doubt we would, simply judging by the bids I was getting for quite a few players who weren’t even regulars. I was expecting better next year for sure, a return to Europe at least, and hopefully things really starting to click. As the wage bill kept tumbling I was also getting far more to spend, and without the need to get the numbers in, it was all about the true quality now.

[URL=" http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/823/stats40.jpg/"]Squad Stats[/URL]

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Still a bit hit and miss. Missing out on Europe could turn out to be a blessing in disguise though :)

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A 7th place finish is a good spot, but I know the desire to move into Europe :) Hopefully, next year this happens. Juventus is a beast! They are in my career save as well.

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Guess that's the risk with finishing 7th, sometimes a team below you can win a cup which sees you out of Europe. Like AK said could turn out to be a blessing in disguise with less games compared to everyone else next year :thup:

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[quote name='AK22']Still a bit hit and miss. Missing out on Europe could turn out to be a blessing in disguise though :)[/QUOTE]

Well certainly with a reasonable European campaign under our belt, the focus would definitely be a considerably improvement in the league even if we were in Europe again. In fact rejected the England job because of how much I want to focus on Milan and Serie A for now.

[quote name='cerud']A 7th place finish is a good spot, but I know the desire to move into Europe :) Hopefully, next year this happens. Juventus is a beast! They are in my career save as well.[/QUOTE]

My two 7th place finishes still mark the club's best finishes in over a decade. Had a taste of Europe so not so desperate for it right now. Juventus are just balancing out Palermo's recent dominance, while it means neither are invincible, it does mean I have to try and get the better of both sides, not just one, when it comes to challengin for the title, but we's some way from that yet.

[quote name='PaulHartman71']Guess that's the risk with finishing 7th, sometimes a team below you can win a cup which sees you out of Europe. Like AK said could turn out to be a blessing in disguise with less games compared to everyone else next year :thup:[/QUOTE]

That's why I don't take the last European place for granted unless I can see the cup's going the right way for it to be enough. We'll certainly have less games, as Europe added 16 more to last season, hopefully that will end up giving us more focus and energy in the league, even if otherwise I wouldn't see the extra challenge and games as a problem in the slightest.

[B]Summer 2040[/B]
I had over 50M this summer, and like last year I was able to keep expectations to ‘top-half’ and have all of it in the budget. I didn’t spend it quite as quickly as last year (nor did drain the balance, for the first time), but still had a weakness for ‘players for the future’ who I’d have to wait to blood in the first team, including a 14yr old from France! Well what’s this career for if not to load up with potential and be patient? I had to try and resist putting them in too much too early in order to avoid risking more stuttering.

I definitely wanted a return to Europe, and a far stronger qualification than last time, maybe getting close to the CL places, though a top 4 finish would require us to really get our act together from the start. That Katsikas was receiving bids of up to 35M suggested that at least some of the side was now ready after a couple of years of growing and gelling. One player I didn’t have to worry about was a Brazilian who I had to wait 2 years for, unusual as I’d otherwise not want to use up my future ‘non eu from abroad’ slots that way but already looked quality at 15. We also took our count of Germans up to 8 (with one more removed to the reserves) in an interesting reflection of the late 80’s, though it was Inter that had a few Germans and Milan with a few Dutch.

Off the pitch, I reinforced the coaching staff, making up for the fact that the facilities were downgraded (though still good) and the board felt that was fine for our current stature, ignoring the fact that that was far from where we should be. But when they decided the time was right we weren’t short on funding. Last season took us from an empty balance to 50M, and even without Europe this season (and aside from Liverpool, attendances were less than average anyway), another wage budget slash, added to the fact that we had over half of the balance left this time, meant that we’d be rolling in money already, even more so when we were in the CL on a regular basis I’d imagine.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/Adriano.jpg"]Adriano[/URL] (From Miniero, in 2 years time)

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/Diallo.jpg"]Diallo[/URL] (From Birmingham)

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/Eweka.jpg"]Eweka[/URL] (From Schalke)

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/Pastor.jpg"]Pastor[/URL] (From Marseille)

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/Puncheon.jpg"]Puncheon[/URL] (From Middlesborough)

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/Richter.jpg"]Richter[/URL] (From Leverkusen)

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/Sebastiao.jpg"]Sebastiao[/URL] (From Anorthosi)

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Despite what the league table says, been much improved this season.

[B]Sept 2040[/B]
[B]Bologna 0-3 Milan (A)[/B]
The opening game was postponed, so it was odd having a few sides having played twice before we started our season after the international break, at re-promoted Bologna. We lined up Alberti-Sebastiao-Traore-Kunisch-Ambrosi-Katsikas-Richter-Bertoni-Lovell-Eweka-Terzi, a pretty good looking first 11. We hit them with numerous chances in the first half, but as we didn’t score, they looked likely to sneak a goal. That often happens, but not this time as Terzi delivered in the 57th minute. It looked like that was all we would have to show from the game, but Terzi got another in the 79th minute, shortly followed by a Traore header to make it look as comfortable as it deserved to be.

[B]Milan 3-0 Lazio (A)[/B]
The original opening game was played afterwards, at home to Lazio, who were the sort of team we needed to be able to beat on a regular basis to have a shot at the top 4. They weren’t any sort of challenge. Terzi scored in the 13th minute, then converted a penalty in the 42nd, which also saw them go a man down. Despite the numerical disadvantage, they came out very strongly for a lot of the second half, but Bertoni gave us a 3rd goal in the 72nd minute, and 10 minutes later Terzi had another disallowed.

[B]Napoli 2-0 Milan (A)[/B] [B]100th Milan Match[/B]
A trip to Napoli would be far tougher. It was also my 100th Milan game. As I feared, they were just too strong, and resisting was all we could do. We somehow held out until the 50th minute, when they scored in the middle of two disallowed goals, and got a second goal right at the end.

[B]Milan 5-0 Chievo (A)[/B]
Terzi was injured for the Chievo game. Thankfully Toninho decided to turn up for one of his occasional good games, and gave us the lead in the 4th minute. Richter was pulling the strings well in midfield, which helped Eweka get his first goal for the club, and Bertoni to get two as we were 4-0 up at the break. Lovell set Toninho up in the 50th minute, and having lost to them on the opening day and been held at home last season, we had torn them apart this time.

[B]Atalanta 4-2 Milan (A)[/B]
Eweka gave us the lead at Atalanta, but just like our last trip to Bergamo, they tore the defence apart to quickly to 2-1 up. Richter levelled it before the break but they finished us off with 2 second half goals. The usually reliable Alberti was completely useless and I was far from impressed.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/sept40.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

[B]Oct 2040[/B]
[B]Milan 3-0 Parma (A)[/B]
We were without quite a few players (including both keepers) for Parma due to the European U21 playoffs. We had no trouble from them anyway. Toninho again shone, scoring in the 4th minute. We didn’t do too much else until late on, when he got another in the 73rd minute, and finished off a hat-trick with a penalty.

[B]Milan 4-3 Palermo (A)[/B]
I wasn’t looking forward to facing Palermo, but Toninho got us racing into a 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes. They started threatening, Puncheon was making his debut after Alberti’s Atalanta horror show (and I hoped to give him more opportunities given his wonderkid potential but being rather weaker then the Italian for now), and did a pretty good job, having been unavailable for his intended debut against Parma it was a bit of a baptism of fire, but they still got one back in the 40th minute. Toninho finished off another hat-trick in the last minute of the half to make things much safer. Puncheon had far more to do in the second half, but the defence let him down a bit, and they got a quick brace in just after an hour to level it. Terzi came off the bench and gave us a winner with a couple of minutes.

[B]Fiorentina 1-1 Milan (A)[/B]
Having struggled on the road at the stronger sides, I was worried when we went to Fiorentina, though we beat them in Tuscany at the end of last season. We made it very easy for them in the first half, as they took the lead in the 20th minute, followed quickly by having another disallowed. Before half time we started to spring to life, but try as we might we just weren’t taking our chances. They had a late resurgence, requiring an epic defensive performance (Puncheon was man of the match in his second ever first-team game), but oddly it was then that Toninho slipped through to get a late equalizer. Better late than never I guess.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/oct40.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

[B]Nov 2040[/B]
[B]Juve Stabia 1-4 Milan (A)[/B]
Toninho was seriously on form this autumn. He gave us the lead in the 12th minute at Juve Stabia. Bertoni had a follow up goal disallowed, but still extended the lead in the 27th minute, followed by Eweka just after the half-hour mark. Traore headed us a 4th in the 52nd minute, shortly before they did the same to get a consolation.

[B]Milan 0-3 Juventus (A)[/B]
Unfortunately, while we weren’t far off the top places, we had all of the top three next, facing Juventus and Inter with a trip to Roma in between. We gave the champions a very easy ride, and Puncheon never stood a chance. They scored in the 12th minute, against just before the break, and finished us off in the 69th minute, and it could have been worse.

[B]Roma 3-1 Milan (A)[/B]
Toninho was injured for a month so Terzi (and Alberti) was back in favour for Roma. It looked like a rejected penalty claim in the second minute was the closest we’d get to anything as they dominated and took the lead in the 9th minute. Pugliese made his first appearance of the season from the bench and levelled it within a minute, but unfortunately Digao didn’t so much go missing as get erased from time altogether and they quickly took a 3-1 lead we couldn’t come back from.

[B]Milan 0-4 Inter (A)[/B]
We didn’t show up at all against Inter. Conceding after 16 seconds set the scene as we were 4-0 down at the break, only showing up to stop them getting more. I was offered the very attractive Palermo job just after, and it was just as well I wanted to stay so much as after that it could have been very tempting. However while we obviously had big problems against the big sides, if we could keep up our great form against the rest we could still have an excellent season.

[B]Udinese 1-4 Milan (A)[/B]
A trip to Udinese was a good way to recover. However, we were a bit battered from our maulings, and while we had the lion’s share of the chances, we had a hard time of scoring until Wohlfarth gave us the lead a few minutes before the break. They equalized in the 47th minute, but regained the lead from a 62nd minute own-goal. 10 minutes later Pugliese made it 3-1, and Terzi finished them off in the 85th minute.

[URL="http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/nov40.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

[B]Dec 2040[/B]
[B]Milan 3-0 Modena (A)[/B]
Next was promoted Modena at home. Traore’s 8th minute header gave us the lead, but further goals just weren’t coming until well into the second half. Bertoni scored after an hour, and Terzi wrapped things up in the 84th minute.

[B]Livorno 0-2 Milan (A)[/B]
We went to another promoted side, Livorno. We had a good start but without much end product before the game started to balance out, and they looked just as likely to win. Eweka finally scored in the 88th minute, and there was enough time for Terzi to get another.

[B]Milan 1-4 Pescara (A)[/B]
Bertoni gave us the lead after 15 minutes against Pescara, and it looked like another goal would be a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ unfortunately we were still not out of the phase where the defenders threw a game away, and they got three goals in the last 15 minutes of the half. We chased them hard, but a disallowed Terzi goal in the 65th minute was followed by a 4th for Pescara’s star striker, which was most frustrating. If ever you could say a team who won 4-1 got a lucky break, this was it.

[B]Sampdoria 0-4 Milan (A)[/B]
We hoped that wouldn’t spoil our form, and went to Sampdoria in the last game before the break. We certainly made up for Pescara. Bertoni scored after 25 seconds, followed by Eweka in the 9th, and Larsen after half an hour. Even Katsikas got in on the act, scoring his first league goal for the club (and 2nd overall) after 2 and a half years just before half time. It was like the Inter hammering only with us dishing it out, which unfortunately extended to the lack of second half goals. Somehow I felt we were worth a bit more than 8th, but in a fairly tight top half (4th was 5 points away and top was 8) the Atalanta and Pescara slip-ups were costing us badly (Juve and Inter were also disappointing but only due to the severity of the defeats rather than feeling we threw winnable points away), but I felt if we continued in similar form we could have a strong finish on our hands.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/dec40.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

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Looking very open this season, a good run of form could see you hit the CL places :thup:

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I agree with PaulHartman, at this stage anything could happen if you grab some form.

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[quote name='PaulHartman71']Looking very open this season, a good run of form could see you hit the CL places :thup:[/QUOTE]

[quote name='Scarman']I agree with PaulHartman, at this stage anything could happen if you grab some form.[/QUOTE]

In a way we're already on pretty good form. 10 wins out of 17, a lot of them very convincing, isn't bad at all, which is why I feel we're worthy of being a few places further up. Certainly we've been far better than last year, for the most part so should be improving on the two 7th finishes. 6 defeats is obviously rather less good, even then a few of those were near-inevitable, and that just left a couple of games the defence threw away, but while that won't happen much, we can't afford much more, and on such relatively small things can big differences in league position be made.

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Very good going so far in 2041 but, well read the last paragraph, going to be a roller-coaster from this point on.

[B]Jan 2041[/B]
[B]Siena 1-1 Milan (A)[/B]
Going to Siena, they posed little threat in the first-half, but they were a very tough nut to crack and we were goalless at half-time. They suddenly grabbed a goal after almost an hour, and looked pretty good after that. Just as it looked like another unlucky away-day Wohlfarth gave us a point in the 82nd minute but we deserved to come away with all three.

[B]Milan 2-1 Catania (A)[/B]
Catania, the last side we hadn’t played, were just below us so it was a good idea not to lose to them. We went behind in the 19th minute, but had been good up to that point and it took just 5 minutes for Terzi to equalize. They were very strong after the break but gradually we took control, and Mosquera gave us the win in the 85th minute.

[B]Milan 3-2 Parma (CI)[/B]
We had Parma in the first cup game, who were expected to be reasonably comfortable to beat. Terzi’s 14th minute penalty gave us the lead. They equalized in the 33rd minute but Eweka deservedly restored the lead just after. We were looking good in the second half. They equalized against the run of play in the 71st minute, but another Eweka goal in the 79th minute sent us through.

[B]Lazio 0-2 Milan (A)[/B]
Lazio would be a tough away trip, especially as they were just below us. On balance, they definitely had the first half-edge, but not so much that we didn’t have our chances, and Eweka gave us the lead in the 40th minute. It wasn’t Lazio’s day. They had an early goal disallowed, and in the second half were denied a penalty then had a player sent off. It took a while for their threat to diminish, and they could easily have had an equalizer. Terzi had a goal disallowed with 10 minutes left, but that was quickly followed by an unbeatable Mosquera giving us our second goal. We had ridden our luck a little but it was very promising that we could get wins from tough away games like this.

[B]Milan 4-1 Bologna (A)[/B]
Terzi gave us the lead after 5 minutes against Bologna, but the goal rush I expected didn’t come. Mosquera scored in the 52nd minute, followed by a Bologna goal, but the final few minutes saw a pair of Terzi goals to make it look as good as it should have been.

[B]Roma 2-0 Milan (CI)[/B]
Far more challenging would be the cup quarter-final at Roma, who had knocked us out both seasons I’d been at Milan. We looked good in the first half and were unlucky to go a goal down before the break. We found it hard to come back after that, and the eventually got a second, as yet again the dumped us out of the cup.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/jan41.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

[B]Feb 2041[/B]
[B]Milan 1-1 Napoli (A)[/B]
Toninho was back in the side to face Napoli and gave us the lead after 15 minutes, but as the half wore on, the less comfortable things got. They really turned the heat up in the second half, and we only just conceded an equalizer in the last minute.

[B]Chievo 2-2 Milan (A)[/B]
A trip to Chievo seemed like one of those days. They took the lead completely against the run of play (and after we had a penalty turned down), and seemed immune to conceding an equalizer. Bertoni got one in the 69th minute but they just took the lead again. More pushing gave us a point thanks to Terzi but they shouldn’t have even got that.

[B]Milan 3-0 Atalanta (A)[/B]
Atalanta were tough at first, but Terzi got a pair of goals in the last 5 minutes of the first half. He completed his hat-trick in the 47th minute, and while Mosquera was sent off, we held on easily enough.

[B]Parma 0-3 Milan (A)[/B]
We had a tricky start at Parma, but Terzi’s goal in the 19th minute was followed by Sebastiao. The Angolan defender scored another in the 73rd minute.

[B]Milan 6-0 Juve Stabia (A)[/B]
Bertoni gave us the lead in the 15th minute against Juve Stabia, and what followed was the finest half we’ve had yet, there has to be a Richter-scale joke somewhere as our German playmaker got a hat-trick (completed with a penalty), in the first half, with Toninho also scoring amongst that, and the Brazilian poacher getting another just after half-time.

We were up in 4th, 3 points ahead of Fiorentina and Juventus, but this was as good as things were going to get, as not only did we have Bertoni (probably our most important player) out for pretty much all of the season, leaving us with the 15yr old Pastor (who had admittedly done well in a few sub appearances) but we had the rest of the top 5 as our next set of games. Given my record against the big sides I expected to take a massive hit over the next month, so the question was how much ground we needed to make up to get 6th or 5th at least with a (mostly comfortable run-in).
[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/feb41.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

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Definitely a better season and still enough games left to really make things interesting :)

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[quote name='cerud']Definitely a better season and still enough games left to really make things interesting :)[/QUOTE]

Thanks, just finished that tough run of 5 games, and we're still in the top 6, and just 3 points behind 4th, which is a lot better then I was expecting so looking like getting 6th at least, and got a good shot at 4th. I said after December that we were worth a lot better than the 8th we were in at the time, and we're definitely proving it.

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How to qualify for Europe the hard way...

[B]Mar 2041[/B]
[B]Palermo 3-1 Milan (A)[/B]
What promised to be a painful month started in Palermo. Surprisingly we were on top in the first 10 minutes, but unsurprisingly they scored just afterwards. We looked spirited enough, but they had efficiently on their side and I felt being 3-0 down at the break was a little harsh. We still kept going, Pastor had a goal disallowed in the 55th minute, but at least we did get a goal 5 minutes later from Eweka. We failed to do much more after that, going down to our first defeat in 11 but felt we could have got something on another day.

[B]Milan 1-1 Fiorentina (A)[/B]
We were now down to 6th but level with Juventus and Fiorentina, playing the latter at home next, and I felt we had a good chance in this one. The first half kept swinging either way, but having missed a penalty earlier, they took the lead in the 35th minute. We had a strong second half. Toninho equalized after an hour, and we kept pushing for a winner. However late on that ramped up the pressure, which explained why I was rather more delighted with a point than if things had been the other way around.

[B]Juventus 2-2 Milan (A)[/B]
At Juventus, I wasn’t expecting the reasonably quiet and even first half that occurred. My heart still sunk when they took the lead in the 39th minute, but Terzi came off the bench and levelled it on the stroke of half-time. We were on the back foot in the second half, but Eweka gave us the lead after 68 minutes. It was far from over. This was perhaps the one game of the season I didn’t expect to win, and nor did we as they deservedly equalized at the end, but still it wasn’t a bad result, and I couldn’t complain too much. We still had the top two to go, Roma and Inter.

[B]Milan 2-0 Roma (A)[/B]
We had a very good start against Roma, and Traore gave us a deserved lead in the 20th minute. There was a nervous sense that they could equalize at any time, but Lovell extended our lead just a few minutes after coming on at half-time. We were quietly on top for the rest of the game. 5 points from those 4 games wasn’t too bad. My experiences facing Zilina and since I arrived have taught me to fear the worst.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/mar41.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

[B]Apr 2041[/B]
[B]Inter 4-1 Milan (A)[/B]
Of this tough run, we had the worst at the end, the ‘away’ derby with an Inter side that were 6 points clear at the top. We started very well, but the defence was weak and Inter breached it twice in a few minutes to have a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Wohlfarth gave us a goal back in the first minute of the second half. Unfortunately they had most of the pressure after that, and we never really had a chance to equalize, and after Richter’s injury left us with 10 men, they got two more goals to finish us off. Incompetent defence aside, it was still clear that we were closing the gap quite a bit to the best sides, however we were still in the top 6 (though level on points with a Catania side we had to travel to in the penultimate game), and just 3 points behind 5th and 4th so we looked good for a strong finish with most of the remaining games looking comfortable.

[B]Milan 6-1 Udinese (A)[/B]
We were very surprised at home against Udinese when they took the lead in the 14th minute, anything other than a win would be an embarrassment, and Sebastiao headed in a free-kick just afterwards. Eweka soon gave us the lead. Terzi made it 3-1 in the 27th minute, and he scored a penalty 10 minutes later. Sebastiao got another header in the 70th minute, and Terzi finished off his hat-trick with 5 minutes to go.

Special mention has to go to an amazing performance by Pastor. I was worried about getting him as he was just 14 when I got him and players I get who are under 16 rarely seem to develop, but decided he was worth a punt as a potential Zidane in case he ended up being one of the best players in the world playing against me. He was meant as backup and an eventual replacement for Bertoni, who was about to turn 30, and while there had been a few inevitable poor games he’d shown that even at just 15 and being thrust into the first team by the Italians injury, he wasn’t out of his depth, and was had already visibly improved a bit. I don’t think I have too much to worry about with him.

[B]Modena 0-2 Milan (A)[/B]
Larsen assisted an own-goal in the 18th minute at Modena. Terzi scored a few minutes later as it was clear that we were going to wrap this one up early. We comfortably battered them in the second half but didn’t get any more.

[B]Milan 4-0 Livorno (A)[/B]
After being the creative spark in the Modena win, Larsen gave us the lead in the 14 minute against Livorno. Terzi scored a few minutes later, and Sebastiao made it 3 in the 33rd minute. Terzi got his second goal of the game in the 54th minute as we strolled to another win. However Fiorentina were showing no sign of relinquishing 4th, and with a couple of potentially tricky games (especially the trip to Catania who were 3 points behind) 5th was far from secure. However Bertoni almost ready to return which was a massive boost.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/apr41.jpg"]League Table[/URL]

[B]May 2041[/B]
[B]Pescara 1-1 Milan (A)[/B]
I was slightly uneasy about going to Pescara, given the defence gifted them a 4-1 win at the San Siro in the autumn. They didn’t look like doing much in the first half, but we lacked finishing power. They took the lead in the 51st minute, but while Toninho equalized in the 58th minute, their spirits were much up and the rest of the game was a survival mission.

[B]Milan 0-1 Siena (A)[/B]
At home to Siena, we were frustrated for a lot of the first half. We really turned the pressure up in the second half, but not only couldn’t we score, they sneaked an 84th minute winner. Results elsewhere kept us in 5th but it was a missed opportunity to make it (or at least 6th) reasonably safe.

[B]Catania 2-4 Milan (A)[/B]
Catania were just a point behind us (and so were Juventus) us so we couldn’t afford to lose in Sicily. Pastor was on international duty, which was a problem as Bertoni had another knock. Thankfully Wohlfarth had been training on the right and he was now capable of playing there. Eweka gave us the lead in the 8th minute. They started threatening in the middle of the first half, but Wohlfarth extended the lead in the 38th minute, followed by Terzi. They got a goal back after an hour, followed by another, but Richter gave us a 4th, and Terzi had what would be a 5th disallowed. I never expected that strong a win.

[B]Milan 3-3 Sampdoria (A)[/B]
Sampdoria at home was the last game, and we hoped to win to clinch 5th, though were mindful of what happened against Siena. It helped that Juventus had to face Roma. We didn’t get off to a good start, and went behind in the 23rd minute. Terzi had a goal disallowed, but Hoffman levelled it in the 53rd minute, just as Roma did the same in Turin. However they retook the lead, as did Juventus by the time a Richter penalty levelled it for us. They retook the lead before Toninho equalized, and as it turned out it was just enough. While we would have been in the Europa league whatever, beating Juventus to 5th still meant something.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/final41.jpg"]Final League Table[/URL]

The first thing to be said is that this was the club’s first top 5 finish for 15 years, and highest points total for 20. It could have been so much better but the defence threw away points in quite a few games (and very nearly did with Sampdoria). It was great to some very good seasons from a number of players, as we showed great squad depth as well as talent. However in my experience Serie A is as competitive as leagues get in FM and we were penalized badly for our mistakes, but otherwise we definitely showed ourselves capable of better.

Games against big sides still needed improvement (which was why I wasn’t too unhappy at not being in the CL yet) but we were getting there with a few more points, and giving good games when we did lose. I felt we could step up to getting CL qualification next year, and starting to challenge for the title, though I anticipated we would probably be getting close for some time before we could actually be top of the pile. It was always going to be slow work, but we were definitely getting somewhere now.

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/stats41.jpg"]Squad Stats[/URL]

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Good finish considering the clubs history. I think you can make Champions League next season reasonably easily.

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Good season, looking like AC Milan are close to becoming title challengers again! Some very strong performances in there against Roma and Inter :thup:

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Looking much improved! Scoring 90 goals in a Serie A season is no mean feat either :cool:

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[quote name='AcidBurn']Good finish considering the clubs history. I think you can make Champions League next season reasonably easily.[/QUOTE]

Not sure about easily, the competition is as immense as you'd expect at the top end of a very strong league. Thats definitely my personal aim for the season. Wasn't sure we'd be ready to compete with the big boys before judging by our record against the bigger sides in Italy, but definitely feel we could now.

[quote name='Scarman']Good season, looking like AC Milan are close to becoming title challengers again! Some very strong performances in there against Roma and Inter :thup:[/QUOTE]

Close perhaps, interesting to see how far we are from the top next season and see whether we can think about challenges. Pretty sure you meant Juve as I wouldn't call losing 8-1 over the two derby games 'strong'.

[quote name='AK22']Looking much improved! Scoring 90 goals in a Serie A season is no mean feat either :cool:[/QUOTE]

Defence rather less good, but if anything the goals scored is a sign that we're sparking into some sort of life now.

Summer 2041
Like last summer I had about 50M to spend. Spending it provided a dilemma. I hadn’t expected that many of my initial signings to be the basis of a top quality squad. And now, especially in defence and midfield, getting in better players meant a few of them would get drop down the pecking order or even be surplus to requirements altogether. The two standout players were in central midfield, one of them I was lucky to spot just in time to bid the day before his 21st birthday (as outlined in the OP, that’s what matters, for the sake of having a consistent line in the sand). As a knock-on effect, Schmeidel, his path already blocked by an ever-present Katsikas last year, would get more mileage out of being used as a right-back. Three would also be a crowd in terms of playmakers, as I grabbed a very talented player from Pescara. All three were very close together, but thankfully Richter would make a good winger, and as Lovell looked like ending up as one of those ‘stop-gap’ players, I was able to keep all three.

One oddity was the lack of any Germans for once, I also (mostly) decided to hold back on getting players that still had a way to go. Just three signings this year meant that better stability would be as much of a benefit as the midfield upgrade. For the first time I raised the expectations to ‘European qualification’, though were definitely targeting a CL place as now I felt we were capable of competing at that level. I wouldn’t be too disappointed if we fell just short, but that was definitely the goal.

[URL="http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/Brighenti.jpg"]Brighenti[/URL] (From Parma)

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/Davalos.jpg"]Davalos[/URL] (From Boca Juniors)

[URL=" http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae345/Deltablue9/Olaizola.jpg"]Olaizola[/URL] (From Pescara)

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[quote name='deltablue']Close perhaps, interesting to see how far we are from the top next season and see whether we can think about challenges. Pretty sure you meant Juve as I wouldn't call losing 8-1 over the two derby games 'strong'.
[/QUOTE]

[quote name='deltablue']
[B]Inter 1-4 Milan (A)[/B][/QUOTE]

That's where I got it from the Inter part from, but I misread the description the first time haha, re-reading it again shows it was a typo :)

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Nice season! Congrats on the Europa League :)

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[quote name='Scarman']That's where I got it from the Inter part from, but I misread the description the first time haha, re-reading it again shows it was a typo :)[/QUOTE]

Normally I see those almost as soon as I post, though a few do get spotted by others. Well I was just about to go to bed :D

[quote name='cerud']Nice season! Congrats on the Europa League :)[/QUOTE]

Thanks, but we're still doing things the hard way. Just 1 point from the first two league games. Not happy.

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