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_Ben_

[FM20] Tequila and Mariachi?

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DNA Tracker

In the past, I've tried to implement a 'squad DNA' whereby all players in the team had the same ideologies when it came to favourable attributes but I've realised that, as much as I want to play a free flowing football game, having defenders with fantastic off the ball, passing and composure won't ever really work and I'll be stuck. Therefore, I've adapted it, leaving some key values but then also getting quite specific on each part of the team for what I want.

NB: I might be someway off with these attributes and may re-think/develop this over time.

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So - I've hidden all of their attributes screenshotted from the game and each one pulls the matching attribute before colourising like I see it in the game. It then gives a rating (full circle is average over 14, 3/4 is 12 etc - not sure I'm happy with this right now) and then I can assess from there. The height and preferred foot don't come into it yet (the height isn't even conditionally formatted as I can work out ft/in yet) but they are to be taken into account too. Obviously, being two footed (Lazaro and Angel) here means that they'll not show up as good due to the attribute skew, so I have to take that into account as well. I may also add something for personality at a later date.

I can then copy and paste any player's attributes into this and it'll update, comparing that player to those in the same area - meaning I can quite easily move players between each part of the pitch to see how they'd fair elsewhere.

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As expected - my wingers aren't where I want them to be, at the moment and my key players, Puigmal, Pena, Vilalba, Benjamin and Puig are, unsurprisingly, the best fit for the style that I want. 

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More on this as I develop it.

 

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February/March 2027

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We are suffering from absolutely huge inconsistencies again, as we have managed to smash Alcorcon, who were way above us at the time, yet lose to Cadiz and Cordoba, two teams nearer the bottom of the table. We are without both first choice wingers still as Ojeda is still out with a broken ankle and Konig has continued to pick up small knocks as the months have passed - with neither Argentine really setting the world on fire yet taking us both of my non-EU slots. Brian Pena is having his most troubled season to date and, despite six goals in February, hasn't netted since.

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I mentioned it at the start of the season that the next few years were essential for the development of the club and that I wasn't going to rush for promotion, yet, at this point, I don't see myself even being able to challenge for the next few years. As a club, we'll hopefully be in a much better position, granted, but, on the pitch, we simply would not be able to compete playing the way that I intend to.

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New contract

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Happy that the board are not concerned about profligacy this season and have tied me down for another two years. They have upped their demands from 'stay in LaLiga 123' to 'Establish ourselves as a LaLiga 123 team' - which is fine.

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2026/27 Youth Intake

Whilst I don't have the depth that the last intake brought me, the preview was correct saying that there was to be some very good players in this intake, even if I am yet to find the striker that they praised so highly.

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I've 'tagged' three players but will sign a few more - particularly Olawale and Barrenetxea as they look reasonably decent, too.

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Juan Jose Bono is the jewel of this intake and, quite frankly, is the best player I've had come through and is going to be the best sixteen year old I've managed to date in this save. Good passing, technique, first touch and dribbling mean he's perfect for the midfield and his excellent work rate and fitness is the type of engine I want, despite my, sometimes, slow build up play. Out of interest - I compared him to both my best midfielder, Puigmal, and other Mezzala Fernandes, and, interestingly, he isn't actually too far from either of them in terms of current ability. I'll have to do some work on his personality but my mentoring groups and general squad personality +Determination level will work on that naturally and I envisage he may even get a bit of football this season, such is his class.

Samuel is the next player tagged and I, again, compared him to my best left winger, Thiago Ojeda - to see that he isn't far from that level also. Ideally, I want my wingers (and wing backs for that matter) to be two-footed so the are able to play a variety of roles and I know I'll never be able to retrain a 'Right Only' to 'Either' so he has that against him, but I do like his technique, passing, dribbling and physicality, even at a young age. His F.Pro personality should fairly easily be converted to Pro/Resolute and I hope he'll develop well as I am in somewhat of a confused area with my current wingers and their ability vs their output.

Pedro Saiz is the last player I am really interested in and it's good to have a goalkeeper with some potential as we are very short on that front.

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I won't do this for all intakes, but this is what the development squad now looks like in terms of fitting in with the core attributes I want for each area:

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I am impressed at how good Bono and Francisco look for their age but, despite his good 'rating,' I am not overly keen on Barroso at this stage.

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14 minutes ago, Enzo_Francescoli said:

This thread is gold. Following.

Many thanks! Glad you're enjoying.

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Cohort 3 Youth Development

Just as I wrap the season up, I thought now would be a good time to review the youth development of this season and see how they compare to that of previous years. Firstly, here is the individual breakdown of the start and end attributes:

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Baring in mind that I haven't changed any group training schedules at all or improved any facilities - I must say that this is one of the most pleasing results I've had in all of my time tracking early career phase youth development. On average, this group of 17 year old's leaves with good first touch and passing, good decision making, stamina, natural fitness and excellent determination. Individually, I have players who are close to just needing game experience to be ready for the first team - Francisco has excellent decisions, stamina and positioning, and, if I was able to get his passing to a good level - think he'd be an excellent understudy in the HB(d) role (he also has to learn to be 'Right' instead of 'Right only' but that is nearing completion but I know that has also taken some time away from his individual training). Santiago Santos and Juan Jose Septien have both made the move to slightly deeper positions, with Santos having excellent decisions and determination to back up his good marking, passing and tackling - with some vision work, he's not too far off being a good creative full back. It is worth noting that Septien missed a chunk of the season with an injury, too. The biggest increase is Ropero - who has not retrained anywhere but has worked on becoming just Right footed He needs to work on his technical skills but his good anticipation, decisions, concentration and positioning along with his good physical skills and excellent determination mean he's not too far off.

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Here is the year on year comparison:

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Interestingly, this cohort started the weakest across the board (although by far the youngest) and played the least combined amount of minutes yet four of the top five overall best improvements have come from this cohort. It is worth noting the top two personalities and wondering just how much of an impact they have had - especially as both have worked on player trait alterations too (whereas Martinez did not add anything to/amend his game during that season).

My other interesting point of note is that first team football (as I know has been stated by SI themselves) doesn't seem to have much impact - with Francisco notching up some substitute appearances up to the value of a game and Ropero having just half of a game. Compare that to Benjamin is 2024/25 who was first choice and note the difference in development.

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As always - this leaves me with more questions than answers but tracking players like this isn't really any more time consuming and does give me an easy-to-read and, hopefully, valuable tool to monitor their progress into the first team.

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2026/27 End of Season

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My seventh season in charge comes to an end and, in all fairness, it's been a really disappointing season - one where we have regressed somewhat and finished a point worse off than our first season in the division. With two strong reserve teams in Castilla and Mestalla, it opened up some extra playoff places but we, overall, were nowhere near good enough to ever really challenge. With Espanyol and Girona going up (plus the playoffs which I haven't simulated yet) and Leganes, Eibar and Valladolid coming down, I think that, overall, the quality of the league will drop a little next year, which we must use to our benefit. 

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This overall graphic doesn't make for the best reading and, as such, I've only focused on the average rating comparison instead of digging in to what is now five years of historical statistics - I'll save that for a season whereby I am happy with the progress. It is pleasing to see that new signing Paolo Fernandes has integrated reasonably well and appeared in the vast majority of games becoming, I think, the first midfielder (excluding Brian Pena) to reach double figures for goals. 

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This graphic, now showing only LaLiga 123 performances, adds to our worry - there are several players that just aren't performing at the level that they once were. Ferran Sarsenedas, once the stalwart of my defensive midfield role has found himself down the pecking order and, maybe, out of his depth. Similar can be said for another ex-Barcelona prospect in Vilarrasa who was never able to take a chance at left back by performing nothing more than averagely. Juan Villa has seen a massive drop in his ratings too and both Argentine wingers, Ojeda and Konig have never really come out of their 'settling in' phase, which is a concern.

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The summer is going to be massive. I feel that quite an overhaul is necessary. We have some really promising players who I want to afford minutes to this year, namely Bono, Francisco, Jose Angel and Septien, but, despite our slight regression, I can't, like I would in previous versions, just throw them into the first team - I need to be accountable for their development but actually strengthen the first team, too.

We spent £3.9m on training/youth facilities and we are expanding the stadium by two thousand seats - but the sensible saving up to this point, including player sales, gives me nearly £10m in the bank and I feel that some will be spent this summer. It's all about finding the right players though.

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Thanks for providing us with such a high-quality read.

I don't play FM20 yet, but you're pushing me to do so every time I click on your thread!

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2027/28 Summer Transfer Window

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I have possibly endured the most difficult transfer window of my time here and possibly the most difficult that I will ever have to encounter. I have a vision for the recruitment of players to this club and we have hit two large stumbling blocks - the first being our reputation; as a mid-table, at best, second tier side, we cannot, understandably, steal excellent technical and clever players from all around the globe. Those that are interested are in the first team at their club and even so, can only really be classed as a 'project' player - I am not willing to spend £5m+ on that kind of player at this level in the situation that we are in. Next, and completely my fault, is that we have been very short sighted and have a very poor grasp on the current footballing world - with minimal scouting having being done. Any suggestion that I have from my DoF, Sergio Busquets, normally sees the player having moved on before I have even got the scout report sorted. Something that will need addressing if we want to progress.

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First in the door was Eduardo Berra from Malaga. With our position, the only players we can attract who have been in good form, have to be those that have played at levels below us. Berro performed well out on loan at third tier Huesca and comes in to fill a gap in the midfield. He's young, got excellent decisions, determination, works hard and is good technically. He's flawed with his finishing - but I foresee him as a deeper player so will look to make adjustments through player traits. 

Next, and after selling Pelayo Suarez, who struggled for game time, I spent just £25k on bringing in Getafe centre back Sergio Orriols. When comparing these players, they are very similar, but with Orriols considerably younger and boasting some La Liga experience, I think that the £53k and the younger player means I have got the better deal here. I envisage that he'll slot in alongside Benjamin as my first choice centre back this year, as I give Ropero a little bit more time to develop.

My last signing, and following the sale of Juan Villa back to Portugal, was Maxi Yamin - the first Mexican to be brought here. He's a little different to Villa but I feel is more rounded and has the potential that I don't think Villa ever possessed. He has played over 100 competitive games for Cruz Azul and their B club in the lower leagues of Mexico and I think he's going to be a good player. With Bono, my academy starlet, playing a similar role to him - I would like to see him expand his game a little so that I can play two Mezzala's but also he could be slightly more conservative if necessary. He's going into a mentoring group and I look forward to giving him some minutes this year, although most will be from the bench.

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That leaves the first team squad looking like this:

a83dcda2ac652f8b6c4ae1ea0ab50f91.png

I feel that both the replacements have improved the team and the addition of Berro adds some extra depth, with the squad starting to take shape of one that resembles a group of players able to play the way that I want them to. I really feel that we are weak on the wings here but I have not been able to find the right type of player to fill that gap. Martinez isn't really developing how I want him to and Ojeda and Konig are prime examples of players who just go missing for games at a time. 

What is more promising though, is the overall depth that we are now building at the club:

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The B team, at this moment, is home to players who are too old for the youth team yet I've kept around because they have decent personalities or could be of use, should the side ever be promoted. Whilst I fully appreciate that not every name in the u19 squad will make it - I have really high hopes for Ropero and, newly converted ball playing centre back (who I was close to giving up on) Barroso being able back ups in the next couple of years, Francisco being nearly ready for first team action now and Bono, Samuel, Jose Angel and Septien all showing me really good signs of development.

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Whilst the summer has been tough, I feel that it is largely due to the fact I have got ahead of myself but I am really happy with the direction that the club is going in. Over the season - I'll be looking to recruit some new/better scouts and set ourselves up to be in a better position next summer, should I need to make any replacements.

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On 31/12/2019 at 10:20, Toffle said:

Thanks for providing us with such a high-quality read.

I don't play FM20 yet, but you're pushing me to do so every time I click on your thread!

Many, many thanks for your kind words. I am glad that people enjoy reading about my own 'verbalisation'/writing down of what I'm thinking as I'm playing a game!

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Also have to say this is a great read. Really enjoying how you break down your decision making process, since you take into account stuff that I never have.

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11 hours ago, wesl said:

Also have to say this is a great read. Really enjoying how you break down your decision making process, since you take into account stuff that I never have.

Thank you - been enjoying reading about your save in Brazil, too! Hopefully that'll keep you entertained for the foreseeable future, given the size of the task!

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Scouting, but done better!

Following the tougher than expected summer window, whereby I felt utterly unprepared, I set out a few plans of which I'll fully implement over the course of the season. The first thing that I did was to recruit a couple of new scouts - Flavio Araujo and Leandro Valenti. They aren't amazing but they increase the knowledge that we have in South America, a key place for recruitment for me.

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The first thing I did was to send them out to South America, knowing that a lot of contracts end at the end of the calendar year, rather than the end of the European football season. Whilst I don't have much knowledge there and, as such, initial reports will be a little vague, 

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This was the man that they found.

Recently relegated from Chilean side Palestino, Jorge has been performing well in the second tier, scoring eleven times in twenty five appearances. Obviously, the biggest thing here is that Penalillo is actually a striker-  a position that we don't utilise, but I looked past that and definitely see him as a wide player going forward. I am also very well aware that the second tier of Chilean football is nowhere near the second tier of Spanish football but Jorge has good attributes in all the right places but does maybe lack a little of the vision and passing I want for these truly rounded wide players.

I was able to offer him a contract after a couple of weeks of scouting and, upon accepting, enquired about bringing him early - to which Palestino asked for a £12k fee. I seized this opportunity to sell on Lukas Konig, who had a year left on his deal anyway. The £100k fee to Real Oviedo both sees a nearly £90k 'win' for me and also a step down for him, to a level where I, realistically, think he'll fit in well at. In the theme of comparing incoming players with those that they have replaced - I have improved my inside forward role by signing a player who offers more of a goal threat - something which was necessary given the lack of goals from anyone other than Brian Pena. He is also two-footed, which does slightly lower the attribute values and, at 21, may have more potential left in him.

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Both of my non-EU slots are now full (Thiago Ojeda took Spanish citizenship after 2 years in the country) by Penalillo and Maxi Yamin so any recruitment from outside of the continent now needs to be with an eye on the future, where a player can play u19 football (no point signing them for the B-team as they are in an inactive league at the moment) or go out on loan until they, or the aforementioned players, gain citizenship.

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Facilities

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Sadly, the board are adamant that our youth recruitment does not need improving...

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Cohort four youth development

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After the success of last year's crop, I am excited to see how these three will progress. I found out from last year that this doesn't really work well to track the development of goalkeepers so Pedro Saiz will just be left to progress by himself. Juan Jose Bono becomes the sixth 'best' (sorted by mean total of attributes) to go through this progress but is at least two years younger than everyone above him on the list, a real sign of his class.

These three have good technique but I'm a little worried about the anticipation/concentration/decisions attributes that I'm trying to build my team upon even if it is the best of the 'proper' development cohorts (almost exclusively the players from the intake in their first full season), as seen below:

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I would like to set a target of a combined 800 minutes for these three across the season in a way to really kick start their development, but, at the same time, I'm uncertain given how the last cohort developed without the first team football and now maybe should try and incorporate those more now that they are 18+.

 

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Love that you have Busquets as the DoF!

Some good looking signings as well.

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4 hours ago, tyler16 said:

Love that you have Busquets as the DoF!

Some good looking signings as well.

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He's not the 'best' DoF but, in terms of what I'm trying to achieve with this club, is a perfect player - especially considering his father was playing for Barca, the team that has largely inspired this, around the time that total football, the tactic that largely inspired this, was being brought over to the country I'm playing in by Johan Cruyff.

Happy with the signings - we've definitely started really well, as you'll see soon...

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August/September 2027

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We have started absolutely fantastically and fully deserve our current league position. New signing Penalillo (funny how I now have Pena and Penalillo leading my line - need to source a right winger called Penaraldo or similar!) has hit the ground running and Brian Pena has been in absurd form and could have literally bagged eight against a weak Sociedad side. I fully expect our form to tail off over the coming months but we have some points on the board and our football has been miles away from where we ended last season.

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I have also made quite a brave move - putting all of my best prospects into the B side for the coming season:

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This is a calculated move that I hope will be beneficial to their development. By moving them here I lose some control over their development (I have opted to run their individual training but not their overall group sessions [now meaning I have a 'B' team option on the side panel, but this is temporary and, later in the game I want to have a completely separate side here]) but I cannot set the formation that they play and my B team manager has the say over certain things like selections for games. I say 'selections for games' but the club is not currently in a playable league - something which would normally be a big warning sign for me (I've always tried to avoid loaning players to unplayable leagues across the game world). However, there is this:

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As you can see from Felipe Martinez's profile - there are some simulated matches. I am currently of the thinking that these simulated matches, which appear in the player history and, are therefore, competitive senior games, will do more good for the development of these players than youth team football (of which we are now promoted back into a playable U19 league). We will see!

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OCD

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Or something along those lines.

The above screenshot nearly makes me sick - for some reason I just cannot deal with the mess. This player has been in the game for 7 years yet his playing history has 16 different 'entries' into it and, quite frankly, looks a mess. In the past, this has put me off playing in Spain, Germany, France or Portugal - top European countries who employ B teams and I strongly considered not having a B team in this save to alleviate this problem.

I kind of get it when they've played for both teams but, even if they appear in a friendly (see the 2020/21 Athletic Club, 2022/23 BIlbao Athletic and 2026/27 Athletic Club) then it appears on this page and, as I said, looks horrible, especially when looking back through a playing history of older players that you now have to scroll through pages of 0's!

Is there a way around this or do I a) need to ignore it or b) ask for someone to create some panels on the profile screen?

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Posted (edited)

I feel like it would be worth reporting this ugliness as a bug to get it resolved "quickly". Or as a feature request for future FMs if the staff doesn't consider it to be a bug.

Edited by Toffle

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2 hours ago, Toffle said:

I feel like it would be worth reporting this ugliness as a bug to get it resolved "quickly". Or as a feature request for future FMs if the staff doesn't consider it to be a bug.

I don't think it's a bug and I don't really know who else dislikes it - I just think it's really inefficient and ugly!

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Posted (edited)

October/November 2027

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Well, we haven't fallen apart, yet. October was a truly wonderful month, with free scoring football and a really tight defence. The ability to fluctuate between a right, left or a central overload, based on where I played the Mezzala (along with a new role, the RPM) with the same players on the pitch, has meant that defences just cannot control our attacking fluidity. We are turning more into a 'Vertical Tiki-Taka' that a 'Tiki-Taka' when using the game language but we still maintain an average of 55% possession, enough for third in the standings. 

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34 goals and 50% of shots on target shows how efficient we have got with our strikefore, largely down to the introduction of Penalillo, although he hasn't scored in nearly two months now, despite earning a call up for the Chilean national team. Below is his comparison against the two wingers he has disposed - with Konig now leaving the club:

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I know it's early days and we are performing much better than we have over the past two seasons, but his ability has certainly improved us as a side.

Edited by _Ben_

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Over achieving?

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Or simply building a squad around a good ideology?

 

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15 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

I don't think it's a bug and I don't really know who else dislikes it - I just think it's really inefficient and ugly!

It should be reported in the UI section, I believe this has to do with how the game considers the data but maybe it can be fixed.

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December 2027/January 2028

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We've had an incredibly busy couple of months and we have just about been able to hang on to our good form - but have had to rotate hugely to meet the demands of a decent cup run, which has seen us record our most famous result to date, a penalty shootout victory over a strangely strong Real Madrid side.

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Brian Pena has, as he has in every year, come good when we needed him the most, playing around a couple of injuries and generally still being awesome despite not being 100% fit. His attacking partner, Jorge Penalillo has featured just once side the 5th December thanks to an injury and being away with the Chilean U23 squad and we have definitely felt this absence, only scoring more than once on one occasion in January.

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A fifth round Copa del Rey tie against Sociedad awaits but I can't afford to allow my attentions to be diverted from the league as we are in danger of dropping out of the automatic places. The playoffs, however, given the strength of the B sides this year, look a very strong possibility. We would need a huge summer if we were to make this work - and that is going by my own club vision and not the boards, but I, obviously, would not turn down the glitz and glamour if we were offered it.

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A golden generation, you say?!

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Great win over Real! How did that game unfold?

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15 hours ago, wesl said:

Great win over Real! How did that game unfold?

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As to be expected - to be fair. They were very attacking and, I think, used their best player, right winger Vanaschen, to target Angel - my left back. They had a lot of chances to be fair, but we didn't do too badly in terms of creating good chances ourselves. We did adopt a bit more of a physical style as the game went on as I was conscious of being caught out of the break and probably were lucky to keep 11 men on the pitch through the 120 minutes of football.

I can't recall us ever having a penalty shootout before so I am happy we held our nerve and converted all of them!

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February/March 2028

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These are the months where we have struggled, and I knew it was coming. January took it's toll on us and, if it wasn't for some fortuitous late winners from Pena and Villalba, we may have only recorded one win in this time. 

The game against Real Soceided, our reward for the fine Real win, was just a step too far. We had already played pretty much two games a week for the entirety of January, so another midweek fixture forced our players into a succession of, what can only be described, as lethargic performances, against a very poor and almost relegated Cadiz and, now-in-form, Vallecano. We somehow blew a 3-2 lead against Eibar and didn't turn up against mid-table fallen 'giants' Gijon and, with that, have probably kissed our automatic promotion chances goodbye.

We have to travel to the Riazor to play Depor and we also go away to Mestalla as well as entertaining Castilla on the last day of the season - but aside from that, have a reasonably steady run in. As I previously mentioned, the bottom of the playoffs are probably out of reach, however badly we play from now on, so I'm hoping that 27-goal Pena, et al, can solidify entry to the end-of-season lottery.

Youth intake up next...

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2027/28 Youth Intake

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A 'golden generation' but one that, truth be told, does not live up to that tag. There are very clearly two standout youngsters, who, even themselves, are far from the finished product, but there isn't a huge amount of depth or interest from anywhere else down the list.

Of the players, I've made a decision to keep four of them - Idrissa Mendy, Antonio, Juan Francisco Moreno and Alberto Herrero.

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Idrissa, whilst not being too proficient in any area of the pitch, aside from his physicality, also does not have any glaring weaknesses and, as such, will be utilised as an all-action midfielder in the RPM role. He'll work on being less reliant on his right foot and we'll go from there, trying to mould his personality through firstly the team route and then a mentoring group. Not your stereotypical Spanish midfielder, which, nicely, brings me to another quote from the Michael Cox book, called 'Zonal Marking: The Makings of Modern Football:'

Quote

It's telling that the only two significant foreigners who turned out for Ajax during  this period, Yugoslavian Velibor Vasovic and German Horst Blankenburg, bother played the physical, old-school hard-man role, because Ajax simply didn't produce that kind of defender themselves. 'The foreign players brought something different,' Cruyff acknowledged of the 1970s Ajax side/ That kind of statement in England or Italy would be about foreigners bringing flair, but it the Netherlands it was about foreigners bringing fight.

Whilst not entirely the same - I know that the archetypal Spanish newgen will probably be quite small, technical and good on the ball. Utilising the Senegalese heritage of Mendy, which is much more of a physical game, will provide us with opportunities for players I'd otherwise have to recruit.

I am very happy with this addition, and I hope that he does have enough potential to feature within my team.

---

Antonio is the other player of note. He's not great but has a good personality, which will hopefully aid his development. If I can get his finishing to be good, he can maybe work as another Trequartista.

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April/May/June 2028

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We have kind of ran out steam, unfortunately and, given our recent form, do not class us as favourites to now go up. April started really well, as we took ten points from a possible twelve but, surprisingly, we failed to turn up against a Valencia side we normally fair very well against. We then have stumbled across the finish line with, annoyingly, the majority of our top players falling out of form.

We head into the playoffs against Vallecano with confidence that we have beaten them before but a worry that we aren't in good form.

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Cohort Four Youth Development

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Another group through and another year with some fantastic progress being made (excuse the technical, mental and physical average on the middle table which appear wrong, yet the correct values have been pulled for the overview table) and two players who I will be using in the first team a lot more next season. We're now 'good' at passing, first touch and technique, and are significantly closer to my mental targets thanks to exceptional development with anticipation and decisions. Concentration will come with game time, I believe. 

---

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Olawale slots in as the third best developer (the top seven are now all 'first season youth academy graduates' so this puts a bit more context behind it) and Samuel ends the season as the fourth best overall player to leave the 'development plan' but is the youngest to reach a double figure average of attributes. 

---

I'm interested now in how this overview table will look once we have improved facilities and staffing as I feel that these developments are already really promising.

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2027/28 LaLiga 123 Playoffs

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One step too far, sadly. Our poor form running into the game meant we had to adapt our game plan in the first leg. We came away with a 1-1 draw and lifted spirits somewhat. A 2-2 home draw with them saw us head out on away goals.

Overall, a disappointment - but a much better showing than last year and grounds to be confident for next season. I'll wrap up the statistics in another post.

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2027/28 Statistics

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A really good season for Guadalajara, as a club more than anything. At one end, Brian Pena is truly cementing himself as a great, with a fantastic goal scoring performance but the most pleasing part is the amount of minutes graduates have been afforded. The first team saw Villalba, Ropero and Septian each rack up significant time, with the latter actually being the second top scorer following some good end of season form and the former being an absolute stalwart in the middle.

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We have seen a lot more turnover of staff that I'm used to and that I'd actually want but there are seven players that have played in each of our four years in this league. I feel, out of these lot, that Willian Santos is the weakest, both on paper and how his performances have dipped in what can only be described as our best season. He must perform for us next year or he'll almost certainly be shown the door.

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If I had to pick one thing to work on - again, it'd be goal distribution. Whilst Pena has been superb, rating the highest player in Spain with goals per 90 (Kylian Mbappe has scored two more but played a few more games), he has also scored more than half of our goals. Penalillo was brought in to alleviate that and started fantastically but has since really dipped in form - coinciding with a large spell away on international duty and a couple of injuries. He'll have to find his form next year or we'll go another year being completely reliant on one player.

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Cohort Five Youth Development

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Just the two players to track this year - and both fall a little short of what I've had in the previous intakes based on their current ability. Anticipation/Concentration/Decisions will be focused on again as well as the technical attributes.

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2028/29 Season Preview

I've set some pretty straightforward goals for the next season:

  • Aim to earn promotion from La Liga
  • Give young players a chance within the first team as that will be harder if/when we are promoted in the next few years
  • Weed out those players who are not of the required standard for a promotion push/playing in La Liga.
  • Re-negotiate contracts for players good enough to stay at the team if/when we are promoted, removing wage rises upon promotion etc.
  • Maintain a transfer profit if possible, as this will be offset by the new contract deals.

With that - here is the squad that I'm going with:

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Javi Sanchez (29 year old CB), Ignasio Vilarrasa (28 year old LB), Thiago Ojeda (25 year old AML) and Maxi Yamin (19 year old MC) all depart on free transfers or for small fees, but with no losses made on the prices they were brought in for. The plan it to give as many youngsters as possible a chance within the first team - namely Olawale, Bono, Francisco and Angel. I've included the star ratings as it's hard to conceptualise how my players look season on season, especially when I don't post screenshots of them all every season, and, although I don't necessarily base my own judgements on them, it is a decent base for comparison between them and my best players.

Whilst I look at the squad and see seven teenagers, the first team actually is pretty experienced and of good quality - so it's more that my bench is younger and more inexperienced. As mentioned - there is little chance of being able to allow these players a huge amount of game time, at this level of development, if or when we go up so by playing them now, I'll either find out whether they are good enough to perform at that level by seeing them develop and fire us to promotion or they'll fail, be sold and not cost us too much as my own vision is slightly more ambitious than that of the board.

--

This is a big gamble and one I'm not sure I could take were I to be a real life football manager - but let's see how this goes!

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Would be great if you could get a second and third source of goals as it seems every time Brian Pena goes on a drought, the team's form follows suit. (Perhaps set pieces, introducing an attack duty somewhere on the pitch?)

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23 hours ago, sherifdinn_ said:

Would be great if you could get a second and third source of goals as it seems every time Brian Pena goes on a drought, the team's form follows suit. (Perhaps set pieces, introducing an attack duty somewhere on the pitch?)

I agree and I hope that Penalillo will be that man, but he was injured a bit last year and missed over a month with a youth competition for Chile. He's in his second season and hopefully can provide some goals.

In terms of set pieces, I've made a call that, direct free kicks aside, we don't focus on them for goal scoring opportunities as, percentage wise, their yield is just too small. We, instead, keep the ball and look to work it into the box. It works well with keeping a solid shape, which turns into a 3-2-4-1ish (2 cb + HB, 2 IWB, two CM and wingers, T) and we don't have the tallest side too so we have struggled to win much from offensive corners, for example. I did look for a direct free kick taker but haven't really found anyone of note, yet.

As for the attack duty - I've thought about a midfield runner but I've noticed in games that this crowds the centre meaning we are more likely to go direct and pump the ball into the box. None of the central players are tall enough to be real dangers in the air. Likewise, I though about going for an IWB(a) on the side I have the Mez(s) and W(s) to further overload that but I don't have a player proficient enough for it at this point.

--

I'm hoping we have learnt from mistakes against specific opposition and can really put it all together this year, but time will tell..

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10 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

 

 

15 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

I'm hoping we have learnt from mistakes against specific opposition and can really put it all together this year, but time will tell..

perhaps you delegate in those matches against the top table sides? Maybe adopt some good ol' pragmatism?

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On 11/01/2020 at 15:32, JogaBonito said:

This is gold

Thank you!

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August/September 2028

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A really promising start to the season, as usual, where we have found our scoring feet - in particular, that man again, Brian Pena, with nine goals already. Most pleasing from this start is the wins over Valencia Mestalla and Espanyol, two teams who will be challenging at the top of the league this year. I have been able to rotate and keep my players, meaning that I've suffered very few injuries and have been able to build up a bit of competition between my more experienced starter and younger backup. I, for some reason, am really struggling to get good ratings from the AMR who plays as a W(s) - in an ideal world, I'd actually have the 'blank-slate' WM(s) in the midfield strata but that would really make a defensive looking 4-1-4-1 AM and maybe even be a little too cautious.

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I was met with this news on deadline day - my first choice centre back moving for just about 10x his market value, but, as his minimum release clause was met, I had no say in it. Orriols was a really good ball player but it does give me the chance to fully integrate my second academy prospect, Alberto Ropero, into the first team. He joins Miguel Angel Villalba as the second Guadalajara graduate to be an important first team player and this is really a sign of what we want to achieve.

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October/November 2028

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We continue our good form into the third and fourth month of the season, with just one defeat, albeit a defeat against a title challenging club and our nearest rivals, at home. Whilst the loss has closed the gap at the top, at present Las Palmas are our closest foe as Sevilla's B side can't get promoted anyway. What has pleased me most over this spell is our ability to perform with a rotated squad and beat teams that are of similar quality to ourselves: Numancia were hot on our tails before our comfortable victory and Atletico Madrid B and Las Palmas are within the top sides in the league. 

---

With our good position here, I have instructed my scouting team to look for players who will be good enough to feature in a potential La Liga squad next year - with the ongoing look at Determination, Decisions, Concentration, Anticipation and the ability to use both feet.

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Good to see more players contributing goals.

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On 16/01/2020 at 22:31, wesl said:

Good to see more players contributing goals.

Indeed - although, I may now actually be selling one of those players...

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New contract

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2 year extension that, all being well, take me through at least one season in La Liga...

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January transfer dealings

I'm not really ever one for making wholesale January changes, especially given our fantastic start to the season and real shot at promotion - filling the team with players who are good enough for this level and not good enough for La Liga will vastly reduce the money I'll get should we get promoted. However, I've brought in two Brazilians, who, should we get promoted, will fill two thirds of our Non-EU quota - a potential worry. 

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Sandro signs on a free transfer after his MAD (I can't work out who this is but I still haven't put the fix back into the game) contract expired. He's young and quite well rounded - good in four of the five areas I'm looking at currently (work rate, determination, decisions, concentration and anticipation). He lacks the two-footendess that I really favour in my full backs and he's not going to ever be able to get trained to that point. He's not good enough for La Liga, yet (if at all) but will get plenty of minutes this season to see just how good he is. 

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Initially signed for Gremio for €1.5m, the Palmerias lad never really broke into the first team and, strangely, was listed for just €15k, 100x smaller than his previous sale. He's three years older than Sandro but not hugely more developed than him. He's my archetypal ball playing centre back, a role that I didn't manage to fill following the deadline day sale of Orriols and is good in all of the areas that I want from him, with the exception of positioning. Probably, a little homage to the much loved Brazilian styled centre back (cough: David Luiz).

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I decided to allow one outgoing transfer of note, that of Jorge Penalillo back to South America. He signed for €14k from Palestino so this is a massive profit on a player who hasn't really hit it off, with just nine goals in fifty appearances for us. It also coincides with the emergence of Septien as a real first team option for me. 

It's been nice to actually get FM open again!

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