FM24 - The Youth Path

misterioBean

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Hello everyone!
Recently my computer suffered some big damage in some of its components and I basically had to replace pretty much everything. I had my second computer in hand but unfortunately my Pentagon Challenge had to come to an end because I lost all the progress I made since the last udpate a few weeks ago. I also had an increase in my work schedule so I was not able to start a new save properly. Now I have more time again and am ready to give it another go.

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Youth to Gold

As I stated before, this is my favourite save to do in FM but I was avoiding it because there's only one team in the game in which I have fun while doing it and it's the team I support: Vitória SC.

After a lot of thought, I decided to do it again and share it just because I really enjoy doing this type of save and sharing my progress with everyone.
I hope you can enjoy it.

The Good

Even though I shared it before, this time I want to change some aspects of my approach.
This time, I'll add a bit of realism to it. What does that mean exactly? Well I'll have to dig into some season stats to explain it.

Firstly, Vitória is doing an exceptional season this year.

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When you look at the league table it doesn't seem that impressive, but if you follow the Portuguese League you probably know this is a lot different than any other recent year.

Vitória SC currently sits in 5th place with 60 points and 2 games left in the season just 5 points behind 4th place and fierce rivals SC Braga and already qualified for the Conference League. However, just last season for instance we finished 6th with a 21 point gap to the 4th place and it doesn't really look better when you look at previous seasons.
We are also only 3 points away of having our best season ever, our current record is 62 points.

However, this is probably the only good thing going for us at the moment.

The Bad

Well where should I start...

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The current board had a signed agreement with VSports, the same company who owns Aston Vila, in which they bouth 46% of the club's actions for 5,5m€ and an extra 2m investment to improve the club's infrastructures. It also included the possibility to make a 20m loan if the club needed it.
It looks like a pretty great deal on paper right? And it actually is... or at least would be if UEFA didn't freeze the funds and basically put a hold on the whole deal.

In addition to that, the club's finances are not doing great as well, as the board publically announced multiple times throughout the season and enphasizing the need to sell players every window to balance out the budgets.

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When the winter transfer window opened, the president António Miguel Cardoso said the club had to sell players on that window to ensure the future success.
We sold André Silva to São Paulo for 4m, Dani Silva to Hellas Verona for around 1.7m, Alisson Safira to Santa Clara for 500k and Hélder Sá to Rio Ave on a free transfer. It was also confirmed Matheus Indio was leaving the club at the end of the season and stay at the club he was loaned at and Nélson da Luz was loaned out to China where he will also stay at the end of that deal.

Of all the business there were only 2 transfers that really upset the supporters. The first one was selling Dani Silva, a 23 year old midfielder who showed a lot of quality and potential for a small fee. But the worst was definitely André Silva. Let me explain: he was our top scorer in the league, having scored 13 goals before eventually moving out the club, but the main reason everyone was upset was also the transfer fee. André Silva was signed last season for 2m€ + 2m€ after a few games and scoring his first goal, so basically 4m€ for 70% or 80% of the player if I'm not mistaken.

This was also on a time the club, according to the board, needed money and couldn't spend it to ensure the club's future.
We then sell him for the exact same amount of money and didn't even get it all because we didn't own the full rights of the player, so we ended up losing money on him.

Does it make sense to you?

The Ugly

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One of the reasons for the amazing season we are having is the club manager Álvaro Pacheco, who joined the club in October as the 3rd manager of the season... yes, 3rd in just 2 months. When he signed his contract, the club only had 3 wins in 7 games, counting with 3 defeats and a draw.
After that, everything changed. The players looked different and started playing like they were supposed to. He didn't change the tactics, he just knew how to speak and explain the players what he wanted to see on the pitch and it really showed good signs. We even went 9 games with no losses from November to January.

Unfortunately, things started to go downhill in the last month.

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In the last 8 games we only won 3. Don't get me wrong, this was not an easy month by any means. I mean facing Porto 3 times in 2 weeks and straight after that facing Sporting who were later crowned Portuguese Champions is harsh, specially when there was a chance for the team to accomplish the 3rd place if we won all our games after the Sporting fixture.

Furthermore, it was made public that Álvaro Pacheco travelled to Lisbon and had a meeting with a Brazilian team to evaluate the possibility of a move there, which was later confirmed by him and the board, who both told different stories:

According to the manager, he had already said no to the Brazilian side but they insisted on at least proposing a deal, so he warned the president and attended the meeting, to which he said no.

On the other hand, the board claims they were not aware of this meeting and were very upset with the Portuguese manager. A couple of days later, it was announced that the board decided Álvaro Pacheco won't be the club's manager next season.

As if that wasn't enough to take a beating on the team's morale, the Portuguese press is known for trying to cause instability on the "smaller" clubs and this year was not an exception. There started to be rumours about players causing trouble during training (which was denied by the club very quickly) and of players being scouted by other teams.

It all culminated on a very poor performance against Rio Ave and another loss for the team, which kil*ed every dream of finishing 3rd and complicated the fight for the 4th place.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there's a lot of instability at the club right now.
Yes we already guaranteed a place in an European competition, but next season the need to sell players will still exist and everyone knows who the main targets to sell are.

I'll be going into more detail about players and tactics in the first in-game post.
This was purely an introduction to the save and I'll explain the main objectives and how I'll try to keep the save a bit more realistic.​
 
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First Day at the Job

Meeting the Club

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Vitória SC was founded in 1922 and doesn't really have much silverware to their name. In the 102 years of existence, we only managed to win a Supertaça de Portugal (supercup) in 1988 and a Portuguese Cup in 2013.

We play our home fixtures at Estádio D. Afonso Henriques, one of the biggest stadiums in the league with 30k seats.
There are a few derbies to be played every season, but the best one is undoubtedly against Braga who are our biggest rivals. The match against Boavista is also a very heated and passionate one.

The club's facilities are good but nothing special. They were supposed to get an upgrade with VSports but that money is still on hold (there's no way of simulating that in-game so for the purpose of realism it won't be taken in consideration.

Meeting the Staff

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We fired most of our staff and only kept the ones who are already decent enough in their roles.
U19 staff and B team staff were also cleaned up.


Tactic

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One of the realism factors is the tactic we'll be using.
We're going with a 5-3-2 or 3-4-3 as the Portuguese press views it. This is the tactic the team has been using for the entire season so I think it's only right if we use it as well.

Meeting the Players

Goalkeepers

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We have 2 amazing goalkeepers at our club.
Bruno Varela has been a key player for us for some seasons already and that won't change this year.
As his backup, we have the Brazilian Charles. Compared to Varela he lacks positioning and some other important aspects but he make up for it with his agility and reflexes. When he played for us this season he did very well so I hope it translates into the game.

Center Backs

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For the left spot at our CB we have two options.
Tomás Ribeiro is a new signing and at 24 years old will have the edge over the 30 year old Villanueva.

When looking at this season's performances, Villanueva got injured multiple times and whenever he was ready he didn't really play well so I had to bring his attributes down slightly as I didn't agree with them.

On the other hand, Tomás Ribeiro has been very consistent and despite not being as good physically he makes up for it in every other aspect of his game.

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In the middle of our defensive trio we have another 2 good options.

Toni Borevkovic has been one of the best CB's in the league this season. Considering he was loaned out last season and the board wanted to get rid of him last summer, he really proved everyone wrong.

As his backup we have the 22 year old Manu Silva, who plays well most of times he's needed, but seems a bit uneasy when playing more important games. Very much like Tomás Ribeiro, he's not that good physically but he's a very complete player.

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Lastly, we have another great story here.

Jorge Fernandes has been criticized ever since he signed for us 4 seasons ago. There were a lot of reasons why that happened.
For a starter, he came in from Porto as a way to pay out a transfer of another player who moved away from our club, something which has happened a lot in the last decade and is not looked at kindly by the supporters.

He also suffered from a lot of injuries ever since he joined, being injured most of the time he was here. And lastly, whenever he played, he messed up badly.

However, this season he looks different. He's not getting injured despite playing the majority of the matched, he looks more confident with and without the ball and shows an incredible understanding of the game. Alongside Borevkovic, he's been a huge surprise this season and will be rewarded by starting most of the games for us as well.

Right Back

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There's happy and a sad story for both of this players.
Let's start with Bruno.

Bruno Gaspar is a very well known figure around Guimarães. He first joined the cub in 2014 on loan from Benfica and after two very good seasons was sold to Fiorentina for 4m€. He then joined Sporting and started suffering from a big number of injuries. Eventually, he came back to Vitória in 2021, keeping the same injury record as he did for a few years.

However, at 30 years old, he really did a 180. No major injuries taken and some class performances made him our number 1 RB this season once again. He is good offensively, not as much on the defense but still capable.

Miguel Maga has not been so lucky though. Last season he broke his shoulder blade and was out for 3 months. When he came back, he had some poor performances and that had negative effects on his morale. He has failed to live up to the standards of last season. He still had some good performances, but not as good as last season. However, he's a better defensive choice when compared to Bruno.

Playmaker

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I really didn't want to make an essay on every position but I think it's necessary so you understand my choices and some of the changes I made to the database (for good or bad).

Tomás Handel is another one of those cases who had everything to fail. Last season he didn't play until May due to an injury and when he played he clearly lacked the fitness to be a regular. This season he has really stepped up his game. Very good reading of his surroundings and very consistent on his performances, he has been an important part of the machine this season.

Zé Carlos is different. Last season he was amazing. He was forced to play out of his position and played from the RB spot the whole season where he showed a lot of quality both on the attack and defense. Good with the ball on his feet and smart in his decisions. This season, for some reason, he is not getting gametime. He only has 521 minutes to his name this season in 21 appearances, mostly from the bench. When he does play, he seems nervous and anxious and very rarely shows signs of the quality he did last season. He's still young so he can still get better but he's really the most confusing case in the squad.

Box to Box

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For once, there's not much to say here.

Tiago Silva has been a regular for some time and is a very good player and André André is a classy midfielder but unfortunately his age is caughting up to him.

Attacking Midfielder

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Another new signing this season was the Portuguese midfielder from Chaves on a free.
He's doing really well for himself at the club and if not for a small injury he had he could be even better.

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We have two backups for this role, also two new signings.
Nuno Santos struggled at first but he eventually he started putting up some good performances and showing his quality.

On the other hand, Telmo Arcanjo picked up an injury on the last game of last season and hasn't played a single minute for the club yet. His recovery is coming to an end though so hopefully he'll show what he can do soon.

Strikers

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Jota Silva has been our best player this season.
He's truly beloved by the supporters and it's for a good reason. He's a natural winger who was adapted as a striker this year and his quality didn't go down. He gives everything he has every game he plays, runs when no one else is running and believes in every ball until he's sure he can't get to it.

For many, he's the definition of what a player needs to be in Guimarães.

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When we look at his backups it really is dire.
Nélson Oliveira he's not fast enough to play as an AF so maybe we'll play him as a DLF. Butzke has the pace but lacks confidence. He hasn't scored a single goal for us this season and Nélson only scored one but he joined in January on a free whilst Butzke joined in the summer.

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We still have another player in our 1st team.
Kaio César was a winter signing and he's been very good for us. He hasn't scored a goal yet but he is very good with the ball in his feet and can open up spaces with his dribbling. In fact, the club has confirmed there are already talks with Coritiba for him to stay here permantently (his deal has a 1.8m clause).

Hot Prospects

Since this is a youth save, we need to take a look at the best players currently in our youth teams.

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8th August 2023
First Month in Charge

Preseason

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We had a pretty good preseason.
We had some good performances both individually and as a team but we didn't really face any strong teams.

UEFA Europe Conference League
League Path Second Qualifying Round 1st Leg

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A loss in our first official game in charge is not ideal but we created a lot of chances. We just didn't take any of them.
Still it showed our team can create so goals would eventually start coming.

Allianz Cup
Second Phase

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Close call in the league cup but we did end up beating Leiria on the penalty shootout.
We played our 2nd team for this game because this competition demands 2 homegrown players to be on the starting lineup.

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Unfortunately for us, we lost our backup goalkeeper for 6 weeks due to an injury.

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The best option available to fill in the gap while he's out is the 19 year old Rafa Oliveira so we called him up to the first team.

UEFA Europe Conference League
League Path Second Qualifying Round 2nd Leg


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Very good performance from our team to take the game back with a 94th minute winner from our AM and an hattrick from Jota, who also assisted João Mendes for his goal. Top performance from the best player in our team showing why he deserves that title.

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Our next opponent in the UECL are the Polish side Pogon Szczecin.

Transfer Out

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The only player who left the club was our backup LB Afonso Freitas for a fee of 2.7m + 50% of a future transfer.
Pretty good deal for a player who's value didn't even reach the 1m mark.

There's just one problem: we have no decent option available in your youth teams to replace him.
Since we can't buy players over 19 years old and I still don't have any scouting reports available, I had to get creative.

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Zé Carlos, who I initially planned to play as a backup for Handel in the playmaker role, will now train and play as our backup LB.
He already played in that position from time to time last season and he seemed confident when he did so I'll give him that place and start training his left foot.

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And to replace Zé Carlos as our backup playmaker I called up the 17 year old Rodrigo Duarte who's actually the best option we have available despite his tender age.

Transfer In

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The only player joining us so far so the winger Ronaldo Royero on a free transfer.
He's training to be a striker already and hopefully he'll develop nicely. If not we can at least get some money out of him.

Scouting

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This is another area where I tried to be at least a bit realistic.

Portugal: Since taking control of the club, our board has emphasized the importance of buying players in our own country. We have the examples of Jota Silva, Matheus Indio (who's not at the club anymore), Ricardo Mangas, Manu Silva, João Mendes and Telmo Arcanjo. We also have other known names in the First Division such as Charles (ex-Marítimo and Vizela), João Mendes (ex-Chaves), Nuno Santos (ex-Benfica), Nélson Oliveira (ex-Rio Ave, Paços de Ferreira and Benfica) and Adrián Butzke (loaned at Paços de Ferreira last season).

With that in mind, having a scout focusing only in the Portuguese competitions is a must.


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West Europe: Over the years Vitória SC has signed a lot of players from Spanish and French teams, specially the latter. We also sold a lot of players to those countries, such as André Almeida who's ballin at Valencia, Gui to Almeria, Cafu to Lorient and so many others.

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UK: Even though this board has not given much attention to the British islands, the last board did. We signed players such as Marcus Edwards and Jacob Maddox, both of which already left the club. We also had Mikey Johnstone loaned in last season from Celtic who was a good player but lacked consistency.
I decided to bring back the chance of bringing in some English youngsters, specially now with the links we have with Aston Villa.


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Colombia, Equador and Peru: This one may be a bit unrealistic but we did have some Colombian and Peruan players over the years. The names that come to mind are Guillermo Celis and Sebastian Rincon from Colombia and Paolo Hurtado from Peru. Even though none of those players were playing at their homeland before joining us, I think we can try to ****** them up before they join other European teams.

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Belgium, Germany and Netherlands: Well there were not many players who signed us from any of these countries except for Elias Abouchabaka some years ago. I may be wrong here but at least I can't think of many more. Despite that I think we can start looking at them, specially when we sold some players to that region before. You may have heard of Edmond Tapsoba or Lyle Foster before.

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Northern Europe: Definitely the most unrealistic assignment of them all is this one. I don't remember us ever signing a player from a Northern country before but I may be wrong. Why did I set this assignment then? Well Sporting CP signed Hjulmand and Gyokeres this season and were crowned champions. They also signed Ousmand Diomandé from Midtjylland and honestly we all know how good the players from this region can get. Taking inspiration from Sporting, we are following their steps and will try to sign some Nordic players.

Croatia, Italy, Slovenia: Over the years there were a few deals made between us and teams from this regions. Just this season we sold Dani Silva to Hellas Verona and last season Borevkovic was loaned out to Hadjuk Split. I can't remember any player who joined us from those countries, so it's time to change that.

Argentina, Brazil and Chile: Brazil was always a big part of our club. We always had Brazilian players in our squad and a lot of them came straight from Brazil. I can think of Pedro Henrique, Henrique Dourado and now Kaio César who all joined the club from teams in the South American country but there are a lot more that I just can't remember now. When it comes to Argentina and Chile I put them alongside Brazil just so we can expand our knowledge in South America and maybe find some good gems over there.


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There are some more regions I should have set, Switzerland and the USA for instance (Tomás Ribeiro signed from Grasshopper and Nuno Santos from Charlotte FC), but I think the players that joined were signed due to their nationality (Portuguese) and proven quality in the Portuguese First Division.

August

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We start our season with the two biggest matches of the season, derbies against Boavista and Braga back to back.
Unfortunately, none of them are at the D. Afonso Henriques, but our supporters always follow our team wherever we go so we make any stadium our home.
 
3rd September 2023
Though Decisions

Schedule

UEFA Europa Conference League
League Path Third Qualifying Round 1st Leg


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Very harsh result. We dominated the game but couldn't score more than one goal.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 1


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We started our season well with a win against Boavista.
Tiago Silva scored a banger from outside the box. We did have more chances, but once again failed to make the most out of them.

UEFA Europa Conference League
League Path Third Qualifying Round 2nd Leg


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Unfortunately, we had to make the hard decision of using our backups for the 2nd leg of the UECL due to fixture congestion.
The game against Braga was moved to 2 days after this one and honestly I prefer beating them then going through here.
Tiago still gave us some hope on the 83rd minute with another screamer but we couldn't get another one.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 2


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Thankfully, we did beat Braga away from home but it wasn't a good performance by any means.
They dominated the 2nd half of the game and the only reason we didn't draw or lose this game was because their shots were absolute garbage.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 3


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I can't express how mad I was at this one.
We were able to put ourselves ahead of the game twice just to let them score right after the kickoff and just 10 minutes later our defense forgot how to defend and let them score the 3rd.

They had 4 shots on target out of 6, we had 6 out of 19...

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 4


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Despite the result, we actually played good football against Benfica.
It was a balanced match with a total of 40 shots, 18 of them on target. Varela did defend very well otherwise the result could have been worst but we could also scored more.

Unfortunately, we were once again ahead and let them get back into the game.
Losing to a penalty is never a good feeling as well.

League Table

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After 4 games we sit in 9th but we have one game in hand over some teams above us so a win can see us moving up some places.

September
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We only have 3 games this month and all of them should be easy (ish). Let's hope we can get back some points here.

Transfer In

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The only transfer business we had in August was the signing of the young Italian CB Andrei Coubis from AC Milan for 105k.
Good physicals and decent technicals. If he can develop his mentals, he may even push to a spot in the 1st team soon.​
 
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25th September 2023

Before diving into the update just a quick heads up about what's happened in real life.
After the last post we lost 3-2 against Braga playing in our stadium with a late goal from them. It was a very good game to watch and they got lucky with a rebound. Nontheless, we lost and the 4th place is now impossible to achieve.

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On some other news, our manager Álvaro Pacheco left the club before the last game of the season to joing Brazilian side Vasco da Gama and despite having a 1m clause on his contract, the club won't be getting paid because Álvaro delivered a resignation letter, which was accepted by the club. The club presidente then attended an interview where he explained the whole situation and what he said was later posted on social media, here's what was said:

Álvaro Pacheco asked the board to meet with the Brazilian club. The board accepted the request and asked for secrecy and discretion. On the next day, Álvaro didn't attend a team event due to personal reasons and travelled to Lisbon to meet with the Brazilian club on a very well known restaurant without warning the club. He then returned to Guimarães, where he talked with multiple staff members trying to convince them to join him on his next job in Brazil and then informed the club he wouldn't stay next season. All of this happened before the game against Braga.

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After the game, on the 14th of May, Álvaro Pacheco informed the club he would leave with immediate effect.

As if this wasn't enough, now Álvaro Pacheco is suing Vitória SC for diffamation.
As we say in Portugal "Isto é uma casa a arder", which roughly translates to "This is a burning house".

Well enough with this, let's get to what's really important shall we?

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 5


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We got back to winning in style with a 4-0 win against newly promoted Estrela da Amadora.
It was a good permormance all around and both our strikers scored so that's good to see even though Tiago Silva is clearly stealing the show at the beginning of the season.

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Some days later Maga picked up an injury and will be out for the next few games.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 6


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We followed it up with another win against Farense. We can say we got lucky on this one since they missed a penalty and then we scored twice to bring the 3 points to the North but we desearved the win way more than they did.

It was a top performance from our CB Borevkovic, who not only was exceptionally good in the back but also scored the first goal from a corner.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 7


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We finished up the month with the third win in arow against Arouca.
Tiago just keeps scoring us goals and Jota Silva is also picking up the pace.
We also keep defending very well, only allowing Arouca 3 shots the whole game.

October

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Only 3 fixtures next month once again, all of which should be winnable but Chaves and Famalicão are always though opponents to face.​
 
One of the teams I considered doing for my next save! Good luck will be following along!!
Thanks, I feel like there aren't enough people playing the Portuguese league outside of Portuguese people and whenever I see someone post about it it's always the same teams.

Hope you enjoy my approach to it as well, I know it's not for everyone
 
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2nd November 2023
First Cup Fixtures


Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 8


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Quite a decent performance as we get back with another win in the league against our Northern neighbours Chaves.
Tiago missed a penalty this game but goals from our right back Bruno Gaspar and winger/AM Nuno Santos were enough to take the 3 points.

Taça de Portugal Placard
Third Round


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We went into this game with our backup team and we still won by a good margin.
I also must add that our supporters really have this competition into high consideration, so every year we will attempt to do what we do in reallife: do our best and try to reach the Finals and win it.

We actually made it to the Semi Finals this year but we failed to win against Porto so unfortunately there's no cup hopes for us.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 9


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Unfortunately we lost our next league fixture against Famalicão.
We dominated the game but failed to score and they made their chances worth with a corner goal.

Allianz Cup
Group Stage


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We then ended up losing the first game of the Allianz Cup group stage.
For those who don't really follow Portuguese football, this is the equivalent of the English Carabao Cup, except we don't really qualify for an European competition if we win it and the monetary prize is very low.

Interestingly enough, next year the format in which this competition will be held will change.
From next season onwards, the competition will only have 8 teams: the first 6 teams in the 1st division and the 2 top teams of the 2nd division.

Anyway, even though this was our first game in the competition, we were already knocked out.

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Only one team of each group qualifies and Benfica already defeated Estoril so we won't be competing in this one anymore.
Not that I really care.

League Table

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Despite our loss in the last game, we are still 3rd in the league.

November

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Very difficult game against Porto this month and another Taça de Portugal fixture which I intend to win.
Let's hope we do good and maybe even squeeze in a draw against Porto at our stadium.
 
2nd November 2023
Not Everything is Bad

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 10

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Back to the wins on the deslocation to Algarve to face Portimonense.
Always a tough match and we didn't play very well but at least we got a goal from a corner to bring the 3 points to Guimarães.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 11


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What a game it was and what a result it could have been.
Unfortunate own goal at the last minutes of the game gave Porto the win but I must say the performance from our players was very good and we were actually able to make it a balanced fixture.

Taça de Portugal Placard
Fourth Round


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The last game of this month was also a win and another win in Algarve, this time against Farense for the cup and we are just a little bit closer to get where we want to.

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The next game will be against our Minho neighbours Gil Vicente, in what will be another tough fixture.
However, I truly believe we are capable of going through.

League Table

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We are still on 3rd in the league but the gap to Porto only keeps getting bigger as they won every single game they played so far.
Benfica already dropped points twice and Sporting had a slow start but I expect them to get it together soon.

Our main rivals Braga also had a slow start to the season and are sitting around mid table which is always nice to see.

December

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5 games this month including one for the Allianz Cup but since we have no chance at going through the next fase I'll use it to give some backup players some game time.

For the league I honestly can't say there are any easy games all around. All teams are tricky to play against and we can lose points against pretty much every single one. Let's just hope we don't lose that many this month so we can get into the new year in good form.
 
2nd January 2024
Good End to the Year

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 12


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Decent win in Estoril to start the month with.
Jota Silva is starting to show up more and more now.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 13


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Another good win in Barcelos.
Jota scored another goal from the forward position and is looking better and better every game.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 14

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We then went into the Casa Pia game with our backup players and we battered them 3-1 with youngster Rodrigo Duarte scoring in the 3rd minute and Jota Pereira scoring from the left wing position on the 20th.

Allianz Cup
Group Stage Gameday 2


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We used our backup team again and drew the second game of the league cup but since we were already out of the competition I'm not too bothered.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 15


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We ended up this month with a 2-0 win over Rio Ave with two more goals from Jota Silva.

League Table

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We've been able to keep the 3rd position for now and actually have a 6 point gap to 4th place Sporting.
Porto are running away with it though with 15 wins in 15 games.

January

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Very difficult month ahead of us.
We have the important cup fixture against Gil Vicente, two back to back games against Sporting for the league and we wrap it up with two derbies against Boavista and Braga in the D. Afonso Henriques.

Transfers In
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The first signing we made was the keeper Nicolás Valiente who joined on a free transfer back in October but I kept forgetting to show. Looks decent and becomes our most promising keeper.

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The first January signing was 18 year old midfielder Shandre Campbell from South Africa. We signed him for 215k and he honestly looks promising. Let's hope he develops well and maybe he will be called to the 1st team soon.

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The other signing was another winger. He looks very good already except for his mentals so I called him straight up to the first team. He joined us from Argentinian side Talleres for 450k.​
 
1st February 2024
Finally Some Transfers

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 16


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Very good win at the city derby against Moreirense, with Jota Silva scoring two more goals for us.

Taça de Portugal
Fifth Round

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We won in Barcelos once again to go through the next round of the cup.
It was not a very pleasant performance, but at least we won.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 17


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We were not good enough to beat Sporting though. We dominated the 3nd half but a bad performance in the first 45 minutes sealed the game for them.

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One of the reasons to our lack of fire power may have been because Jota Silva had just left the club earlier that day.
He joined Ollympique Marseille after they paid his 20m release clause. He will be missed.

Bruno Varela and Telmo Arcanjo were also out most of the month playing for Cape Verde in the Africa Cup of Nations.
They were eliminated in the group stage and came back to Portugal on the 19th.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 18


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Back to back losses against Sporting in the league. This one was frustrating because of Edwards late goal.
For those who don't know, before joining Sporting Marcus Edwards was a Vitória SC player.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 19


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We got a way better result against Boavista though and are back to winning ways.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 20


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The cherry on top of the cake would have been beating Braga in the last game of the January, but Tiago Silva missed a penalty and despite having 10 shots on target, we just couldn't score.

League Table

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Even though we lost twice to Sporting we keep the 3rd place for now. They still have one game in hand but even if they win it we will still be ahead of them by a single point.

February

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Another busy month in February. We'll start it with two very difficult fixtures against Benfica for the league and Porto for the cup.
They were the ones who eliminated us this season, so I really want to get revenge, but looking at their league form, that may be a very difficult task to accomplish.

Transfers Out

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We already talked about Jota leaving to France and the only other player who left the club was the 30 year old center back Mikel Villanueva, who didn't play much this season and honestly he would be sold next season either way. We got 1.3m for the deal as he joins Estoril Praia.

Transfers In
Emre Uzun - 1m

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The money we got from Jota was immediately put to good use. We brought in the 18 year old Turkish midfielder for 700k, eventually rising to 1m. Looks decent, good(ish) personality and base stats for the role we're training him in. Let's hope he develops well.​

Mateja Stjepanovic - 1.1m

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Another midfielder joined our youth teams. Stjepanovic looks like a very complete player and can actually play in a variety of positions and roles which is always nice to have. Not the best personality but could be worse.
Tommaso Berti - 1.3m

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The best player to join us this winter was the Italian midfielder Tommaso Berti. Resolute personality, good with both feet, very balanced attributes all around and is also a consistent performer. He jumped straight to the first team to be João Mendes backup.
Lucas Agazzi - 1.4m

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I may have said Berti was the best player to join us, but Agazzi is also up there. He comes in with the hard task to replace Jota Silva as our main striker. Not very good mentals, but he's only 18 and everything else is already there.
Juan Felipe Hincapié - 675k

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We also signed another striker, this time from Colombia. Doesn't look as good, but still has a lot of time to develop.
Thiago Fernandéz - 2m

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Our most expensive signing of the window was yet another midfielder. Thiago is a well rounded player and will be training to be a B2B.

He was also the last signing of the window and the last 3 were actually deadline day deals.
Overall, I'm happy with the players who joined us.​
 
1st March 2024
That Was Unexpected


Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 21

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We suffered another defeat in Lisbon and this time Tiago Silva even got sent off so he won't be playing in the next league game against Estrela da Amadora.

Taça de Portugal Placard
Sixth Round


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However, he did play for us in the cup and he decided to score a banger to win us the game against Porto.

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Another very difficult challenge in the Semi Final against Sporting.
The Semi Finals are played in 2 hands so we have two chances to reach the Finals but it won't be easy.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 22

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Even without Tiago Silva, Nuno Santos (suspended due to 5 yellow cards) and Bruno Gaspar who picked up an injury, we were able to beat Estrela da Amadora as we once again travelled to Lisbon. Agazzi scored hsi first goal for the club which is nice to see.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 23


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He then followed it with another goal against Farense and Tiago Silva came back and scored another goal for himself.
Nuno Santos was once again suspended, this time for seeing a red card.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 24


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We got lucky against Arouca in a game in which we weren't in our best performances.
Tiago Silva scored a penalty, but failed another and if it wasn't for Kaio César's late goal, we would have left Arouca with 1 point.

Taça de Portugal Placard
Semi Final First Leg


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I have no idea how we did it, but we beat Sporting in Lisboan 3-0 with two goals from Kaio César and another from Borevkovic, who's proving to be a real terror on the corners.
We now just need to to concede 3 goals in Guimarães and we will be in the cup final.

League Table

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Despite some slips along the way, we are still 3rd. Sporting had the chance to overcome us multiple times but they seem to not tobe abel to handle the pressure.

Porto and Benfica are running with the league as expected and now Benfica is catching up to Porto. Will be an interesting title race if they both keep putting up good performances.

March

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March will be a very chill month as we are not facing any stronger teams than ourselves.

Youth Intake will also be announced this month so that's very exciting.

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I forgot to show this sooner but here is the preview.
Let's just hope it is actually an excellent intake.​
 
Wow that intake looks promising! Fingers crossed a decent talent or two!
Ive had the opposite at SC Heerenveen poor ratings but multiple 5 star potentials!
 
1st April 2024
Injuries Piling Up
Liga Portugal Betclic

Gameday 25


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Another win and another red card for Tiago Silva. He just can't keep his record clean.
At least he's still scoring goals.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 26


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If it's not a suspension, it's an injury.
Ricardo Mangas got injured for a week as we beat Chaves 3-1.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 27

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Another win against Gil Vicente and another injury.
João Mendes picked up a 5 week injury.

League Table

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I'm very surprised we are still 3rd but Sporting slow start to the season seems to be the main factor here.
Since we already played against them they can't surpass us by beating us so they'll have to rely on us slipping some points and we can only hope they do the same.

April

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This month we'll have the 2nd leg of the cup and if we are able to not concede 3 goals that would be amazing.
League wise, we'll face Porto who are very willing to keep winning games and be crowned champions as soon as possible.

Youth Intake

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I'm happy with the players that came through this year. We have some decent looking ones but they all need a lot work still.​
 
1st May 2024
More Injuries

Taça de Portugal Placard
Semi Final 2nd Leg


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We did our job as we get a draw in Guimarães to clinch a place in the cup final.
Of course Nuno Santos got injured.

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We''l face SL Benfica in the cup final.

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And we got 2 more injuries for our next game. Handel will be out for the rest of the season.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 28


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Even without them, we were able to beat Famalicão and withotu suffering any injuries this time.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 29

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We then fumbled and lost against Portimonense playing in Guimarães and Kaio César got yet another injury.

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This one was a bit longer as well.

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And then Butzke also got injured in training. Can't catch a break.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 30


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We then miraculously beat Porto playing away from home.
We played very poorly only getting 2 shots on target but Agazzi scored both.

Also, no injuries for once.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 31


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We finish up the month with another 2-1 win over Estoril and thsi time we dominated the game.

League Table


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Unfortunately, the loss we took against Portimonense allowed Sporting to take the 3rd place away from us.

May

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We end up the season with 3 easy (ish) games and the most important match of the season... the Taça de Portugal Final.

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But obviously we had to end up this update with another big injury as we lose our backup playmaker for 5 months. Just great...​
 
3rd June 2024
Season Finale

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 32

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I shouldn't have said this month's fixtures were easy.
Very bad performance against Casa Pia and a bit of luck on their part when scoring the goal but we lost the game and with it we lost hopes in getting the 3rd place back.

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We got yet another injury in training, this time left back Ricardo Mangas was out for 13 days.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 33


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We did bounce back against Rio Ave in Guimarães with 2 goals on teh 1st half.

Liga Portugal Betclic
Gameday 34


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We end up our league campaign with a 3-0 win in the City of Guimarães derby against Moreirense and now there's only one goal in mind... the Taça de Portugal Final.

Taça de Portugal Placard
Final


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Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be.
Despite scoring a banger on the 14th minute, Tiago Silva missed a penalty just 4 minutes after and that allowed Benfica to score another goal and just control the rest of the match to lift the cup.

This was actually the exact same result we had against them the last time we faced each other in the cup final back in 2017.
Unfortunately, we couldn't get revenge this time, but maybe next season?

League Table

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Despite being 3rd most of the season, a couple of losses in the final stages dictated we would finish 4th this season.


Random Stuff
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The board agreed to improve both our training and yout hfacilities, which is amazing for player development.


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André André, a club legend in Guimarães, decided it was time to hang the boots so we offered him a place in the club's staff.
From now on, he will be our U19's Assistant Manager.

Finances

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The investments in the club's facilities took a bit of a beating in our finances, but we have a good transfer budget and a good margin on the wage bill.

I expect to be bringing in some new youngsters to the team during the summer so we'll need to raise some funds.
In the next update, we'll do a small squad analyzis and see who we may sell in the next transfer window.

Season Recap

Even though we didn't win any trophies this season, we accomplished some big things:
1. We qualified for the Europa League;
2. Finished 4th ahead of our rivals SC Braga;
3. Reached the cup Final, which didn't happen since 2017;
4. Made the biggest sale ever for the club (Jota Silva - 20m);
5. Had a record breaking season in the league points (73, previous 62).

Maybe next year we'll be able to win the cup again, 12 years later...​
 
2nd Season Squad Analysis
Goalkeepers

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Our current goalkeepers are good but they are both getting older.
Charles is already 30 years old and Bruno Varela is 29. Goalkeepers attributes don't regress as soon as other positions so I think we can keep them both for a bit longer.

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We also don't really have any youngster ready to take the jump to the 1st team yet.
Rafa Oliveira is the best option we have for now but he's close to reaching hsi full potential already and Nicolás Valiente needs to develop a bit more but does have more potential than Rafa so in terms of fulfilling our youth objectives he's probably our best option for now.

Center Backs

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This season I want to change our tactics to a 4 defense line. I didn't really like some performances we had last season using 5 at the back so we'll try and change it to see if anything changes.

Borevkovic and Tomás Ribeiro will most likely be our starting duo but Borevkovic has soem interested clubs and last season he told me he wanted to leave so if we get any good offers for him he may leave the club this summer. He's also 26 years old so he's pretty much in his prime years so he won't develop much more.

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Our backups are also good in my opinion.
We have Jorge Fernandes who's 27 and brings in a bit of experience and good aerial threatness and Andrei Coubis who's still 20 years old and is ready to be a backup in the 1st team.

Right Backs

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On the right side of our defense, we have the 31 year old Bruno Gaspar and his backup Miguel Maga, who's only 21.
We may try to sell Bruno this summer due to his age but despite being quite old already he still offers us some good offensive and defensive coverage.

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If we sell Bruno Gaspar, we have Alberto Baio in our B team who just needs a bit more development to be ready to be a 1st team backup.

Left Backs

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On the other side of our defense we have Ricardo Mangas and Zé Carlos.
Mangas was a very important piece of our team last season and at 26 years old he still is our best option at his position.

On the other hand, Zé Carlos is a very versatile player who's only 22. In terms of quality, he doesn't really reach the starter requirements in any of the positions he plays in but he's a good squad player to have around. He has some interest shown in him so if a good offer comes I will consider selling him.

We don't have any good option in our youth teams for this position so it may be worth looking around for a few.

Defensive Midfielder

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Tomás Handel is arguably the best player in our squad at the moment.
He's also still 23 years old so he will still develop. I have no idea why he's value is so low for a player of his quality but he is wanted by Man. City so we may not be able to keep him.

Manu Silva will be his backup for now and eventually our starter if Handel leaves. He's good at the role but nowhere near Handel despite being worth a lot more.

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In our youth teams, we have Mateja Stjepanovic ready to jump to the 1st team. If Handel doesn't leave, we'll try to loan him out to a 2nd or 1st league club so he can have some more playing time.

Box to Box

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Tiago Silva is another very important piece in our midfield. He's not only a very good playmaker, he's also a goalscorer and a team leader (even though he doesn't have the nest leadership).

Rodrigo Duarte has been our backup since last season and will still keep that role despite his young age.
However, Tiago is already 31 years old so if we get any good offers for him I will consider accepting it, specially due to his high value.

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If Tiago ends up leaving, we have Thiago Fernández ready to jump into the 1st team.

Advanced Playmaker

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Our playmaker role will be fulfilled by João Mendes, who's also been an important player for us last season.
However, at 29 years old his situation is equivalent to Tiago's. If we get a bid, he'll be sold.

We already have a very good replacement for him in Tommaso Berti. He's currently injured for the next 4 months but when he's available he's already very good at the playmaker role and will only get better as he's only 20.

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We also have two good options in our youth teams so we won't be left empty if João Mendes is sold.

Right Wingers

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Last season I noticed sometimes our team lacked the width needed to attack properly and keep defensive cohesion.
In my opinion, not having wingers may have had a big part in that so we'll try using inverted wingers on each side this season.

As it stands, on the right side we have Kaio César and Telmo Arcanjo. They offer us different things: Kaio is a dribbler who can easily open spaces with his dribbling ability and Arcanjo is more of a playmaker ready to create chances to his teammates.

Since they are both young, none of them are for sale this season.

Left Wingers

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On the opposite side of the pitch, we have Nuno Santos and Diego Barrera currently in our 1st team.
I don't intend to sell any of them as well.

Advanced Forwards

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Since Jota Silva left the club, Agazzi has been our main choice in the striker position.
He needs to develop his mentals but when he does he will become a very good goalscorer for us. Last season he scored 5 goals in 12 games, which is not too bad for a player who was not used to European football or familiar with our tactics.

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Our backups are not that good though.
Adrián Butzke isn't terrible. He scored 4 goals in 22 appearances and han an average rating of 6.81. At 25 years old, he can still be a backup to Agazzi.

However, Nélson Oliveira won't stay at the club next season.
He's already 32 years old and despite being decent mentally everything else is not.

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Even though Agazzi has been our first choice for the past 6 months, next season Dieu Michel will have his chance. I mean just look at him. Last season he scored 16 goals in 31 games for Nacional in the 2nd division and helped them achieve promotion.
At 20 years old, he will most likely be our main striker next season.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, we only have one player who we really don't want to keep.
We also have a few that could leave the club if any good offers come in for them but overall I'm happy with the squad we have.
That doesn't mean we won't be looking for new players because this challenge requires us to keep scouting youngsters and bringing them in before the big clubs do.​
 
A decent season there and making the final of the cup is a quick step in the right direction. The youth prospects will hopefully grow into first team regulars in the coming years and some European football will bring in some decent dough next season, especially if you can go far. A strong start and a good read mate!
 
A decent season there and making the final of the cup is a quick step in the right direction. The youth prospects will hopefully grow into first team regulars in the coming years and some European football will bring in some decent dough next season, especially if you can go far. A strong start and a good read mate!
Thanks mate! I don't expect us to make it to the top 3 very soon since Porto, Benfica and Sporting are always tough teams to beat but at least I want to ensure we have some sort of European football every season because if we look into our recent past everytime we qualify for Europe we throw it all away the season after and finish mid table... We've only been consistent with it in the last 3 seasons so I intend to keep it that way
 
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