Pleasing the Pope – Part 2

We are back to update you on the first season of El Ciclón.

Pre-season

I spent my pre-season focused more on my staff than my players. This was partly because I was somewhat happy with my squad and because I barely had money to spend. In terms of staff I had to get busy as we lacked quality and abundance in several areas. Unusually, the Assistant Manager role was already well fulfilled and I ended up renewing Enrique Carreras’ contract.

As a result of not focusing much on my squad, my friendlies were a total disaster and I started to doubt my journey in Argentina would last more than a season.

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Pre-season friendlies

As you can see, we had a tour in China and we were clearly not prepared to match the opposition. Furthermore, even when we returned home we had problems with teams way below our level in Argentina. We were scoring goals but we were also conceding them.

Transfer Business

Although I didn’t have much money I still wanted to strengthen my squad a little bit. We lacked quality in the left attacking wing and I discovered Leonardo Pisculichi as a free agent. The fact that he could also play at AMC was a bonus and he ended up signing a 3 year deal.

In the recent past I have barely played with two strikers as I always feel my teams get too exposed at the back. I’m not sure why but with Fulham, for example, even after some years in the premier league, if I tried to play with two up top against a championship side I’d get trashed and ended up losing or drawing in goals galore games.

However, given our quality in the Striker position and the fact that lots of Argentinian teams park their buses I had to try this again and make it work. Considering that our 3 Strikers were Gonzalo Bergessio. Nicolas Blandi and Martin Cauteruccio I still had to sign someone to be my 4th Striker as Tomas Conechny and Ariel Fantoni were not ready for first team commitments. As I hold great expectations from these two I decided that a loan was the best way of fulfilling this 4th position. When I started scouting strikers available on loan my eyes glared at a special name: Angel Correa. The San Lorenzo lad returning home even for just one season would be brilliant. However, PSG crushed my dreams in seconds. Right after Atleti accepted my loan proposal they came for him as well and of course I had no chance to sign him.

Angel Correa – Failed transfer target

Luckily there was another player available on loan who caught my attention. One of my legends in FM15 with Fulham: Lucas Boyé. Torino allowed him to join San Lorenzo on a year-long loan and Juan Penetra rejoiced.

These two transfers happened on the first transfer window but I’m gonna fill you in on the January transfer market as well. In Argentina you have a restrictive transfer window where you can sign two players. As I needed a right-wing player to backup Mathías Corujo I decided to sign Ivan Píllud from Racing. The fans didn’t quite enjoy signing one player from them but he’s a really good player and he has been quite good for me.

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Incoming Transfers 2016/2017

That was it in terms of incoming transfers. In terms of outgoing transfers I had to sell one player because he was complaining he wasn’t getting enough first team football. Franco Mussis would be a useful player throughout the season but as I hate having players whining all the time I decided to let him go. Monterrey came knocking and he was sold for 1.9M€ and I put him in the reserves team.

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Outgoing Transfers 2016/2017

Copa Sudamericana

Our first competitive match was in Copa Sudamericana. For those of you who aren’t familiar with South America, this competition is the second most important in terms of continental football. It’s like the Europa League of South America. If you wanna know more about SA I truly recommend a recent post by FM_Grasshopper where he details all the intricacies of managing in Argentina. I read after being already in Argentina and I learned a few things myself.

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Sudamericana short journey

Our journey in this competition  was a bit short but I believe it was for our own good. We were unfortunate to draw Lanus right at the second round. The first leg went well with us not conceding any away goals but the second leg was not good enough. We even started winning 0-1 but I was still getting the grip of my team and we just couldn’t comeback when they made the 3-1. Despite the fact the board expected me to reach the final of the sudamericana I believe being kicked out was a blessing in disguise. It allowed me to have a less congested schedule and we could focus on fighting for the league title.

Premier Division

When I looked at the league schedule for the first time I knew our start would have to be very good in order to have any chances of achieving what the board expected. In our first 7 league matches we had to face Huracán, San Lorenzo’s biggest rival, the other 4 constituents of the big five: Boca (A), River (H), Lanús (H), Racing (A) and we also had a trip to La Plata to face Estudiantes. On top of all that, we also had the away game against Lanus for the Sudamericana.

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San Lorenzo start of the season

As you can see we did pretty well and got 16 points from out of the first 21. What was very special about this start was that after the first seven games we had already played almost all our competitors and we could build our momentum by defeating less powerful teams.

What did this lead to?

SAN LORENZO ARE CHAMPIONS

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Argentina Premier Division 2016/2017

Apart from some draws and my most embarrassing defeat in the Football Manager era we managed to beat River and Boca and clinch the title.

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League schedule for the rest of 2016/2017

Copa Libertadores

If you are not familiar with Argentina’s new league format you might be thinking: ‘You were just thrown out of the Sudamericana and you still get to play the most important continental competition in South America in the same season? These guys are nuts!’

I know this is mental but I’ll explain. The Sudamericana that I lost was referent to the year 2016 while the Copa Libertadores started in 2017. San Lorenzo qualified for the group stage of this competition because they finished second place in the season 2015/2016. So how did we do in this competition? The draw wasn’t very kind with us and we drew São Paulo, Queretáro and Medellín. However, our away performances were decisive and we managed to win the group along São Paulo.

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Copa Libertadores 2017

Copa Argentina

In the year 2016 I didn’t get to play any Copa Argentina games because San Lorenzo were already eliminated when I joined the club. However, in 2017 we got to play two games where I could assess the potential of our youth prospects. These games went smoothly and I was really happy with Ariel Fantoni getting his first goal for San Lorenzo.

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Copa Argentina 2017

What’s next?

I’m really sorry this post was longer than what I’d like. Given the start of the season I always feared I could be sacked and all my writing would have to be thrown out of the window. In the near future I’ll try to do more frequent updates along some live tweeting. What you can expect soon is the update of the next transfer window along with the rest of the two Cups we will play until the end of 2017: Libertadores and Copa Argentina.

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Pleasing the Pope – Part 1

Welcome to a brand new series of Football Manager 2017 with Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro.

Why San Lorenzo?

As I’ve mentioned in my introductory blog post, I’ve been playing with Fulham for the past two years but this year I wanted a whole new challenge. Despite having never managed in South America, let alone in Argentina, I have always been a big fan of Argentinian players so when I was thinking about my destination it all started to make sense when I thought about coming to Argentina. The likes of Nico Gaitán, Pablo Aimar, Javier Saviola and Angel Di Maria are part of Benfica’s history and I have a soft spot for each one of them.

Although none of these players are directly tied with San Lorenzo they were one of the first teams I considered. Once again, everything in my life is tied to Benfica and I discovered San Lorenzo after one of our organised groups created a new song inspired in one from Musicuervo. Since that day I’ve been following San Lorenzo and their Afición is just unbelievable. The passion they put on their songs and choreographing is unbelievable.

Amazing passion right? This is the one from Benfica which is a bit embarassing compared to San Lorenzo’s.

What also attracted me to San Lorenzo was the fact that the Pope – Jorge Bergoglio – is a fan of the club. Although I am not a religious person I admire this Pope for being so different from the previous ones. I also think that he might bring good fortune when I go overload after the 80th minute.

To wrap things up, one odd curiosity about San Lorenzo is that at the start of this FM they have three different players that have played in one of the Três Grandes in Portugal (Benfica, Porto and Sporting). They were never stars here but it’s good to see some familiar faces when I delve into the confusion that it the Argentinian football. However, if Romagnoli (Ex-Sporting Lisbon) or Belluschi (Ex-Porto) start causing any sort of trouble I’ll be happy to show them the way out. On the contrary, Gonzalo Bergessio (Ex-Benfica) will have all the freedom 🙂

Expectations & Philosophies

San Lorenzo are part of the so-called Big Five in Argentina (San Lorenzo, Boca Juniors, River Plate, Racing and Independiente) although they are way behind Boca and River in terms of trophies, fan base and conditions. However, my success will have to be immediate. The board has been extremely demanding and they won’t let me take any time to get used to Argentina. They expect me to win the title and reach the final of Copa Sudamericana which can be considered as the Europa League of South American football.

In terms of philosophies we all know that in South American you have to be a selling club and this won’t be any different. I will try to focus on Youth Development which was something that I lacked in FM16. This way, one of my main targets will be improving the youth conditions.

San Lorenzo facilities

In order to help me achieve my goals I have great expectations from my Head of Youth Development Fernando Kuyumchoglu. He was already at the club and I hope he comes forward with amazing regens that can help us build our future.

Fernando Kuyumchoglu – Head of Youth Development

Another one of my objectives is to create a partnership with Benfica and be like their affiliated club. I know this probably isn’t realistic but it would warm my heart that the players that I can’t hold onto can be sold to fight for of the team that I support.

Meeting the Team

I won’t bother you with details of all my players but I want to introduce you my star players and my potential stars.

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Emmanuel Mas is a competent defender who is also capable of going forward. I still don’t know how he’s still in Argentina and I have already had to refuse some proposals I received for him. I hope he stays with me during my journey here.

Nestór Ortigoza will certainly be one of my main midfielders for some time. It’s my first time having a player with 20 at Penalty Taking and I expect him to bury them all. His Physical attributes are declining but his mentalities are immense.

Gonzalo Bergessio, who had a brief spell at Benfica in 2007-2008, will be proof that you don’t need to be a five start technical player to be a goalscorer. His finishing might be 13 but with his Mental and Physical attributes I’m sure he will score me some goals.

Potential Stars

When I think about Argentinian players I always picture attacking and creative players and my academy truly reflects that. It seems all my players want to be Attacking Midfielders or Strikers. They will probably be the ones who will earn me more money but I still need defenders to play this game 🙂

Following this thought, I think I already have my future Striker Partnership right in my academy. I am already picturing an Advanced Forward along a False Nine.

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What’s next?

I can’t make any promises on update frequency but I will try to do it at least twice or thrice per season.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have enjoyed this post. Be sure to make any comments if you have them.

Hello, World

 

Hello everyone and welcome to my Football Manager blog.

I’ve finally decided to join this amazing community and create my own blog to narrate my Football Manager adventures.

Background

I’ve been a fan of football manager games for as long as I remember. One of my most vivid memories is waking up on the weekends to play Elifoot 2 while everyone was asleep. I’m not sure if this game was popular outside Portugal but it produced hours of great fun. What made this game so special was that it already gave the opportunity to play with several managers at the same time. Another thing that I enjoyed and I think influenced the way I played CM and FM for so many years was that each player would be randomized to a team in the 4th division and then you would have to find your way to the top. Apart from the past two versions of FM where I tried to bring Fulham back to its glory I have always selected a few leagues, start unemployed and let the AI decide my destination.

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That said, since the late nineties I have been a fan of CM and FM games. I haven’t played them all and I was a casual player for most of these years but that has changed in the past two years where I rack up 500+ hours in each version. I know this is not much for many people but for me it has been a big increase.

Why create a blog?

During the past two years my love for the game has certainly grown and the creation of this blog is related with that. I have tried to learn more about it by reading more blogs, watching YouTube series and talking to other people on twitter. However, I think this is not enough, after 1000+ hours of playing these past two versions I still feel that there’s so much I need to improve before I consider myself a good FM player. I have managed to be successful in FM15 and FM16 with Fulham but this success has been sporadic and fragile.

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I’m not sure this is caused by my style of play but I really want to make it more frequent. I’ll not dive into it right away but I can say that I always try to make my teams possession oriented. I don’t like not having the ball, I don’t like to concede goals and perhaps being that conservative is my Achilles’ heel. It might look weird but with this blog I hope that anyone who reads my updates will be kind enough to comment on my approach and I hope this will spur productive discussions.

A special mention to FM Grasshopper who has encouraged me to start this adventure. His work is an inspiration and everyone should follow his upcoming journey with Estudiantes.

Beta Plans for FM17

At the moment I am very excited to play the beta and I will start a temporary save with Benfica until the final release. Benfica are the club I have been supporting all my life and I think the last time I managed them was in FM2012. I think our squad has immense depth and I look forward to attempt what no one has done at the club yet: Win four consecutive league titles. I hope this can happen both in my save and in real life.

After the final release I will start a new save in a league where I never managed so I’m pretty excited for that as well. This destination will be revealed once I am happy with the Benfica save.

That’s all for now, thanks a lot for reading and I appreciate any comments you might have to improve this blog.