Welcome to the season 2 winter update. If you have been following The Boys From Bergamo you will know that we finished 4th last season and qualified for the Europa League. If you are visiting this for the first time you can scroll to the bottom of this page or to right off this page depending on what you are viewing it on and choose to catch up with my earlier updates. I always thought that this season would be a pivotal one for the club after 12 first team squad players departed in the summer who were considered not needed and the promotion of 8 of our academy players in to the senior squad. We also welcomed two additions in the summer, Austrian playmaker Louis Schaub and the versatile young Danish forward Kasper Dolberg. So with 10 players to integrate in to the squad how would we get on ? I also introduced a new system to the first team squad, however the players from our youth teams had used this system last season because I developed and trialed it with the youth teams so some of the boys were already familiar with it. The system itself named after our academy il futuro is inspired by a number of tacticians none less so than Gian Piero Gasperini and his Atalanta side and Fabio Capello’s title winning Roma side from the 2000 / 2001 season I think there are also traits in there from Sacchi and Herrera who in many ways are perceived to be different but have many traits that are very much the same. I have like many been an admirer of the Ajax development system which is Atalanta are replicating today.
Roma 2000-2001 Team Shape
This is the shape I wanted to create 3-4-1-2 or however you interpret the lines but for this I will refer to it has above. I am also not trying to recreat an identical Roma tactic however there are some similarities. Anybody who has followed me will notice I mostly use a back four set up 9.5 times out of 10 and to be honest it’s because I have never managed to create a central back 3 that I was ever happy with. However my closest football allies will tell you that I am big fan of the 3 Central Defender Systems that have been used in Italy more and more over the last few years including Gasperini at Genoa and Atalanta who have used a 3-4-1-2 shape today against Sassuolo. So what do I want to achieve in creating the il futuro tactic / system ? I want to stamp my tactical philosophy on to my Atalanta club whist creating a club D.N.A that embraces the fantastic work that the club has done in creating one of the best youth development systems in football.
- Play Entertaining Football Whilst Having The Lions Share Of Possession
- Create A Solid Defensive System Catenaccio Style Using A Sweeper / Libero
- Create A High Number Of Passing Options / Triangles
- Create A Cohesive Unit Who Work Hard with A Team Ethic.
- Use Full Backs To Overlap whilst creating our width And Who Drop In To The Defensive Zone To Make A Back 5
- Use 2 Hard Working Central Midfielders Who Will Contribute To Both Defensive And Offensive Phases
- Use 2 Forwards Supported by a Number 10 Totti Style Who Can Create And Score
- Create A Winning Mentality Throughout The Club
Defensive Phase Creating The Sacchi Arc Across The Back Whilst Covering The Passing Lanes. Each Player Contributes To The Defensive Phase.
il futuro the system is not a plug and play tactic it’s development as been shaped around the players at my club and of course training the role of Sweeper to a number of players across our club. I like my players to be versatile and be comfortable in a number of different roles if called upon. A perfect example is our young Defender Alessandro Bastoni he can play at Centre Back at Full Back and now can play in the Sweeper role, this is the type of versatility I am looking for from The Boys From Bergamo. I like my senior players to tutor were ever possible as well. I am not releasing this tactic as a download due to the fact of its complexity in tweaking the player roles it involves a lot of micro management within the club and not just on the pitch, plus I see no fun in using someone else’s tactic because for me it’s the best part of the game creating your own style and seeing it play out in the game. Already for me in this save I am enjoying watching Louis Schaub play a Totti role in our side after scouting him and picking him out specifically to play that role in the system and even more pleasing is that he was available for free.
August / September 2017
We kicked the season off testing the Il futuro system away to newly promoted Carpi were I gave both our new signings Dolberg and Schaub debuts along with Gianluca Mancini who I trusted to play in the Sweeper role alongside Tolòi and Caldara. We took the game to Carpi from the off and went 1 up after Dolberg and Schaub combined to create an opening for the Austrian playmaker who slotted home showing great composure. The Defence looked solid with the Wing Backs dropping in to make a back 5 that was hard to break down. Our leading scorer last season Alberto Paloschi picked up a knock so I replaced him with Simone Mazzocchi who put the game beyond our tired opponents to give us a 2-0 victory. Our first home game of the season was against Fiorentina who beat us in this fixture last season but this time we took all 3 points in a thrilling 4-2 win. I had been forced to switch back to our 4-2-3-1 system due to injuries to our defence. Paloschi hit a double with the young Midfielder Matteo Gasperoni netting his first senior goal along with Mazzocchi giving us back to back wins. With Caldara, Mancini and Bastoni still out of action I was forced in to using the 4-2-3-1 for our away trip to Rome to play Lazio. I had to call on Kessie to drop in to the back four alongside Tolòi. We looked out of sorts battling to a 3-3 draw in a game that saw Kasper Dolberg open his account for us. D’Alessandro got on the scoresheet however the goal of the game came courtesy of a nonchalantly executed lob from Louis Schaub who I still can’t believe we got on a free transfer. Next up a trip to Greece for our opening Europa League game against PAOK. I had a decision to make Mancini was available so should I go with the il futuro system? After debating with myself I put my faith in the boys and went with the new system. What happened next was a fabulous performance from the boys which saw us thrashing the bemused Greek side 7-1 with Paloschi scoring 4 supported by goals from Dolberg, Tolòi and Conti that rounded off a superb European night for us.
We jetted back to Italy with our heads firmly fixed on our next game against Marcelo Bielsa’s Napoli, who are early leaders in Serie A with 3 back to back wins. The Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia was the back drop for another incredible performance this time after making 3 changes to the side that played in Greece we only went and scored another 7 this time the goals coming from Dolberg 2, Freuler 2, Schaub, Paloschi and a first senior goal from Luca Valzania in a 7-2 win.
Next up we travelled to Pescara were I picked a rotational side who got over the line with a 3-2 win with goals coming from Schaub and a brace for our left Wing Back Dramè who puts in a performance week in week out. Another home game followed and another 3 points has we beat Sampdoria 1-0 after a Franck Kessie strike who was captaining the side in the absence of Gómez and Paloschi. We would finish the month with our 2nd Europa League game at home to Club Brugge who had won their opening game 5-0. We dominated the Belgian side on the night by beating them 4-1 with a Dolberg double and who else but Paloschi and an unfortunate own goal that puts us on top of the group with 6 points. A very good first month of the season ends with Paloschi on 8 goals and Dolberg on 6. Both Dolberg and Schaub have hit the ground running along with the boys who have stepped up from youth level. 2 of those boys Gasperoni and Valzania scored their first senior goals for the club this month.
We would kick October off with a trip to the San Siro to face Milan who pipped us in to third spot last season. We had failed to beat them last season losing 0-1 at home and drawing 2-2 away. I was expecting a tough game from Montella’s side who are sat at the top of the table and I wasn’t wrong it was a tough game despite us celebrating a fans tic 3-1 win with goals from Paloschi, Schaub and Gasperoni. The Boys are looking good this season and I am pleased with how the system is coming along. Next up Chievo at home and another 3 points in the bag with a 4-0 win with on form Paloschi 2, Schaub and Dolberg all hitting the back of the net. Back to European action next and a solid 6-0 win away to Ludogorets with the in form Paloschi getting 4 of our goals along with Louis Schaub who has settled in nicely after his move in the summer, our other goal was an own goal. Our first defeat of the season at Bologna who are definitely our bogey team since I took over, Donadoni’s men beat us 2-0 and deserved the points. Up next the visit of Rafa Benitez and his Juventus side who he took over after Max Allegri took the national job. We ran easy 2-0 winners with strikes from Dolberg and Paloschi. We ended the month with a 3-0 win at struggling Palermo with both Paloschi 2 and Dolberg adding to their goal tally again. With just one blip this month we go to the top of Serie A.
We start the month with the Europa League return game at home to Ludogorets who we do the double over with a 3-0 win courtesy of Paloschi 2 and a first senior goal from Filippo Melegoni. Sassuolo visit Bergamo for our next game and another 3 points with both Dolberg and Paloschi giving us a 2-0 victory. We visit Rome next and get lucky with 2 late goals giving us what looked like an unlikely 2-1 win over AS Roma. We then welcomed Greek side PAOK for our penultimate Europa League group game, I chose a rotated side and was pleased with their performance which ended with us winning 3-0 with goals from Mazzocchi, Schaub and a first Atalanta senior goal from Mancini. Our form continues with a 2-0 win at home to Cagliari with goals coming from Paloschi and Schaub. We end the month with the battle of Bergamo against Inter, so called with the number of cards dished out to both sides during an i’ll tempered game which we edge 3-2 after goals from Paloschi 2 and Conti. Six wins out of six this month keeps us at the top of the league and through to the next round of the Europa League.
After picking up a few injuries against Inter we travelled to Genoa and came away with a 1-0 win thanks to a Conti piledriver. The final group game at home to Club Brugge next gave me a chance to have a look at a few of our fringe players with us already confirmed as group winners. In a thrilling game that we won 4-3 Simone Mazzocchi shown why I rate him so high with a suberb hat-trick along with Kasper Dolberg getting the other goal. Simone Mazzocchi is being labelled as the next Roberto Bettega by the media. Verona at home next and there was ever going to be one winner with us hammering them 5-1 with the returning Paloschi getting a brace along with goals from Mazzocchi, Schaub and Conti. That win extended our winning run to 11 games in all competitions. Coppa Italia 1st Round action and again I decide to rest a number of players and take the opportunity to play young Bastoni alongside our other young Central Defender Gianluca Mancini who has been fantastic so far this season and is already attracting interest from Milan. I am keen to see how the young pairing play together has I plan to use them both as first choice next season. The pair play well alongside Rafael Tolòi and keep a clean sheet with ever improving Conti getting our goal in a 1-0 win. Our last game of the month and year before the winter break see’s us demolish a fragile Spal side 5-0 with Dolberg getting his first Bergamo hat-trick along with a club first goal from Bastoni and Paloschi who netted his 27th goal of the season. We extend our win streak and unbeaten run to a club record 13 games that as put us on top of the table 8 points ahead of Milan in 2nd and 12 points clear of Juve in 3rd.
Serie A Table
A superb 100% record takes us in to the knockout round with Alberto Paloschi netting 11 goals on the way.
1st Round Draw
We have been paired with Belgian side Standard Leige in the First Knockout Round which gives us a good chance to progress to the last 16.
We are pleased to announce that Belgian club Antwerp are a new affiliate.
I have agreed to let both Alejandro Gómez and Marco D’Alessandro leave the club after both expressed a desire to move on. Gómez asked in December for me to let him speak to AS Monaco if they made a bid, they actually made a bid that triggered the £11.5m release fee. Gómez agreed personal terms and as left the club with immediate effect. D’Alessandro has agreed terms with Borussia Dortmund who I negotiated a £12m fee.
I am more than happy with the performance so far this season the players have embraced our new system that as seen us perform above expectations both domestically and in Europe. A lot of positives in the first half of the season non less so than the performance of our players who have been promoted from our academy. Filippo Melegoni, Gianluca Mancini and Simone Mazzocchi have repaid my faith in them with outstanding performances added to that Luca Valzania, Matteo Gasperoni and Alessandro Bastoni have also had good game time and performed well. The 2 new additions to the squad Kasper Dolberg 14 goals and Louis Schaub 11 goals have also settled in well. Schaub’s value as rose to £23.5m since his free transfer 6 months ago, he as come in to the side and has been nothing short of fantastic. Again no surprise a lot of interest in Franck Kessie with FC Barcelona and Manchester City leading the team’s to his signature. Kessie has stated that he want to be playing Champions League football and after a discussion with the Ivorian he has agreed to help us try to get in to the Champions League. Hopefully with the January transfer window open it could prove difficult to keep the big boys away. Away from the club Gaetano Monachello is in fine form on loan at Anderlecht, the forward is definitely playing himself in to my long term plans especially with Andrea Petagna struggling to make is mark when given the chance over the last 18 months. The board have allowed me to keep all of the transfer fees that have come in to the club which as taken our available budget up to just above £30m. It remains to be seen if we will bring anybody in to the club during this window. Before I go I have forgot to mention the super displays from our goalkeeper Marco Sportiello who has been top draw since his return from his loan spell at Fiorentina. Thanks for reading and look out for the next update this coming weekend were I will be rounding up our season.
The Boys From Bergamo ( The Story So Far )
2017-2018 Serie A Europa League Coppa Italia
2016-2017 Serie A 4th Coppa Italia 1st rd