Katsumi Touko The Smith of Pretty Victories.

Death Ball

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March 2024

We begin a series of matches against strong teams visiting Bretantino. At least they're third overall. A 4-2-3-1 v 4-2-3-1 clash, both wide.

The match turned out to be a comfortable win. Shortly after half time I rested Rodrigues and Koulibaly, then with the 3-0 I rested Emerson for São Paulo in three days. The last two goals came from the first two well made counter attacks I've seen.

Our last match before the confidence review is against São Paulo, one of the really strong teams as they were such in the Serie A. We'll keep the wide 4-2-3-1 as they field a diamond.

It could've been a much more comfortable match than it was. We got off a flyer, but João Lucas made a back pass just short enough that Biro could pick it. Thankfully Pereira sent us ahead again. At 63 mins Imoved to a 4-1-4-1 with no other change than the formation, Oswaldo Rafael finished a good move to set the 3-1 and at the edge Aleluia deflected into the net a cross. With this I should stay at this club.


WHAT THE ****?! I PROMISED OVERALL CONFIDENCE WOULD IMPROVE WITHIN A MONTH. THEY'VE GONE FROM DISAPPOINTED TO SATISFIED. I'VE FULFILLED IT!!!!!




____
Confidence was still 45%, but they were satisfied and in every sub piece of confidence it's above 50%. That should count as done. Now at least we know that when that confidence meeting one doesn't have to tell them one will improve their confidence within a month unless within it there's a trophy likely to be won. Had I gone with the less Katsumi-ish answer of begging what to do, they'd said a number of points and then no sacking. FFS! On the plus side, winning with Santos was starting to seem like might be too easy and likely to get boring, but seriously. That should be a bug and GAAAAAHHH, just when I was to get her a first team competition win instead of so many third places.
 

Death Ball

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Unemployment 2024

I send applications to Grémio, which was too late to have a chance, Gladbach which I'm waiting for. I received one from Defensa y Libertad in Argentina, that was fourth, but they were just six games into the season and expected to be at the bottom, so I passed: probably they got lucky easy games. I've received Real Betis interview offer, which are fourteenth, but this I'll attend as it serves to learn Spanish. Yes, like Argentina would, I know.


I did apply for Maritimo, not as much because they look interesting in their thirteenth place, but because the Portuguese league feels like one in which climbing with a modest club is more likely to happen. But then pops up a great opportunity: Napoli sack their manager at tenth position, with no favourite, so I am the leading candidate according to the press.



There some more applications, but they still say I'm the most likely to be chosen.


Real Betis choose someone else. No big loss with the Napoli job still there.


América Mineiro call for an interview, but they're in Serie B, not interested.

Finally! Napoli call. So does Maritimo. I'll attend both, in case the Napoli one fails.


One thing is for sure: Brazilians don't know how to be clear, apart from being unable to keep their promises.

Is that good or not?

Marítimo come with an offer, but I'm waiting for Napoli.


And they've offered me the job! I take it, without negotiating, I don't care if my wages are half as with Santos.


 

Death Ball

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Napoli intro 2024


Finances look good. Some millions in positive balance, a high wage budget. Transfer budget's low but that's likely due to having past both windows.


But not that much spending and with the income had, it looks like transfer budget wasn't big at all. We have a playmaker coming next season on a free.


They should take well to the 4-2-3-1 that I will resuse here, as it seemed to do well against narrow formations that seem favoured here. Top goalscorer has a good amount of goals and the top assist giver is not too bad.


Leftback, rigth winger and goalkeeper are the weaker positions according to the coaches.

We have thirteen first team players, including the two key players. Four end contract this season. Many players are wanted, I'll have to look into it in due time.


Pretty bad staff situation. Without a director of football tasked with it, I'll have to tell him to work on it or get my hands on the matter.

 

Death Ball

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Squad and tactics report 1/6

GOALKEEPERS


The first team status keeper. He does have good potential, but he's just average anticipating. He'll have the chance to show his ability, though. Rushing out also needs improvement.


Rotation and used as first choice. He lacks the two weaknesses of Coffey so he does seem the logical choice.


I didn't understand why a club like Napoli would sign a keeper that's just about decent in Ligue 2 and did well with us there; but he's definitely not Serie A quality.

Thoughts: Coffey is the better choice by a small margin, but Sepe deserves to be given chances to prove himself. It's not unlikely that, at the end of the season, I'll sell Mele, try to sell Coffey and look for a top class keeper of whom Sepe will be the second choice.
 

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Squad and tactics report 2/6

DEFENDERS


Strong, though doesn't jump much. Not too slow but not quick. His mental and technical abilities, however, are excellent. He's a consistent performer, to boot, so he'll definitely be a starter.


Strong, jumps high and quick, though coaches say his age is starting to catch up to him. Being a consistent performer and enjoying big matches, he's definitely my favourite centreback and will partner Costas.


Just like David Costas. Consisent, enjoys big matches, he's strong, fast. It seems like this defensive group of players is meant for a three man defence. If using the 4-2-3-1, he'd probably make as the less attacking of the fullbacks. That looks more reasonable considering he likes to get into the opposition's area.


Our best rightback or leftback according to the scouts. Does look very reasonable, though Mandi may play more.


In the same mould of consistency and big matches, the other first team right back looks a very strong choice to be used ahead of Appiah.


The veteran and last choice at the right of the defence keeps to the type of player of the club. He doesn't seem fit for Serie A physical requirements, though, but he may be a decent player on an emergency.


The only left fullback, though not the only who can play there. He needs work in the technical side if he's to remain at the club.

Thoughts: There's a lack of players natural in the left side of the defence, but quality is there and that weakness could be addressed with training. However, most of them are past thirty years, so it's an area that needs to start being renewed. They do need to be tutoring the youngsters.
 

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Squad and tactics report 3/6

MIDFIELDERS


A wonderful creating force for the midfield and starter most likely. Also, loved by the fams. With those attributes I wouldn't mind using him in an advanced position.


Very much like Jorginho. These two should be alternating, but both have key player status.


Another creator type of player, though this one without as much defensive prowess and not as brilliant.


What a young player to have. With potential to improve, hopefully he can be a good heir to Jorginho or Mandrágora.


The opposite to the rest of the squad so far: inconsistent and doesn't like big matches. Too old for tutoring. Otherwise he'd be a very promising player. He still can have a role to rest other players in the easier matches.

Thoughts: We have high quality for these positions, but five midfielders my be not enough, though subject to what I see looking at other areas. Like these show some players able to play in the forward band; but unlikely those who play primarily there are defensively good enough to feel comfortable using them here.
 

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Squad and tactics report 4/6

FORWARDS


Very pacey left winger with great ability to create. Not comfortable with big matches, unfortunately. Transfer listed, I will look why and see the possibility of getting someone better in his place.


At his age, probably losing speed, but otherwise a great player to have, very versatile. His contract runs out this season, but I'm not sure I'd not want to keep him.


Well rounded player, without seeming outstanding at anything, he looks like a decent choice behind the striker. However, his form doesn't seem to be too good.


Backup is his status and that's what seems right for him. useful in urgent need, but thta's it.


A pacey winger for the right side, of the kind willing to help his teammates in ddefence. Apparently not in a great run of form. Coaches say he has a lot of potential still to unleash.

Thoughts: It seems like the better combination behind the striker is that of Mareco - Hagi - Insigne. There is, however, a lack of depth in this part of the squad. That probably will lead me to keep to the transfer listed players. That is, barring finding some good players in the reserve team.
 

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Squad and tactics report 5/6

STRIKERS


A beast of a striker, ideal if I were to use a target man, which I won't.


The fast kind of striker. Asking for a big man/small man pairing up front. Still young and with possibility to improve.


Another young player with a little room for improement. Also fast and I like him a little better, though he doesn't like big matches.


Yet another fast striker, more in the mould of the squad, consistent and liking big matches. Technically he's not very brilliant, but I see him deserving a change. The two he's had in Serie A been good.


A transfer listed, back up player, Guerri has done well in the Europa League, though not so much in his few Serie A matches.


Not too fast, not strong, not great jumping, but fair off the ball game. A back up that is not looking worthy of more.

Thoughts: We have way too many strikers, without ability to play in other areas, too. one of the back ups may stay, but there will be sales here. Perhaps just loans. Zapata may move to be played as advanced midfielder.
 

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Squad and tactics report 6/6

TACTICS


Yes, I will adopt the Santos system. The squad seems fit to play it very well, too. Maybe some tweaks will be done, like swapping the winger and inside forward, but most will be more or less subtle tweaks to it.


If I'm using the wide system, then so the narrow. One against narrow formations, one against the wide ones.


Since the squad seems in defence made for a three man back line and in attack for a small/big partnership, I'll be developing one such system as opportunity arises. This is the first draft, but it's going to change to some degree. Side midfielders told to move into channels, like the three behind the striker in the narrow 4-2-3-1 and the wingbacks to give width.
 

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April 2024

Again I find a club with some unhappy players. I'll wait for them to come to me to address their issue. This first day is an important match against Internazionale, who are fourth within three points and a game in hand from second. I have my hands full trying to get the squad to get the system organized.


I let the captains be the same. No reason to make my life harder upsetting players.


Still, I squeeze some time to deal with backroom staff. I sack three surplus physios and also the assistant manager. I bring a new assistant manager and extra coaches. The new assistant manager doesn't look like he'll be any great at coaching, but he's a model professional and a help non coaching, non tactical advice. Director of football remains as he's also professional and has a good eye for talent. New coaches are hired mainly by reports of professionalism. Yes, my intention is to remain here and make a long running project. Until Real Madrid calls. I hope, however, the board is more reasonable than at Santos: they still tell me expectations are to reach Europa League, but we're sixteen points behind with five games to go, after this that we have in hand. One point by fifth placed team, one non win by us and it's impossible. So it is, in fact, impossible.


Onyema is the first to come. I can't promise him starts, but chances from the bench. That doesn't satisfy him, so he'll be out at the end if he remains unhappy.



My team selection is limited by the minimal rotation Laudrup made while he was here. It will be a challenge to get the squad fit enough to rotate in the short time left of season.
The first half is encouraging to some extend. We do concede a goal, from a great header in a corner that finds Sepe's back and makes it impossible to save. The only question is why Sepe gets to jump into goal. They end with six shots, but the first took long to happen. We, however, look ineffective in the ofence. That means at half time we're switching to the wide. Also worrying is almost all the defensive line has picked a card.
Second half isn't much better offensively and a bit lweaker defensively; but as in the first, we do have a good deal of promising attacks that don't end in shots through offside or last ditch tackles. It opened with a very poor action by Sepe, in which having a player running with the ball dangerously to his right, in the procection of the rigth line of the six yard box, he runs from the centre of the goal in a straight forward line for no reason. He just vacated the goal.
The defeat feels a bit unlucky and performance gives room to optimism, as the problems seem to be mainly by players adaptation to the new system and difficulty to communicate with them. This defeat also has a silver lining: now Europa League is impossible, meaning there's no risk of the board getting encouraging by keeping hopes to the last minute then think on sacking me for it being impossible later.



Sampdoria are ahead of us and in a five match run without a win. We use the wide formation despite they using wide as scout says they're weak against it. I bring in some players lacking match fitness as it seems chance to have them playing reserve matches is limited. Mandi in the center of defence as both centrebacks were very close to gift goals past match. Fourth centreback is injured, so Costas plays.
Train defensive positioning so when their left winger gets a yard away from rightback and right centreback, Mandi abandons his well marked striker in the six yard box because the winger is just one yard away from being marked out in a place without angle for goal. This is the issue with this team: defenders are clowns. Manquillo is the next, in a corner, to think marking a rival is not in his job description. Coffey, hoever, has done some good saves and is earning his place. In both goals he was sold out by the defenders.
Third goal is avoided by Coffey after a long ball passes near both centrebacks and both decide to stand still twiddling their thumbs. But later he can't stop when Costas can't keep Pereira from heading it despite being on top of him all the time.
I'm starting to be very angry at the defenders, who keep selling out the goalkeeper. There's also something of an issue with the players upfront, who can't get a play properly finished, but I think that's a matter of time.


Onyema is sold to Le Havre for a good one million.


Valsecchi wants first team football. He's absolutely unfit. I promise him to find a new club.



Now we face a relegation team. I don't rotate as I want a win as soon as possible; but if things go well, then at half time a number of players will have what seems like their season debut.
If I tell Costas to play as cover, why does he run to the central circle to close down a midfielder? If advancer forward is someone who spearheads the attack, why is Foliados in the central circle while Mhlongo (Insigne picked a foot injury) is six yards from the byline? We have several great chances, but bewteen their keeper and shooting at his fallen body after the rebound, we end first half one down because three can't jump to a ball right in a corner. So at half time I go back to the original control from slower standard, add to pass into space.
It works and we look superb coming back from half time. In eight minutes we're ahead. But then, when a well marked winger makes a pass to the striker with Capezzi twenty inches away, Capezzi stops to look at the winger like a moron and Coffey can't do anything. To add to it, Zapata has a third goal four times, header in the six yard box with no keeper in front but he's a great header and jumper so he has to send it above the cross bar. I tell Manquillo to play more attacking and when it's all coming to a close, Zapata gets a penalty he converts and later Hagi makes the fourth. Costas makes a reckless tackle in the last minute for his second card; but that's of no consequence, as I'm thinking on playing with the reserve centrebacks instead of the first team.


Insigne is out for a week and will miss the game against Roma. Roma are second, so I think I'll give up on that, given the pitiful defenders we have. My doubts are whether to keep the senior centrebacks so the youngsters don't get demotivated.


Given the **** defence we have, I'm dumping the 3-5-2 and making a defensive 4-1-4-1. I'll build from the one I used at Santos, but it won't be the same. I'll let them have some creative freedom, which may change depending on how this next match against Roma goes.



I rotate and use in the bench all players in need of match fitness. With the kind of defence we have I'm saving up all effort and morale I can without outright throwing the game away.
Well, that was a good first half. Mareco makes some superb work, drawing a few cards and a penalty for Zapata to make it 1-0. He also had the second, but tried to control the ball and lost too much time. However, Zapata did it at the end of the half.
In the second half we keep the match in control. I make some subs for fitness purposes. Mhlongo makes a silly foul near the area that allows them to score a goal, but that was too late for them to do anything more.
Just to show how bad are our centrebacks, Paulista made three mistakes, Koffi made none.



Today we receive the visit of Torino, two positions ahead, but just three points. A chance to move up in the league, so I field as trong side, with Koffi remaining in the starting eleven.
The first half is promising but not productive. We could be 1-0 if Hagi knew the difference between keeping calm and lacking the required urgency when in an area. I'll keep things the same for some time in the second half.
After an hour, I move the wingers forward, change roles and make a couple of subs. We seemed the better team, but then Manquillo let Reyna skip him easily, Madrágora kept trying to prevent his advance by marking him... from behind and Coffey should've done better, though the strike was superb.
So we end up losing a position instead, thanks to a piece of bad defending. At least this time that was the only one. Again, the youngster Koffi made no mistakes, being the seniors the one to make them.












On other news, Santos didn't win the São Paulo State championship. In the play offs that are played at the end, they lost the semifinals to Grémio. Serves them right. In Copa libertadores they're about to face River Plate, I think, in the first knock out stage.
 
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Death Ball

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May 2024

It is the turn of Guerri among the unhappy players to come asking for more first team football. I promise him sub appearances, he doesn't accept, but when I mention then I'll sell him, he backs down.

There are some players whose contracts are running out this season. I don't offer new contracts to them yet: Insigne is on too high wages for a rotation player and M'Vila is decaying physically and his technical ability doesn't look enough to compensate, though mentally he's very strong.



Milan have won the league when Juventus failed to win their revious match. Hopefully we'll catch them relaxed.
Robledo has a goal in the first attack but missed it. It seemed to go level from then, but a long shot in which Mandrágora was denying all width but a shot close to the post is allowed in by Sepe by not thinking on covering the only possible path to goal until the shot was in mid air. Then Costas completes his show on why he's rubbish by twiddling thumbs looking left when the winger running with a ball to cross is to the right.
I keep things largely the same for the second half: both goals were more from player mistakes than system deficiencies. I thought of moving to the 4-2-3-1 wide and go offensive, but I don't want to lose badly, so the plan was to wait for a first goal to change. It happened, but too late for the changes to have effect.
Despite his part in the first goal, Sepe went on to make a number of good saves and proves he's not a problem, unlike Costas.


Reinhardt picked up a knock in the match and will miss the last two matches.


Before we end, though, I can't let a day pass without sending scouts to search for players. Starting sweeper keeper, ball playing defender, left fullback and one complete striker plus a replacement for Jorginho. More will come as I approach to sign nine scouts for their ability to identify good players or their professionalism.

Hala gets a less than a week injury. I ask to keep him available, though I'm not sure I'll use him.



Turn to play against a relegation placed team. Again with that formation. I choose the 4-2-3-1 because they're said to have problems dealing with it. Hala looks perfectly fine, so he's playing.
The first half is barely satisfying in that, after a start in which we seem fragile against counterattacks, we seem to have the better attacks; but it's just at the last minute we get the goal through an Insigne cut back for Zapata. Koffi had his first mistake.
Second half is similar, with a penalty robbed to us in the second minute, until the last twenty minutes, when Cesena begin to look desperately for the equalizer and start to show some danger, increased by Koffi making some more mistakes and being nervous. I considered bringing Costas in for a calmer head, but chose to stick with the youngster. In the last quarter of hour, after some close chances to increase the difference, I swapped to a 4-1-4-1 to close the match, which worked.
We go tenth and, if those ahead lose the matches they have left, maybe we could go up to eight (Sampdoria plays Torino later). Losing our last match can send us back to eleventh.



Another low table team is our last match of the season. Since we still may advance some positions and go down, I don't bring lots of youngsters and players without match fitness into the side. I decide also to make a test of the narrow system.
The match is once again ruined by defensive errors. First one, a cross is made to a player right by the corner, Coffi then jumps away to the centre and the front of the six yard box, effectively vacating the goal to ensure the strike won't find any obstacle. At the end it's the turn of Mandi and Capezzi to go both mark the same player leaving another alone to receive the ball and make a curling shot to the corner, with Coffi stopping in the jump so he just doesn't reach it. The only possitive is Koffi scoring his first goal.
For fifteen minutes, the small changes don't improve anything, so I change to an attacking 4-2-4 that has an immediate impact, we score two minutes later and start to have several close chances and shots prevented by last second tackles and interceptions; but once again Coffi sabotages it, like every goalkeeper has kept sabotaging my teams with exception of Pantilimon: by running off the goal before a rival receives a cross. In the last minute we get the equalizer for the point that serves for nothing. I go to a 4-2-3-1 for the last minute.
In the end, no result would've changed our league position. So it's only served to frustrate me with the goalkeepers.


We receive some good money from an old transfer. Almost double from finishing tenth. Of which we pay more than half to players.












 

Death Ball

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Summer 2024

The first thing once the season is finished, is to go through the squad and set new squad roles for the players. The unhappy players will be offloaded. Then Koffi and Paulista are the only defenders sure to continue.

Costas is the only player angry, because he's one of the few I've also transfer listed.


Mandrágora was chosen in the team of the year.




As usual, I choose for the longest pre season possible.


Jorginho wants to play Champions League. It'd be a heavy loss, but I don't want unhappy players and that'd clear one key player, plus bringing a good deal of money to bring the players we need.


We get the budgets assigned just a couple of days after finishing the season. It's a fair amount that should be enough, along with the sales, to bring the players we need.


We receive money from the Europa League, which was won by Bayer Leverkusen. We also pay the bonuses for the TIM Cup, won by AC Milan.



I offer around most of the strikers and make inquieries to a number of Santos players. Costas gets an offer requiring us to pay €41Kp/w of his wages, but that's fine as he's on €105Kp/w. Mele leaves, an underwhelming offer for Valsecchi is accepted.

We're invited to a friendly competition by Arsenal. It'd mean more than half million income, so it's accepted.


We receive the money from the Champions League TV, for a total of €8.54M.


The first player to confirm his arrival is the new starting goalkeeper: Mattia Perin from Newcastle for €13M.



The next one is the leftback, Antonio Barreca, from Empoli for €5.25M.


With Perring coming, I offer Sepe out, but as no one bids and Juventus are said to have interest, I transfer list him. He comes to ask to be taken out. Since that'd let me with just two keepers and an unlucky run of injuries might leave us without one, I concede his request after he persists once the reason is explained.

Liverpool offer more than €40M for Madragora. Being as they will playe Champions League, though the agent doesn't say anything, I'm sure the player will want to talk with Liverpool. Since I'm expecting a big change of squad, I may as well avoid an unhappy player from that. What I'll do is try negotiate a new contract so he'll be more likely to reject Liverpool.


I receive the news that despite the fall to mid table, sponsorship and other income has improved over past season.


The contract offer wasn't enough and Mandragora chooses to leave to Liverpool.


Before the summer window opens, I do some more business: bringing some brilliant forwards. Fans get very excited about bringing Real Madrid's Gabbiadini; but his price would be way too high and even more his wages, so we have to be content with a less prestigious but younger choice. While we wait for that one to come, the first of the three players signs his contract: veteran Guidetti.



The second is young striker Procopio. His balance is not as good as I'd like; but otherwise he looks as brilliant as Lourival.



The last of the three to sign is the alternative to Gabbiadini, younger and only slightly not as good Anastasios Donis.



What is left to do in the transfers is to bring a quality central midfield to replace Jorginho and Mandragora and perhaps a quality centreback, though the later may not be necessary, as we have Luan coming back from a loan and he looks quite good.

We will receive €63.62M in Serie A TV money next season. Very nice.


I'm asked what will be our targets. I remember at the end of season meeting I told the players I'd go for Europa League qualification; but I'm being ambitious in transfers with all this big spending and promising Champions League means ten more millions in transfer budget.
((It's also a factor possibly FM17 will come next season and mark it the end of this series unless I don't buy it, which I think is unlikely))


With the transfer open and the squad registered, Belhadi is transfer listed and offered to clubs. We still have a healthy €36M in the bank and a very big transfer budget still left, almost as much as when we started signing. Fans dislike one signing because it's from rivals.




Fans may complain all they want, but the ones who seemed to be watching different matches is them. Costas kept making mistakes, costly ones. The board is also very much like the fans. Disappointments? They hired me when it was too late to reach European qualification.




She's started to speak Italian.
 

Death Ball

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Small aside looking forward to FM17: I bought a new PC almost two years ago, it had 8GB but room for 32GB. Thinking if I added some, I ended buying the 32GB so as not to have issues with different brands, as I can't find one of the same model than the 8GB I have. With how many players I can load with 8GB RAM, 32GB may mean I'll be able to load every league (which I suppose would be trimmed down for performance as time goes). Thing is, that makes me wish to make another journey(wo)man career instead of the take one lowish team and move it forward that I had planned.

Since I'm undecided, I'll throw a poll (option to stick with FM16 is unlikely even if it wins by 100000v0, but hey, I might consider it), challenge is also unlikely, but not as much. I can be swayed to try one: What should I do for FM17? - Straw Poll
 

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Transfer presentation and final transfers 2024

Luan was loaned to Grémio until end of December. Luckily I can recall him. He should do a good job starting at the back.


And now let's see how are the players now that they're training with us.


Either Hagi and Hala will move to a flank and Barrios will be the second choice in the middle.


He can start anywhere up front. I have great expectations of him.


As Hala and Hagi may move to either side, Guidetti may start behind the striker. At any rate, we have plenty to rotate and keep strong.


He's a very eccentric keeper, something I've never worked with; but he's good to try playing a sweeper keeper. Also we have both Coffey and Sepe who are good enough.


The new fullback that sends Belhadi to the transfer list. Though I signed him as rotation, he may well turn out to start matches.


Balance, not partcularly jumping and very one footed, otherwise he's a star striker that will take the first choice from Zapata.


Not a signing, but a player from the U18 team that looks useful as back up in the first team and whose contract will be improved.


Another player I promoted, this time from the U20/reserve team as he can do a job and also has high potential.

We make another signing, which should be the last unless Jorginho ends leaving, which doesn't seem to happen for now. I've offered him, so he can't complain I've not tried to sell him.



We also get some extra money from Mandragora sale as he's played for Italy. A part of which is paid away to Genoa.



Belhadi signs for Lazio.


We receive a €1.5M bid for Zapata from Ajax. It's not a bad one for a thirty three old player. It also saves us from having an unhappy striker for being demoted to rotation. I will take the offer. Besides, they'll play Champions League and surely Zapata would like that.


Now that everyone is back from holidays and loans, it's also the time to check the U20 side for upcoming youngsters that can be used in the first team. There are indeed some:


With Godefroy leaving on loan, Sias can come to the first team and be available for some matches. He lacks bravery, aggression and composure and is naturally a midfielder, but he needs to develop his great potential.


He's another hot prospect. We have more than enough in his positions, so he'll be offered in loan.


Needs some development still, but may have some runs from the bench in cup or matches that are as good as done.


He's in the same boat as Coufal, but with lesser potential, maybe he may stay to play in the reserves. He's offered on loan.


Another high potential player that will be offered on loan since I feel there's not really an easy way to give him time. Though if there isn't any good loan, then I'll give him time.

There are some more that are offered on loan. M'Vila has been released, as his €80K+ wages are too much for a back up player and I'd rather use the time I'd give him with a youngster.

If friendlies show the need for it, there is one place to sign a centreback, but I think the team should be fine.
 

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Preseason 2024

Martin Robledo signs his deal to go off to Werder Bremen. Some days later, Zapata follows and goes to Ajax.



Godefroy then is the one leaving; but this time is just a loan to develop him. If Koffi were to be loaned out as well, then we'd need to bring a new centreback, but the plan is not to do it.


Coufal confirms his loan out, choosing AEK, in Greek Superleague. Becker chooses Sparta Rotterdam in Eredivisie.



Our first friendly is a memorial to Jorginho in his tenth year with Napoli. Zapata, Insigne and Mandragora have chosen to be present and so I will give them the start. We make the first test to a quite offensive system. We're facing Boa Juniors, a memorial needs a properly good rival. In making the starting squad, I feel like we do need one more signing, which can be either a leftback or a centreback.

We control the first half, but lack some quality in the final, with Procopio failing to hit the target with all but one weak header. Changes made were to slow down the tempo first, later tell Procopio to be a little more statitc (CF-S -> P-A). One thing shown thorough, though, is advanced pressing is being made much better than past season. That's the reason why they only get their first and only shot of the first half after thirty eight minutes, we're making it very hard for them to connect passes.
Second half is a little better, as we have a couple great shots that are brilliantly saved by Benítez. It's a weak looking shot from just outside the area that beats him. They have only a few more shots, far n between, of which there's only one half decent chance after we lose the ball near the area.


The second is a simple friendly at Twente. We have to field porchia out of position due to tiredness. We dominate the first half more clearly than against Boca Juniors, with good shots on target barely saved; but they get an offside uncalled to score.
In the second half they go defensive. I do little changes as our attack doesn't seem too far from goal, but we produce much less.
Then the damned cross OP bug that isn't OP crosses, but **** defending: Mandi places himself so it's the striker between him and the goal and, when cross is sent, runs away to mid path where the ball is miles above and the keeper doesn't aknowledge the need to move until the striker gets the ball. Of course, ratings blame Koffi, who was not the defender in charge of either stop cross from happening or reaching target. Porchia hasn't done badly as left back. The point to take is how the attack was blunt once they went to the defensive.


Well, it seems Paulista answers any doubt coming and asking about missing home. I offer him to go back home, but he wants to leave the club. I don't want unhappy players underperforming. That means I need one centreback and possibly one something.


In the next friendly, against Atlético CP, we face a team that's theorically weaker and plays defensively. The first half shows the same issues to build up attacks, with several missed passes. Part of it can easily be problems with tactical familiarity and match fitness, but I think there's something more.
The second half sees some improvements with higher tempo and when adding passing into space, giving us a few good chances of which one is a goal. Some other changes don't seem to work as well, though we still have a couple more chances that could easily been goals but go off target. The problem was we were letting them enough time to set their defence and then kept shooting at barriers. Guidetti picked a knock at the end of the match, but luckily he won't be out for long.



Vitória de Guimarães offers a loan for Sias. They promise him key player status, so I grant it. As he'd be our rotational fullback, Mandi will play there and we'll sign the centreback. I have already two choices for that position.


We visit a Serie B side now, Bologna. We go off on a flyer; but Procopio misses his next chances. We end not winning at half time by Koffi's slow reactions giving their striker the advantage to pick a pass above.
Second half we moved in small steps to more attacking: playing faster, telling Capezzi to go forward, going attacking... And Hagi got the winner. The urgency took down the high shots on target ratio, though. and didn't get us more shots than we had the first half. A disappointing result.


Nottingham Forest awaits us next, with a more defensive shape of our formation. We go ahead early and have some good chances, but without all the changes that worked during past matches implemented, we show the same problems.
Changes made in the second half don't seem to have much of an impact, though there's a slight improvement. As they bring in their first team and play more aggressive, I set the 4-1-4-1 for the closing minutes. Sias has made a good match, which makes me reconsider his loan off.


We get the younger of the centrebacks I was after, the other choosing Fleetwood Town.



With no room left for non homegrown players, I cancel the loan of Sias and reject the one for Koffi.

Coffey is out for a month, with less than a month to start the season.


We come to the Arsenal friendly cup, which we begin against Heereveen.
This time we have a very good first half, stained only by the same idiocy of keeper running to catch a cross at a position the ball passed and leaving the goal vacant; but that's just cut down one goal the difference we got from two Mareco assists.
The second half sees another big chance for Heerenven due to some faulty defending, but they don't take it; we have more after some very good moves but don't take them either. For the last quarter of hour I choose to experiment keeping the system as is but with a more conservative mentality. It doesn't look that good, but we keep the result.


As was to be expected, Vitória the Guimarães was beaten by Arsenal, against whom we'll use the 4-1-4-1.
Max Jacobs makes a very poor start into the team: dashing up to midfield just to make a silly foul on a midfielder to earn a card. We don't do much offensively (one shot which was the first good chance for anyone), though that's not much of a concern; however, we do very well defensively, with great scanes of pressing the man on the ball to prevent him to make any progress. We should be 0 - 0 if Manquillo hadn't played their striker onside and then Sepe, at the shot, decided to block it to his left, not without previously back off from the post so that meant a goal instead of a corner. The second half will see a return to the new 4-2-3-1 to see how it does against a big team.
As expected, with more attacking focus in style and formation, Arsenal finds easier the way to our area and this time they get several chances where scoring would be easy, but it's their players incompetence to kick a ball that makes them stay at one goal. We have a couple of close calls to level the match, but Scuffet does his job well.


I tell the groundsman to keep the pitch size.


A little over a week before the start of Serie A, Paulista strains an stomach muscle lifting weights and will be out for two or three weeks. Maybe that'll keep teams away from making offers.


Sky Bet says we'll be near the top, though are far from being favourites.


A visit to Castrense closes our run of friendlies, with only Hala as first team player needing fitness and a couple youngsters, Fusco in the starting eleven and Capitoli from the bench.
They're too low a team to pose any contest. The 5-0 final result feels a little disappointing, more so that they got a couple shots on target.



And that was the last of the friendlies. Things look good, though with signs that further care is needed when facing low table teams, as we seem to have some trouble breaking up defensive teams.







Her level of Italian is now good.
 

Death Ball

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Start of 2024 - 2025 season

Before the season starts, seeing Paulista and Jorginho don't show too happy in team talks like I'm not going to fulfill my word, I offer them in player exchanges. Jorginho for a wolfsburg centreback and Paulista for Lourival to have more options behind the striker.

The deals for a new centreback fail one after the other, first due to lack of interest from the player to come, next by Jorginho rejecting their contract.



The squad bonuses I set are maximum for Serie A and average for TIM Cup.



We start competition with a cup game against Serie B side Bari. We should win, even with the mostly rotated team I field.
First half is a disaster. All the time players putting in no effort at all, trying to get past defenders by lazy walking. Then they make a through ball, Koffi, who is heading the right way turns to face away, then back to face where he should, then when the striker is 15 yards away he begins to trot and Sepe goes "Oh, no, what if he shoots wide?" and positions himself to cover the goalkick so if he shoots wide he'd deflect it into goal.
Second half changes are made, we get more there; but they go a second goal ahead because the idiots in the barrier don't bother to even jump and let it pass right over their hair. Then great chances to end in goal are wasted because: if the striker is at the right, the obvious answer is to send the ball all to the left corner; if the defender is to your left, you have to run and knock the ball to the left so he has his fair chance to get the ball easily and if a ball is in front of you in the six yard box going to the post your logical action is to stand watching.


The Paulista for Lourival deal is confirmed, but I need a replacement for Paulista in exchange of Jorginho, so I delay it for a week.


I make an offer straight up for money for Veljkovic again and offer Jorginho for a reduced price. Real Sociedad offers the €7.5M asked for him.

Jorginho takes the Real Sociedad offer.


And Veljkovic accepts ours.




The season begins with an away match against a narrow 4-2-3-1. I'll probably organize a series of man marking duties to deal with it.
The first half doesn't start very well. Though the offside trap works several times, they reach our area more than once and, offensively, the players seem to show they can do things, only to give up before the effort pays off: running all the way to the ball, then stop to let the opponent get the ball and so on. After they get a nice pass in the brink of offside to get ahead, the players seem to wake up and then begin to finish their dribbles and runs and we end the half one goal ahead.
The second half is a throw away of the result. First referee doesn't give the offside for the first pass, because a defender feeling the need to tackle the ball without control is not a way for the offside guy to interfere with the centreback, then $$""$%%[email protected]#[email protected]·$ Perin goes inside goal so he can't save it because when the ball's going to hit him it's already insider YOU ·$%$""··$ MORON! We end with just a draw because when you're against the keeper at eight meters and you can send the ball left or right it's only fair to shoot at the keeper and let the penetrability of the bodies decide.


Jacobs will be just a few days off after the knock he got early in the game.


Finally, with Jorginho out, Veljkovic in and Paulista back to full training, Lourival's transfer is confirmed.






I'll set all budget to wages until next window.





She's already fluent in Italian.


_____________________________
With FM17 around the corner, I'm considering perhaps I will turn to the old play long time and then post a resume of several months to see where this season ends and if there's European football next season, get time to play it before FM17. Another choice is to end the story here and take a week to cool on FM and use the free time I've been using in FM16 for other games I have waiting to be played and rarely find the time to.
 

Death Ball

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May 17, 2009
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There won't be continuation of this save. FM16 is so slow processing matches between highlights, that setting the match to key barely makes it any faster than the usual comprehensive, with the addition that I don't see what's going on and it's not fun to play like that. I'm not uninstalling it in case of a surprise change of mind (99% unlikely to happen) until FM17 release, but don't expect anything from this.

At the moment Katsumi Touko crossed an exorcist and he got her unpossessed, Napoli had had a few poor results from poor goalkeeping and defending (mainly the later), surely caused by players still needing to gel and familiarize with the tactics (familiarity is around 50% after seven matches). Three wins, three draws, one defeat, scoring more than one goal save for the defeat and seventh place just six points from the top. Expectations would be that as season progresses, the players and tactics begin to really click together and shoot up the league with chances to contest the title, as the team on top, while having only conceded one draw, seems not to be on to an absolute domination of the league.

Regarding recent teams she managed: Amiens, that I hoped would fight for top half finish the season she left and European qualification this one, finished just mid table (13th) the season she left and this they're 16th with relegation right at their backs. Santos fell in the semifinals of the regional competition and Copa Libertadores. In Serie A, with half or more played, they're fourth, a win away from getting to second but way behind Corinthians on top. I'm sure with Katsumi at the helm they might as well have won the regional thing, Copa Libertadores would be tough to tell and would be up there along Corinthians at the very least.
 

Death Ball

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Katsumi when she began and at the end of the story:




Working with youngsters, adaptability and level of discipline remained at the starting value, while determination only grew by one. Just like past version in which any of them saw any increase. I'd say then those should be out of point buy system or be given something to grow up, like such chance to go up or whatever if you play or sign this many youngsters or you keep your position when dealing with an unhappy player or changing countries and learning languages or whatever. The youngster maybe it didn't go up because I've not signed or fielded that many young players, I didn't fine anybody so discipline stays and so on? Goalkeeping and fitness training barely increased, while the rest of training did significantly: she only coached fitness and goalkeeping in her first years when the clubs had nobody better to do that, while she's coached in all of the general outfield parts. So it seems like maybe those attributes remained unchanged because she did nothing to increase them, only somehow Determination, while Viktoria Ackerman didn't do anything to raise her determination.
 
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Death Ball

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May 17, 2009
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Glad you did. Currently the poll is 2-1 for another journeygirl. I didn't install that extra RAM, though. The motherboard is poorly designed and the graphics card blocks the handles to release the current stick and install the new ones and the thing to release the card is quite hard and I was not quite in the mood to try. I don't know when I'll install them. But I tested and all leagues is just around 135K players for a recommended maximum of 115K, so I may activate all leagues even if I haven't installed yet the RAM when I start the game.
 
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