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S03 – 2 | Sometimes you have to step back to move forward

The title of this post is so called because I’ve been tinkering with my main tactic. Again. I just wasn’t convinced by the two widemen in the AML/AMR slots so we’ve taken a step back and gone back to a flat 4 in midfield for our 4141. How did that work? Well, let’s see…


Transfers

Let’s firstly take a look at the Winter Transfer window which has just finished. I was more active than I had originally planned, the right players seemed to come up and I felt compelled to move.

As a result of some recruitment of scouting staff I was given recommendations for a number of players from some of the staff’s previous nations/employment. This led me to the signing of Didier Acevedo (AMC/Santa Fe, Colombia) for £550k – an exciting prospect for our midfield which is, admittedly, already reasonably stacked with talent. We also brought in Neven Blazevic (STC/Hajduk) for £850k whose either footedness and high Determination/Work Rate combo was a big draw for me – we should hope to see him break into the senior team quite soon. Albert Guðmundsson‘s (AMRLC/AZ Alkmaar) loan was extended until the end of the season having impressed so far with 5 goals and 6 assists in 17 appearances! Finally, on deadline day Maximus Tainio (DC,DM/Tottenham Hotspur) agreed a loan deal for the remainder of the season to join our other six loanees… for shame!

One player made their exit from FC Groningen as Simon Makienok (STC) left for Reading for £425k, a £1.3m loss after 18 months at the club and 1 goal in his 21 appearances. The very definition of a transfer flop.


Results

We started September against a Heracles side who had won their opening four fixtures, they took their point tally to 15 after making short work of us. An easy KNVB victory against an amateur side gave us our sole win of the month with 3 points from the remaining three games.

Things just started to click in October, coinciding with our switch back to a flat midfield four. We had 7 different goalscorers in this month as we dropped points in just one game, sadly it was the derby fixture against sc Heerenveen.

A pleasing victory against Feyenoord started November before what I consider a routine performance against Helmond. A trip to Ajax bore no fruit as we came back down to earth with a bump before entering the final month of 2020.

We started and ended December strongly. It’s just such a shame that we rolled over against Vitesse, were impotent in our match with relegation battlers SC Cambuur and limped out of the KNVB Beker to Fortuna Sittard.

Our obligatory winter friendly was a 3-0 victory over Tweede Divisie FC Lienden. A comeback from an early goal conceded to MVV was pleasing, despite the frustation. I was blown away by how solid we played against PSV, we were comfortable throughout and deserved the victory. We finish this update with our goalless draw with Heracles, a much better result than we started September with – Heracles are a side whose steady decline is well underway as they are now on a run of just 2 wins in their previous 9.

This leaves us sitting in a healthy 6th place. We are well placed to make our best efforts to ensure we finish in a playoff spot, at the very least, although the automatic Euro qualification spots are well within our sights if we can keep our nerve.


The post-winter break has traditionally been my undoing. Not just in FM19 but in previous iterations of the game also. My hope is that I’ve strengthened our squad suitably in January to ensure we have enough options for rotation to see us continue our strong form through to May! Either way we should feel assured of at least managing to meet the board’s expectations of Top Half – it would surely take a disaster for us to slip below that now… maybe I shouldn’t have risked saying that!

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