Katsumi Touko The Smith of Pretty Victories.

Death Ball

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May 2023


We go back to the original 4-5-1 against the third placed team. A win for us today or defeat of Le Havre makes it sure we stay up, though we're almost guaranteed to stay.
We make a good first half, controlling the match and having good chances. Ikone scores a wonderful goal and Cardwell had the second in his head, but sent it above the bar. The fullbacks pull an idiotic play each, basically having the ball taken by a rival behind them and running all the way to the rival's byline.
Second half is simillar, but with Saint Etienne pushing harder. We would win were not because nobody thinks a rival player in the area must not be let alone. Instead they amble away like he was the devil and so they let it turn into a draw.
We can also be eleventh, which makes it troublesome to fill the team with youth players for the two remaining matches.



Second to last match. We face the team at the top. I rotate the team heavily. Simpara is the only youth player in the squad because the rest can't be chosen due to not being registered.
We go all defence and it goes well until a corner in which they get the underside of the bar. More bad luck than bad defending or good attacking. We have four plays to get level, but three are wasted with offsides and the fourth is missed by Sala.
After ten minutes of nothing, I decide to risk it and go attacking; but it doesn't work other than to get them two goals, so I go back to the system usual counter. Then we get two back, from IFK by Logan and then Fabre tackles the keeper to then tap it in.
Somehow one of our goals wasn't counted as shot on target.



We finish the league against the team right behind us. We return to the new 4-5-1. Perrin's not in the squad due to him looking tired.
It's not a bad first half. It's level, but we get the better chances yet again. We just need someone to get it in.
The second half keeps us on top, but this time Cardwell gets the goal at the end of a counter. He has the second, third and fourth goals in his boots, but crashes the ball on the keeper or well wide. However, in another counter near the end, Bakkali takes his chance to seal the win. I test for a few minutes Cardwell on the wing, but too little time to make out anything.
The win serves just to finish thirteenth, but it's quite a good position considering we were tipped to end bottom.


We pay bonuses and get the league prize, which is pretty good to set our balance positive.








Salaries paid say we also overachieved beyond discussion.


Two million up thanks tot he league money.




The 13th is already there in her achievements lists, but her reputation hasn't improved.

Other stuff:
Had a chance to take on Sevilla.

They're 12th and can finish anywhere between ninth and fifteenth, not bad, but not European qualification. Not enough to regret staying.

She also could have gone to Ipswich.

They finished 17th quite far from play offs and closer to relegation. Quite less regrets here.
 

Death Ball

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Postseason planning and early transfers 2023

Apart from loans, Sala and Pantilimon end their contracts this season. Sala has barely played so his contract will likely be left to run out, though his low wages might make it worth keeping him for tutoring purposes. Pantilimon wants to retire; his performances for the first half of the season were magnificent, but lately he's been sloppy. I think I'll seek a replacement and only if I fail to get someone better I'll try to convince him to play another season.

Let's take a look at the stats:

Fullbacks have been disappointing with their tackling. It could've been the system's fault more than theirs, considering how many tackles they have attempted. Zahibo has won perhapes less headers than he should, considering his good ability to jump. Surprisingly, Sawadogo has quite a good pass completion ratio, second best, so has Cardwell, fourth. Labidi and Legrand have passed well, so we have good replacements for Agualusa's departure. Very poor passing among defence. Henry, Zahibo and Maillard are among the players with the most mistakes.

Zahibo, Jebbour, Amallah, by mistakes and percentages on tackles, passing and headers, deserve to be moved on. Cardwell is clearly the best striker and he can stay. Fabre has play too little. Davidson has been good in league matches.

We're losing at end of loans: Maillard (left fullback), Yambéré (centreback, the only convincing beside Perrin), Gharriche (midfielder) and Agualusa (left winger). Pantilimon will retire and Mele will be sold.

Therefore, for next season we need to replace: One or two goalkeepers, three central midfielders, two centrebacks, two fullbacks (one per side), one left winger.

Jebbour, Amallah, Zahibo and Henry come to me complaining about transfer listing them. All of them accept my explanations, though I have to argue a little more with Amallah. Basically, they have no place in my plans and it'd be silly to keep them just not to play, though to Henry I said it was a matter of getting some money, which is also part of it as he's 30 years old and his value is not too low. One or two hundred thousand euros can be helpful with our current situation.

One some unrelated news, this thirteenth place is the highest ever position for Amiens.


Best ever eleven is announced, as well as the club awards.




Amiens 2 - 0 Olympique Lyonnais

Confidence review for the season is submitted.


Preseason is set to start seven weeks before the season begins.


We get an increase to sales made.


We get increased sponsorship deals and revenues.


The board approaches me about increasing the transfer budget.


They also announce they've taken a loan. To build a new stadium.


The budget increase is up to seven and half million euros.


Our first signing, if things go well, is going to be Vincent Le Goff. A veteran left back, professional, who will be valuable for the young players and though his bravery is low, I hope it will compensate how my system seems to be asking too much tackling of the fullbacks.

The second will be the goalkeeper. I managed to have an offer accepted by Wigan, after the player got in a row about joining us. He's Jääskeläinen, currently at Sky Bet League One. I know fans will be very skeptic about a goalkeeper coming from that league doing well in Ligue 1, but he's technically far superior to Camara, mentally almost as good and only loses slightly physically, so I'm confident he will do well.

Mele is the first to leave, signed by Napoli and Le Goff the first to sign his contract.


Then offers are made for two centrebacks: QPR's Alejandro Arribas at the end of his contract, then an offer for Huddersfield's Tom Thorpe is made and accepted, then a contract is offered.

Jääskeläinen signs his contract next and will join in June.


Amallah sings for Ajaccio.


Then I look for the rigth fullback, of which two are needed since Henry was our first choice there and he's also leaving.

Djédjé is the first I make an offer for, from Ipswich. Then to Stoke's Corchia.

Jebbour confirms his departure to Cádiz. And Thorpe signs his contract.


Since Olawale is coming in and he's clearly better than Camara in what he does better and just slightly worse in most of the things he's worse, I think I will be sending Camara away as well.

Arribas came to sign his contract, but I had to think it long. He's better than we had, but he's 34 already, not fast, doesn't jump that much. But I've decided to bring him in as he can also be good to teach the young centrebacks.


Corchia's deal falls apart as he asks for way too high wages.

We're running out of budgets, I had to cancel signing of one Bielik due to not being able to offer even close to his demands; I'm delaying Eiting's as it required a budget reallocation and Djédjé is more important. I think it's time to ask for more budget... but I can't. I guess I'll try to sell Camara off. Djédjé signs the next day, which is very good news.


We get one offer for Camara. Just a little below his value; but since three goalkeepers proved to be one too many and he'd become unhappy, that's no problem at all and it may create just enough budget space to fit in one more signing. Otherwise, Simpara will have regular opportunities.

Battocchio signs a contract on a transfer. He's 31 and I forgot to check the length of the contract he asked, but he's useful as a first tutor for young players and has some good qualities. Camara signs for Brugge.



And finally we are still able to sign Eiting too. He's described as centreback, but he'll play most often as defensive midfielder.


Four signings come today already, sixth June. Fans aren't very thrilled with either of them. Time to unveil them.



He's signed to be the first choice defensive midfielder ahead of Robin. His bravery is a bit lacking, but perhaps that'll help him to act more as a cover for the defence to cause poor passes rather than letting players slip behind and cause a knock on effect of positions lost.


Though he's not much more brave, Thorpe will play mostly as centreback, though he can be Eiting's back up if Robin is forced to be our second choice for right fullback.


Our new first choice fullback. A bit old, but still much better than any we had.


Our new first choice keeper most likely. He comes from League One, but I think he's well up to Ligue 1. Quite decent physically, technically strong and lacking only mentally, though not much more than Camara is.

 

Death Ball

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Summer and more transfers 2023

We've run out of budgets to sign any more players. So from now on, if I want any new players, it will have to be on loan or I'll have to sell somebody. I've broken the spending record of the club, though I think they're not counting the players still to come and are adding those who already came to those from the start of past season.


Williams makes his first move in the market with a loan offer for Killian François. He's a right fullback, which is what we were missing, though he's not good enough to compete for first choice.


On good news, though I'm not too confident it will make a difference for us, France has one more place in Champions League.


I've accepted François' arrival.


Fans aren't thrilled or disappointed with him. He's already with us.


What in the... I've not talked to any Yahoo journalist about anything recently.


Fixtures have been announced, it will open against Stade Reims and AC Ajaccio. The first tough match is AS Monaco in fourth. Also has been announced that we'll receive €17.54M from TV.


When dealing with expectations, I've said mid table finish, which will give me extra €20K wage budget.


We broke the club's average attendance record.


We receive a €400K bid for Legrand from Vendée les Herbiers which is accepted because he wanted to leave and not a player I wanted to keep, despite is potential.


Williams make an offer to loan one Orbegozo, who would make for a great defensive midfielder.


We receive an offer for Zahibo, which is accepted and then to a testimonial and a friendly.



Orbegozo's deal is agreed to, but it's got some monthly fee which could be better used for Krovinovic, so I'm delaying it until other deals are done with and I know if this is affordable and approppriate.


Zahibo rejects the contract from Kayseri.


None of the six new signings arriving this first of July get a meaningful reaction from the fans.



I think he's going to be a very solid rotation option in the playmaking role. Defensively just okay but that's not his role. I would just like if he was a little stronger.


His passing is not that great, but he's a player who seems a stronger choice than Sawadogo, who I may be moving on.


He's aging and slow in changes of pace and direction, and he isn't too strong or jumps much, which was a big doubt; but he can pass on his professionality to the younger players.


He only really loses to Camara physically, but technically wins by more than he loses mentally. He'll be the second choice due to his low ability communicating and command of the area.


Very versatile and fairly professional, two things that convinced me to sign him. He'll be our new starting left fullback.


Williams' signing. I approve it. Can play from midfield to striker position. First team material and to the first team he's been moved. His tackling is what lets him down to play in midfield. I'm not too happy he likes to pass the ball on, but so often strikers cost goals by shooting when they should look for the pass I'm tempted to see how he does before asking him to stop that.

I'm asked to register players. To avoid the past end of season mix up when I couldn't play youths, I've made sure to register everyone.

This is the current first team squad:


I am going to drop the 3-5-2 formation and make a new system. Though... we do have plenty of central defenders. I think instead I'll make a variation off it.


We receive an offer for Henry. I'm not so sure about selling him now, but we can use the money and he doesn't like big matches, so accepted it is. After the others went through, there won't be money to loan Krovinovic. I will then accept Orbegozo. Ah, it was meaningless, Ludovic (HoYD) has accepted it before I could say anything.



He's still eighteen and he's already so much better than many, if not all, our squad from past season. Definitely first team material. I don't know why he's training to play as a central defender. I make him train as advanced playmaker to try get him natural at central midfield.

With that, the squad is done. Perhaps if we can find a loan for free I might bring an offensive midfielder. No more room and the finances have gone down to red, but I think it's worth it. Even the huge deal to bring Thorpe, but considering how centrebacks were our biggest weakness, I think it's worth taking the risk.





 

Death Ball

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Preseason friendlies 2023

Kaabouni picks a two weeks injury before the friendlies begin. And Thorpe a three weeks one.



Henry finally accepts the Strasbourg offer and is leaving.



First friendly is played against a Ligue 2 team. We have many players still tired, so Simpara and Kruzanovic start and the bench is filled with the most promising reserve and U19 players. We use a reworked version of the more offensive 4-5-1 we tried past season.
It's a shameful first half, in which John lets the door open, if barely, to a cross and Arribas just defends the defender from the other side of the ball to let them go ahead. Then much keeping the ball but little knowing what to do in the final third with it. A few changes and we get a couple of chances, but Ikone decides that two inches from the keeper is the time to shoot instead of looking for a back pass.
The second half further changes see improvements in attack, but Ikone and Fabre miss everything, John keeps giving them crosses and give them the three corners they've had all match.
Disappointing start to the friendlies. Arribas and John with their lacking defence and Ikone with his terrible finishing have to take the blame.


Williams makes an offer for a centreback from Newcastle who looks quite good, but as first team regular is too many centrebacks. Orbegozo gets a month injury with Spain. Dujeux is reported to have interest in Perrin, so that may be a place for Proctor.


Tosno wants to loan Chevallier. I reject it; their facilities aren't that good and they're tipped for relegation in Russian second level.


Our next friendly is against our feeder club where many of our players are loaned each season.
The start isn't good, doing nothing. Sanocki is made to attack, but it's when Battocchio is told to play like a box to box midfielder (I don't know why I can't shout "just move further forward than you already are") things improve, we begin to have some chances or almost, as a couple of them are broken down by Bakkali wandering offside and in others Cardwell and Sanocki force last ditch tackles. It is François who gives the goal, by staying bewteen ball carrier and goal kick instead of goal, Jääskeläinen almost saves it; but despite that he's doing well, cutting off many crosses.
A few further changes for the second half, shorter passing for central players, longer for flank players improve things and Davidson gets the equalizer with our worst chance, from a rebound badly cleared when it was at the feet of a centreback.
Another disappointing match. It at least seems to serve to give some ideas for the tactic. However, I'm hopeful the issues come more from players not being yet in shape, as they kept playing like each other was a tennis rival, sending the ball either too far for them to reach or at their backs.


Turns out Proctor can't come as there's no budget left.



Another match against a lesser team. If this goes well, next match will be the new 3-5-2.
Yet another disappointing first half. With their formation it was to be expected it to be hard to recover the ball, as they have more people in the middle, but there's a difference between "they can pass around us" and "we refuse to contest divided balls". Some changes, namely telling the midfielders not to close down as much as I had asked from the start, improve things and they begin to press more and more efficiently. Further changes seem to promise an improvement for the second half, after a chance and a couple offsides breaking decent attacks.
The second half confirms that sensation. The team finally begins to enact the game plan intended with the instructions given, we stop losing the ball as fast and begin to recover it better and, more importantly, in attack we start using the width right, switching the ball from flank to flank and stretching their defence. We begin to have good attacking plays consistently, though only a few end with a shot and Kaabouni combines with Djédjé for this to cross for Bakkali to score and get the first friendly win.
Though it wasn't a great match, finally we get a win and at least a half of good football, which is imposing our plan on the match.


Sawadogo accepts the contract offered by Otelul and is gone.


That opens enough room in the budget to bring Proctor in.




With the new 4-5-1 looking so close to being finished, it's time to give the new 3-5-2 a test.
Being the first try, it's not a surprise the match doesn't start very good. Ball is lost too often, pressure is not properly applied and we leave their midfielders too alone, with the three midfielders seeming to go after the same balls and players, making our 3v2 in the middle look like a 1v3. Reason being too closing down across the three of them. Reducing the defensive one, Robin, and later the whole team's closing down solves the issue. Playing not as wide also helps the players to find passes and things improve from half hour time. We begin to control possession as it should be and to create chances. The first is a howitzer by Robin and from there we start getting consistently to their area and end the half with a three goal lead, including a superb turn around goal by Davidson.
Second half continues as well and we get two more goals, though we don't end the match with more possession, as desired at the start of the match.
Finally a good match and a decent result among the friendlies. Though it needs not to be forgotten this is the weakest team we've faced so far, so it's not that much better.


Robin signs a new contract, negotiated by Williams. He's declared his admiration for me.


Bet companies say we are going to fight relegation.


Zahibo will be out for two or three weeks from strained stomach muscle. He overexerted himself... eating too much?


Cardwell follows on Robin's steps.


It is time to decide squad bonuses. I leave league's at normal and take down the cups, due to spending over the budget in wages.



We go against another Ligue 2 team. We go back to the new 4-5-1 as I want to see it against a not narrow formation. We have some fit players, but most aren't yet. Perhaps I should have started harder with more friendlies and was wrong not wanting to risk injuries. The bad part is the commentator is saying we're almost level.
We begin the match strongly, with a goal by Bakkali assisted by Davidson. We continue creating some good chances, but miss them by little and fail to score a second. They have a few shots, but they're very low quality.
Second half starts with Olawale gifting a goal like he had been bribed. Cross to near post? He proceeds to move away to leave it open (ratings punish Arribas, who had nothing to do). Davidson gets us ahead again assisting Ikone. Then it's turn of Arribas to gift the goal, when in a cross that Eiting stands where the ball is too high, but that'd be irrelevant when Arribas has his man well in control, the later decides to run off towards a point where the ball is still too high just he can not even try to intercept (this time ratings punish Eiting) and Olawale can hardly be blamed. It's all finished when Eiting goes off to mark a midfielder and Arribas is to slow to cover, not that he tried to stand between ball and goal, anyway. We have several more good chances, but all are missed or saved.
It ends with a match that seemed to be satisfactory becoming an infuriating mess because the centerbacks and goalkeeper are a trio of clowns.


After the HoYD rejected a €250K offer for young Diomandé, Manchester United have come offering him a contract, which will mean €700K compensation.



Our last friendly is against Charleroi, who are using a narrow formation. I keep the same 4-3-3 with one change to set it to standard and balanced width.
Still only a few match fit, just barely.
This time the first half is quite good, we batter them pretty nicely and have plenty of great chances, but great goalkeeping makes it just two going in. Seems like this system is good against narrow formations. I guess when facing wide systems, the fullbacks are too lonely.
This time there's no clown act in the second half and we maintain the dominance and keep banging on them. Ikone scores three times to make it 5-0 and Kaabouni misses the penalty that would've made it 6-0.
This proves, I think, this 4-3-3 is to be used against narrow systems, but when facing wider ones I need another or perhaps the 3-5-2, which did very well against the 4-4-2, though it didn't quite get through Niortais when used, but then I used it only ten or so minutes.


There is a great opportunity that just opened: Santos has sacked Kaká, being third at a few points off top of Brasileirão A and the favourite candidate to land the job is not that prestigious.



We're now a million and half in the red, which means we need to do something really good in the season.


Fans are unhappy we spent €7.5M on Thorpe. I can understand them, it was expensive, but given defence was what cost us past season, I didn't want to be cheap in bringing players there.


Too many first team or key players in defence. Williams offered too high status for Proctor and Orbegozo, too, even if the later qualifies for it.
From the friendlies, Jääskeläinen, Thorpe, Djédjé. Le Goff, Battocchio and Sanocki seem like they'll prove to be good signings. Orbegozo, Proctor, Eiting and François are not clear by lack of time or not having done good or bad. Arribas is appearing like a big mistake.



________________________________________
Tomorrow I'll continue the save. Unless someone gives me a good reason not to, Katsumi will apply for Santos. It's a chance for top level silverware that with Amiens seems two seasons away at best.
 

Death Ball

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Season start 2023

Sanocki picks an injury for three weeks.


I've declared my interest in the Santos job. Media says I'm not likely to get it. Santos responds with similar lack of enthusiasm and Amiens board wants me to stay.




Diomandé accepted Man Utd's offer and has gone.


It seems my speaking to the press has made the bet companies improve my chances to get the Santos job.


And so, I have applied.


As I restate my interest when asked by a journalist, now the board is upset because of it.



We finally start the season. Stade Rennais beat us both matches past season and are favourites for this game. With them reportedly using a narrow formation, which is confirmed, we're using the 4-3-3 and hope it performs as it has in friendlies against narrow formations. Arribas hasn't earned playing and Kaabouni is tired.
We make a very good first half. We open the score from a corner in which Logan assists Perrin. Later we have two great chances to score, but Ikone chooses the tough shot instead of the easy pass for an even easier finish by Cardwell.
They try to come back in the second half and they look like they might be dangerous, but from ten minutes in our players retake control and create a couple more chances, though not as good as those of the first half and they miss them. There's some danger in the closing minutes when they turn more aggressive in their counters and they get a shot that beats Jääskeläinen, but it hits the post.
We get a satisfactory start to the season, despite those counters conceded near the end of the match and we get our first win against Stade Rennais.



In our second game, facing a 4-4-2 I choose to use the 3-5-2 that did well against other 4-4-2 in friendlies. John comes in as he's better fit than Le Goff and I test Thorpe in central midfield.
The start is very solid, even if the fourth shot is the first on target, those off target weren't bad shots or poorly done chances, but a decent counter in which Cardwell was pressed and a decent shot Davidson needed to squeeze close to the post but it went narrowly off. We dominate the game and go ahead with an excellent header by Kaabouni, assisted by Davidson, who's revealing himself as a very good striker in a complete forward role. Thorpe has done quite well in midfield, making interceptions and passes hard.
Eiting began to be nervous in the second half and, as I was telling Proctor to come out of the bench, Eiting missed an interception that could reach its target after Perrin also was slow to start his run and Jääskeläinen jumped the wrong way for some reason. We kept banging on their goal, but not too good finishing at times and at others great goalkeeper impeded a new goal.
A missed opportunity to start the season at the top three, but I'm not too displeased. The performances, apart from the mistake leading to goal, have been very good again and it looks like this team may be stronger than I thought.


Santos take my application and offer an interview, which I attend.


They want me to work with a director of football. They want me to play defensive, sign high profile players and develop youngsters, as well as win the league.

The money kept from players sales is reduced.



Since we didn't lose past season, I'm not going defensive and repeat system. Chevalier and Simpara as well as Arribas are in the bench to give them a chance depending on how the match goes. François starts despite not being fit because Djédjé is on a yellow to get suspended and I don't want to lose him next match.
We do start well, with François opening the score. We withstand the Monaco try to get back, until Perrin covers a side of the goal very well and Jääskelainen jumps to that same side, instead the one open to the striker as he should, and Perrin gets the blame from the rating guys. Half time reaches with Monaco having the better of the match, so I'm changing a little, going slower and wider about it.
The second follows, and though Logan has the second in his head, it goes narrowly wide. Then Rafinha, who should've seen a red card from hacking down Cardwell when he was the last defender, with just a yellow, somehow managed to find the ball wide space between four players and the keeper to get the second for them.
We had it; but Monaco has a squad that is much better, so I'm happy we put up a fight and made them work for it.


And Santos approach me! They're second and won the three games after they sacked their manager. The way we are playing makes it hard to move away, but Amiens doesn't offer the title just yet like Santos does and if I stay here and things don't pan out as they look now, I may be stuck for a long time here or low level teams.



The Ajaccio result would point to not more than middle table finish, though the way the team has played gives hopes for something better.


Top half and one player among the top rated.

 
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Death Ball

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Santos first day and overview 2023

I've agreed a contract until December of next year. They offered one more year, but I prefer to renew yearly.


I've decided to follow the example of recent new and successful manager of Genoa, "Der FM", and I go first looking at team reports and comparisons.









We have a team that's mostly creative and talented, but lacking in physicality. With midfielders who are poor defending and a defence that's not good with aerial balls, from the general report, which has to be confirmed how it actually is, though the assists chart says it is going to stand for centrebacks as well; but the defence is quite fast so it may be a matter of adapting rather than go all "this defence sucks" rant.

It also appears, from the depth report, that defensive midfielder is the weakest position, followed by left fullback and that the squad appears at first glance to favour narrow formations with two strikers. Also it's weak in goal, where we have only one goalkeeper, which we are in time to solve, though transfers are a task for the director of football.

Finances look healthy, with €31M available for transfers and €100K for wages.


There is need to bring in more coaches.



The jump to a much higher reputation team doesn't change hers on its own.
 

Death Ball

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Santos players report I

DEFENCE
Goalkeepers

Our only goalkeeper. He's a valid one though I'd like better aerial reach, communication and command of area.

Conclusion: We need another goalkeeper.

Centrebacks

Our reported best centreback can't jump. He's very good at anything else, but that's just the thing I most want from my centrebacks: jumping high. Also, he doesn't dive into tackles, which might let us exposed.


This one jumps high, though he's not very brave so it's another way to be like Elton regarding tackling.


Veteran centreback. This one is slow, but otherwise a solid player. His contract runs out in four months and he's transfer listed. Given his age I'm alright with it.


Very strong, jumps high, but where the others save López are inconsistent, he doesn't like big matches.


All rounded defender, though he doesn't jump much, at least he does jump something. He's also consistent performer. Another who doesn't dive into tackles.


Very alike Leandro Vega.

Conclusion: Emerson and Leandro Vega seem the two centrebacks that are more of my liking. Strong in the air and also fast. Will tutor the two youngsters. But though we have players good for high defensive line, they seem more the kind for a deep one by how they like to play.

Fullbacks

A solid fullback for the right side, versatile and who is not terrible jumping. Good starter.


A wingback who is not much worse than Mayke, though less brave and aggresive, he has poor balance. Good backup.


A loanee who can't jump but can be useul back up in case of injuries.


Looks a solid first choice, though I don't like how little he jumps. He is consistent and likes big matches.


Another Emerson. He doesn't like big matches. Otherwise very much like Pará.


He's out on loan but we can recall him. He likes to dive into tackles. I don't think we need to recall him, given Pará is good and though he's consistent he's not had the best of seasons at Sao Paulo.

Conclusion: All our right sided fullbacks are offensive, liking to run forward. In matches we'd want defensive fullbacks I'll have to field one of the centrebacks. No such problem in the left side, though the second choice doesn't feel comfortable in big matches, another situation in which I may have to field a centreback at a side of the defence.
 

Death Ball

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Santos players report II

Midfield
Midfield defensive

A very versatile player, more of a deep playmaker than a destroyer. His only negative is his injury proneness. Another player who doesn't dive into tackles.


In the mould of Cascini, he'll be a good replacement for his injuries or give him rest.


Less impressive technically, this young loanee may hopefully do a decent job when needed. However, he's inconsistent and injury prone.

Conclusion: We have the position well covered, with three players able to play at either of the midfield layers for a defensive task.

Central midfield offensive

A player who relishes big matches. Clearly a creator and useless in defence.


A youngster with still much to develop. Will be sent to the reserves most likely.


Another playmaker, looking well able to provide a spark to make the striker force going. We must have some alternative who's really strong for him to have always come as a substitute.


This would be the man. He's marginally better overall.

Conclusion: Another position we have well covered, with some that can also play other positions. David and Lima will be fighting for the first choice.

Midfield wings

A fast player who looks like a winger and can pass even better than he corsses. This is what I lacked at Amiens. He also likes to play killer balls often, which points to a good idea to either use two strikers or an insider forward in the other side.


Clearly not up to be a starter. Slow and knocks ball past opponent. Another player to send to the reserves.


Very fast and some nice mental abilities that aren't coupled with anticipation or good off the ball. Despite that, he's young and can get far. He's loaned.


The player with quality to start in the other wing is a winger. But a very good one as well, if not better than Rodrigues.

Conclusion: We look good in the wings. Perhaps a bit lacking in a second choice for the right side. But there are players to be reviewed among strikers who can play the wings, not to mention those from the offensive midfield section.
 

Death Ball

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Santos players report and III

Attack
Strikers

A fast type of striker, low balance lets him dowm both figuratively and literally speaking. He can act as the second choice in the right wing.


An average striker who can play at both wings. He tries to compensate his low jumping with overhead kicks. Looks like a good player to try as a inside forward or false winger/striker?


A young striker who's not strong in the air but isn't specially fast either. He does look worthy of giving chances and trying to develop as he has potential and physical capability isn't everything.


Another Neto. He's young and very fast, decent in the air, I fear he doesn't have great communication with his team mates on the pitch.


Another young striker. If he moved better off the ball he'd be awesome. Still I'd say he'll be awesome and is already a great player. However, he lacks consistency, which is a big issue. I'd also love him if he was better passing.


Another striker who's young and not very good passing. Otherwise he might be a decent choice, though this also looks like will have a little hardship to time his runs with the rest of the team.

Conclusion: We seem to have a clear first and second choice here with Lourival and Pereira.
 

Death Ball

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Santos tactics


The first thing I do is to bring the Amiens 4-3-3, which I will be adapting along the way. I've made slight changes already considering the new squad, the defence pushes forward more, we'll play faster and won't play a counter mentality. And both fullbacjs were wingbacks in the latest shape.


This is the second formation I'm planning to use, based on the squad and what they played before my arrival. An aggressive formation to attack. The danger to it is that the defence may become exposed and vulnerable to counters, with both fullbacks moving forward in attack and only one midfielder tasked with defending. It is a very similar to the Amiens in spirit, with fullbacks providing the width for the rest of an otherwise narrow team, but pushing forward and trying to recover the ball quickly. Actually, I removed stand on feet; we have enough players who don't like to stick in to encourage them being too soft.

On other news, we have a bunch of unhappy players to deal with.

 

Death Ball

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Santos start 2023

Komar is the first of the unhappy players to come asking first team football. The problem with him, as with the others, is Kaká didn't rotate his team and they're completely unfit. I was going to use him in the cup, anyway, so he'll have a chance to earn it.


Then it is Otávio. This I plan to give minutes regardless so he's promised time.


We're using this first match to give players some match fitness. Though we expect them to field a narrow diamond, I'll be using the 4-2-3-1.
First half is ruined by individual mistakes in defence. In the fourth minute Negueba, who's the player that was positioned to cover Crispim's shot, ran off to no man's space and made the hole for him; in the thirty fifth minute, López saw Michael receive the ball alone after all the defence got on top of a single enemy player and instead of making an effort to defend, he chose to ask offside and stop in place and do nothing about it. Otherwise things seemed decent enough with just some tweaks possibly needed. Neto missed an easy chance and then let the rebound be taken away as he's been incredibly apathetic. He previously had missed a chance to get a ball and score but he was too lazy to take the way off target and very weak shot by Bento.
For the second part I change to the Amiens 4-3-3 and they got more to our goal, which was unexpected. Though many of their shots were on target, most were controlled and it was Otávio defective cover of the left side of goal that allowed Michael to shoot where Neto couldn't expect it to.
A very annoying result that makes me wish I had stayed at Amiens; but not actually that bad, as it was the expected risk of fielding a team of fully unfit players against a side that used their first team.

Why make that overview screen? I've got to change that from this skin. I don't get it to work, so I'm changing to FLUT Dark once I find how to make it not to show the hidden attributes.

On top of the awful result, Carlos Eduardo picked a three weeks injury.


Director of football Zanotta doesn't begin well with me. First he fails to get the goalkeeper I asked him to; then he accepts an offer for Komar.


I've signed the three extra coaches allowed and now training is a little better.


Why would the only goalkeeper want more first te-oh, the striker.

I tell him he won't make it in this club so it ends with the promise to sell him, so he's placed in the transfer list and Zanotta asked to find him a club. He's failed with my second goalkeeper request.

Komar is gone. Thanks, Zanotta.



First league match against the typical Brazilian box. I repeat the 4-2-3-1 with slight touches.
This time we have a good half in which Santos shows its superiority. We dominate the game, without needing to have more possession, we make it 2-0, witch opportunities to have made it bigger difference, and restrict them to one very off target shot from a free kick.
The second half follows the same pattern, we have the third three times, msising narrowly. It's in the eighty eighth minute when Lourival gets it. Considering the second leg against Criciúma is near, I only make one sub when Lima looks too tired, so I won't need to field tired players in the second leg.
Now this is the kind of result and performance I hoped for when I decided to come here. It doesn't mean my system can be considered finished; we've kept their chances to a minimum, but I feel a bigger team would've make things very difficult.


Winck also wants more first team football. I've reluctantly agreed to give him some, as he can act as a defensive presence in central midfield.


Emerson and Lima come next. They are in my first team plans, so I'm happy to promise Emerson the first team time he wants and Lima doesn't want that, he wants to leave. Winck could well take his position in central midfield.
Wow, there's just no way to amiably accept his request. The only choice is a temper tantrum.

No, no, I haven't. We receive a bunch of loan offers for Neto. As nobody wanted to buy, we put him on loan and Zanotta accepted everyone. I've made sure to recject the ones that either didn't pay his full wages or didn't offer to use him regularly in the first team.



Second leg sees the unfit players back. Formation will be actually a 4-2-4 as Bento will play as striker. Not expecting a comeback, as it's almost the same who lost the first leg like Santos was a bad team.
It seems promising, with many chances that go off narrowly, until Israel makes a case against caring for speed in defence: it's worthless if the centreback refuses to run before the striker gets a three yard advantage. Negueba draws level after umpteen chances and a post.
We keep battering them the second half and, eventually, we get the goals we'd need for extra time without Israel's show of apathy, which he repeats later but Neto manages to save that one. Neto also shows his incredible commitment to show he deserved first team football (he's in for injured Bento) by having the fourth goal in his boots and giving the ball the faintest touch so it almost looks like a pass to the keeper.
How Israel got the best rate among the defenders is beyond me, he cost us the cup. It's very disappointing. Even with the risks I took with team selection, we shouldn't have been knocked out.


Bento will be out for a little more than a week.


We receive €100K.


An offer from a Chinese club is received and accepted for Lucas Lima. It turns out we'll be paying more to the player and third parties than we're getting from the transfer. Someone did a poor job with the transfer that brought him here. Probably I should look to take things away from Zanotta's hands as soon as I'm allowed.


An offer for Ysita is rejected. Honestly, I wouldn't mind if he left.


Neto chooses Vitória de Guimarães. One that paid no wages; but that's not bad as he's going to be first team regular, which is the best for everybody.


Zanotta accepts an offer for Emerson. Why? He's our second and last left fullback and he's good.


A loan offer for Ysita has been accepted once I've listed him.


And Emerson is gone. At least is not the centreback.


With European deadlines closed, we're now safe from Zanotta taking bids he shouldn't. Still, Brazilian local transfers are still possible.


The risks taken in my first game were too much.


Just two points off the leaders. Pereira happens to be our top scorer, but I like Lourival more.


We're financially very healthy. With money to spend but a director of football who fails at every attempt to get players.


Thanks, Israel.

 

Death Ball

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September 2023

Luan asks to leave the club. He's not a bad player, but not one to want to cling to, so I'm fine with it.


Lucas Lima gets a flu and will be missing the next match.



We visit 11th placed team, with Grémio waiting in three days, which makes me heavily rotate the team. Mayke starts at the left because Pará is one card away from suspension and Emerson because Elton can't jump.
First half isn't bad, we restrict them to a couple of bad shots; but we don't get ours into the net. Many not even on target. David is the highest culprit with his long shots, so a few changes are made: he's not to shoot as much and perhaps we'll play a little slower, waiting for the right chance.
They are allowed a few more chances in the second half than they had in the first, but Neto does his part well to deny them. In the sixtieth minute Pereira has the winner, but sends it wide from short range. To be fair, it's not like the goalkeeper couldn't save a shoot that had gone a bit off toward the middle.
Disappointing as I feel we could have won, however the most of the blame falls on me, as our chances, apart from that missed by Pereira, weren't that good. I don't know if lucky because São Paulo didn't increase their advantage or annoyed because we couldn't take the lead off them. Telling the supporting midfielder to hold position seems to have improved our ball retention and defensive solidity, though we still seem somewhat vulnerable to counters. But the way we're playing, aerial balls weren't a threat, so I shouldn't be as reluctant to use Elton.


Israel is no longer unhappy with his lack of first team football.


Lucas Lima signs his contract for Guangzhou and will be out in January.


I send Zanotta again after a first team keeper, but it can't be done. Same with the second attempt.



Grémio are fourth place. We go to the latest Amiens 4-3-3 formation and field the first team. Most of the bench is tired from the last match.
We make a very good first half, going ahead soon with Lourival's goal. Then Pará makes a stupid mistake, since when a defender's role says he has to bet on the rival to miss the ball he's not contesting?, but Lourival gives us the lead back with another great goal.
Lourival has our third goal three times but good goalkeeping makes the match end like the first half.
We had a very good attack and I really don't udnerstand how their keeper wasn't rated better.


We have a rotation left fullback, loaned from Red Bull Brasil.



We have a youth intake, with some interesting players according to the scouts, though none looks incredibly special to me.



Third game away in a row. They beat Santos in their previous encounter. And they beat Sao Paulo 4-0 two matches ago, so this is a tough match even if they're eleventh. Next match is a full week away, so there's no need for resting anybody.
The match starts incredibly quiet. Bad luck with an indirect freekick in which Neto's block bounces to the feet of a rival opens the scoreline. I change to the 4-2-3-1, making it a touch less offensive and we get ahead with two goals by Rodrigues.
Second half sees a couple of chances for them at the first fifteen minutes, so I make some changes, dropping David to midfield, playing a middle width and we make it quiet like the start. We still have a couple of good plays but get no goal.
I'm happy to have beat Vasco da Gama after they thumped São Paulo like they did.


We finally have a backup goalkeeper. He's not enough to contest Neto's first choice status, but it's better than playing outfielders if Neto gets an injury.


Zanotta loans in another midfielder. A slow Éder Luiz.


Zanotta signs young centreback Aleluia at my request, but he signed him as a rotation, which is not the status I wanted him to have.



Finally we have a game at home. Back to the 4-2-3-1, with fullbacks instead of wingbacks with one attacking. Since we have a match in three or four days, some are reserved for that.
We seemed to be the better team at the start, but Pará allowed a cross that was hit at Neto's hand and then in. I made some changes, inverting the winger and inside forward, moved Lourival to the right and brought Pereira up front in place of Rodrigues and made Hayner attacking wingback. I was proved rigth in the changes and Lourival made it 1-1. We controlled the match and had some more decent chances. Since Pará is doing poorly, I'm changing him at half time.
Lourival gives us the lead in the second half, which means I make the system a touch less offensive, Heyner becomes support fullback, we don't play control, and Geuvánio then plays a back pass for Serginho to score the third. A bad piece of defending by Leandro Vega allows them to get one back and make the end of the match somewhat nervy; but we hold to the result.
We got the win, but I'm not happy. The defence seems to be iffy.. Carlos Eduardo was closing down rivals too much, leaving a big hole in his position too often, probably due to the opposition instructions I had set.


Right after signing Diego, Zanotta hired a scout, Rozario, who broguth with him a report of a promising goalkeeper and he's now signed. Diego is still not a signing to regret, as Solís can't play in Serie A yet. Coaches don't value him as much as Rozario.



With Flamengo in three days, there's some rotation in the side.Geuvánio and Emerson should come off at half time if things go well.
First half isn't too bad. Pereira has two great chances but hits one at the keeper and the other just off target.
He does get it from a Serginho through ball and then we have some more missed chances and hold to the result.
A good result and if Sao Paulo doesn't win, we'll retain the top spot.



We play against fifth placed Flamengo away. They use, as expected, a diamond, which is very strong against 4-2-3-1, so I'm using the counter 4-3-3 with the strongest team I can and Winck in the middle for more defensive ability.
The small tweaks to the system, like answering their enormous pace with a defence pushing forward seems to work. We get many shots on target, but we don't deny them to Flamengo. Pereira's goal from indirect free kick could've put us ahead if Neto didn't previously consider acceptable to deflect the ball 90º left of him when the shot came from his left and was facing the left sideline and well in the centre of goal.
The second seemed to go well, until Serginho fouls in the area a player that was well marked by him and Emerson. Carlos Eduardo scores his first goal then just to make this a draw.
Two defensive mistakes cost us the win that we should've taken with us. But against Flamengo it wasn't going to be easy.


Tânia Maria wants his loan terminated and I'm willing to concede it. I'm not using him and have enough players for the positions he can play at.


Patané is sent out on loan.


Elton is unhappy about his lack of time in the first team. I know I said he's done well and in the 4-2-3-1 system his lack of aerial prowess isn't such danger, but I'm still reluctant to use him like that.


He's not happy at the end and I ask Zanotta to loan him out. And now the squad is unhappy.


I get the majority appeased with more Elton first team instead of satisfied with my explanations because some tongue slip.
Namely I missclicked >.<



Almost all wins.







On other news altogether, I'm sad to see Amiens have collapsed after I left.





___________________________
It seems this league is heavy on matches per month, so I may change format of updates while managing at Brazil.
 

Death Ball

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October 2023


They're using a diamond,so I probably will change to 4-3-3. Elton has his chance, as no attackers from them is any good in the air.
We get a couple chances and a post in the first half, but don't do a lot, so I'm not happy because they also have at least a good chance. Elton started well but has been a little sloppy. Referee wrongly undid a one on one with a bad offside call.
When in the second half, Elton picks a yellow card, he's off. Lourival also was having a bad game. Geuvânio had the winner three times, but two he misses and the third the referee wrongly calls an offside.
With this result, São Paulo gets away beyond a match. Now beating them won't be enough.


Elton has been offered to clubs and an offer has been accepted.


Zanotta loans an advanced playmaker we don't really need.


Elton is sold and will leave first January.


Israel is now unhappy with his low playing time. As rotation will be needed with the congestion of matches, I can as well give it to him.



We're using a new tactic against a mid table (13th) team. A win would place us within a game of São Paulo before facing them.
First half is a little of a let down. Only few chances, not very good. Some tweaks are done with little effect and second half will see if we change to a wide formation.
Second half shows the diamond doesn't work, I change to the 4-2-3-1 attacking and Pereira gets a penalty, which he proceeds to shoot at the keeper, but luckily gets the rebound. Then Neto comes in to say he doesn't want us to win, letting a long shot in range to go in. Fastly Negueba sets Pereira for the second and Neto repeats the same, letting a long shot past him.
So now winning the next match won't send us top. Thanks, Neto.



This is the match that will determine if we can win the league or not. The squad selection is not what I would've expected past week, but is the one I feel most able to give us some defensive solidity without losing on creativity.
Israel sends them ahead by chasing the ball in a line that doesn't run towards its trajectory, while freeing his man to have an easy goal. Lourival takes the rebound later from a Pereira miss and sets things level. Cabeçao gives us hopes by getting sent off.
The red card allows us to dominate the second half; though the box they turn to proves to be very solid, ensuring numerical superiority given I don't want to open too much for counters. It's only a deep Geuvánio cross that allows Lourival to score the winner as Volpi makes a bad run for the ball, missing it completely.
This win means getting top spot may be possible. It will still be hard, of course.


Hayner wants me to finish his loan because he plays little; but he's going to have some time, so I don't give in to him.


He's back with the same the next day. And the next. And two days later. I may give him not playing with us but by sending him to the U18 team. Otávio, on the other hand, is satisfied with his playing time.



We visit then one of the bottom teams of the table. Let's hope this time training attack movements gives us goals.
The first half hour would be good but has a bad and annoying taste as we look the better team, but due to several offsides we have no shots. A few tweaks improve things and it's from a corner we go ahead.
In the second half, given the poor performance by Lourival, I bring in Bento. Not because I think it's a won match, but I consider it a good chance to give him time against a rival he may score. He gets a couple good chances, which he misses. Then in a counter, Hayner keeps da Silva well marked until they approach the area, moment Hayner stops and allows them to get the equalizer. If that's how he asks his loan to be terminated, he'll get my threat. I changed then to the diamond and Bento proved the substitution was right and he scores two of his several clear chances.
A decent result after looking like another bad game, which only serves to keep in touch of the two teams ahead.


Israel is out for a week, missing next match.


Winck also says he's happy now with his playing time.



Another low table team match. We'll have to see how we can play through those two defensive midfielders.
This time we create chances from the start, however, struggle to get them on target. Seeing the fullbacks too far from the central players was the sign to stop asking them to stay wide. The congestion in the middle, to pass into space, try to make them run some. It eventually paid off with a Lourival goal from Pará's cross. Both I was planning to sub as they kept being complacent.
Second goes the same without goals, then with ten minutes to go I decide to try close the match. David scores the second then with a great individual effort, Lourival and Negueba intelligently making space for his shot, which was fortunate, as right away Leandro Vega leaves a huge hole to mark an already controlled player. Then Lourival makes the third, after shooting at the keeper, so Luan's pass isn't counted as assist.
To top it off, São Paulo lost their match so we go up top awaiting Corinthians' match. Surely they'll win as they play the bottom team.



A shame we began the month poorly, for otherwise we'd have now an advantage at the top.


Corinthians lost 4-0 to Avaí, who were bottom. We now depend on ourselves to win. We'll face Corinthians and Atlético Mineiro among the top teams, though the harder will probably be the bottom ones.







____________________
Fixtures won't be too congested in what remains of season, so format will remain the same until next year.
 

osullm

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Good job so far with Santos. Hope you can win league. Think winning league will boost your reputation lots!
 

Death Ball

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Good job so far with Santos. Hope you can win league. Think winning league will boost your reputation lots!
It will be very tough, as on top of the draws, many of the wins have felt too narrowly achieved, so I'm not sure the team will keep up the needed level of results. But a top three is very likely, which should be enough to raise reputation. Then again, a top will be much bigger. Looking at continental qualification, being in next Copa Libertadores is guaranteed, which hopefully will contribute to raising reputation.
 

Death Ball

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November 2023


Our next decisive match. A defeat means losing top spot. A draw just preserve it and a win to open some distance from third place. São Paulo and Grémio have matches against top half teams, so they can also drop points. I field the strongest tem in the less offensive 4-3-3 that I'll tweak right before kick off with lesss offensive fullbacks.
It begins as a run back and forth but balanced match. Vega gifts them a first goal by being by their right winger then run back to the ball... to defend his man? No, to keep running past him so he remains alone to get a point blank shot Neto can't save. A change to the diamond seems ineffective and they get a second from a well played corner. It's 4-2-3-1 attack for the second half.
The change seems to work, getting one goal back through Otávio after a superb play; but also wasting a lot of attacks with some idiotic acts, like David running up to two meters from the keeper, then stop and step away so the defender behind can get the ball. Though it involved taking risks that let them have several shots that didn't go it, some from not so good shots, others saved by the woodwork after Neto showed his shortcomings, but it was another corner with some comedic acts. Vega loses a header and the ball is flying to the right post, where Mayke is. Neto, who's in the center, makes a dancing jump on the spot and Mayke just stands fiddling his thumbs like an idiot. From that we had some more chances and hopes vanished when, once we had made the third sub, Corinthians chose to hack Serginho's legs.
Thanks to Leandro mainly we're back to where we were before past match. Otherwise this might have been a draw. Still, five matches to the end of the season and the title within reach. Doesn't seem very likely but it's not impossible.


Serginho is out for the rest of the season.



We are against the second to last team. They beat Corinthians 4-0 two matches ago, so we can't consider this won. I had set up the 4-3-3 as I was told they'd play a diamond, but with a flat 4-4-2 I may change more than some instructions.
The match begins horrendously, from a corner, Otávio has his man well marked, but gratuitously decides to run off. Then Neto also decides he has to run off the line in a path that doesn't meet the ball's trajectory. I'm pretty ****** at this team; most of the goals we've conceded haven't been earned by the rivals but given by the defence. We begin to batter them changing to the 4-2-3-1, but no luck with goals between passing behind the team mate like he was a tennis rival and shooting at defenders.
In the second half we keep hammering at them, but it's not less infuriating than the first. Are we losing and I ask them to play faster? Then why, surely that means the advanced midfielder, when looking at the defence, must not pass to the spaces in the wings, he has to send the ball all the way back to the goalkeeper. And the keeper has to stand with the ball a full minute!! And with stupidities like that they keep giving them chance after chance, more than any risk taken; then at the end, when I really go wild chasing the goal, they have a counter attack and Israel somehow decides that if he's running by their striker in the middle, his role is to turn and run away how will he make things hard for him!.
So now Corinthians is two matches away with fout to go so the title is now beyond our reach. I want a serial killer to murder every Santos player starting with the defenders.


Transfer revenue retained has been reduced.



This time we train attacking movement, perhaps this time we'll finish our chances. Tabata is given a chance to prove himself.
This first half was what was expected of the team. They finally do some sensible plays and we dominate the half. We score once and are close to add many times, which makes it a bit annoying the second goal came from a series of lucky rebounds. Only Emmerson does somethign stupid, with no consequences, when despite being on cover and close down very little still darts off his line to the middle line.
Second half they turn to the box and my players are almost all complacent, so we don't score more, though still have several good chances. It's only last five minutes I switch to the 4-3-3.


lourival will be out for almost a week with a bruised head caused in the last minutes of the match.



We have a chance to get level on points with Corinthians after they lost a match. Fluminense are eighth and are not going to be easy to beat. Pre-match reports said they might field a narrow and very defensive formation so I went with the diamond and a squad selection to allow me to switch to any other system. Negueba makes it in despite being not match fit due to Lourival still being tired.
I thought we had them properly controlled in defence despite their all shots on target when Neto thought with Corinthians not winning making it hard for the opposition was unfair and blocked a shot back at the striker in the small box. Change then to the 4-2-3-1 and we seem to begin working in attack.
We have several chances in the second half. But since the goal we have no less than two sure goal attacks and one likely goal called off for offside that was plainly obvious not to be such. So I won't blame Neto for the result, but the referee from doign his best to make it impossible for us to score.
Bye title, bye second place and maybe bye Copa libertadores.



Awful month that throws away the chance we had to win the title.


That's it, the two teams ahead are too far. We'd have to win the two matches that are left of the season and they win none.




And thanks to that, the board is no longer really happy.

 

Death Ball

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End of season 2023


An important battle against the fifth placed team. Mayke has been in the lost matches, so Hayner returns.
We should've finished the first half tied, but apparently when the opponents are five yards offside is when the referees don't call offside.
Second half, after several tweaks, I change to an attacking 4-2-4 and after several close chances, Perieira gets two rebounds in the last ten minutes to win the match. Then it's 4-5-1.
We're guaranteed qualification to the Copa Libertadores. Last match will decide if we're third or fourth.


Apart from another match referee tried to rob us, the organization also did their part, delaying this match so it will be three days before the last.



The new budgets are announced, they're not bad.


After reviewing the last match, it turns out it wasn't off side, Cascini had the brilliant idea that a clearing in front of the area must go back to the area.

Lisandro López will retire at the end of this season.


Israel is happy with his playing time.


David gets an injury that will last more than a week, I ask to keep him playing with protective equipment.



Some rotation is forced by tiredness. Lisandro comes in to have his last match because Vega hasn't been that good and is as low in match fitness. Lisandro has been okay last time I used him. On hopeful news, Grémio faces São Paulo, who are still fighting for the title.
The hopes go away when Grémio goes 3-1 up before half hour of match. However, Hayner and Winck score two for us so that doesn't matter.
I go 4-1-4-1 for the second half as there's been an instance they were close to score and they'll surely try to come back with more offensive play.
In the second half, Grémio continues the thrashing, while we keep the score. When Lourival makes the third I make the changes and give Diego a few minutes.


We receive the prize money for finishing third. And pay triple to the squad.




One of those matches the defence had not made clowns of themselves we'd be champions.




They get disappointed after I qualify for Copa Libertadores group stages.


Reputation has not yet grown after the league has finished. Will it take a little longer?
 

Death Ball

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Winter 2023

Squad holidays are fixed and I can't change when they'll be back, which is 1st January.


I transfer list Neto and Leandro Vega and offer them along a bunch of other players. The two are unhappy about it and I don't back up. Neto and Vega accept it after some discussion.

Zanotta rejects the offers for the both transfer listed players. Why? I have to offer them by the offered amounts to get them accepted.

Geuvânio is gone to Real Sociedad for five and half million euros, which for a guy at 31 years old is not bad at all.


David, Lourival and Cascini were the other players offered, though not transfer listed. None received an offer and I have to ponder whether to go on with their sales. Reason was I could get high money for them for a start goalkeeper and some reinforcements as I feel we're strong enough without them.

Luan, who wants out and I don't feel is good enough has been offered for nothing and still nobody wants him, so I offered him a mutual termination. It was expensive.


It's still two months I can't sack the director of football.

Looking at the reserves, we have loaned out some very decent players, at least a centreback and two midfielders who are worthy of first team football. So only one goalkeeper and centreback are key needs.

We receive €2.07M from fans memberships, but lose about as much with the new sponsorship deals. The board gives a cash injection to the club, though.




Rodrigues has been good and I've asked Zanotta to bring him in.


What is with the previous management and their transfer deals? We sold Lucas Lima and end up paying the fee!


We'll get twenty plus four million from TV deals.



Season expectations can be set now. I can choose be around top of league and reach cup final. I want to win something this season and the increase to promise winning the league is substantial. As is winning the cup.


Mayke picks a serious hip injury so he's off to the specialist.


I ask the pitch to me made of standard size, which means making it some meters shorter and narrower than it is.


Zanotta loans young winger Pereira, after failing to bring Real Sociedad's goalkeeper due to low limit of wages.



First of a series of friendlies against lower reputation teams, to get wins, build morale and trust in me, as some players seemed not to listen to me much. We control it from the start and Tito Solís isn't tested in his primary duty.

The Pereira striker gets a week long injury.


And then one of the young players promoted to first team gets another for two to three months.



We get the centreback we needed, a veteran Koulibaly who's still like young. I had to make the offer to the club because Zanotta didn't even offer up to his value, despite telling him I'd want him urgently and even as key player.


Zanotta makes an offer for a goalkeeper when we're waiting for Kadú answer to the contract offer, which was possible because I dealt with the club.


In the second friendly, we again control the match and go 5-0 at half time. I asked them to keep their energy and be easy on tackles for the second half, in order to avoid injuries as Remo was picking yellow cards with some rough challenges. The first time they tested Diego, he failed miserably with some terrible positioning; but that woke him up and the second test he passed with very good note.

Finally Kadú signs to join us, so we have finally a new starting goalkeeper. Now we need a fullback, hopefully one who can play both sides.


Next day Gleidson joins on loan, so Diego will be offered away, as now there are too many goalkeepers.


Except Zanotta signed Gleidson as first team and Kadú as rotation, meaning Gleidson will become unhappy soon as he's not yet first team quality and, not being ours, I'm not going to sacrifice anything to develop him. That means his loan is cancelled. And Zanotta angry, after all his failures, forcing me to do things for him and his poor decissions he comes to me yelling like he'd done nothing wrong.


The 4-2-3-1 wide starts not able to contest possession effectively, probably because I keep forgetting to let them know those changes I made in previous matches are meant to stay. This may show it's good against narrow formations, but needs changes against wide. When they score from a corner after a poor clearance by U19 Paulista, I change to a 4-5-1, which doesn't improve things. In second half to the diamond, thatseems to make a few chances, then the assymetric 4-2-3-1 with which we finish the match, that concedes to a deep cross by bad defending by Aleluia. Our goal comes from a rebound in a set piece, but with this last formation we have some good movements.

The worst part of that disappointment is that David picked a knock that will keep him out for almost a week. I don't want to risk him with protective equipment.


Either Zanotta is more of an idiot than I thought or he's still an idiot for yelling like he did.


We bring the new fullback successfully. He's a defensive type, and will be useful against bigger teams. The one thing I don't know is Zanotta's ease to promise first team to almost everybody he signs I'm not planning to use as first team.


Bonuses for the squad are set to the maximum so they'll hopefully make up their mistrust of me with ambition to get money.



We went 2-1 up at half time with the narrow 4-2-3-1, the goal conceded after two saves by Kadú of which I think he could've done better with the first, catching it instead of deflecting on. Second half saw the wide version used and it didn't do worse, though it's arguable that being behind, our rivals were leaving gaps. Two great goals by Rodrigues and one by Bento that should've been counted as own goal. If something points to the narrow version working better against their wide formation is that we had double shots the first half.

Zanotta brings next a left winger, Rogério, another who he sets as first team player. He's sabotaging me clearly. I really need to sack him, but I think the board doesn't understand the point.


Israel will miss the first month of competition with the São Paulo State Championship.


The likely last signing of the year is a defensive midfielder. Zanotta doesn't offer him being considered first team. He promises him to be key player. I'm going to kill him. Though to be fair, he's worth the status.


Zanotta keeps making offers for players. I think I must make a raid to the finance offices and change the budgets. The only signing I might consider at this time is for a striker.


Our last friendly. The fit first team players play the first half, those needing fitness play the whole. Pará got an early injury that forced him out. The narrow formation worked well the first half, with Rogério making an assist from central position in which he's not comfortable. In the second they moved to the box and we to the wide, but with them going all defence and our complacency, things ended like they were at half time. Only two shots by them were had.

Pará is out for almost a week and I'll let him to the physio.









These are the deals so far.


Nope, reputation still at 45%. Third placed in Serie A doesn't increase it any further.


_______________________________________
Definitely changing format for the Sao Paulo State, it seems that it's two matches per week for some months. Add the Copa Libertadores whenever that's played and that'd mean way too many images to be uploading, linking to and loading in your browser with each page.
 

Death Ball

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May 17, 2009
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Season start 2024

São Paulo State registration rules say three goalies minimum; for the third I register our best among the young players, which means Diego is added to the unwanted list.


Thanks Fabinho!. Thanks, Zanotta.


We start the season at last. We face a narrow formation, so we use the wide 4-2-3-1. Lourival isn't match fit and with a game in a few days will be coming off the bench.Rogério comes not fully fit but we'll have to rotate heavily.
We have a great game, dominating the whole of it. The only attack with danger was a through ball Kadú dealt with very well. Neto would've let it go past him. Several of the new players, signed or promoted from lower team, scored.



Our promoted player that scored. I'm very happy with him: not only did he score, but time and again showed a great sense of timing for his runs into the opposition area. I believe with him we'd won some of those matches against weaker sides we failed to win past season.

Diego is off on a free. I told Zanotta to sell him at any price, the speed at which offers came make me wonder if he asked something and nobody offered money or if he offered him for free outright.



Against narrow formation, wide 4-2-3-1.
We dominate this match as well, though our shooting accuracy is not as good and they have two close chances that they fail to take. But still we win comfortably. The accuracy issue I could have improved, but the change I thought carried some risks that, being already a goal ahead, I didn't feel willing to take. Alex came in for Koulibaly as last sub because the African was looking complacent. Serginh replaced Lourival early due to a knock.










 
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Death Ball

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May 17, 2009
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February 2024


Another of the promoted players after they returned from loans.

Zanotta accepts an offer from AS Monaco for Israel. It's higher than his value only if some conditions are met, but now I think I need to find a new centreback.


Húdseon Pereira has a broken vertebra and will be out for a month and half.



Rodrigues could have got us ahead in the first half if instead of shooting on the byline he had made a back pass for an easy goal on a practically empty goal. A bit disappointing to have taken so long to get the first goal. Theirs was a bit of bad luck when Koulibaly missed an interception by an inch and then couldn't recover in time to defend the shot. Not much Kadú could do. Emerson had to come off early as he picked a knock and I don't want to risk my starting centrebacks.

Emerson will be out for almost a week, but I'm making him available with protective equipment. I probably won't use him to avoid risks, though.


Our young fullback in the first time torn a hamstring and will miss three months.



Facing a wide formation I went with the narrow 4-2-3-1 and with a match coming shortly against Palmeiras I chose to rotate heavily.. It didn't seem to work quite well, though we seemed the team to edge it in the end. We might have been were it not for the referee gifting them a goal from offside position and changing the game. Solís had done some good plays before, but conceding that goal seems to have ruined his confidence and he's been clumsy, allowing two goals where he could've done better. Negueba is another who could have done better as he missed at least two quality chances.

Bento misses a month due to the injury suffered during first half.


And thanks to Zanotta spreading discontent, now that referee makes the board to come to threaten my work.


Rogério Marinho, the winger, also will be out for just a week.


We face Palmeiras next. The team with the best balance of the league. 100% wins, 17 goals scored in four matches, only one conceded. I will start then with a defensive 4-1-4-1 based off the 4-3-3 I used with Amiens and our strongest side, with man selection fit to be able to change to the wide 4-2-3-1 if I need to turn more offensive.

We started controling the match. 1-0 after a quarter of an hour without them getting even close to our area, so I left things like that for the rest of the match. What a performance! Much better than I had hoped at best.

On the downside, David is out for three weeks.


Ysita is not having enough playing time, so I recall him from his loan.


Draw for Copa Libertadores has been made. We get as fourth seed Universidad de Chile, which I thought were better than that?


Portuguesa is our next rival, expected to use the box so wide we go at home, with minor rotation from the last match.

We dominated the match from the tenth minute, when the players finally warmed up to the match. Chances were improving during the match, so I felt no needed changes, though I made two changes at half time for fitness and in advance to next match. We ended with a small 1-0 win that could have been bigger.

Ysita is loaned out to Barcelona from Ecuador.


A visit to relegation zone Atlético Sorocaba, I don't really know how this league works and nobody wants to inform me, stupid Zanotta's put the club against me. Luckily the players still don't seem to be in it. They're reported to be using a narrow diamond. Pará comes back to starting, Koulibaly and Cascini are rested as well as Lopes Pereira and Rodrigues.

With the squad they have, not worth even of a French four level team, it's no wonder we dominate them all the match. Even the 4-0 win feels a little small. Specially the full second half without goals against ten players.

Negueba was hacked down after his goal and had to come off. He'll be out for a little over a week, which means three matches.


Our next match is against the worst team of the league, that is expected to field a narrow diamond.

It goes exactly like the previous. We dominate and get five goals in the first half, then we relax and let go the second. Honestly, I don't see why making these regional leagues. Giving chances to small teams to compete for a title? More like giving them a chance to get humiliated like they couldn't be in their normal levels.

Last match of the month is the first one of the Copa Libertadores, which is against Universidad de Chile. They're expected to field a 4-5-1/4-3-3 so I'm going with the narrow 4-2-3-1.

We scored early and stayed in control thorough the match. Only during the last half hour they seemed with a chance to score something, convincing me to finally the change I considered to a 4-4-1-1 to close off the match and with which we almost scored a few more goals.

Tito Solís has finished his language course and now speaks Portuguese fluently.





In groups, fifteen matches played. No more explanation how this works. We'll be top if we win our match in hand, whenever that is.


It includes a number of clauses paid and received from past transfers I've not shown.


It seems the confidence has improved and, if it keeps like so two weeks more, it means I'll keep the job.

 
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