Two matches against Penafiel, Chaves won the one that mattered to start a run of four unbeaten matches and get two thirds of the target points to stay up in a third of the season. Shortly after the board would offer Ms Ackerman a new contract, though she'd refuse to talk about it, and a few days later she was offered to change expectations and she did, increasing them to avoiding relegation. It is been said that she's regretting it. She's not said a word about it. Fact is, Chaves hasn't won a game since then, not even drawn it. There was one chance to get a draw but a wrong penalty call took it away. Viktoria was furious in the press conference for the first time. Another fact is they've had to play some of the harder matches, including the several times postponed Porto match.
Fifth January a new bad news came on top of the results: Chidi, one of the key players, picked a two months injury, which means Chaves will be lacking two key players, since Baldé has been long out. Finances keep going down and it will have to be a big prize money in Liga NOS if she wants another coaching course. But not everything is bad news: Ackerman completed her course for a Continental B License and the board still keeps their faith in her. In a curiosity item of news , she reached for first time a hundred matches for a team, just in the last win.
I said Chaves lost two key players: Baldé and Chidi; but Ackerman signed another quality leftback to take his place, though he needed to get match fitness. Also unhappy during all the season with her defence, she signed also jumping centreback Marcos Vinícius. For the future she added an U18 goalkeeper, Carlos Machado, who needs to improve in key areas but in some he's almost as good or better than Jéferson.
Of the transfers done for this season, Simy has been a disappointment. He's done very little, maybe because of the lone striker system. Kayembe has had a slow start but he's looking promising. Vinícius has been a total disaster. Three matches, one penalty and one unmarked striker. The rest have been good, making good movements and some good decisions, even if one might ask for a little more accuracy in front of goal.
No recovery for Chaves. After the Braga, Benfica, third placed Marítimo and twice Porto, the defeat run was too long and the morale of the players would not recover. After a few key matches against other teams near the relegation area, after Chaves fell to last position, were also ended with defeats. Only one point taken since mid December.
Seeing the team unable to get anything from so many matches has been painful; but the worst of all have been the robberies and gifts from the matches that were being played well and were set to be wins. Against Paços Ferreira we looked better, threatened quite well until the referee invented a penalty and then the players' morale went crumbling down and with their more defensive there was no hope for anything better. Against high of the table Académica things looked magnificent but a silly mistake in defense gave them victory. Then we went up against Guimarães only to see another invented penalty ruin morale and the team crumbled again. Against Estoril things were again going quite well until Vinícius decided staying between ball and his mark was too frightful and he switched sides. We were getting a huge result winning 1-0 against Sporting CP when they make a non threatening cross to my three centrebacks, the right wingback Sagna and meekly into Jéferson hands when Sagna decides to head the ball of Jéferson hands into goal. And finally against Olhanense we were 1-0 up when Jéferson decides to save a back pass and punch it into our own goal and again morale dropped down. With that and results in other matches, any chance of staying up is unrealistic.
Team stats have gone down the drain. Not even the mood to comment on them. I was going to let go a number of players including Fixe and had renewed contract for others such as Chidi, Baldé and Alves. Look at the finances. No way to get a coaching course here in a long time.
((Originally I was going to make Ackerman so depressed with the end of season she went on holiday waiting for her contract to expire so they'd not ask her why he always resigns. Then I found two things: if you go on holiday you end accepting a new contract, at least when you're less than two months from expiring, and U23 teams aren't playable or not if it's not a big side. When the squad selection came I found 23 greyed out players I couldn't remove from the squad, but if I picked real players the greyed ones would disappear from the list but still be counted as selected so I would have to play with greyed out **** players with no chance of doing anything. So I reloaded before the holidays and just resigned from USA U23 as well. I know now not to take U23 jobs.
Yeah, the worse thing it has not been the first time, past season promotion was almost ruined with a very poor end of the season as well. In part I found something that seemed to work at first and I got too complacent with it, hoping it would get results again once the tough fixtures passed. Then I changed to a 5-3-2 that had signs of having potential but it didn't get results, then back to the 4-5-1V and things improved, but again no results, with those robberies by refs or clown acts by my players. A pity, I was hoping to survive and stay at Chaves for a good while.
Next team surely won't be top tier and not unlikely a mess as I think Chaves has been the least unbalanced squad I've seen at the moment of arrival.
A couple months and Viktoria found herself two clubs to pick. Both from Serbian second level that finished within two points of each other, sixth and seventh. Both with unbalanced squads: Mladost, sixth and expected to have finished third, with only one left back and two strikers. Sloboda with a lot of advanced central midfielders and central midfielders and only two centrebacks, both loanees. Viktoria chose the first one. She managed to get her wage up from the offered €800p/w up to a thousand. Right as she was appointed she was granted the funds for a coaching course toget the Continental A license. Then she yelled "suckers!" and left. Joking. According to the assistant report, only one good striker, no wingers of worth and two poor keepers, apart from the known one leftback, though in the reserves there were two decent. ((When I took the screenie for the reserves I had already moved them to first squad))
Reserves. The injuries are < 1 month from return.
Finances are healthy, though according to the news the profits came mainly from player sales. Even so, the transfer budget available is of a few hundred thousand euros and allowed wages are the expected, not two thousand per week.
Training isn't great and there's no space in the board allowances for more coaches. At least there's a small bit of help for Viktoria in the player of the year vote by the fans.
Also as expected, finding players that would improve on what there is or who are strong for the weak positions is a hard task. Those who may be willing to come to Mladost are asking more than can be offered. Viktoria decided to wait to the end of loans so she can look into what positions she can loan for. Things took on a dark appearance when Eze, the only striker that has quality, knocked on Viktoria's office asking to be allowed to leave to Goteborg and finally Viktoria accepted a St Pauli offer, which he took. From there came her first two deals, that sadly don't comply with the signing young players, something she intends to do in future deals. She signed on a free Maazou, a player that's solid physically and not poor mental or technicaly. And then she found out she could bring a known face: João Mario for a small fee from Chaves.
Preseason has been somewhat busy in the transfer market. Most of the deals following those of Maazou and João Mario have been loans, one with payment per month and that of Radunovic with a €625K future fee. One purchase. Not ideal was the signing of Degorcija as he's foreign, like Berili (already in the club), and with Maazou and João Mario already as foreigners, makes squad selection a little of a problem, as no more than two in the squad, including bench, are allowed at each match. Mladost also receives part of the profit by the sale of an old player from another club. The resulting squad appears to be one of the strongest in the league, meaning Mladost should be in the fight for the title, as aknowledged by the bet companies.
The newcomers are a midfield creator, Marko Jovanovic. A midfielder more oriented to attack with some competence in defence as a backup in young but physically weak Marko Golubovic. The strong and fast-ish Ivo Degorcija to complete a solid centreback line. A backup striker, David Sinkovic, who's not as strong as it would be desired and his stamina is low. Bojan Tasic, another back up striker who can fight to be starting left inside forward. Finally, the more important of the lot is Boris Radunovic, a young goalkeeper with potential that improves upon what Mladost had.
BATE Borisov, the Champions League team, came with a good bid for Milunovic, who's the best centreback we had. I couldn't reject the offer for then it was sure he'd be angry we'd be stopping his big chance to step to a better club and competitions. But there was something that could be done. I offered him a generous new deal and, luckily, his loyalty to the club plus the offer was good enough to keep him in the team!
In other news, the financial status of the club is healthy, with profit expected at the end of the season. The preseason, that was centered about the development of a 4-5-1/4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1 of DMs and wide midfield wingers. It was good, until the cup in which a heavily rotated team to finish bringing players to match fitness costed too much.
As the league start approaches, with Viktoria's 200th game in management, South Korea's manager, Uli Stielike, offers the U23 job to Ms Ackerman, who accepts it.
Things began well, but then turned into a frustrating season. Or a Dr. Jekyll (South Korea U23) and Mr. Hyde (Mladost). As it turns out, the sides not tipped for promotion have stronger players, so I underestimated them. After the initial victories, there came a string of defeats and a drop dangerously close to relegation places. The tactic seemed to lose the defensive solidity and up front the players lacked the accuracy to make the good chances pay. Having Pejic, a key player in the right back position, injured for the rest of the season was no help, something that happened just before the losing streak. And then they went to Viktoria's office to tell her they were unhappy and didn't trust her. Pejic trying to force a move away... but he's injured for long and when offered a mutual termination he refuses. At any rate, Ms. Ackerman promised tactical changes to turn things around and, ditching the defensice 4-2DM-2MLR-1AMC-1 for a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 depending on player availability, she managed to turn things around and get the team back to top 3 and with that recovered the lost confidence.
The Asian Games with South Korea U23 was the opposite. With a counter attacking 4-2-3-1, the team dominated every match, with comfortable wins in every phase and extending the winning streak. After the end of the competition, Ackerman left the position due to the lack of matches in several years.
Bsck to Mladost, there was an obvious need to bring a replacement for Pejic, who ends his contract at the end of the season. It has to be a Serbian due to the match squad rules. The solution was Branislav Milosevic, from Rad. Not as fast as Pejic, average marking and not great in the air; but he does have decent defensive stats and mental attributes, plus solid crosses to help the offence. The finances, however, have suffered since the start of the season and is now projected to suffer losses at the end of the season.
A look at the stats reveal some of the problems, mainly the centrebacks have never been properly shielded by the midfield and Milunovic has found himself too many times needing to dive into last ditch tackles. Passing completion is not very good, caused by Viktoria's attempts to comply with the promise to play direct football. Strikers and wingers are the leaders in goalscoring, but they don't score enough, having started to find the net again after the change to the 4-4-2. The lack shielding of centrebacks, with that change, is something that may need to be accepted in exchange of the new found accuracy in front of goal. Radunovic proved to be a solid signing, leading the clean sheet stat in the league.
((That bad spell has reminded me of the Huesca team in my FM13 career with Aurora Schmied. The tactic seemed to work, players in good defensive positions and achieving good attacking positions, yet letting the opposition get the goals and failing to score. It was more obvious in the Schmied save, as in here the tactic had clear issues in which, despite finding good attacking positions, it seemed harder to find them than it was with Huesca/Schmied. Perhaps a part of it could be blamed on not speaking the language, though there's other thing worth considering, as the rebel side of the team conversation had the players said they want Viktoria out of the team: I didn't look during Ackerman's first match, but during the pre match of Aurora's first with Huesca it was said the Huesca fans had received her poorly. Maybe it was the expression of the players discontent with being managed by a woman?))
Winter transfer window has passed and so it's time for an update, even though little has happened in competition. Only one competitive match, a loss that gets Mladost off of promotion and then friendlies to get match fitness back after a two months break. The best thing of the matches is that with a few tweaks to the 4-5-1 we stood toe to toe with Sloga, a Jelen Superliga team.
There has been some transfer activity. Barillon left the club for a few thousand, being a foreign with not good enough attributes. Bazanja swipped off Sasa Jovanovic for €115K, which was accepted due to; higher club reputation and not wanting to anger Jovanovic, Jovanovic not willing to negotiate a new contract and finances not being that good. Then Crvena Zvezda came for young Urosevic with a €450K offer, €150K upfront, which was accepted because, although Urosevic is a very hot prospect, he is unlikely to develop to his full potential at Mladost, plus the money far exceeds his current value. Degoricija asked to terminate his loand, which was accepted, as he was barely playing, being the third foregin player, and he's inconsistent. It was followed by the surprise loaning out of Maazou. In came Nikola Popovic as the replacement for Maazou and Niko Bungert in place of Degoricija, so Mladost has now two foreign players in João Mario and Niko Bungert. Also, Cicmil has agreed to sign for Radnicki at the end of the season, which Viktoria couldn't prevent.
Why did I loan Maazou? It's always that same question. There was a better player for striker position in the most important abilities and it allowed me to avoid being limited to Serbians in bringing a good centreback. Without Maazou going out I wouldn't play Niko Bungert as much as we should or we would be paying Maazou or João Mario for not playing.
As soon the team returned to promotion places, before the defeat, Pejic declared to wish to remain in Mladost. Golubovic was unhappy and promised first team football and was promised. A bit silly of him since he was out with a long injury and I was waiting for him to recover match fitness. Since he was about back I promised. Then the two months break and after a month he comes saying I didn't do it, how could I without matches? With a whole month in the middle where friendlies can't be held. I hope he won't complain again before the competition is resumed and I can give him competitive starts. To make things worse, the second time he wasn't received by Ackerman and that made the squad unhappy. Fortunately she could make them happy.
Despite not really doing anything that would hurt finances by the numbers available and the Maazou deal that means Mladost will receive money every month after factoring the part of his wages they'll pay, finances keep getting worse and are now expected to be in the red at the end of the season. Someone is not doing his work right in the finances department. Already just after the Maazou deal that was to bring money monthly the finances projection went to worse. It even went to worse after a deal of other clubs for a former Mladost team means we'll be getting a good deal of money.
In December Viktoria got the Continental A license. A bit late. She applied at the end of Chaves's Segunda Liga season or start of the Chaves's first time in Liga NOS and it was expected to be 12 months long, it's been like 18 months but I missed messages of delayed coaching qualifications. Did I miss it during the unemployed days? Was it delayed because the completion would have happened unemployed? I don't know and can't answer. And since the balance is still in the white, Viktoria asked and got the funds for the course to get the Pro Continental license.
You're right, I didn't notice that, even when I remember reading it full. I guess the s from the as got duplicated by my brain to make it read right. Oh well, since then it's too late to report, as it may well have been spotted and corrected. I'll look out for that next time she gets hired.
We had left it after the long winter break, if I remember correctly. Mladost returned to competitive football with a defeat to Borac; but after that came a long undefeated run. Only a defeat in the last ten matches that places Mladost fourth, tied in points with third and three ponts behind second, with the best schedule of the three: Proleter is ninth and highest placed. Vozdovac and Borca will on top face each other, guaranteeing one of the two will drop points, though it may well not be enough if the rest are wins for the three teams, as matches between teams I think place Mladost the third of them. The run has had more effect on the Serbian jokes, from annoying to insulting about buying referees than in the table. For godsake I'd like to beat up any smartass with one of those jokes.
After a run of 5/6 to a total of 8/15 goals coming from penalties in the later games. All the bad luck I had not reported about penalties conceded in the first half of season, several unjust, plus you could add quite a few in the previous year has come around compressed in the later matches in Ackerman's favour. If I remember it started after the Moravac Orion match: they had been denied a penalty, in press their manager claimed Mladost had been benefitted regularly by the referees and Viktoria said she may have had a little luck but there was nothing to support that claim ((I don't remember how it was, if I didn't find the right answer to express what I wanted among the choices or wanted to avoid confrontation with FA or the other manager)).
Still, with the later run of penalties for Mladost, they've turned to be the team that has had the most penalties. A big surprise at looking at the team stats is that Mladost has turned to be the second best defence. It's not because of Bungert, simply because he picked up a two month injury in his second match. And a month and half injury for Popovic right after scoring the fastest Mladost goal. Stanojevic has almost caught up to João Mario as top scorer because of the penalties. Centrebacks are the main tackles as consequence of playing without players right in front of them.
In other news, journals have titled the marching of ten players as clear out. Golubovic, after becomming happy with first team football has gone back to Viktoria demanding first team football after playing only three out of four matches and it ended with him transfer listed. Club is in debt and the board's trust is not great. They say they're disappointed because instead of promotion Mladost may win the league. Nutters. Golemic wants Ackerman to be offered a new contract.
The last piece of news is that Mladost had a great generation of youth candidates. ((My best ever including teams I had brought up to very good youth facilities, Newcastle, other top division teams from big countries and one seasn save with Real Madrid))
First game: Proleter at home. Mladost win comfortably 2-0, while Vozdovaz draws and Borca loses. Mladost third (play off spot) one point from direct promotion and three ahead of Borca.
Second game: Sindjelic at home. They go ahead and get a second goal in the first half. A change to a 4-4-2 from the 4-4-1-1 that has come to be the usual tactic in this second half of the season gets two back, but not enough to win. Luckily, Vozdovac also draws. Mladost stays third, one point ahead of Borca and one behind Vorzovac.
Third game: Away at BASK. Mladost scores a goal at the start of the second half. Borca wins and remains one point behind... Vozdovac loses and is two points behind! Mladost secures third place and to be at least in the promotion play off against Jelen Super Liga's third from bottom team. A win in the last match ensures direct promotion since Borca and Vozdovac face each other making it impossible for both to overtake Mladost. The board offer Viktoria a new contract. She asks not to be asked to play direct not defensive football. The board rejects those changes. Viktoria asks to delay her decission to the end of season and the board accepts.
Last game: Loznica at home. Mladost needs to win. A draw could see them second if the other match ends in a draw. Losing means third place regardless of what happens in the other match.
0': GODDAMMIT! I didn't realize this match came four days after the previous and most of the midfield is tired. I have to field Knezevicas RPM and Marko Jovanovic as AMC and play Stanojevic tired in the right of the 4-4-1-1.
6': Things look good, already two chances. Borca score so Mladost needs to win.
14': The good start continues for Mladost by all appearances, accosting Loznica's goal. However an error with the offside line by Milunovic ends with Stojanovic's goal for Loznica. Mladost drops to third.
30': Second goal by Borca. It doesn't look like they'll draw.
44': Goal for Bojan Tasic after a great through ball by Golemic! 1-1 But Borca's result means Mladost is still third.
47': Marko Jovanovic goal! Mladost gets ahead 2-1. Mladost is second.
56': Vozdovac score their second goal, drawing the match. If Loznica scores now Mladost would still be second. It would obviously be too dangerous to count on that draw to stay to the end of the match.
70': Branislav Milosevic's freak goal!! Mladors 3 - Loznica 1. The match is as good as decided and Mladost is going to be second.
81': Borca scores but who cares? Mladost will be second anyway.
92': End of the match. Mladost second, direct promotion. Viktoria may decide to stay at the club.
Prize, if any, has not been paid yet. But the club stays in debt. During the last weeks a few news items for players' records have showed up: Stanojevic got the most player of match and most goals in a season for Mladost, while Golemic beat the assists record. None of them are great records. The board sets measly budgets for next season. On top of that they don't show to be very happy with Viktoria. She's also asked for the preseason length, which she sets to seven weeks.
Despite the record, Stanojevic isn't the player with the most assists in the league. João Mario shows his quality on the shots on target ratio and Radunovic that he's been a good signing. A pity the club can't afford his fee to sign him permanently. As a team, Mladost hast the most penalties in their favour, only one ahead of second, not having any in the last four matches. Is the second best defence but the lack of accuracy up top is what costed them not winning the league. Nothing new to comment in individual stats, too low passing ratio for centrebacks, including Cicmil, who can play in midfield. Also Milosevic has the most mistakes leadig to goal, including one of the two by Sindelic.
Ackerman has made it into the manager of the season shortlist, which results are yet to be announced. It's unlikely she'll get it, she's not overachieved enough, despite most of the matches being expected to go against Mladost (how then were they tipped to finish third?). Milosevic is the most likely to get it.
Viktoria Ackerman has recently had her 26th birthday and is currently studying for the Continental Pro license. Let's have a look at her, who nows speaks Serbian fluently.
The source for the new portrait is "Mikasa II" by chaosringen
Shortly after the end of the season Portugal offers Viktoria de U23 squad. She applied years ago, before getting the Chaves job, it's a chance, not as clear as the North Korea U23, to get some silverware, so she takes it. Immediately...
Despite that the old contract condition was not to apply, which wasn't broken. So her contract ran to its end and was not renewed, though at 1st July she was still working for Mladost.
There was no increase in the reputation bar in her profile after the promotion and announcement of Jelen Superliga's fixtures. Surprise was that after all it took to get the Continental A License, the Pro has come in six months.
The new season had some news for Mladost: foreign spots allowed raised to four, Serbia has become a UE nation, fans' player of the year and best XIs have been announced. Also other news about league, teams and a totally unjust manaer of the season voting where Ackerman doesn't even make it into the top three. The new sponsorship and related deals are no improvement at all, some even go worse.
During June, despite the lack of contract renewals and rejection by board to enter talks, a few deals are made: provisional budgets were considering the adjustment of wage-transfer balance so in fact it was a €2.1M transfer budget, so Radunovic was signed for the loan clause €625K, Sinkovic's loan was renewed for the new season and Pitulic was signed as the second starting centreback (>=13 str, jump, pace, tackling, marking, positioning). After that, it's a matter of looking for two quality midfielders and one striker, unloading those they'd replace.
Before adjustment and Radunovic's deal.
But nothing more would come. Since her contract had run out, Viktoria saw an available job on an already stablished top tier team and she applied for it. Pribram from Czech Republic accepted her and she got 200€ more from what they initially offered, as she didn't want to haggle too hard. The new squad is too big, with too many strikers and very poor goalkeepers, Precechtel and Pindroch being the two that are acceptable. Her tasks: trim the squad, offload the two useless goalies, bring one or two midfielders and possibly offload a few of the centrebacks and get some in. And learn their language. The problems are compunded because the season starts very soon and there's only time for three friendlies before the start. One of them being a cup that may jeopardize the fitness for the start.
Viktoria had lost the chance to have a new contract with Mladost, though not properly to stay, from accepting a job offer to manage Portugal's U23 for the Olympic games. She had moved to Príbram. It is fair then to begin with the first part to the question Was it worth? Let us see on her run with Portugal.
The squad was chosen a few days before the first friendly that was to be the preparation for the competition:
It would become clear soon after the selection wasn't right. I was more worried about ensuring injuries wouldn't deprive me from competent defenders; but there were too many centrebacks and not enough variety to choose in other positions, specially the wings.
The friendlies are played against the U23 sides of Saudi Arabia and Colombia. Two wins, a harder than should be against Saudi Arabia and a comfortable against Colombia, which is ranked close to Portugal. The formation used is a 4-2-3-1, Viktoria has chosen to use the system she used with North Korea and these two tests seem to suggest it works. In the Olympics' Group C Japan, Brazil and New Zealand await.
First match is against Brazil: Portugal starts strong, generating two good chances, but they're missed. Then two flops by Portugal's defenders are taken by Brazil to get ahead. Half time is reached with Portugal three goals down. Tactics are changed, substitutions are made. A Portugal goal is answered by a Brazil one. And again. And again. The match ends 3-6 for the Brazilians. Japan has beat New Zealand comfortably and it seems they're the rival for qualification.
Second match is against Japan: winning puts Portugal in a good position, drawing needs Japan to lose against Brazil and Portugal to win by three. An impossible rebound on the crossbar, 60º angle, shot from 7 yards no swing, but it returns straight from where it came back to the striker's foot. A penalty gives Portugal the draw. During second half Portugal has better play, but the Japanese defense is good and there's not utterly clear chances, though a few decent ones are had. At 80' a Japanese striker is left unmarked in a cross and scores their winning goal. Portugal are out.
Third and last match is against New Zealand: Super comfortable 6-1 thumping. Japan loses, Portugal would've been through if it weren't that crossbar bounce.
From the Portugal side, it's definitely not been worth it.
Back to Príbram, strikers are unloaded, though one less than intended. A mistake with expectatives sees one of the midfielders being sold and then find that the capacity of Príbram to attract quality players isn't better than Mladost, it's perhaps worse, though a replacement is found and two young players for the future are brought, along a defender with a bit of pace, though not that great physically. One of the youngsters is loaned out.
Finances are in a healthy status.
Ackerman looks like this:
The preseason is very short and doesn't allow time to either get the players acquainted with the tactics and building match fitness. A terrible first match shows the flat 4-4-2 wasn't working and a wide diamond is used. Game improves, getting a point against Sparta Praha, an expected defeat to Viktoria Plzeñ ((I know ñ is not the character but it's the closest I have in my keyboard)) in which Príbram scored the first goal. After a cup game to build match fitness for those needing it, a disappointing draw against Viktoria Zizkov. And then the team goes down the drain. A hard defeat against Dukla Praha in which a tactic overhaul only takes one goal back, then the team slumps into a 0-2 defeat against Jihlava that sets Príbram as lone bottom team. Statistically, the defence is well protected by players around, but passing is low quality and they do little with the ball, allowing chances to the rivals with small errors in marking or positioning.
I thought on the things going on in the club. Players getting unhappy. Thiago Costa - not that Thiago Costa - was unhappy when I wasn't praising a mediocre performance in the friendly cup semifinal, then El Gabas when I offered him to other clubs though he then rejected offers because he was well here, then Preucil and Foltyn were unhappy, wanting to leave for first team football but accepting my promise to give them more, as I was planning to have them as key players. El Gabbas twice in three days appears in the press saying how unhappy he is he's not having first team and I rejected to talk to him about that - I told him I didn't want him in my team and he wasn't in my plans, he chose to stay despite that - and then Pasek appears saying he had a row with me and that I had promised him more first team football when he never asked me!. That with the last two matches, specially the last, in which they were apathetic in their play made me think they were boycotting me. So I decided I was tired of crybabies and resigned.
Later Ceska Budejovice offered an interview (I had asked to send applications to any top level club), I took the interview, they offered me the job but then I thought I didn't want to stay in the same league, and rejected it.
It was worth taking the Portugal U23 job? I think the answer is cle- Excuse me, let me take the phone.
Sorry, not interested in Tercera División.
Is this a prank?
She waves me off and closes the door. She appears several minutes later.
Answerisclearlyit'sbeenworthitgoodbyeIhavetomakemyluggage. And she's so fast and excited I'm out before I can ask what's going on.
So Viktoria gets to one of the top four leagues in one of the big teams that's havng a very low point. She was in Portugal's top division and had just been in Czech Republic's top; but it feels like too much a jump. Still, great thing. If she had stayed at Mladost with a new contract, I had the plan to stay till the end so in other interviews they weren't saying she was leaving jobs or applying to new ones while employed as if having a negative point to get the new job and when Inter job became available I wouldn't have believed it to be with a chance to land it, so she'd be still with Mladost in Jelen Superliga instead of Serie A with Inter.
((I went "WOW! Awesome" when they offered an interview, but I was convinced it was going to fail. When they came with the job offer I jumped from my chair with a "**** YES!!".))
As it is to be expected, the contract is the best Viktoria has ever had, by a lot. a 1375% increase. The club finances show a high balance and a projection to increase, but it's not a good financial status, as the club has a loan debt that more than triplicates the balance. Also, the press adscribed to AC Milan show their partiality remembering meaningless failures of two teams ago. At least some others are generous on counting her received recognitions. Plus Sannino shows to have faith in her ability to bring success to Inter. Though the transfer budget is €15.65M, the wage budget has been exceeded and setting it to be within limits takes the transfer down to 0.
Not shown: the idiot in the press conference asking her as if she were responsible of Inter's recent bad run.
The board wants Viktoria to take Inter to a top half finish and don't care about the cup.
The squad surely doesn't seem enough to hope for anything bigger. Something corroborated by the fact Inter finished 16th past season. See two shots of the squad screen:
Squad that, after moving the youths who have nothing to play in the first team to the U20 team looks like this:
A short squad that lacks in several positions: a quality right fullback, a fourth centreback, one defensive midfielder and another central midfielder.
And since the start there are two promises to the board director that are hurtful if (strictly) followed: the president wants Viktoria to hire players from his country. He's Indonesian. The other is he wants Viktoria to keep the director of football; but if you look at the transfer history, you can see he sold the only quality right full back without doing anything to replace him. So Viktoria will be making her own deals. Perhaps hire one or two token Indonesians to rot in the U20 side to keep the president happy.
Some of the tasks that would be meant to set up the clib have taken a long time to get going, in this case, the coaches. A few weeks passed before it was sorted out, with players unhappy with the shooting training attention after filling up the coaches allocation. Viktoria then asked the board to increase the number of coaches allowed, which required some persuasive work, but she got it in the end and from nine it was increased to eleven coaches.
After that the players still complained of not enough attention in shooting training so I had to take care of it, too.
It was understandable the board wouldn't be too intent on something that would increse expenses, but with the high balance and profits expected it shouldn't have been a problem. Situation was improved by a couple of clauses from past sales coming to the club, even after some mone went out in clauses from past purchases and new signings.
I wrote about signings, but there's only been one in: Julian Weigl. At the start, Viktoria took all the budget to the wage, being left with no transfer budget and no room in the wage to make any deal. Gary Medel, the only defensive midfielder in the team got suspended in november, so Viktoria wanted someone else, who had to be from the free transfer. She chose Julian Weigl. But then the club couldn't pay the agent fee and had to delay the deal for a week. In order to get the funds to complete the signing (it wasn't needed anymore immediately, but had to cover for a Medel injury) Ms. Ackerman sold two young players to make some small transfer budget, that was finally enough for the signing.
Now, close to January, the board has given an injection of more than five million euros in the transfer budget; but between wage increase and Weigl signing that's not even enough to get the transfer budget above the wages paid.
Since Viktoria took charge of the team, the run of results have been turned around, with only one league defeat and one draw, the rest being draws. In the middle, a 4-2 defeat on extra time against AC Milan with a very weakened team. Those results have lifted Inter to eight place, close to European qualification places, while AC Milan still languish right next to relegation places. In the run, the team has been in the highest score game. Bad news were the long injuries of two important men: right winger Correa and midfielder Pratto.
In an unrealistic season, Inter is second team with more injuries with just four. Juventos in top has only six injuries.
With his first team time, the better results, and Manchester City not being interested in him anymore, mainly the last, I suspect, Origi says he's happy staying in Inter.
Statistically, the improvement in form shows very well. Specially in the pass completion ratio, where most were in the sixties with a few above seventy; not there are some above eighty, with many in the seventies, not few approaching to eighty, a few still in sixties and Perin still lower than that with only two matches, one not complete, under Viktoria. The defensive setup working as intended in the screening of the centrebacks.
Regarding her, there's been slight improvements in her coaching stats, defence has reached 17 and motivating has gone up to 11. She also is able to speak a little Italian now.
Regarding the January transfers:
- The main formation is a 4-5-1 V midfield, counterattacking, fluid with offensive left fullback. GK-D; CWB-A, CB-D, CB-D, FB-S; BWM-D; BBM-S, CM-A; IF-A, W-A; AF-A.
- Five and half euros for transfer budget, with seventy five thousand per week wage deficit compared to the budget that the transfer can't fully compensate.
- The first step will be try to loan out every player in the U20 and U18 teams. There is nobody who's good enough for the first team and all wages that can be unloaded, the better. In fact all were offered for transfer but only the above two players attracted offers.
- Once that is done and we can see how is the budgets situation, options can be studied.
- In the worst case, no loans out or very few; any deal for this season would have to be loans. In that case all transfer may be moved to wage and then look for players nearing end of contracts to be signed for next season.
- In the average case, enough loans so it's possible to offer some decent wages, a few players on a free may be sought. Still the main way in would have to be loans for this season.
- In the best case, we get a lot of wages out to have the transfer compensate, we may add cheap transfers to the list of targets.
- Perin is very poorly rated by the coaches, but he is enough as a second goalkeeper. I think Handanovic finishes contract this season, but that'll be a problem for then.
- The biggest weakness is lack of quality right back, Fernández is good as back up or for matches we want to be defensive.
- Only three centrebacks, we need one more.
- DM position is well enough, as is the attacking midfielder with Pratto and the South Korean player. The other midfielder feels a little weak, though there are two young players that are just good enough for first team action. Some experienced cover would be a bonus, but not necessary.
- Left wing is well covered with Krejci and Hammam as is the right with Correa and Cerci.
- Striker is the other weakness, Origi is good and has shown it, but there's no good cover. Cerci and Pratto can play there, but I want a dedicated back up for striker and the one we have is a young that's in the edge between being enough as a back up and not good enough.
- Therefore the targets are: quality right fullback, fourth centreback and back up striker. In that order; then, far behind, an experienced midfielder would be nice.
January transfer window has seem some activity, with three players coming to Inter on loan deals, the consumation of two sales, one more sale and two loans out. There are also news in the contracts side of things.
To the two U20 players sold before, Sangho was added to the end of the deal, a young player that doesn't have great potential and after offering everyone in U20 on loan only two had offers. They were on minimal contracts so those deals had minimal effect on budgets. So buying or hiring was an impossible task and Inter had to use loans.
For the fourth centreback, promising Simon Tipple comes from Manchester City, Alfred N'Diaye from Real Betis for the right fullback position and finally, to give Origi a good rotation striker, from Liverpool, Daniel Sturridge. Also, an offer from Ajax and Lazio made Viktoria become aware of a young talent sitting in the U20, unrecognized by the coaches: Rigamonti
((I've realized in this skin player name isn't shown under the photo, I need to solve that, for now, names below the screenie.
Rigamonti, who is training with the first team.))
Contract wise: Hammar's extension clause was triggered, Cerci refused to talk though after that he's declared himself happy again at Inter, Handanovic also rejected any contract talks. Pratto and Medel helped make the loans possible by accepting a combined €27Kp/w (8K and 19K respectively) reduction to their wages.
Apart from those, there were some clauses from past transfers activated or close to be activated that have helped finances or will help in the future if triggered. Those helped the board give an injection to the transfer budget, but they did too late to be used.
For curiosity sake, I told you Inter's coaches didn't rate Mattia Perin at all, here's what he looks like now.
He's become unhappy because of his lack of first team football. He's been promised to be sold at the end of the season. Not a great news as he had a good chance to be next first goalkeeper if Handanovic doesn't sign.
In Serie A things look very good. Inter has just had the second defeat since Viktoria took charge of the team. Inter is at the moment in Europa League spots and with Champions League qualification not too far away and with close to have full healthy squad.
Statistically, things keep like in the previous update. Things noted is the striker works well, being the main scorer, with decent help from either wing, specially the first and a good deal of involvement from midfield. Note, however, Pratto played as striker for a few matches when Origi was injured and a few of his goals were scored as striker. Parodi's two goals were screamers from 25 yards. Another statistic I just realize is that centrebacks, with exception of Gustavinho, intercept more than tackle, while those around them tackle more than intercept, with the exception of Federico Fernández, who has centreback training and also intercepts more than tackles.