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[FM20] Tequila and Mariachi?


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22 hours ago, BillHoudini24 said:

Last year's intake looks promising... The new analytical points you make give a great insight into tactical thinking.

The recruitement has been very efficient as well, we can already see a very specific club DNA. 

Yeah - unfortunately, none of them have been able to get any kind of football within the first team this year.

I was reading up on radars and I think they are a great way of displaying data that I want and comparing players - so I'll continue to use them!

I'm enjoying recruiting but I need to ensure that I don't do this at the detriment of my own youth players.

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19 hours ago, tyler16 said:

I would pay for this content.

Ha! Thanks

Stay tuned for the next instalment - 'Guadalajara - the December edition' behind the paywall. For £4.99 a month, you can read whether Brian Pena fires this team to promotion or not.

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New Signing

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My third ex-Barcelona player, after Sola and Pena, Sergi Puig signs on a free transfer. He absolutely fits the bill in terms of what I want from a goalkeeper - good on the ball with good technique and a decent sot stopper to boot. He's young and has a good personality and will be, hopefully a mainstay for the foreseeable future.

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December 2021/January 2022

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A perfect December had led to a worrying January - two defeats, one away at mid-table Sociedad and the other at Sabadell, fighting relegation, who clearly wanted it more than us. With these three games on the road, I knew they'd be tougher but we've really missed injured Brian Pena this month.

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As you saw - Javier Hernandez left but I was quick to ask my DoF for a recommendation as a replacement DC. He came up with this absolute gem:

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Ferran is yet another ex-Barcelona player who, at 24, has experienced football in the second tier of Spanish football with their B-side. He's not a natural DC and is a little short - but pairing him with 6'2" centre back Javi Sanchez. When looking at their attribute comparison - (Javi in the garish blue and Ferran in the equally garish red), they are largely like-for-like, if only that the latter is a bit shorter and not as physical.

He is my highest earner, but with £220k from the Hernandez deal in the bank - I can and need to make this kind of deal to solidify my promotion chasing squad.

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Tactical growth

I've been growing into this game (I don't know if you can tell from the amount of posts?!) and, in particular, have enjoyed developing the tactics - even if we are massively overachieving this year. Below is the shape that I have settled on:

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It's still very much a work in progress and the team instructions are certainly things I am looking at developing over the next months. 

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Firstly, the goalkeeper is pretty straightforward SK(d) and he takes short kicks, meaning that we are able to build from the back. The two centre backs are both ball-players, once again allowing us to build from the back. I have opted for the dual IWB(s) as, with no striker, I found that overlapping wing backs, particularly those who are decent crossers of the ball - are pretty much wasted here. I've opted to have them cut inside and form extra numbers in the middle to that I can allow my CM(s) and BBM(s) to get further forward and to generally have more players around the T(a), who is the focal point of my attack.

Esteban Restrepo has made the DM role his own and is acting a DLP(d) even if I did bring him in on the premise of being a central defender and then went out to replace my central defender who left. Below is how he has performed:

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I don't know why the radar has gone so small but he has averaged 88% pass completion - a given within my system, which I'd expect but has also had nearly 4 key passes per game. I think he's had the pre-assist as this hasn't translated to just 0.2 assists per 90 but that is fine. He's won ever single tackle (12 in total in the DLP role), made nearly two interceptions per game and conceded, on average, a foul every five games. To the right shows the top rated players in this league and, given his stats on the pitch, it is absolutely no surprise that he is head and shoulders above every one else when based on Average Rating.

As previously documented, I'm using the CM(s) and BBM(s) in the midfield strata and this is complimented by both the wing backs and wingers - who are able to feed the ball as well as move up and down the pitch well.

Further forward, I've moved both wide men to wingers so that they can hug the touchline, allowing space for runners from deeper. This does, technically, mean that my IW(s) Jony is surplus but I want to be careful with recruitment at the moment.

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I'm having a bit of trouble with the 3D match at the moment but will get some screenshots up when it's resolved...

 

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February/March 2022

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It's hard to find the positives in a two month spell where we have only found the net three times. Morale is shot and we are struggling to find that last pass and create that final run in order to get on the scoresheet.

With some tough away fixtures coming up - falling out of the playoff slots is a real worry here.

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2022 Youth Intake

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A much worse intake than last year, which, even though expected, is putting pay to my youth development approach. There is really nobody here who I see being able to challenge for the first team.

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21 hours ago, BillHoudini24 said:

Hmmm that's an alarming recent form. Maybe try to make some adjustments with one of your wide attacking players? Having an inside forward paired with a Treq and a Winger can do wonders in that kind of system.

Funny you mentioned that - I was writing this before I saw your reply...

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Getting the most from my wingers

On the left is right winger Albert and on the right is left winger Jony. I've screenshotted the and I'm going to have a look into their on pitch performances because I'm a little concerned at their outputs, of late.

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What I want, in an ideal world, is to use quite generic roles, W(s) and allow the players ability and their traits to personalise what they do. Firstly, I can see that Jony, a right footed left winger wants the ball played into him and he'll dribble past his opponent before unleashing a shot from long range or picking a good pass with his vision and decisions. Albert is more of the traditional winger, using his dribbling, technique and crossing skills to beat his man on to the byline.

However - when looking at what they've done this season, I get this:

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They are remarkably similar in shape. Jony has a few more goals in his total minutes, a few more tackles and interceptions per game and is getting more shots on target, whereas Albert's passing is a little better and has recorded an assist.

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I need to have a look at how I can support Brian Pena as he's scored 15 goals this season - three times more than anyone else. I want to allow the players some kind of freedom, hence using a generic W(s) and have really enjoyed using an IWB(s) behind them - so I am loathed to move back to an IW(s) and fail to exploit space out wide. Still having issues with the skin so practically playing on only commentary so it's purely an analysis game at the moment!

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2021/22 End of Season

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In the end, our season will go down as a huge success - we registered our highest ever league finish and improved our points tally on last year - taking on a couple of sides who had done very well in their respective divisions. The league table when split at the mid-way stage shows us 2nd after the first round of fixtures, just two defeats and 25 goals in our 37 point haul. A late end of season rally saw us finish 6th in that period but with only fifteen goals scored in that period, we really had to work hard for the thirty points. 

At the start of the save, I mentioned wanting a solid home record - sadly, we couldn't convert this year and took 34 of our 67 points at the Pedro Escartin, a slightly worrying return. We did only score 19 times on the road but our 9-6-4 record was the second best in the league. 

Lleida are a really strong side and, until the last few games, had pushed Andorra all the way. It is good to have the latter away from our league but with Lleida, and any of the relegated teams (can't work out geographically where Santander, Bilbao Athletic, Numancia and Extremadura will go) could pose us problems again at the top.

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Here are the overall stats for this season. As I continue to develop my analysis in this part of my game, I may not post this and, instead, post some more graphical work to demonstrate what I want to show. This season, I wanted to make sure that we were a bit more creative - so recruited Pena, Albert and Julio. I also wanted to ensure that we stayed tight defensively and altered some palyer instructions to suit. Here is the impact that it had:

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Despite the huge positive of Pena scoring 16 times, that is almost half of the total goals scored by the club. Not playing an out-and-out striker means that I need all of my forward thinking players to chip in, and they really haven't. However - when looking at their conversion of shots to goals - they, as expected, are behind the star quality of Antoine Griezmann, but not actually too bad. Therefore - we need to be getting them into positions where they can have more shots. It is important that I don't see it solely as 'getting them to shoot more' but continuing to be more relentless with getting into good positions in order to have shots that can be converted. Lastly, it was promising to see all my defenders rating highly in the duels won - although, as of now, I have no comparative data.

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Two years in and we are making good progress. The summer is going to be key as I look to add the final touches to the squad as I look to mount a serious title challenge.

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2022/23 Summer Transfers

It's been, once again, a busier summer in the transfer market than I wanted - but that is out of necessity with several fringe players nearing the ends of their deals and a step up in quality required in some areas of backup as our poor second half of the season did coincide with some injuries to key players. Six players have joined in total:

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Willian Santos is a wrong-footed full back who joins on a free from Braga's B side in Portugal. He matches the two foci I have had to date - personality and versatility and I expect him to slot in as firts choice. I have reservations about his height, particularly at the back post, so I need to ensure that we don't allow crosses from the left when we are facing a tall winger. Arnau Puigmal was signed after a spell in the Man Utd academy - but sadly he hasn't made a single senior appearance, a slight worry for a player who is now 21 years old. Once again, he's versatile and accepted a very low wage - as I am starting to grown concerns about the heightening wage bill. Another import from England is Guillermo Lopez - who is a Chilean/Spaniard from the West Ham academy. He too hasn't featured at senior level before but is three years younger than Arnau and is good enough to be one of the first names on the team sheet. He provides an option that I am worried about in my own backline - a tall winger who is more physical than a full back. I think he'll be a short-term option as I envisage heads will be turned if he performs anywhere near the standard that he looks able to do on paper. Igor Gomez - once of the Barcelona academy, comes to add more options and depth as a decent-footballing centre half, Javi Cobo adds depth to the midfield and becomes an emergency backup for Brian Pena, my Trequartista and Pol Tristan is my new second choice keeper.

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If I had to pick an absolute best XI - this would probably be it:

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Young, versatile (minus Julio - who, weirdly, plays the most 'dynamic role within the team, covering from the back to the front) and hungry for success. However - the bonus that I have this year is that I still have five or six other players who I am now confident about giving minutes to. The board want playoffs and I'd take that too - considering Bilboa Athletic came down, Andorra failed in the playoffs and Lleida are still looking strong.

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August/September 2022

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A solid start to the season but a couple of poor defensive lapses have cost us points against the bigger sides of the division. To be one-up against Andorra with little over ten to go and then to come away with nothing - particularly in a fixture at home, tells me that both my tactics aren't where they should be and my players are not prepared as well as they should be for my intense pressing style and, as such, are being caught short at the end of the game.

Brian Pena has silenced any worries about that tough second season with a good goalscoring start but, once again, there isn't a lot of others with their names of the scoresheet - despite a slightly more aggressive approach this season.

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9 hours ago, tyler16 said:

New signings look very good for the level. Here's to hoping the results start picking up.

Thanks - they have performed well to date:

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  • Santos is really assisting with my possession from deeper and is finding the ball regularly.
  • Lopez has won 17 key headers - which is shows how valuable that other option is (plus, he's another option when defending set pieces)
  • Puigmal has been involved at RB, DM and CM - yet his stats still show good passing rates, a couple of assists and good in the tackle.
  • Igor Gomes has been solid at the back - does lack a little on the ball though.
  • Cobo has been useful off the bench - as expected. His duels (tackles/interceptions/headers) are solid for the time he's playing.
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October/November 2022

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A mixed couple of months but our November form may have saved my job, with the board insistent that our over-achieving last year was now expected this year. The October fixtures were strange - there wasn't really a game that we weren't in and we have maintained a good amount of possession and shots from decent areas, whilst still looking relatively solid at the back. The old issue of late goals was creeping in again so I have adjusted some training schedules (the Ass. man still does these at this stage - I'm yet to see the benefits with such poor facilities but will be taking this, along with youth schedules on at some point) to include some more stamina work at the start of the week and to ensure that the players are fresher at the end of the week. I've also looked a lot more into some 'clever' rotation for the odd mid-week game that we face.

November started with some ground out victories and league top scorer Brian Pena proving why he's rated so highly by me. We then faced two ties against Real Sociedad B, both postponed due to waterlogged pitches at the Pedro Escartin but did manage to face Eibar's B side, Vitoria, who clearly didn't like the puddles. Five different scorers and my biggest win to date sees us up to seventh with a game in hand.

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At this point, the playoffs are a dream but it will be interested to see how my board take this - considering that they are quite disappointed with a couple of areas. I'm hoping that their delight at others offsets this:

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On 24/11/2019 at 12:28, kidthekid said:

wow, not a single positive in that preview. Never seen anything like that.

I know! Meaning that I'm having to revert to the 'develop players who have been released from other nearby academies in order to make profit' part of my plan for this club. However - with patience, I hope that this will grow and our own academy will be bringing through prospects who I can nurture from the age of 15/16.

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December 2022/January 2023

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We are tickling along really nicely again now after our early season struggles. It is clear that, despite our playoff hopes, we are some way behind the top four in terms of quality and that was evident as we were completely nullified by Lleida. As tends to be the case with our struggling, we dominated possession but, for a change, we did attempt to take the game to them but they were just too good. A poor defeat in the Copa del Rey, which has also incensed the board has led to a great turn of six successive wins, with goals coming from a much wider variety of players, or, if you want to look pessimistically, coincided with a poor spell for Pena.

To make the playoffs now, we really need to play like champions and, realistically, can't afford to drop points in more than four or five games. To strengthen the side slightly, I have brought in Ignasi Vilarrasa on a free transfer. He's another ex-Barcelona player and comes with the typical La Masia traits. I was particularly pleased with his versatility and his acceptance of a wage nearly four times less than what he wanted when I first approached him on a Bosman. He is probably my first 'truly' scouted player as I was particularly interested in him during his spell in the second tier for Barca B.

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February/March 2023

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Being nearly all the way through February when posting my previous update sees me actually be able to post a couple of league updates in the same night - despite my almost obsessive analysis and watching of some of the lovely football that we are playing. We have, if anything, tailed off somewhat, with more dropped points at home against teams from around us but are still holding solid as 'best of the rest.' Brian Pena has found his scoring ways again, or well, did in February as we used us devastatingly as an attacking fulcrum, with a pass and move allowing him to get in behind with ease.

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2022/23 End of Season

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A strange recap here - considering that we have nearly matched our record from last season yet finished three places lower, missing out on the playoffs and, as such, putting my job somewhat at risk. With Andorra and Lleida staying in the division, it was always going to be a tough task, and, adding a strong second side in Bilbao Athletic, meant that fourth was my ideal goal - but it was not to be. This season has seen us really struggle with something I wanted to focus on - our home record, with us ending just ninth with a record of 8-5-6 and only 21 goals scored. On the road, we went 11-3-5 with the same amount of goals scored and just one less conceded. Unlike last year though, we really didn't have a stronger portion of the season - ending sixth in both the first and second round of fixtures.

From a player point of view - Pena once again led the side and it was pleasing to see that Lopez and Albert joined in too, nearly reaching double figures. Willian Santos really impressed in his debut season and weighed in with five assists. Sadly, I have been unable to offer minutes to youngsters Iosu Fernandez and Felix Rangel but I am loathed to loan them out next season due to their reasonable ability combined with our total lack of money!

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One thing I was really interested in looking at this year was what we have done with our possession. We are, by far, the team that keeps the ball the best in this league - averaging 64% possession and this figure is regularly in the 70's, too. However, when looking at my midfield - I was a little concerned about how these players actually use the ball, so wanted to compare their passes per 90 with their chances created per 90. I would expect Tiago Rodriguez to dominate the passes as he has the trait of 'Dictates Tempo' and plays as a CM(s) rather than a more roaming BBM(s) that Julio or Puigmal have played. However - when comparing those two directly, it is clear that Puigmal has created way more than Julio.

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With our relatively poor showing this season, the board have set some new goals going forward:

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Three years to get sorted and then a year to finally get out of this league. I am confident that I can make this happen but I am conscious of a) the mire that the Segunda B playoffs are and b) our really worrying financial situation, of which I want to address over the summer.

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2023/24 Recruitment

I'm going to get this one in early - mainly based on the below screenshot which shows our dire situation. Each year there has been a spike which has come in when season ticket sales have come in but then we have lost it again. 

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The middle trough was offset somewhat with the £220k sale of Javi Hernandez to Bologna and I feel that I will need to do similar this summer to even reach a positive bank balance. There is literally no money in this division and I feel that either promotion, or player sales are the only way that I can stabilise this.

I have signed two players, both of who alerted me to their availability and come in from South America:

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Helinho is a backup for Brian Pena and will replace the outgoing Cobo, who moves on after a season. He's got good technique, first touch and flair and his finishing is decent. He's got a bit of work to do to round his game out but both provides me a younger option that pleases the board and saves £500 a week on wages by replacing Cobo.

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Esteban Bastiani comes in from a second division Argentine side - of which I have no idea why he would be offering his services to me. However - I have picked up an absolute gem here who will be a star player for this club for as long as he stays here. Essentially a wrong-footed winger as his crossing his weaker than his dribbling and passing but he's got a really strong all-round game. He replaced Domenech who is my last original player to move on, also saving me £100 a week in wages.

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The season hasn't rolled over yet but I'm pretty much done. Here is what I have to work with this season:

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I'll have a look at how we perform in pre-season before making any comments on whereabouts we might finish.

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15 hours ago, tyler16 said:

Bastiani looks insanely complete for the level and would be great even if he wasn't a freak athlete... which he is. Expecting big things.

Squad looks good, impressive that Sola is starting at the tender age of 11!

He does indeed - one of those lucky pop-ups in the agent area! Hopefully he can produce big things at this level apart.

Yeah, slight oversight on Sola. As much as I'm an advocate of youth, I haven't quite pushed it out that far. He's actually 22!

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Just to refresh my memory, the attributes go from white to light green to dark green to yellow?

Either way, I concur, Bastiani looks solid and could fetch you a huge profit if he does leave.

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October/November 2023

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It has certainly been a strong start for us this season - with a 12 match unbeaten run and a fantastic return of eleven clean sheets in that time. We've faced some formidable foe in the early season encounters and brought a point home from Andorra as well as a win at Sabadell. We've shared out our goalscoring duties but, unfortunately, Brian Pena is yet to really hit it off - although I remember questioning him last season and then being overjoyed at his reaction to it.

We've put up some fantastic stats when it comes to possession since properly integrating my style into the team - I want to take a little look at whether it is working as I want to. Firstly, here is the completed passes, per 90 minute average for my strongest XI, playing in my preferred 4-1-2-3-0 formation. Next to it, I have split them into goalkeeper, defence, midfield and offence (midfield means the DM and two CMs and forwards are the AML, AMC and AMR):

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My DLP, Sarsanedas is leading this, by far, which is both expected, given the nature of his role, and good - as it is intended. Next are both of my IWB(s) - which, presumably given their positioning on the pitch and my ask for shorter passing, means that they are linking up well. My initial concerns though, are that my forwards are not being involved as much as they should be. All three average between thirty and fifty passes per game, some 20% of what the DLP is hitting. Consdering that Pena, my Treqartista, is the focal point of the attack - these numbers worry me.

My next focus of analysis goes to whereabouts this passes are coming from. With the defence and midfield accounting for the lion's share of the ball - I want to prove (and I know I'm watching the games but this is the kind of thing that I need to see over many games) that the passes are in good positions and not just us playing keep ball in our defensive third. Here are the last eight games:

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An utterly ridiculous amount of passes in all but one of the games. Sociedad B are managed by Gorka Rueda, who, himself, likes to control possession. They are fifth in the league for possession stats (55% compared to our 73%) but this game was very even. What I am delighted to see is that we are not just keeping the ball in our own half and, Espanyol game aside, we are taking the game to the opposition and allowing our defenders to move the ball in the attacking half. 

My concerns remain though that we are not creating that much from the amount of passes that we are having. The chart on the right shows clear cut chances per pass completed in each of those games. We scored twice against Cornella but only created one clear cut chance - yet completed nearly one thousand passes. Whilst this football is good on the eye, is it more style over substance? Results would say that we are doing well but whether this has longevity, I don't know...

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On 29/11/2019 at 12:29, kidthekid said:

Just to refresh my memory, the attributes go from white to light green to dark green to yellow?

Either way, I concur, Bastiani looks solid and could fetch you a huge profit if he does leave.

Yes, you are right. 

You can see that Bastiani's dribbling, first touch, passing and technique are in the range of 10-14. I actually much prefer this years changes in terms of modding these boxes - with the bars I could kind of tell. This time I have no clue aside from looking at his octagon:

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I would say that the outer ring is 'world class' so to see Bastiani is a notch down from that for his technical attributes and his speed tell me that, in the third tier, he is going to be great! He's not quite settled yet but hopefully his time will come.

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November/December 2023

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A good couple of months usually precedes a bad couple but we seem to have bucked the trend with two more strong sets of fixtures. Our cup run was great and, despite neither myself or the board being too bothered about it, I am a bit annoyed to have fallen to Cornella, who are mid-table fodder. We maintain a slender lead at the top but, despite our domination of Logrones - do have to visit both them and L'Hospitalet at a later date in the season.

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I seem to have fallen to the apparently 'graphical UI' bug where the facilities listed change throughout the game. Taking over a team, at this level, with excellent recruitment was a great draw but then to see three poor intakes has disappointed me. However - given what I now see, I can say that this level of intake is completely expected. I'll make the most of what I've got to work with!

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1 hour ago, tyler16 said:

Solid progress in the league. Hoping this youth intake gives you a potential first team player!

Thanks - we are going well, even if the board don't seem to think so, giving us just a C rating or our league goal of challenge for the title! 

 

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Transfer dealings

Spain is always a difficult country to manage in, mainly due to the fact each player must have a minimum release fee that can be triggered. Now, with more onus on player contracts and their voices being heard - it makes negotiating those values even more tough. Sadly, I have paid for this, not once, but twice, both on transfer deadline day:

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Lopez was a first choice winger for me and was performing reasonably well this season so will be a massive loss. All of his fee is profit as we signed him for free but, moving to a club like Velez, I have really missed out not being able to add in the 50% of next sale - should he ever be good enough to move back to Europe. Iosu has been at the club for three and a half years now after being my first signing - he's done well but never really cemented a solid spot in the team down. His versatility will be missed though.

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I insist on a versatile squad for a reason but with little money (these sales have merely cleared our overdraft) and now only 15 senior players, I have some work to do!

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January/February 2024

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Ah. We have hit a blip. We really lack a 'plan B' and when Brian Pena isn't on form or is injured - we lack a real goalscoring threat. We have lost a little ground and certainly a lot of the lead that we had and do have a tough run of fixtures to come, too but I am confident that we have enough gap over the chasing pack and enough quality to maintain this position until the end of the season.

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I also received my first job offer - a team at the same level (and midtable in their group, too boot) but with significantly better facilities and finances. It is, obviously, a no.

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2023/24 Youth Intake

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I'm not a fan of the overview in the Development Centre as it doesn't allow much customisation so I've reverted to using a custom view in the Under 19 section.

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This is the first intake where there is a player who looks, on paper, to have the makings of a player that could challenge for a slot within the first team:

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Miguel has the potential to fit into my style of passing football as well as offering a physical and hardworking presence within our pressing system. He's got good teamwork and work rate combined with reasonably good physical attributes. He does lack somewhat technically, but that is always an area for a position such as DM where I need to balance the need for physicality and the need for a ball player - particularly when both centre backs are good in that area.

He is Balanced/Outspoken (Controversy 15-20) which doesn't tell me a whole lot about his ambition and professionalism, just that it's not likely to be either very low or high and his determination is ok (somewhere between 5 and 10). He, now that he has signed, is classed as team leader within the development squad, which would further suggest a good current ability and, with him in the core social group, I see nothing too untoward with him as a (fictional) person.

However - given his height and lack of glaring weaknesses within his technical game, I want to train him as a ball playing defender with some extra focus on his defensive positioning at this stage. I will be spending a short amount of time over the summer building the tracker I want to use for player development and he'll be my first guinea-pig.

 

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4 hours ago, sherifdinn_ said:

Just done reading your FM19 San Marino save. You're absolutely mental. What an inspiring save!

I'll take the mental in a good way...?! Ha

Thanks for the kind words - FM is, and always has been, my escape but now it's turning into something that I really invest myself in. Hopefully I can emulate what I achieved in San Marino this time round.

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March/April 2024

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I was worried about the fixtures going into April - Logrones away was 1st vs 2nd at the time and the media had been hyping it up, with their manager talking about my lack of directness. I have literally no idea what I did, aside from instruct our players to play their normal game and feed Brian Pena, who had made a successful return to form with four goals in March. It all went quite swimmingly and that may be the largest away win I have recorded in my FM career - particularly in a league game of a reputable country. We stuck five past mid-table Sabadell but the defeat to Gernika made a bit of a mess.

Guess who we go to on the last day of the season. RCD Espanyol B. Of course.

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End of regular season

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A 1-1 draw away at Espanyol B was enough. However, I've fallen to a weird bug and the C- manager rating will need to be watched closely. Hopefully, new expectations next season will resolve any issues there.

Of course there is the small task of getting out of the, at best, ridiculous Spanish third tier playoffs. We face Real Madrid's B side first in a 'first phase' semi final.

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2023/24 End of Season Review

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A very pleasing end to the season where we dispatched two second teams, the first of which featured two players who Real Madrid paid £11m for, each - this shows the huge gulf in quality between the teams. In the end, we made the league look a lot more difficult than it really needed to be but I am delighted to be up and into the second tier of Spanish football.

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I only made two signings last summer, Esteban Bastiani and attacking midfielder Helinho. The latter played very few minutes as he looked to develop but it was the former who made a real impression - leading the way on assists this season. Below are his stats and they are compared with the winger who had the best season anywhere else in the world, the elite Kylian Mbappe.

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Whilst the players are, obviously, completely incomparable, these graphics do tell an interesting story. With no strikers, we are entirely reliant on Brian Pena to score goals and, ideally, I'd love a winger that, like Kylian (he played 95% of games on the right wing rather than up front) who can find the net, at an average of 0.6 a game. Esteban notched four in the whole season with a meagre 1.35 shots a game (Brian Pena has scored 30 times this season from 2.64 shots a game for an in-team comparison). As I would expect, Bastiani plays as a W(s) and is much more involved in the build up whereby I image Mbappe is maybe an IF(a) or RMD(a) maybe and just is the end product. Whilst promotion to the Liga123 won't see an overhauled squad - it may see an increase in scouting budget and transfer money which may give me a chance to find 'my Mbappe' - hopefully as a compliment to Esteban and Brian in my attacking triumvirate.

Upon promotion, I've told the lads that I won't be making too many changes. Below is the comparison in the squad for the players who appeared in both the 2022/23 season and the 2023/24 in order to look at how they improved their games in our promotion season:

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The key players all improved - Pena made a huge leap of 0.23 as did Restrepo - 0.22 and Puigmal 0.29. There are some fringe players who aren't performing too well - Rangel with one goal in 51 league appearances and a career AR of 6.61, Christian Albert, who had a really poor season after his immediate first team birth was taken by Bastiani and Julio, who was been usurped by Puigmal. I really like the above attribute and I may continue to monitor this kind of thing over a three to four season spread to see peaks and troughs in player performances, and why.

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Next season my aim is literally to stay up, and nothing more! I'd like to make some money and maybe recruit two or three new signings, should they become available. With the potential of promotion, my scouting kind of slowed down as I was unsure of what kind of quality I would want and could attract. I also want to look at the development path of some of my youngsters, particularly Villalba, from the last intake.

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Pre-season improvements

A) We can scout anywhere we want now. Perfect to build this team on a budget:

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B) I've added a B team in the Tercera division. This was great, until it cost me £800k to do so!

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C) TV money is coming in. The projections look really promising for us. My job is to maintain this low wage bill and keep player and staff recruitment as cheap as possible to ensure that these are met and we can use some of this to boost facilities:

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18 hours ago, Fosse said:

Brilliant as ever. 

Many thanks! Are you playing FM20? Not seen anything (sorry - tend to browse on my phone which means I don't see thread starters) since your Leicester save!

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13 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

Lost youth prospect

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I like this little news item!

Everton kept poaching my youth players when I was Bolton manager, but I'd get around 900k each time they did (based on appearances). Great little improvement in the game.

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2024/25 Season Preview

Firstly, here is a preview of my squad as I head into the season, my first in the Liga 2 and the club's first since it's well earned promotion last season:

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I have kept a largely unchanged side for this season - down to both the fact that I didn't really have any money to spend (a £550k budget isn't great when you are ~£1m in the red) and also because I was unable to really set my recruitment off to find players at the tail end of last season when I was unsure of the level that we'd be playing at this season. 

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Five players have arrived this summer, for the grand total of £0. These deals have both provided me some extra depth in areas that I am weak and also upgraded the playing staff in that area.

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Firstly, Benjamin comes in to add some extra depth to the backline. He's professional, versatile, determined and featured 41 times for Barcelona B at this level last year so I feel he is a perfect addition to the squad. He's good in the tackle, can mark and head and has good technique and that is combined with good concentration and decision making. He's also good physically across the board for his age. I am strong at centre back and I feel that he may come to outgrow us and move on and that is fine - providing that I can turn a good profit on him.

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Angel has played purely non-league football for Lorca to this date yet I have taken a punt on him as backup in our time as a lower second tier side. He's two footed, versatile, young and has a decent personality and is good at passing, works hard, makes good decisions and is incredibly quick off the mark. He's a lot more under-developed than Benjamin, but, with William Santos ahead of him - he'll only see a small portion of football this season.

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Pablo was a pain to play against in his time at Andorra. He has one game of experience at this level and two at La Liga level but is good pretty much across the board. He's the oldest player I've brought in and his personality and media handling of Balanced/Media Friendly doesn't tell me a lot about him, but he does add some quality, and some height, that I feel was missing last year. He'll play as an IW but I really want to see him in the box and scoring goals for us.

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Playing at Gil Vicente, in the second tier of Portuguese football was Juan Villa, a 24 year old Colombian. He was signed on a free and, like Angel before him, is two footed. He's also really determined and has an excellent workrate - just what I want in his ideal role: the supporting Mezzala. He has got a good ability to pass, dribble, shoot and cross and is composed, decisive and works hard or the team as well as being physical too. I have high hopes for him replacing Julio in the heart of my midfield.

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Neto signs on loan as backup for Pena. He's very similar in the fact that he can make a good Trequartista due to his good technique and first touch and gets away with a poor workrate but he's not quite good enough to usurp my own Spaniard. Neto isn't my player, nor do we have an option to sign him - therefore I'm going to use him mostly from the bench.

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