Olympique Lyonnais - Returning To The Pinnacle

Feliks

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Jul 29, 2015
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Welcome to what I hope will be my first prolific FM16 save and story, after multiple slip-ups and tactical errors over multiple saves. FM16 just hadn't been working out for me but after constructing a tactic for my Chelsea-United story with Maximus, I tried it out on a new save and by November it was working reasonably well. As such, I'm prepared to take a punt and present to you the story of my career as manager of Olympique Lyonnais. May it be long and prosperous.

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The 2007/08 season was the last of seven consecutive titles for Lyon as they established themselves as one of the best clubs in Europe, let alone France. Boasting players such as Karim Benzema, Juninho and Michael Essien, they were unchallenged domestically for most of the 2000s until a league-changing moment occured.

In 2011, the Qatar Sports Investments group purchased Paris $aint-Germain, reinforcing the capital city's biggest clubs with some huge and expensive signings and making them the pre-eminent club in the Ligue 1. Bordeaux, Marseille and Montpellier all won titles before P$G stormed ahead, winning 3 consecutive titles and heading into the 2015/16 season as clear favourites once again. Lyon, on the other hand, had 7 consecutive top 5 finishes and ended the 2015/16 season in 2nd - their best finish since their last title. But the return to the pinnacle still eludes them. And I'm going to make it my duty to help them reach it again.
 

Feliks

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Squad Report and Tactical Plans


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The reason I was so attracted to Olympique Lyonnais is that the squad is all but set-up for the next 5 seasons with a majority of vibrant, up and coming young players that can improve to European level. Alexandre Lacazette, Clement Grenier and Corentin Tolisso are 3 of the bigger names in a squad which is dynamic, energetic and fun to play with. In this update, I'll go through my tactical plans and the players that I'll use to implement. Fair warning, I'm playing this on FM Touch and I'm not the best tactician so don't expect fireworks.

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The tactic I'm gonna run with is a 4-2-3-1 on Standard mentality. I originally started with a 4-1-1-3-1, with a DM and a MC, but found it made my midfield too narrow and so I pushed the defensive midfielder up the pitch. It doesn't give me much possession, and I rarely dominate the game, but the front 4 is fluid and dynamic and gives me plenty of chances whilst my defensive players do their job well. Here's the player instructions.

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As you can see, I kept it relatively simple as that seems the way to go on FM16 this year from my own experience and others'. As I don't have a big target up front, I mainly want my players to keep it low and fast, playing out of defence and working it into the box where my front 4 can work their magic. For away games against the bigger teams, I'll most likely drop the defensive line and add 'be more disciplined' in a bid to be even more stable.

Now here's a run down of each position, it's first team player and the role they will play in my tactic.

Goalkeeper - GK (D)
First Team - Anthony Lopes
Backup - Mathieu Gorgelin
The goalkeeper's job is quite simple - keep the goals out. In this tactic, I'm not looking for any sweeper keeping or moving out of the box. Lopes' only instruction will be to pass it to the centre backs and not blaze down the pitch when he kicks. He looks like a very dependable player.

Full Backs - FB (s)
First Team - Henri Bedimo, Rafael
Backup - Jeremy Morel, Christophe Jallet

I've never been a fan of purely defensive full backs, no matter what the team, and at Lyon I want my full backs to have a supporting role on top of their defensive duties. Rafael in particular will be very damaging from the wide position and I expect them to be very busy over the course of the season.

Centre Backs - CD (d)
First Team - Samuel Umtiti, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa
Backup - Milan Bisevac, Bakary Kone, Lindsay Rose

My centre backs are very capable of doing a solid defensive job and that's what I'll be expecting of them, with Umtiti and Yanga-Mbiwa filling a conventional centre-half role and working as a defensive unit. No fireworks in this area of the pitch.

Holding Midfielder - BWM (d)
First Team - Maxime Gonalons
Backup - Sergi Darder

Gonalons, the club captain, will play a crucial role as the side's holding midfielder and will be responsible for shielding the back four from a lot of attacks. His defensive duty means the bulk of the midfield play will be left up to his midfield comrades - Gonalons and Darder's role will be simply to win the ball back with grunt.


Midfield Playmaker - RPM (s)

First Team - Corentin Tolisso
Backup - Arnold Mvuemba, Steed Malbranque, Jordan Ferri

The crucial role of the playmaker is going to be taken by young gun Corentin Tolisso, which is a risky call from me but one that I think will work out very well. RPM is a role I haven't used often but seems to be working well in the save, with the BWM doing the grunt work whilst the RPM does as he pleases, dictating tempo. The fact that I have 4 players for this role will almost definitely cause complications and I suspect at least one of the backups will want out.

Left Winger - IF (a)
First Team - Nabil Fekir
Backup - Rachid Ghezzal

In a team with 2 wingers, I decided to make the left one an inside forward in the hope that Fekir can put his great dribbling skills to work. Ghezzal is another viable option and the joy of my front 4 is that Lacazette and Valbuena will most likely get gametime here as well as I try to change things up in-game and frustrate the opposition.

Central Attacking Midfielder - AM (a)
First Team - Clement Grenier
Backup - None


When he returns from injury, I expect Clement Grenier to be amazing in this position, given a free role to tear apart the opposition with a combination of dribbling, passing and finishing. However, the star is out for 6 months at the beginning of the game and with no natural back-ups (unless you count Valbuena and Fekir who are first teamers in another positions) it's going to be an area that I need to fill in the transfer window, albeit temporarily.

Right Winger - W (a)
First Team - Mathieu Valbuena
Backup - Claudio Beauvue

To avoid the wingers ruinning into eachother, my right winger will stay wide most of the time and look to send quality crosses and passes into Lacazette up front. Valbuena should fill that role superbly, with his excellent technical ability, and the aforementioned Lacazette can also move out to this position if he's having an off day up front.

Striker - DLF (s)
First Team - Alexandre Lacazette
Backup - Maxwel Cornet


The magic word, Lacazette. He will be so crucial for me this season that selling him is off the cards until at least 2016/17, where I'll be demanding a huge fee for his services. As part of my fluid front 4, Lacazette will not be an out and out striker but will instead be a more supportive striker looking to link up with his teammates rather than purely finish off chances. Maxwel Cornet will hopefully get some gametime as well as his understudy.


 
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PatrickLFC

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Using LFC Marshall's update for FM15 I played with Lyon - against Meehar, who was Marseille - and Beauvue was absolutely outstanding as a lone striker in a 4-3-3. He outplayed Lacazette and scored in just about every game, not sure how similar his attributes are on 16 but he might surprise you :)
 

ninjaskill

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Good luck with Lyon, had a good save with them last year got 3 4 star potential players in the first youth intake
 

Feliks

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bnpwp1979: Cheers mate, I'd like to make it dominated by Lyon once again because they're not oil-rich free spending global sport ruiners ;)

PatrickLFC: I don't want to give too much away but Beauvue has definitely worked his way into my plans over the course of the season.

Bullardinho: Cheers mate, hopefully you'll enjoy what I have to offer

ninjaskill: I'm really hoping for a good crop of 15/16 year olds, at the moment we have class in the 20-22 age range but not much below that age
 

Feliks

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Player Watch #1

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In these segments I'll be taking a look in-depth at some of my biggest names and how they're heading, their biggest strengths and also what they bring to my side. Lyon have a lot of players I admire and I'd like to share them all. In reality however, I'll have to keep it to the best. The first one I want to show is defensive midfielder/central midfielder/right back/wing back Corentin Tolisso.

Tolisso is probably my favourite player in the Lyon squad, narrowly ahead of Clement Grenier, because he is exactly the kind of player I'd want to be if I was playing professional football. A solid defensive midfielder with the ability to push forward or wide, Tolisso is just 21 but I have deemed him worthy of playing in the first team due to his outstanding teamwork and work rate, which is imperative for his role which involves controlling the tempo and dictating the game. He also has great stamina and good technicals, with the technicals bound to grow as he gets older. He forms a great central midfield pairing with Maxime Gonalons, the club captain, and I hope Corentin can learn a lot from him because although he's not much of a natural leader, I can see Tolisso becoming an on-field leader for years to come.

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Feliks

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Transfer Update

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With Clement Grenier officially out of action until December, I needed more cover in the attacking midfield position. Even though I have Valbuena and Fekir, both capable of playing at AMC, their primary positions will be the wings so I needed someone to fill in albeit temporarily.

After mainly looking through the loan, transfer and free transfer lists, I managed to scrounge up 3 main candidates. I'll go through their pros and cons before revealing just who I signed.

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He might be ageing but I still believe Ronaldinho would be a superb signing for us. In a side lacking experience, the 35 year old Brazilian would bring a history that includes Champions Leagues, World Cups, a Ballon D'Or and a spot in the FIFA 100 - the 125 greatest living footballers as chosen by Pele - at the age of just 23. He's not very quick anymore, so if I did sign him, he'd most likely play as an Enganche, doing as he pleases as the play unfolds around him. I don't think wages would be a problem, and he's available on a free, so Ronaldinho will be the first I go after.

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A loan signing to consider heavily is Atletico's Angel Correa. At 20, he looks like the real deal as an AMC with fantastic dribbling, passing, technique and flair. He's also versatile, capable of doing a job on a left wing and up front and the only downside is that I can't afford him permanently. Atletico are willing to let him out on loan for just 8,250 pounds a week so if Ronaldinho doesn't work out, Correa is the next best option.

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The final option isn't a natural AMC but if I signed him it would free up another player to play there instead. Munir El Haddadi is one of the top prospects in Spanish football but is obviously not ready to claim a starting spot at Barcelona. He lacks the class of Ronaldinho and Correa but would bring a youthful spark on the wings nonetheless and is a viable option should the first too not work out.

But in the end, I could only sign one.....

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Ronaldinho pulled some sort of trickery on me, refusing to enter contract negotiations and then going onto sign for my Ligue 1 counterparts Stade Rennais! I mean, I get he played for P$G but that was 12 years ago and the 2 clubs aren't even really rivals! But nonetheless, he was out of the picture so the best option was Angel Correa. For just 8,250 pounds a week, I've loaned a brilliant young AMC who, like Ronaldinho, can pull off the impossible but is far quicker. I'm hoping Correa can live up to his attributes and become a key member of the side this season.

 
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TheAverageOne

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Dec 30, 2015
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Great choice of team, really liked the Lyon side with Juninho firing insane free-kicks from waaay out. Good luck !

What's your wage and transfer budget?
 

Feliks

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Pre-Season 2015/16

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I've never placed that much importance on pre-season results, with my main focus being getting the boys into good shape with their fitness as well as making sure they know how to play my tactic. Over the course of July, we played 6 friendlies so I hope that can get them into a state of mind befitting a ready-to-go team.

In the first 2 weeks of the month, we travelled to Austria to play 4 of their Bundesliga clubs. We started with a 1-0 win over the best club in the country, FC Red Bull Salzburg, before dispatching of Wolfsberger AC 3-1. A disappointing draw to SV Ried was followed by a comfortable 3-1 win over SV Grodig to complete the tour.

Our only big test of the pre-season was the hosting of Juventus, which I regrettably didn't attend and instead left it to my assistant manager. Our players, presumably too unfamiliar with the tactic, were no match for the Champions League finalists with goals from Simone Zaza and Juan Cuadrado relegating us to a 2-0 loss.

Our final test of the season was against club affiliate Club Africain, with an Alexandre Lacazette brace firing us to a 3-1 win to finish off the pre-season.

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Our trusty right winger Mathieu Valbuena turned it on over pre-season, playing a vital role in almost every game as he found his feet in my fluid front 4. His link up play with Lacazette has been especially impressive so I can't wait to see how he does in the season proper.

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My next update will be our first competitive game of the year, playing Paris Saint-Germain in the 2015 Trophee des Champions, which is the French equivalent of the Community Shield. We travel to Montreal to play our counterparts in what should be a fantastic game, and a chance to win our first piece of silverware awaits. Can we do it? You'll have to wait and see.
 

Feliks

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The Average One: To begin with we had a wage budget of roughly 775k and a transfer budget of 2m, so no real room to move hence the loan signing of Correa.
 

Nnicod55

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Apr 17, 2015
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Good start! Hope Lyon will rise back on the top! What you think how many youth players you're going to promote to first team?
 

Feliks

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Nnicod55: At the moment, I'm only going to give young Maxwel Cornet a go in the first team. Like I said in an earlier reply, we have fantastic players in the 20-23 age range but not much below that, especially with the club having sold Yassine Benzia for 725k (ridiculous fee when viewed by an FM player)
 

Feliks

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Trophee des Champions 2015

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So, my first competitive game is here - the Trophee des Champions against Paris $aint-Germain. What a way to kick off proceedings, a chance to win a trophy against the team I'm actively looking to take down. It would certainly make a good start to my Lyon career. Let's get straight into the update.

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We'll start with the Parisians, the team to beat in today's game. Starting in goal is the ever reliable Salvatore Sirigu, and then a back 4 of new signing Kurzawa, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and van der Wiel. David Luiz has been put in front of the defence, sitting behind the midfield pairing of Matuidi and Verratti. Di Maria and Cavani start out wide and Ibrahimovic is the spearhead.

Then there's my selection. This was of course back when I still using the 4-1-1-3-1 formation, so it was a bit narrow, but barring Grenier it was my best team. Lopes in goals, Bedimo at left back, a fantastic centre back pairing of Umtiti and Yanga-Mbiwa and then the classy Rafael on the right. Club captain Gonalons was a walk-in starter at DM and Tolisso got the nod in central midfield. Then, the front 4. Fekir on the left, Correa through the middle, Valbuena wide and Lacazette up top but I can swap all 4 of them through all 4 positions if I want to.

My prediction

I don't want to be sensationalist or overly optimistic with these predictions. I think we can push PSG all the way and maybe nab a surprise win but it's going to be an uphill battle. Left back is a weak zone for me and I'm scared as to how Bedimo deals with Edinson Cavani. And then there's the constant threat of Ibra. I'm shuddering as I type.

Nonetheless, let's get into the match!

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We tested P$G's defence very early on with a great counter attack that was only thwarted by some great glove work from Sirigu. I feared we were going to get carved up early but Lopes easily parried it into the path of Yanga-Mbiwa who initiated the counter attack. Valbuena and Lacazette combined for a lightning fast one-two which saw the former sprinting down the right wing with the ball whilst the latter stormed into the box. Valbuena delivered a whipped cross to the near post and a great change of pace left Lacazette one-on-one with Sirigu who kept it out. Still, fantastic work from just 2 players, carving up the P$G defence on the counter.

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After such a promising start, I was disappointed to concede in the first 15 minutes and the way they did it was a real kick in the teeth as well. It was very similar to the chance we missed but Cavani just has that finisher's touch and I don't expect him to ever let us off. Correa had the ball outside the box but wasn't quick enough with his decision and lost the ball to Luiz. P$G broke away quickly from that, with Di Maria putting a long ball into the path of Zlatan down the left. He then went back to Luiz, out to van der Wiel, whipped cross to near post - goal. Cavani will never miss from there.

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I ripped up my notes as we went 2-0 down thanks to some shoddy defending from Henri Bedimo. Even I know not to lunge in for a tackle in the box when you have a 2-on-1 situation in your favour; the experienced left back should have known better and simply jockeyed. Di Maria's foul led to a Ibrahimovic penalty and the Swede rarely misses from the spot. I'm going to have to go on the attack now, no point hiding from the game. We've got nothing to lose.

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Angel Correa scored a terrific goal on debut to put us back in reckoning as we scored a patient, well built goal that was thoroughly deserved. Rafael won the ball back on the right flank but was cautious, going in board to Tolisso who went further back to Umtiti. The young centre back then sent it up to Fekir, to Tolisso, to Valbuena, who cut inside and rolled a subtle ball in front of Correa. The Argentinian took a touch wide before hitting it into the bottom right corner. Fantastic spirit from the boys to get one after 2 demoralising goals.

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Well at the moment it's hard to tell who's game it is. On paper, P$G look to be the dominant team but a lot of their shots haven't been of substance and in terms of quality chances it's 2 apiece. Correa's goal gave us a shimmer of hope and if the boys want this win they can work for it and get it.

I'm going to take Henri Bedimo off; he's looked far from settled all day after giving away that penalty and doesn't look fit to handle Cavani and Di Maria. Jeremy Morel will come on to give us some stability.

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Another good chance squandered by Salvatore Sirigu, who's had the better of Lacazette today. Correa picked the ball up wide on the left, then went back to captain Gonalons who passed it low to the right. Tolisso spotted the rampaging Rafael bombing forward and put it in front of him, with the Brazilian repaying his faith with a fantastic ball to Lacazette. However, the striker again couldn't finish, finding Sirigu only as we miss another chance to draw the game.

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Beauvue into the game for Fekir. The Algerian winger hasn't done much for me today, blanketed by van der Wiel, so I'm hoping PatrickLFC is right and Beauvue can do some damage for Lyon. I've shuffled the front 4 as a result: Correa is now on the left, Valbuena in the middle, Lacazette on the right and Beauvue up front. Alexandre has been wasteful up front so I'm hoping he can do better on a wing.

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Di Maria comes close with a nice dribbling effort but the shot lacked power and it was easy for Lopes to deal with. Wasn't a real big chance but could have been a game changer for the Parisians.

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I'm regretting putting Beauvue on now because he's squandered our best chance of the game, putting an easy shot wide of the post after some fantastick work from Lacazette and Valbuena to get it there. The former did some hard yards to get past Kurzawa and deliver the cross to Valbuena who held up 2 defenders before giving the now free Beauvue a prime chance. For once today Sirigu wasn't getting to it but the sub blasted it wide. Very disappointed.

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Maxime Gonalons has been sitting on a yellow for 20 minutes and with the game heating up I don't want to risk any send-offs. Even though he's the club captain, I feel it's the right thing to do and young Sergi Darder will now fill his role in defensive midfield. Lacazette gets the armband, now lets see if he can inspire the boys to a win.

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The super-sub goal, so late in the game, so satisfying! Jeremy Morel, who came on at half time, made the turn over tackle and gave it to Correa who went 1-2-3 with Tolisso and Valbuena. Valbuena received it again and went long and wide to Lacazette who was in a good position with only Kurzawa to beat. Lacazette used his deadly change of pace, darting into the box and towards the goal line before crossing it into the path of Claudio Beauvue who scored! On his debut, no less. I feared I had stuffed up but it turned out to be a master stroke, Beauvue scoring the goal and Lacazette improving his game tenfold out on a wing.

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We're going to penalties! 2-2 at the end of 90 minutes and there'll be no extra time which is good because the boys deserve to put their skills to the test rather than slog out another half hour. To go from 2-0 down within 25 minutes against P$G to a 2-2 draw is a real effort from the boys and no matter how the shootout goes I'll be proud.

I'll hand you over now to my story's reliable commentator, Christophe Ricarrere...

PENALTY 1 - VERRATTI FOR PSG

"Young Verratti to take the first kick, it's imperative that he gets the shootout off to a good start for PSG... and he sends Lopes the wrong way! Good finish from Verratti, 1-0.

PENALTY 2 - BEAUVUE FOR LYON

"Now Beauvue the super sub to take the first kick for Lyon, he kept them in the game up to this point... Sirigu saves! From hero to villain, Beauvue's miss has put Lyon is a perilous position."

PENALTY 3 - IBRAHIMOVIC FOR PSG

"If Zlatan can score this one, it really hammers in the nail for Lyon. It'll be hard to come back from and he's already scored from the spot today.... Lopes dives the right way but he's too low! Ibrahimovic has powered the shot into the top right corner and Lopes realised it too late, PSG are in control, 2-0."

PENALTY 4 - VALBUENA FOR LYON

"They say he's the best man in a shootout for Lyon, Mathieu Valbuena, and he'll need to step up here for this kick or else Lopes needs a herculean effort... SIRIGU AGAIN! He has saved this game for PSG on 4 occasions and now it's his team's trophy to lose!"

PENALTY 5 - KURZAWA FOR PSG

"A lot of pressure on Kurzawa, if he kicks this it's all but over... straight down the middle! Lopes dived to his left but Kurzawa won the mental battle and just powered it home. It's 3-0 now and Lyon need perfection to win it from here. 4 consecutive successful kicks and 4 saves or misses from P$G."

PENALTY 6 - CORREA FOR LYON

"Correa started the comeback for Lyon and he needs to do it again with this kick, it's not impossible but it is highly unlikely. The youngster just needs to focus on the now. Here he goes... SIRIGU HAS SAVED IT AGAIN AND WON THE TROPHY FOR PSG!!!!"

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Feliks

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CJ Lippo: Thanks Lippo! I put a lot of time into it and I'm happy with how it's turned out :)

PatrickLFC: Cheers, it was very gutsy from the players which I something I like to see

Yeti01: Like I said to Lippo, I put in a lot of effort and I'm glad it's being enjoyed.
 

Feliks

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Season Objectives

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The league campaign is almost upon us and so it is time to take a look at where we should be finishing this season. After a promising result in the Trophee des Champions, I think we might have what it takes to pip P$G but I don't want to be too optimistic of course, lest it comes crashing down on me. In this update, I'll go through each of the major competitions and discuss exactly what I'd like to achieve in them.

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Best case scenario is we outperform P$G over 38 games and take out a thrilling title to break the drought but from a realistic point of view they will be incredibly hard to beat this season. Olympique Marseille and AS Monaco will also make it very hard but realistically I feel we should be beating those 2 teams and finishing 2nd to PSG. Anything below 4th and I will be livid, as there's not really any teams apart from the 3 I've mentioned that should trouble us.

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A run at the quarter finals would be amazing for both experience and finances but with such a wide array of clubs in Europe to face it will be a tough ask especially with league and cup campaigns to go with it. To qualify from the group is the goal, and if we don't I want to finish 3rd to secure qualification in the Europa League Round of 32 and maybe go onto win that competition. A bottom placed finish in the group will be unacceptable.

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I've earmarked the French Cup as our best chance of silverware this season, with the hope that the bigger clubs field weaker teams in the mid-week fixtures and gives us a chance of taking out the trophy. Reaching the final is a must, and anything short of a semi final berth would be a major disappointment considering our quality.

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I won't be paying too much attention to France's League Cup, giving some youngsters a go in the second-tier competition and focusing on more important fixtures. If we get a lucky run and get knocked out of other competitions, who knows? Maybe we will have a crack at it. For now, we won't.



 
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