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[FM20] Tequila and Mariachi?


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9 minutes ago, wesl said:

Neyveson looks really good, and I think next time you sign a Barca product they'll send you one for free!

If he's anywhere near as good as the lad I've brought him in to replace - I think we'll be just fine! We do have somewhat of a Barca connection - he joins Pena, Puig, Alena and Benjamin who were trained at La Masia and two of my earlier signings, Antonio Sola and Ferran Sarsanedas, came through their too.

Obviously, there must be something similar about the way we run our clubs!

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Quick question: 

How do you eliminate the bad personalities? With such focus on youth development, you need all the talented players you can get. Do you simply not sign the youth players with less favourable personalities, no matter their potential, or do you sign the promising ones and then try to change their personalities via mentoring?

I'm doing an academy challenge and having a hard time deciding what to with the talented but low determination / unambitious etc. players from the youth intake. I'm already in year 7 and I don't have any mentors beacause my highly influential players are 20 years of age and - sadly - have lower determination than I'd like. But this also means that my most talented young players with good personalities will see their determination drop gradually, beacause of the leading players' influence, even though my squad's personality is professional. It's a neverending struggle and I can't sign any players to replace my "stars". So I either risk our results on the pitch by selling them (a process I have reluctantly started) or the development of our youngsters (the best of which the board keeps selling before I can develop them). Man, you gotta love youth challenges..

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15 hours ago, Enzo_Francescoli said:

Quick question: 

How do you eliminate the bad personalities? With such focus on youth development, you need all the talented players you can get. Do you simply not sign the youth players with less favourable personalities, no matter their potential, or do you sign the promising ones and then try to change their personalities via mentoring?

I'm doing an academy challenge and having a hard time deciding what to with the talented but low determination / unambitious etc. players from the youth intake. I'm already in year 7 and I don't have any mentors beacause my highly influential players are 20 years of age and - sadly - have lower determination than I'd like. But this also means that my most talented young players with good personalities will see their determination drop gradually, beacause of the leading players' influence, even though my squad's personality is professional. It's a neverending struggle and I can't sign any players to replace my "stars". So I either risk our results on the pitch by selling them (a process I have reluctantly started) or the development of our youngsters (the best of which the board keeps selling before I can develop them). Man, you gotta love youth challenges..

 

Sometimes, yes.

Where this differs to a youth only challenge is that I do sign players and, as such, focus a lot of my recruitment on good personalities. I've had issues in youth only saves in the past whereby my first crop of 'key players' had poor DET and poor personalities and that then just moved through the team. Luckily for me, I was able to attract some decent personalities at the start of this save so the general trend is that the poor personalities within the squad tend to change and their determination is improving. I could, with relative ease, transform this save into purely youth only and still have the infrastructure in place to retain personalities for optimal development but, as you said, doing it without this is part of the challenge!

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August/September 2030

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Hmmm.

I would have liked a stronger start considering the opposition that we have faced is largely clubs smaller than us or those that have just been promoted but, I guess, I have picked up five points from draws this season and the Osasuna, Elche and Alaves point came from losing positions. We opened up with a really poor first 45 against Elche and, at half time, I switched Neyveson to a CF(s) - in an attempt to go a little more direct. It was he, from a cross, that saved us a point but really we didn't do a lot. That trend continued against Alaves who were very cautious against us - leading me to move Alena back to the DM slot as a Regista with Villalba moving ahead in a BWM role. Against Betis, we played much better and had to find a way to counter their 4-3-3 narrow formation, with Villalba dropping in as a centre back in a 5-2-3 shape, using two inverted wing backs. Three draws followed, and we have largely struggled going forward - with only Neyveson showing any kind of quality - the youngster netting in his first four games for the club and ends September with 5 from 7, sitting third in the goalscoring charts. However - all of my wingers have really struggled for form and being involved in the game - with my other goals coming from a DM and a CB.

Going into October and November, I face Sevilla, Atletico and Valencia - so we really need to pick up some victories against teams around us.

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Elsewhere, and this is another massive conundrum for me - our B team have started their season:

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It seems that the manager wants to use both B team and U19 players so I have moved anyone with any potential straight into the B team so that they can play and, hopefully, develop together. The B side currently has no coaches or decent facilities but has a much better quality of playing time than my youth squad. I really hate that stupid GUI whereby it lists both squads each season, even when they are only in friendly games so really don't want to have players across both teams! All of my players that are being tracked are getting minutes at B team level so it'll be interesting to see how that compares with the others.

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October/November 2030

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A strange couple of months - whereby we put together two of our best performances all season (the first being against Villarreal and the end of November) and then against Sevilla, but both of these ties yielded no points, and, following a poor show away at Valladolid, there was rumours of discontent and I even began to question that horrific 'R' word. Fortunately, we seem to work in binary only, and have worryingly only scored more than once just once all season - against Betis. Likewise, we have only conceded more than once just once, too and managed to keep three clean sheets over the two months. For comparison, Barca have a mammoth 51 goals from their opening fourteen games - we have just 11. Obviously, our 11 conceded puts us as the fourth best defence but something needs to change - particularly going forward. Below shows the average rating (I know there is considerably more to it than that, but it's an analytical start) of my players who have played in more than one full ninety:

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Each of them is a player who plays out wide. Both wing roles are W(s) at present but there are just failing to have any kind of impact on games, in whichever variation I seem to play. Neyveson, the central attacker has fared somewhat better but, to be fair, his five goals do hide some poor offensive play.

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I've become somewhat obsessed with our team shape this year and have spent significantly more time trying to work through in game changes to overcome issues and to get the best from this bunch of players. This is my current plan:

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Whilst now facing much better defensive players, our lack of engagement (that was set to normal) meant that we were giving teams far too much time to play out from the back or to release attacking full backs or deep lying play makers. By increasing that line of engagement, I have stretched play a little, particularly when I want a lot of our possession re-gains to be turnovers or interceptions, so have also added the 'Work ball into box' to counter that - knowing that I (purposely) have just one attack duty and I do need to get numbers forward rather than just rely on individual runs.

I have also made a move to a 'Positive' mentality as I felt that 'Balanced' was a little too conservative and ended with us playing the ball around the defence far too much. I'm going to try and get some more in-game highlights to demonstrate the kind of thing I'm trying to achieve!

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Wonderkid

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My first one!

He's been exceptional and, in order to fit in Francisco Bravo when a non-EU slot becomes available, has successfully retrained as a right back too over the course of the year. Next up is to get one from my own academy.

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La Liga record?

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For the dullest game ever?! For some extra information, of those 771 completed passes, only fourteen of them came through my most advanced player, Neyveson. Mallorca didn't come to win but this is exactly what I am finding tactically - we are lacking that spark or creative genius that can unlock defences or even that direct runner who can create something from nothing.

I still have to see this as a point gained, especially as we are still one of the weaker sides in the league and continue to overachieve, but this kind of thing really needs working on!

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Wonderkid

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Like buses...

Eight goals in eighteen game across league and cup signifies a decent start for him. He's clearly of good calibre and I look forward to see what he can do once he's fulled settled into our tactical setup.

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Squad depth (or lack of)

Watching the team play this season, more-so than last (as that was a case of just staying up) I am noticing that, despite my work on the tactical side, we are still losing our because we, quite simply, are second best. I am, of course, more than aware of that - two seasons in the top flight certainly means that we won't have a top quality squad. However - the difference between my players is huge, as seen below:

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This is a cross between my strongest XI and, using the assistant stars (of which I don't really like but it does help explain my point) I have compiled a group of players who are believed to be good enough for this level, La Liga. You will notice straight away that a) I don't have a right winger who is strong enough and b) I have shoe-horned full back Bravo into a midfield role - that is purposeful and I'll detail my plans for him at a later date.

To be fair, having 10 players good enough for this level is more than I actually thought - given how some of them perform, although the majority are young and untested at this level.

The problem comes when looking at the other members of the first team:

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With Varela put into a DR role (as neither AMR is La Liga level and I had to put him somewhere) you can see that only two of these players (Navarro and Benjamin) are good enough for this level. This might coincide with my strong defence regardless of my rotation. Rotating my forward players means taking out a player who is good enough and replacing them with someone who isn't good enough.

---

Something to definitely think about as I look to make deals for January and looking forward to the summer.

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Transfer completed

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It made sense, for such a small amount of money. His attributes are decent and he's certainly one for the future. Finalising the deal now doesn't impact my non-EU quota as he holds a Spanish passport.

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Francisco Bravo - Development

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So I signed Francisco in the summer but have been able to play him because of having too many non-EU players within the first team. It is now January 2031 and Carlos Alberto is due to take Spanish citizenship any day now. However, the work with Bravo has been going on behind the scenes since he arrived in July. Firstly, I already have three wing backs - Sabena, Lucas and Navarro. Each of them is 'Either' footed and both Lucas and Sabena can play on either side of the back four as inverted wingbacks, with Navarro able to fill in at centre back, too. Therefore, I'm looking for some more positional versatility from the young Chilean.

For a full back, he's very much relying on his pace to get him back into position, but is good at marking and makes good decisions whilst positioning himself well. He is, however, quite poor at tackling, can't jump and his heading is also below average. Whilst he has, hopefully, plenty of room to grow, I worry that he might not be the perfect fit for a full back - even if I have tried to convert midfielders with lower attributes in this area in the past. Therefore, my plan is to utilise him as a running midfielder, in probably the Mezzala role, on support. He has, as mentioned, a good physical base (look at the hexagon!) and is also a great passer, has good technique, first touch, team work and workrate and, despite poor finishing, can dribble and is relatively compose on the ball.

My plan, since September, has been to train him as an RPM(s) in the central midfield position, working on the below attributes:

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Let's see how he goes!

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December 2030/January 2031

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I really need to get to the bottom of these goalscoring issues - as, like highlighted, we largely have players who are decent ability for this level and attacker Neyveson is arguably the best player at the club. Yet, we extend our run of poor goalscoring shows, scoring twice now two times in the twenty-one games, against Betis and now Leganes. A good show in the cup, whereby I rotated a little but left Neyveson in the team in order to hopefully get some confidence and goals under his belt, saw us win twice, although we were taken to extra time by third tier Lleida. I included the friendly vs Alcala as that was the first proper run out for the slightly tweaked defensive shape, whereby the HB is swapped for a DLP (I swap Villalba back to DC and move Carlos Alberto to DM) - meaning that the attacking shape changes from a 3-2-5 to a 2-3-5 - which is great, when playing against a one striker formation. Obviously, we destroyed the inferior opposition but, when used again, against Lleida, produced a similarly controlling performance, but, again, without the goals. January is always a struggle with Copa del Rey action so I'm keen to move on quickly to February and beyond.

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Annoyingly, Carlos Alberto has still not taken his Spanish passport, meaning that I cannot register Bravo. As I type, I am moving through deadline day and this registration will be as a good as a signing. Which, annoyingly, isn't going to happen. I've had my scouts out all season but we seem really unprepared and almost a transfer window behind. That is understandable given our short time in this league but I really need to use the summer to think long term for this club, and plan signings accordingly - considering the once full shortlist is now empty of anyone I am interested in. 

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Bomb Squad

When, and not if, the permanent transfer of Neyveson is completed, it'll cut a chunk out of my rather meagre £9m budget, but work needs to be done on the rest of the squad. I'm not going to go into as much detail as I did last season with statistical analysis (and, the majority of players showing will have been there last year anyway) but will simply look at appearances and quality of appearances as a whole.

Below is my 'bomb squad.' I'm not sure if that term is widely associated with football but, as a Villa fan, I know of this from the last decade where players such as Shay Given, Stephen Ireland, Darren Bent and Alan Hutton were hung out to dry in the reserves by Paul Lambert and put up for sale at any price. We don't need money. We don't need sell on clauses. These players have, whilst being loyal servants, outlived their stay and need replacing.

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There are some famous faces here - two players, Puigmal and Fernandes, who were key to our promotion to this top flight with Arnau playing each of his 304 career games in the purple of Guadalajara. Then, there is record €3m signing Jorge Varela, a man with continental success in North America, who's arrival was meant to be part of the new 'diamond in the rough' kind of regime. Toni Lato, a man with huge experience but only six months under his belt with us is the last man on the list.

This is a group with tremendous experience, they average 30.5 years old and between them have nearly 1400 career appearances. However, they've made a combined 21 starts this season and their performances have not been up to standard with what is needed at this level. Without them, my youthful squad averages just 23.4 years old - and that figure is skewed in itself by 33 year old duo Alena and Puig.

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With Carlos Alberto finally having taken Spanish citizenship and Marlon Lucas due to do the same in the summer - our only non-EU is Varela and, if he goes, we have only one used slot - which belongs to Francisco Bravo. I want to see these two remaining slots for non-EU players as spaces for the marquee signings - learning from the mistake I've made here, with Varela struggling to hold down a spot but taking up a space that could have been used to strengthen the squad elsewhere.

My aim is to bring through one more 'marquee' styled player - either in the MC position (replacing both Fernandes and Puigmal) or in the MR position (although I am still persisting with some massive issues in these roles so may choose to save my money and persist with what little I have) and then fill the other gaps with experienced palyers, who are hopefully good enough for this league.

This goes against pretty much everything I stand for as an advocate of promoting youth and focusing massively on developing my own talent but the plan using the B-team is in it's infancy and, aside from a handful of very much 'potentially' good players, we are somewhat limited. That, and also the difficulty I have had getting anywhere near consistent performances from young players (for what it's worth, rated at 2* or 2.5*) shows that I need to make sure that the players are ready for the first team and not just looking good attribute wise.

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February/March 2031

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Whilst we look to be regressing from last year's 10th placed finish - we need to take, on average, just one point a game from our remaining fixtures to achieve the same points tally as last year, in what, arguable, is a similarly congested mid-table. Of the 'big' teams, we still have to play Atletico Madrid and also travel to surprise 3rd place team Granada with Valencia in May, too. Aside from that, we play Mallorca, Betis, Eibar, Zaragoza (20th), Osasuna (19th) and Levante - so there are definitely plenty of points available here.

We have, at last, broken the scoring streak - netting three times against Europe chasing Leganes and four times against mid-table Valldolid, after identifying both games as key to our season (the second coming after a horror two fixtures whereby we scraped a draw against Real Madrid).

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Next month sees the youth candidates.

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2031 Youth Intake - Full Review

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(Screenshots below taken after they signed contracts so * ratings may not be exactly the same.)

Rene Burgos. Israel Escobar. Diego Samaniego. Enzo Tavares. Jesus Armas. Andrei Oprea. James Dean

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Aside from the son, this is a really strong youth intake with a wonderful array of nationalities and positions, even if the personalities does leave a slight bad taste in the mouth.

First up is Burgos, the second Paraguayan centre half to come through in the past two years. Just like Palacios last year, he'll have to wait until his paperwork is processed to gain a Spanish citizenship and appear for the B team. He's tall, physical for his age and has a good personality/media handling (Resilient: Pressure 17-19, Determination 15-17, Professionalism <18, Leader <19 and Unflappable: Temperament 15-20, Pressure 15-20). There is much to work on, with his all round game - but my staff seem delighted by his potential.

Escobar is good on the ball and quite taller than your stereotypical Spanish playmaker. He's got an excellent first touch and good technique but is quite limited technically - a definite goal for his development.

Next up is Samaniego, himself. He needs a bit of work on his defensive side but good technique and passing for a full back, at his age, is great. His intelligence is good overall, and, I'd say, excellent for a 17 year old. F.Det (Determination 15-17, Professionalism <15, Leader <19 and Level Headed (Professionalism 13-20, Loyalty 12-20) tells me that he could hopefully improve to the squad personality of Highly Professional. I want to work on his offensive game also, hoping that he can really be an asset as an inverted wing back and it's just a shame that he doesn't fit the bill of all my other full backs - who are either footed. I think he's going to be special!

Tavares has the makings of a tricky little winger but also potentially a full back, given his good tackling. The combo of work rate, flair and acceleration means that I actually think he's going to be gold on the wings - winning the ball back and being, potentially, unstoppable. I can't remember if I can teach the 'tries tricks' player trait (another youth candidate has it, which reminded me of it) but I could actually see that becoming a lethal combo. I can't get a lot from his personality or media handling (Media Friendly, Volatile) except for the latter indicating Temperament 3-6 - which is a worry. Hopefully, my squad personality can bring this up as I don't really recall any other volatile members of the squad.

Jesus Armas was the winger outlined on the intake preview and has been signed but I don't really have huge hopes for him.

Oprea is probably the product of my Romanian link up (although it doesn't show he played for them, like it used to) and is the second Romanian in two years. I like his well developed mental game although that is let down by his technical ability. His slight frame means that he'll need to excel in one of those other areas and, should be develop (his personality puts him in one of the best starting positions) he'll probably have to be a very clever forward, maybe even a Trequarista.

I also like James Dean, who, despite having the least Brazilian name going, looks to be solid.

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Squad Overview

Haven't done this for a while - so fancied moving some up to date attributes into the DNA tracker on Excel. Here is what has come out:

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Things are looking good - the depth at full back, centre back, central midfield (minus maybe Bravo - but he has had no first team football for a whole year now due to Alberto missing the deadline by like 2 days!) and attacking midfield show some great depth. Obviously, I'd like to be turning those green cells gold, but, for the level we are at - we aren't going to get too much better. It is worth noting that Carles Alena is still a class act, and has recently moved to a M.Pro personality (not sure I've seen much of that at his age before).

Next is my top prospects from my B-team and U19 team. I've ignored my loanees and a few that seem to have found their footing and level in the B-team because I don't feel that they'll ever be good enough to make the jump (and, probably realised another now will join them):

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I had really high hopes for Mendy, but he's not developed, at all. Whether that was the year he had in the B-team before they entered a playable division or something else, I don't know. Elsewhere, Samaniego looks the perfect foil for Sabena, once his defensive attributes are solidified and Palacios could replace Benjamin once his concentration has improved. Likewise, Vilisanti will be able to become the perfect backup for Villalba once a couple of minor things (marking and heading) have reached a good (10 or above) level.

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Trying to fit together the development plan of these youngsters with the trajectory of my first team and making recruitment choices that doesn't impact the long term goals of my save is a wonderful puzzle that I seem to enjoy trying to put together more and more each year.

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The 'monitoring year' - A Review

With every intake - I use the attributes to track the development of a few players across their first year at the club and, in future, will be tailoring team training sessions to them (providing, of course, that the B-team route isn't much better and, if so, I'll use that instead). I was interested, due to the long term concern I have about what they do after that year is up, to see how they've kicked on.

Below, I've gathered the data from all of the players who I initially tracked that are still at the club:

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The table at the bottom is the one of most interest - although it's interesting to see how the personalities in the top table (as of now) have altered post the first year at the club. The left part of the table is what I include in my Youth Development Overview, ranking the best 'Year one' improvement, of which Alberto Ropero currently sits top.

However, I have taken a look at their current average of attributes - as seen in the 'Now' column. This is, probably - to be expected. Benjamin is a strong first team player, as is Samuel (although he's yet to actually become anywhere near consistent). Likewise, Godwin and Santos are out on loan at third tier clubs and are not performing well enough to be ever be considered as first team players for me - backed up by their low average attribute scores and Idrissa Mendy, as I saw, isn't turning into the player that I want him to.

Lastly, I wanted to see how their average development per year worked out. I know that development is not linear but I thought that this might shed some light on what is going on. Francisco, who has spent two years on loan in the second tier, hasn't progressed a huge amount - pretty much half as much per year as Ropero. Septien, another now important player, has also kicked on considerably, especially when compared to the likes of Villalba and Benjamin, although it can be argued that he, as part of my 'practice' year, was considerably older. Villalba himself is a strange one - a player who has made over 200 league appearances but, seemingly, has barely improved since the age of 18. 

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I now have some data that I can compare with those players who have entered the development phase whilst in the B-team. This will never be an exact science but it certainly raises some questions about how I can develop these players the best possible way, obviously knowing that one size does not fit all and one numerical figure is not automatically the answer to how the little dot performs on the pitch.

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Have been following this thread since the start  and hop on every other day to see if you updated us on the progress. Have started a career without attributes like yourself and it makes me focus on other things for player like career apps and goals.

 

Few questions, how do you search for players? Purely scouts or do you use player search using only game stats?  Also, could you possibly share that skin because it has almost everything I'd want in one but have no knowledge of skinning.

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Progress

Seeing both Septien and Ropero having made, on average, more than two points of progress - I thought I'd have a little look back at them when they first joined. Here is the initial youth candidate screen:

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Notice the lack of stars for Septien!

Below is a very poor mashup of their attributes, from that day, to today:

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It is worth noting that both have also lost their 'Right only' label and both now have a professional personality. Whilst Septien hasn't developed as I'd have liked him to, technically, they are both demonstrations that development is necessary - even as a lower level and even for players who aren't going to be world beaters!

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31 minutes ago, rosque said:

Have been following this thread since the start  and hop on every other day to see if you updated us on the progress. Have started a career without attributes like yourself and it makes me focus on other things for player like career apps and goals.

 

Few questions, how do you search for players? Purely scouts or do you use player search using only game stats?  Also, could you possibly share that skin because it has almost everything I'd want in one but have no knowledge of skinning.

Many thanks! I've had a fair bit of time to play this weekend but I know that'll diminish again over the next few days - which is what always allows me to come back to it fresh faced. I've developed almost an OCD for looking at everything now and, thankfully this makes a youth driven save a bit easier as there is no chance I could ever fully turn around a squad!

I mainly use scouts because the attribute boxes cover those unscouted attributes and a range, e.g. 8-12 would appear in the colour I have the range for the 8 value and skew up the search results. Because of this - I don't really look at the player search page until I've spent a few months doing that and, almost always use the '100% knowledge' filter. Also - the base skin for this has removed the search feature to list the attributes on the player search screen anyway.

I can send you the skin, of course! It's definitely a WIP and there are some screens I'm unhappy with/still show numbers/I can't get the codes to work on yet so be warned!

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I also mainly use scouts as they can come up with players that do not play a lot/are out of favor but are definitely an improvement to my side! Regarding the search players I meant stats like key passes/90, distance covered etc. I find that hard to navigate as you cannot move in increments like 1.53 for key passes it just goes from 1-2-3 etc.

 

Would definitely like a skin, you can PM me when you get around to it.

Edited by rosque
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2030/31 End of Season Review

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A couple of very solid performances from both of my teams here - with the main squad finishing that worrying second season in exactly the same position, albeit a point worse off. Unlike last year, we have largely been consistent as a mid-table team, away from the fairytale first half of last season followed by relegation form after Christmas. Over the next seasons, I need to turn that consistency into two or three better performances and hope that we can slowly move up the table. Elsewhere, Granada were the surprise package as the ousted Atletico and Leganes managed to qualify for Europe at the expense of Real Betis, who were supposed to, yet got relegated. Osasuna and a strangely good Zaragoza side also drop down. The B team consolidated after promotion with a good mid-table finish. Piecing together my best development players for that squad is a summer job.

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A mixed bag, as you'd expect for mid-table mediocrity. Neyveson leads the goalscoring charts, with 14 and ten of those coming in the league but that is a far throw from the 30+ Pena was scoring in his heyday. He, himself, has returned with just six goals this season as we, once again, end the season wondering what could have been if only we could score a few more times. Defensively, we have been superb - just 32 goals conceded giving us the fifth best defence and Lucas, Benjamin and Ropero all averaging over 7 shows how well they've performed.

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I have got a couple of transfer targets for the summer: replacing Varela, Puigmal and Fernandes but aside from that, all the work done is internal.

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2030/31 Youth Cohort Review

This was the first year that I have used my B-team as a go to reliable place for development for my youngsters so was hoping to see that their development, with a focus now on game time at a level that is recorded within the game, was just as useful as training.

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Not quite the development that I had wanted, if I am truly honest. As you can see below, Alex Vilisanti ranks seventh on my list of 'top developers' but has managed to play over two thousand minutes of football, has a good personality and determination and already was at a good level. I know that I have chosen to place players in this team before they are 18 and know that, even in the in-game tips, it says training is more important that football before 17 - so maybe that is why his process has stalled, as he's playing important matches every week.

It is pleasing to see good development in anticipation, decisions and positioning along with the overall physical growth, too.

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Edited by _Ben_
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B-Team 2031/32

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I'm starting to take a more invested view of my B-squad now that they are in a playable league and a viable tool for player development. Below is the squad I have put together, combining the best academy players at my disposal. I have included James Dean, Rene Burgos and Enzo Tavares in the hope that they'll pick up Spanish citizenship soon, as rules dictate Non-EU players can't play at that level. The standouts are my Paraguayan's and there is hope that I can get them into a team in the next two to three years - by which time, they'll already have circa 100 appearances at a decent level under their belt before they either move to us or the first team of another team on loan.

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2031/32 Youth Monitoring Cohort

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My biggest cohort to date and, with asterisks next to 2024/25 and 2025/26 due to older and first team players being used, one of the strongest - particularly mentally. This is hopefully significant as I look to develop mentally stronger players in fitting with the core values that run through the club - good decisions, anticipation, concentration and determination. 

Of the crop that I have highlighted - Diego Samaniego has the third highest average of all players who I have monitored, only bettered by 21 year old Benjamin and 19 year old Juan Jose Rueda, both of whom were signed for the first team in the first two seasons that I tracked them. He is also better than Villalba during his second stint (2025/26) of tracking and 0.6 better than Ghita Hreniuc and 0.7 better than Juan Jose Bono. Burgos sits 12th, Escobar 14th, Dean 16th and Tavares 22nd - so I must say that this is a strong group, especially compared to the 2026/27 cohort of Santiago Santos [20th], Juan Jose Septien [21st], Francisco [23rd], Alberto Ropero [26th] and Sonny Godwin [27th] - with Septien and Ropero first team players now.

Edited by _Ben_
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Affiliate

After badgering for different affiliates that I could then push towards giving me foreign youngsters, my reputation boost meant that I could now chose directly. The key I have found here, rather than look at reputation alone, is to skim through teams who do not play in a division. This gives a lot of smaller clubs, granted, but also lists academies, who obviously don't play in their respective leagues.

I have used that to my advantage and formed an alliance with RTD Academy - the Right To Dream Academy.dc545ded230c590af7709e2e9eded9a8.png

They already link with Man City and Osters (I thought it was Nordsjalland too, but this was either cancelled or the Danish league not in enough detail to add in) and the deal means I can get youngsters from their academy straight into mine. Fortunately, they have great facilities:

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Ghana isn't treated as a non-EU country for Spain due to being part of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States nations so, even if they don't have a citizenship straight away (and will probably take 10 years if I recall) they won't clog up my 'marquee' slots.

 

 

Edited by _Ben_
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Stadium Completion

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A very low-key message (from previous years) to announce our new stadium being ready.

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Not huge, but nearly twice as big as the Pedro Escartin!

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2031/32 Transfer Dealings

I'm in mid July now but feel that I'm already reasonably well set for the season ahead and, in fact, nearing a point whereby extensive transfer windows are a thing of the past - instead focusing on one or two possibly more expensive players who are the finishing touches to the side. Firstly, my incoming deals...

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Each of the permanent deals would have broken my transfer record, such is the size of the club currently. Firstly, Neyveson made his loan deal a permanent one and I hope he will continue the promise that he showed last year. Not a single negative thing about his game and some fantastic attributes for the kind of forward that I want. He was, at times, a little naive and lacking confidence in front of goal, but I think that will only improve over time.

I then paid €4m for Franco Gonia, who had grown unhappy at Racing in Argentina. He was on my radar as he'd ran absolute riot, setting a new divisional record of 22 goal contributions (17 of those being assists). Gonia is the final piece of the midfield jigsaw, initially partnering Carles Alena before sharing the space with Juan Jose Bono when the great man (funny I should be so attached to a non newgen who has been at the club for just 2 years) retires. Excellent passing, decisions and vision combined with some good traits should mean he could be special!

Lastly, I paid €3.3m for Jose Carlos from relegated Betis. It normally goes against my principles signing important players from relegated clubs as they tend to be an important part in their downfall. The former Betis man probably fits into that category, no goals in 22 appearances at a rating of 6.66 - and, maybe even worse, only 9 goals from 187 games whilst being in Spain. The ex-Sao Paulo man, who converted to Spanish nationality, scored well in South America but looks to have been played, strangely, as a DM whilst at Betis but I do recall facing him as a WBR last season. He's pacy, can dribble, pass, spot a gap and is incredibly composed yet incredibly unpredictable. I think, out on the right wing - he'll be able to beat his man through either pure pace or trickery - the extra dimension that I just didn't have in Varela.

I have also added Carlos Prieto on loan for some extra defensive cover. He's a typical Barcelona type player and he'll be useful support for us. Sadly, I don't have a fee agreed as I did with Neyveson last year.

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Somewhat of a clearout, with more names only appearing on the B-team transfers. These players have been out on loan and not developed as much as I wanted so have been moved on. Varela, Puigmal, Fernandes and Lato have been upgraded with the new signings.

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I'm feeling very confident about the squad with only a few areas of weakness, both in terms of quality and depth. The next few years are big for the B-team as I look to use them as a development tool, reducing the amount of transfer windows as busy at this one.

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On 21/02/2020 at 21:06, _Ben_ said:

I've become somewhat obsessed with our team shape this year and have spent significantly more time trying to work through in game changes to overcome issues and to get the best from this bunch of players. This is my current plan:

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Whilst now facing much better defensive players, our lack of engagement (that was set to normal) meant that we were giving teams far too much time to play out from the back or to release attacking full backs or deep lying play makers. By increasing that line of engagement, I have stretched play a little, particularly when I want a lot of our possession re-gains to be turnovers or interceptions, so have also added the 'Work ball into box' to counter that - knowing that I (purposely) have just one attack duty and I do need to get numbers forward rather than just rely on individual runs.

I have also made a move to a 'Positive' mentality as I felt that 'Balanced' was a little too conservative and ended with us playing the ball around the defence far too much. I'm going to try and get some more in-game highlights to demonstrate the kind of thing I'm trying to achieve!

When I first looked at this setup, I decided to continue reading this thread to see if what I predicted would be right. It was. The midfield looks good/balanced. You've got a player stationed between the lines (SS), you've got a player you will move up to combine with him and come deep whenever possible to control games, you've got another player who controls the half space and one who shields the defence. It easy to see that you will have tons of possession (Mallorca game ended with 70%!).

However, your problem is quite obvious, you lack penetration and that translates in-match into low shots and low chances created. You are also going with a packed midfield, with all of them being on support, this means you'll have about 6/7 players behind the ball most times during games. Low penetration.

Another issue is your use of wingers. Both wingers will receive the ball and run wide to cross but there wouldn't be enough presence in the box to take advantage. Your midfield 3 will lurk Infront of the box to recycle possession as opposed to actually attacking the box. This will happen on both sides of the pitch. You need variety.

In summary, your problems are;

Penetration,

Variety.

How do you solve this?

Use inside for+WB/FB (attack) combo on one flank: This will help you solve the problems of crossing and variety (more options in the box and a new dimension out wide).

Using an attack duty out wide. It'll help with the counter attack plus adds more penetration.

 

PS: love the thread keep up the work

 

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11 hours ago, rosque said:

You're making great progress with your B team.

 Are they playing in 2nd or 3rd division?

Thanks - they are currently in the third tier and the dream would be to have them in the second tier and, although they can't be promoted from it, winning it. I seem to have got lucky as not that many people have been able to have a team that they have added make the playable levels!

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26 minutes ago, sherifdinn_ said:

When I first looked at this setup, I decided to continue reading this thread to see if what I predicted would be right. It was. The midfield looks good/balanced. You've got a player stationed between the lines (SS), you've got a player you will move up to combine with him and come deep whenever possible to control games, you've got another player who controls the half space and one who shields the defence. It easy to see that you will have tons of possession (Mallorca game ended with 70%!).

However, your problem is quite obvious, you lack penetration and that translates in-match into low shots and low chances created. You are also going with a packed midfield, with all of them being on support, this means you'll have about 6/7 players behind the ball most times during games. Low penetration.

Another issue is your use of wingers. Both wingers will receive the ball and run wide to cross but there wouldn't be enough presence in the box to take advantage. Your midfield 3 will lurk Infront of the box to recycle possession as opposed to actually attacking the box. This will happen on both sides of the pitch. You need variety.

In summary, your problems are;

Penetration,

Variety.

How do you solve this?

Use inside for+WB/FB (attack) combo on one flank: This will help you solve the problems of crossing and variety (more options in the box and a new dimension out wide).

Using an attack duty out wide. It'll help with the counter attack plus adds more penetration.

 

PS: love the thread keep up the work

 

I think I agree with everything you've said! I have been, possible purposely, a little more cautious since coming into the top flight - knowing that points are precious and a 0-0 will always assist us, whereas lots of goals conceded will make it harder as my players aren't as good as other teams', regardless of my tactical choices.

I initially wanted everyone on support as part of making the playing style really fluid but, as suspected, that didn't work as well as I wanted it. I really like the two IWB(s) as they help keep possession and create a 2-3-5 that I wanted but since then I have moved the Mezzala to a MEZ(a) and changed the left sided winger to a W(A) - although he did initially have the 'Get Further Forward' player instruction. 

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Squad Numbers

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The changes signify that Navarro is probably going to be first choice, ahead of Sabena, Carlos Alberto has usurped Benjamin as best centre back, Neyveson takes over from Pena and Gonia and Carlos are going to be first team players. In terms of player type, I think Gonia and Alena are probably numbered the wrong way round with the more classy playmaker Alena probably deserving of the 10 shirt. 

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Gonia looks like he absolutely deserves #10. On the other hand, I rarely change squad numbers and someone like Peña not keeping his #9 seems sacrilegious.

I was also going to recommend a WB/IF combo, but the trade-off of a few more goals per year is probably not worth weakening the defense you have. I wonder if it's possible to have a carrilero or another midfield role on the same side as an inside forward recreate the WB(A)/IF overlap. Regardless, I think the solution would be allowing the wide attacking midfielders more freedom so they provide (as sheriffdinn said) versatility and penetration, but that might also be detrimental if they're a key part of winning the ball back with pressing. I don't know!

Edited by wesl
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3 hours ago, wesl said:

I was also going to recommend a WB/IF combo, but the trade-off of a few more goals per year is probably not worth weakening the defense you have.

I think when you're planning your strategy as a team of this stature you need to ask yourself some questions;

•How do we play against the big guys? Do we adopt an entirely different tactic? Do we slightly adjust? Or is the current setup good enough?

•When we face opponents similar to us, how do we take advantage? Against this kind I think the switch will reap significant rewards.

At the end of the day, it just comes down to what you're comfortable with. Some don't mind switching it up completely, some don't mind conceding goals if there are assurances of scoring a bunch up the other end. 

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4 hours ago, wesl said:

Gonia looks like he absolutely deserves #10. On the other hand, I rarely change squad numbers and someone like Peña not keeping his #9 seems sacrilegious.

I was also going to recommend a WB/IF combo, but the trade-off of a few more goals per year is probably not worth weakening the defense you have. I wonder if it's possible to have a carrilero or another midfield role on the same side as an inside forward recreate the WB(A)/IF overlap. Regardless, I think the solution would be allowing the wide attacking midfielders more freedom so they provide (as sheriffdinn said) versatility and penetration, but that might also be detrimental if they're a key part of winning the ball back with pressing. I don't know!

I know! I am normally of the thinking that a player has a squad number for his career at my club but I wanted to try something different with this save!

I agree and I have used the WB/IF combo before and do switch to it during games. However - I really like the shape that my defence creates with two IWB(s) so I am a little loathed to permanently move away from it.

57 minutes ago, sherifdinn_ said:

I think when you're planning your strategy as a team of this stature you need to ask yourself some questions;

•How do we play against the big guys? Do we adopt an entirely different tactic? Do we slightly adjust? Or is the current setup good enough?

•When we face opponents similar to us, how do we take advantage? Against this kind I think the switch will reap significant rewards.

At the end of the day, it just comes down to what you're comfortable with. Some don't mind switching it up completely, some don't mind conceding goals if there are assurances of scoring a bunch up the other end. 

I've already spent time recruiting and moulding two very specific players for the IWB(s) roles so I want to keep them. I, in this save (not saying that this is my overall preference) want to rely on a steady and structured defensive play and let the freedom and pro-active changes happen within the frontline.

I want to be able to maintain a tight defence and if that leads to me scoring less, then so be it. This save, for me, is all about developing intricate inter-play between the lines and using clever footballers. If I get to the stage whereby I am happy to change roles in order to be more gung-ho, then I shall do.

I'm doing some analysis on the extent of the tactical changes in terms of my penetration going forward - I'll report back in 10 or so games...

 

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August/September 2031

I've been having a little play around with some analysis stuff, firstly from someone that @Guido linked in his blog (but I've lost it now - I'm so sorry but your analysis of effectiveness spreadsheet was awesome and I've utilised it very much) and secondly, from data taken from this link. Although it's for FM18, it still serves the purpose that I want. Analysing, roughly, xG, or expected goals. This is not an exact science as it doesn't take shot location into consideration, merely what the game thinks is a clear cut chance.

I'm using the following formula to simulate xG:

xG = (Shots*0.005)+(SOT*0.15)+(CCC*0.73)

This is taken from the above site and we aren't too far from his numbers, hence why I've stuck to them. I, also, have one only save for comparison - and only data from one club. So it may not be completely accurate but at least I'm comparing apples with apples, or Guadalajara with Guadalajara, if you will.

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Whilst this start may not look promising - three defeats, a lack of goals and more mid-table obscurity, there is cause for hope. I'm very aware that, with a single person game, I can write pretty much anything about what is happening and nobody will know any different - but now I have some statistics that can help back up what I've seen in the matches. We were really unlucky against Levante - coming up against a good keeper who kept us at bay, time and time again. However - we did fail to turn up for the next two matches, nicking a win away at Granada through a cheap concession, a goal from a second ball at a corner which Septien tucked away well. 

If xG is to be believed, we should have picked up twelve points from September, edging all of the games and culminating in a thrashing of Villarreal, who had nine put past them by Real earlier in the season. 

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I'm able to begin comparing home and away form and how teams play against us at home and away. Right now - we seem a little wasteful at home, maybe struggling to break down those tighter travelling defences but this data is in it's early stages and I look forward to seeing how it grows!

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1 hour ago, sherifdinn_ said:

Looking forward to it 👍🏾

@sherifdinn_ - looking a lot more creative but maybe lacking someone who can put the ball in the net at the moment? I do agree with a lack of penetration at home and now the stats are backing that up. I want to collate as much of this as possible and look for trends over the long term.

Edited by _Ben_
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Minor edit

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I read back through my post last night and realised that I'd calculated the total shots incorrectly (probably the easiest metric to record, too). Here is the correct display - now including another game because I'd played another one since posting!

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New affiliate

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Despite my want for South American flair and Mexican born players - we are beginning to build a foothold in Africa with two academies on board who will provide us players for our own youth intake. I can reference the quote from Johan Cruyff again that, however good Spanish players are, they don't fit the mould of every type of player - so youngsters from these two African nations will give me a chance to address that through my own academy. What makes this sweeter though is the Cotonou agreement, meaning that Malian youngsters are not non-EU and can play straight away in the B-team and not impact my quota in the first team should they be good enough.

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This academy model will continue and I'm hoping that I can make this worldwide once my reputation allows. For now, I'm filling my boots with West African nations but I know that Australia has good academies and there are sure to be some in the Americas, although I am not sure of any names at this point.

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15 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

This academy model will continue and I'm hoping that I can make this worldwide once my reputation allows. For now, I'm filling my boots with West African nations but I know that Australia has good academies and there are sure to be some in the Americas, although I am not sure of any names at this point.

I also love doing this once I get a club big enough to do so.

- Clairefontaine is obviously the big French academy, but they have quite a high rep in-game so I've only ever been able to get them at a massive club.

- The Australian FA academy is usually a pretty good one to pick up and have served me well in the past.

- In this game I've discovered the San Marino Academy is a thing and have great youth facilities (in my game, at least) but I haven't been able to get them as a feeder yet despite their tiny rep.

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I have not worked my way through the 6 pages yet but I just wanted to say for the 1st post, get to f**k :lol::lol::lol:

That reveal after that write up and title to find out you are managing in Spain :applause:

I'm now going back to work my way through the 6 pages and add a follow to the thread after that stroke of genius.

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Holy **** @_Ben_ , this is next level. Serious next level and has given me so much food for thought with regards to my current save. 

You genuinely have made me rethink so much.

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On 02/03/2020 at 11:15, BML said:

I also love doing this once I get a club big enough to do so.

- Clairefontaine is obviously the big French academy, but they have quite a high rep in-game so I've only ever been able to get them at a massive club.

- The Australian FA academy is usually a pretty good one to pick up and have served me well in the past.

- In this game I've discovered the San Marino Academy is a thing and have great youth facilities (in my game, at least) but I haven't been able to get them as a feeder yet despite their tiny rep.

I managed San Marino on FM19 and never saw a single newgen from the academy! I couldn't get Clairefontaine but I got Creps de Lorraine, who are a series of French academy chains. They produced several great newgens for us, including a lad from the Seychelles.

I want to build a stronghold of African academies and move on to the Americas, such is my intended player style.

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On 02/03/2020 at 13:22, metallimuse said:

I have not worked my way through the 6 pages yet but I just wanted to say for the 1st post, get to f**k :lol::lol::lol:

That reveal after that write up and title to find out you are managing in Spain :applause:

I'm now going back to work my way through the 6 pages and add a follow to the thread after that stroke of genius.

 

7 hours ago, metallimuse said:

Holy **** @_Ben_ , this is next level. Serious next level and has given me so much food for thought with regards to my current save. 

You genuinely have made me rethink so much.

Many, many thanks!

I'm glad I've inspired you with what has slowly become and obsession for me! I'll have a proper read through your Motherwell thread over the next day or two and see what I can propose!

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October/November 2031

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Some more xG statistics as I move through the second two-month block of matches and this one has probably been most notable for our lack of goals, despite good chances being made. xG has made me look at clear cut chances and I may, if I can find even more time to work through analysis etc, look at shot positions etc but for now, I believe the game identifies CCC's reasonably well. To have made four against Leganes and not score any of them shows that we are capable and, even though we did allow 18 shots, a season high for a home fixture, we should have been more clinical in front of goal. Even though I'm tracking the points vs xG points difference (currently sits at -12 meaning we'd be on 31 points right now), I'm not writing this saying that 'everything is alright and we're just unlucky.'

To hold Real to a draw was good and our game plan worked, even if it did completely stifle our own attack, it left Real only one option - long shots. They created just one half chance which shows the strength of both our defence and our defensive tactics. To go off the back of that and end up with two dour draws against Girona and Celta show that our offensive approach isn't good enough still and we are still lacking penetration going forward - although, on xG, we didn't maybe deserved four points rather than two. Our Athletic performance was again dour, but we are not used to facing defensive teams on our travels - as most still attack us at home. From somewhere, we pulled out an incisive victory over then-top-of-the-table Atletico, although both goals came from defenders.

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I have every faith in Neyveson, Septien, Samuel and Jose Carlos but something is amiss up top. I know that these players aren't better than defenders somewhere close to half of the teams in this league but we need to do something to change this. Changes to tactics aren't having the desired effect - we've played with WB/IF and IWB/W combos, changes in mentality, playing style, forward runs from deeper etc - so my next progression is to look at how well we are training those things. Here comes my next obsessive analysis!

 

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