The Viola Story (2.1)#FM16 “Purple Reign”

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Purple Reign

Welcome to the latest update (winter break) which I will keep brief of the Viola Story, if you have followed the story you will know that I have rebuilt the squad by bringing more Italian players in to the first team squad. Just as the transfer window was about to close we suffered injuries to both Aquilani and Badelj which left us short in the midfield area, a quick look at the transfer list I noticed Arsenal had listed Mohamed Elneny for £4m. I decided to bring him to Florence, a move which as to put it mildly been nothing short of fantastico. Elneny is the first name on the team sheet game after game. He has become the ‘Enforcer in Florence’ protecting our back four and spearheading our attacking transitions. Its early days yet in his Fiorentina career but he may just be the jewel in the crown for £4m. 

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Serie A

We have had a very good start to the season, losing only 1 game the opener against Sampdoria. The highlights being the 4-0 win against Juventus and the 3-0 win against Internazionale. Leading the table by 5 points at the winter break has us dreaming of the title but from past experience we know we have a lot of work to do before the end of the season. A 16 game unbeaten run is bound to come to an end now I have mentioned it but I feel Fiorentina are now well on the way to be considered title contenders. What is standing out for me is the professionalism of the first team squad, I think this group of players are a pleasure to work with.  

serie a results

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Champions League

A poor showing from us in a tough group, we did get a point from Barcelona but we suffered 2 heavy defeats against Manchester City. We did do the double over Monaco which gave us third spot and a place in the Europa League 1st knockout round. I might be being hard on us given the tough draw but I want us to be at the next level.

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Europa League Draw

We have drawn Braga in the first knockout round, the board have said they expect us to reach the 2nd round.

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Club News

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AC Milan full back Mattia de Sciglio will join us in January, Mattia will bring with him a flexibility in playing on either side of our defence and quality to our first team squad. Mario Gomez is coming up to his last 6 months on loan at Besiktas after a 2 year loan which was agreed before I took over the club. We are fully covered in all areas of the coaching team were we are delivering specialised training at a very high level which is bearing fruits on the pitch. We start the defence of the Coppa Italia in January and will be doing all we can to retain the trophy.

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Thanks for reading the latest update, our end of season review should be posted next weekend so until then arriverderci. 

 

The Viola Story (2.0) Supercoppa #FM16

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A Very Busy Pre Season in Florence for me saw us rebuild the squad from last term. Whilst we performed very well last season I felt the squad was very top heavy with overseas players, so the decision was made to address this. First things first though the club was subject to a takeover which as turned an already financially secure club in to Italy’s richest club which allowed the board to give me a transfer budget of over £100m, perfect chance to rebuild the club. A large amount of players left Florence for pastures new including 14 first team players which includes 4 loan players returning to their respective clubs. Among the players leaving was Alonso, Ilicic, Roncaglia, Balero, Fernandez, Vecino, Zarate, Kallinic and Babacar, all players who played a big part in last seasons success. The players leaving the club brought in £65m in transfer revenue. I had identified the players who I wanted to bring in to the club during the later part of last season. Our squad last season finished with 7 Italian players in the first team squad of 25 players. This coming season the squad of 24 players that will start the season consists of 17 Italian players and 7 overseas players. You can see just how busy we have been in the summer. I think with our vision of competing for European honours in the future it was vital that we took the opportunity to build the squad around homegrown players. So who did we bring in? I will start with our new number 1 goalkeeper Mattia Perin from Genoa, I believe Perin is one of the best young keepers in the world. In defence we confirmed the signatures of  Davide Santon, Salvatore Bocchetti and Alessio Romagnoli, I feel all 3 will add quality and experience to our defence. Coming in to our midfield Alberto Aqualani, Daniele Verde, Simone Rosso and two overseas players both from Borussia Dortmund Shinji Kagawa (£15m) and Nuri Sahin (£4m). Left winger Nicola Sansone joined from U.S Sassuolo after we triggered his £7m release clause. Up front I am pleased to secure the signatures of both Federico Bonazolli and Andrea Belotti. They will be joined by the return of Giuseppe Rossi who as returned from his loan spell at Levante. Rossi his very much part of my plans for the future and as signed a 2 year contract extension. So with the new boys in place it was time to get them out on the training ground and go about creating a good team cohesion for the season ahead. My OCD as also kicked in with my squad numbering, my preference XI are numbered 1 to 11 with my back up players being numbered from 12 onwards with the back up keeper being numbered highest in the first team squad which allows me to number from Right Back 12, Left Back 13 and so on through the squad. I know it’s sad but I like to be organised. 

Fiorentina Squad 16-17

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Pre Season Results

Pre Season kicked off with an away game at Carpi which we won 4-0, Kagawa scored a superb solo goal on his first run out for us. Sansone and Zivkovic 2 netted the others. We followed up with another 4-0 win against Nice in France, Belotti 2, Rodriguez and Rossi all on the scoresheet. I had played a 4-2-2-2 formation in both games which looked to work nicely in both fixtures. Due to a couple of knocks picked up in the opening games I switched to a 4-2-3-1 for our trip Spain to play Numancia, we ran out 6-1 winners, Rossi 2, Bernardeschi 2, Astori and Sansone got the goals. Next up Almeria and 6 more goals  in a 6-0 win, goals from Kagawa 3, Bonazolli 2 and Aqualani. 4-2-3-1 with Bonazolli playing as a target man was our formation on the day. A switch back to 4-2-2-2 Structured team shape and a standard mentality produced another 6 goal game for us against Albacete 6-0, goals via Bonazolli 2, Rossi 2, Belotti and Rodriguez. A trip to Belgium produced a 3-1 win against a very impressive Braga who gave us a good game. Giuseppe Rossi continued his good form with a brace along with Sansone who is looking a quality purchase playing in a left sided Inside Forward role. Next was the Supercoppa game against our rivals Juventus which you can read about below. Next a ding dong battle at Real Betis which we won 4-2 but only after 2 late goals from Belotti added to Sahin and Bonazolli 1st half goals. Lucchese hosted our last warm up game before our season opener against Sampdoria. We won the game 4-1 with goals via an own goal plus Bernardeschi,Belotti and Kagawa. On review we had a very good pre season and tested a system with 3 variations that we will look to use during the season. 

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Italian Supercoppa 

The build up to this game created a lot of media interest after last seasons clashes with Juventus. Unai Emery is the new Juventus manager and was very complimentary towards myself in the pre match press conference which I appreciated but was not fooled in to relaxing the importance of this game to our fans. 24 hours before the game I purchased transfer listed Nuri Sahin for £4m. I see Sahin as my conductor in chief who will play in a deep lying playmaker role for me. I decided that I would put him straight in to the starting XI for the game at The Olympico in Rome. The decision to include Sahin was the right one he controlled the midfield picking up the Man Of The Match award that included 2 assists. The game itself was another battle between two sides that gave their all in a game that produced 9 yellow cards and 1 red that saw both sides locked together 3-3 after extra time. Like our Coppa Italia victory over Juventus we came out on top after penalties. In 90 minutes we got our goals via Rossi 2 and Bernardeschi. Alberto Aqualani got his marching orders for a second yellow in extra time. I am proud of the players and how we battled and kept our nerve to take our 2nd piece of silverware back to Florence in 3 months. 

Match Highlights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHmCRbY10KY

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The Season Ahead

Looking ahead to the forthcoming season will see us attempt to maintain a top 4 place in the league and qualify for the Champions League. The board will be happy with a Europa League spot but I want to push on and make us a top 4 team season after season by having a home grown quantity of players. If a player leaves the club the first option for us will be to see if we can promote within the club for a replacement, then if that is not an option we will then look to replace with an Italian player before looking at an overseas player. I like the Seville model of scouting and will attempt to translate their model in to FM. I have set up scouting filters to scout certain leagues / nations up to the end of December. I will then send half of our scouts out again to scout a number of players that they have identified in the first half of the season. the other half of the scouts will continue to scout leagues and nations until the end of the season. This will enable the process to continue season after season. We will also be competing in The Champions League this season and have no pressure from the board to go any further than our group, I can assure you I will be looking to progress as far has we can. I would like to retain the Coppa Italia but realise a run in Europe may have an effect on our squad physically. We are ready to go and hope for a successful campaign which will produce quality football on the way

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Thanks for reading The Viola Story, my next update will be at the winter break.

Forza Viola

The Viola Story (1.2) #FM16

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Welcome to the latest offering from The Viola Story its been a long but very productive Season in Florence. We finished as runners up in the league and won the Italian Cup, which rounded off a very good season for us. We did not have a very good time of things in Europe has you will know from my last update but we over achieved in the league by holding off Napoli and Roma to finish in 2nd place and a guaranteed place in next season’s Champions League group stage. It was nice to pick some silverware up with our Coppa win. The board have given me a 2 year extension on my contract that will give me some stability has I attempt to rebuild the squad in the summer.

Serie A Final Table 

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Serie A Results

We returned to action after the winter break with a 3-0 (Babacar 2, Zivkovic) win at home to Chievo, I had said to the players to go out and do this for the fans and they delivered with a solid performance. Our next game was a 1-1 draw away to Lazio, we needed an own goal to take a point after Alonso saw red after a second booking. A 2-0 win followed against Sampdoria with Rodriguez and Fernandez getting our goals. Juventus then came to Florence and beat us 2-0, the league leaders dominated us for long periods of the game. A visit to the San Siro resulted in us getting a 1-1 draw courtesy of a lovely solo goal by on loan winger Christian Tello against Internazionale. A thrashing of Udinese 5-0 (Babacar 2, Ilicic, Valero, Roncaglia) set the Artemio Franchi a light as our Tifosi celebrated a night of attacking football. Back down to earth in our next game a 3-0 loss in Naples to Napoli. We then won our next 3 fixture’s Frosinone 4-1, Atalanta 2-1, and Verona 2-1. Our next 4 fixtures only produced 1 win 4-1 at home to Genoa with us drawing in a blank in 3 defeats during this period AS Roma 0-3, Torino 0-2 and AC Milan 0-2. We needed to stop the rot, so I made a few changes for our visit to Empoli were we fashioned out a 1-1 draw. This result gave us a push back on track and U.S Sassuolo were on the end of a 3-0 defeat thanks to goals from Kalinic 2 and Tello. A 2-2 draw at Carpi followed by a 2-0 win at home to Palermo ensured Champions League football next season with 3 games to go. We ended the season with 2 draws 0-0 v Bologna and 1-1 v Chievo and a final day win at home to Lazio which gave us the runners up spot. 

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Coppa Italia

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Coppa Italia Results

Champions at the first attempt of my era left me more than happy beating Juventus on penalties after a 1-1 draw. 

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Squad Statistics

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Awards Night

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Next season we will be competing in the Champions League and I have taken the decision to bring more Italian nationals in to the first team squad. With the backing of the board I have already identified the players I want to bring in to the club. This decision also means that we will be making way for the new arrivals by trimming our current first team squad, I have accepted deals for the following players: Zarate, Babacar, Valero and Ilicic for a combined fee of £29.95m which we will invest back in to the squad. You may be thinking that these are big players to let go but I want to build the club on a backbone of Italian players and I feel the time is right to do it. It will be a busy summer for sure with a some exciting signings confirmed, which will be unveiled in my next post.

Transfers Out 

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The Board Set Initial Budgets

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The Board Sanction Improvements 

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Thanks for taking the time to read The Viola Story. Look out for my next post which will be a pre season update that will include the season opener the Super Coppa match against Juventus.

Arrivederci 

The Viola Story (1.1) #FM16

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Welcome to the second part of The Viola Story, On taking over the club I decided that I needed to strengthen my backroom staff in the way of specialised coaching so I added the following coaches to the club. Sergio Volpi, Paolo Tomasoni, Pasquale Rocco, Anti Niemi and Ivan Zauli. I am very pleased with these additions as they are key to me teaching the Juego De Posicion philosophy at the club. 

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Next on the agenda was to look at player recruitment, again I wanted to make a move in the transfer market early on and signed Brazilian 16 year old Lincoln from Gremio who will join us in January 2017. Next I signed Serbian Andrija Zivkovic from Partizan, the 19 year old will go straight in to the first team squad along with my 3rd and final signing Italian 22 year old midfielder Marc0 Fossati who joins us from Cagliari of Serie B. Hopefully all 3 will become pivotal in the future of the club.

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The board sent me a reminder of their expectations for the season ahead.

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Pre-Season went well with us giving valuable game time to most of our first team squad, I have kept faith with the shape which I evolved to during my Ajax days, early signs in pre season looked good as the squad set about playing some attractive football based on clever movement around the pitch which gives us quick transitions. 

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So after a good pre season it was time to kick off our Serie A campaign at the Artemio Franchi our home in Florence against Sampdoria which saw us win 2-1 with goals from Babacar and Bernardeschi in a game which we always looked in control despite a Second half Sampdoria goal. Next was the game that I call the ‘battle of Turin’ against Juventus which ended in a 1-1 draw with Tino Costa netting our goal in a bad tempered game which had 3 red cards including 2 for us after both Tino Costa and Davide Astori got their marching orders. We battled our way to a valuable point against the title favourites which pleased me to see that we have got a fighting spirit. Internazionale visited us next in what turned out to be a very entertaining 1-1 draw, Babacar scoring our goal. We then had two back to back defeats against Udinese 1-2 and Napoli 1-3 these two games made me question my system because we lost them both with very poor performances, former Fiorentina player Rui Costa spoke to the press and put pressure on me to turn the poor performances around questioning my position at the club. So what do I do I found myself thinking for 2 days solid about both games which I watched in detail searching for answers to an endless list of questions running through my head,is Rui Costa right could the board be ready to show me the door after just 2 months in charge with 1 win in 5. I was feeling the pressure and signs that the dressing room were not happy and then the penny dropped, I had to keep the faith in our system but change our training schedule to concentrate on our defence. What happened over the next 12 games is nothing short of superb, we have had 10 clean sheets in a 12 game run that as seen us win 10 and draw 2 scoring 23 goals with only 2 against which as taken us to 2nd in the league just 3 points behind leaders Juventus. It all started with a 4-0 win (Kallinic 2, Tello, Zivkovic) at Frosinone follwed by a 3-0 win at home to 6th placed Atalanta which took us up to 6th in the table on the back of goals from Tello and Babacar with an own goal sandwiched in between. Verona away proved to be more tricky than we thought but we returned to Florence with goals from Kallinic and Vecino and a battling  2-0 win. We prepared for a visit from our Roman rivals high flying AS Roma carrying injuries to 4 players Astori,Babacar,Kallinic and Zivkovic. We put in a performance to be proud of in the Artemio Franchi with a goal in each half from captain Pasqual and Tello giving us all 3 points and a 2-1 win. Confidence and morale was up, the board were pleased and we continued our run with 2 goals from a returning Babacar against Genoa in a 2-0 away win. Next we played out a 0-0 draw against Torino who gave us a run for our money. The San Siro would be our next stage against Sinisa Mihajlovic’s AC Milan were we collected all 3 points in a 1-0 win after a Jakub Blaszcykowski solo goal in first half injury time. Empoli up next and a 4-0 win Rodriguez,Valero and a brace from Bernardeschi put us in 2nd place in the standings.   Jakub Blaszcykowski was our match winner at U.S Sassuolo, another 1-0 win and the squad making me proud. In to December and struggling Carpi were on the end of a 3-1 win for us with on form  Jakub Blaszcykowski netting a brace after Babacar opened the lead in a game which we put to bed in the first half. Palermo was the setting for a Borja Valero strike and another 3 points after a spirited effort from a struggling Palermo side. Last game before the winter break saw us draw 0-0 away at Bologna which rounds off a very good first half of our Serie A season. 

The Battle Of Turin

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Serie A Results

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Serie A Table

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Europa League

We have had a poor European campaign, we were drawn alongside Marsielle, Southampton and Krasnodar in a group which I thought we could do well in however we opened up with a 1-1 draw with Nikola Kallinic scoring a late equaliser for us after playing most of the game with 10 men after Davide Astori got his marching orders for 2 quick yellow cards. James Ward Prowse gave Southampton a 1-0 win in our own back yard. We visited France and Olympique Marsielle in a game I felt we needed to win to have any chance of progressing but we went down 2-3 in the Velodrome despite looking the best side on the night, Rodriguez and Babacar  got our goals. The return against Marsielle proved to be frustrating for us we lost 0-1 and any hope of making the knockout round. We beat Krasnodar 3-0 with goals from Zivkovic,Costa and Fernandez and then ronded off with an entertaining 3-3 draw at St.Mary’s against Southampton goals from Babacar, Blaszcykowski and Mati Fernandez.  So we have crashed out of Europe with 3 defeats out of our 6 games. 

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Youth Squads

Both our other squads are doing well in their respective Leagues which is very pleasing because we have sent some of our top prospects out on loan to give them valuable first team experience. 

Under 20’s

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Under 18’s

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That ends my update I think you will agree its been a very interesting first half to the season with the highlight being our league position and the low point being eliminated from European Football at the first hurdle. I am now looking to the transfer window with a view to terminating the loans of both Yohan Benalouane and Panagiotis Kone and possibly bringing in a couple of players either on loan or permanent to bolster our squad for the run in. The second half of the season will see me continue to develop here in Florence and hopefully get a new contract that will give both myself and the club stability and a platform to build on. 

Grazie

The FM Session #FM16

 

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Welcome to the first of my FM sessions were you get to meet a few people from the FM community 

Tonight’s Line Up

Name: Michael Skidmore

Location: Derbyshire UK

FM blog link: http://www.thewideplaymaker.com

Twitter name: @totalfootball71

Football Influences: Sebes, Michels, Lobonovski, Guardiola, Bielsa, Clough, Herrera, Sacchi, Cruyff,Tuchel, Simeone, Pochetino, Sampaoli, Pizzi I have so many

Name: Chris Brammer

Location: Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK

FM blog linkwww.volksrepublikfussball.com

Twitter name: @VRFussball 

Football influences: The highs and the lows of supporting Stoke City alongside a fascination with all things rose tinted.

Name: Saadiq Bey

Location: USA

FM blog link: brooklynrovazzz.wordpress.com

Twitter name: American Guardiola@Rovazzz

Football influences: Rinus Michels, Johan Cruyff, Bill Nicholson, Juanma Lillo, Pep Guardiola, Marcelo ‘EL Loco’ Bielsa, and Slaven Bilić

Name: John McIntosh

Location: Dundee, Scotland

FM blog link: https://johnmcintosh19.wordpress.com/

Twitter name: @johnmcintosh19

Football influences: My dad got me in to supporting Rangers and in terms of players I used to love the likes of Raul, Zola and Ronaldinho.

How did you get involved with the Football Manager series and when did you start playing ?

Michael: 1992 when it was born as Championship Manager. I was always interested in the management side of the game with tactical systems fascinating me. I put this down to watching the Italian game from a very early age thanks to my dad having a satellite system that enabled me to tune in to Serie A and Serie B every week. I was fortunate to watch some great teams and title triumphs including Hellas Verona, Maradona’s Napoli, Platini’s Juventus and Zico’s Udinese ect. I adopted Milan has my team they were in Serie B at the time but they played in the red and black stripes like the school team that I played in so naturally the bond was made. So getting back to FM I now had the chance to manage the overseas stars who I so admired. I have got every edition released from day 1.

Chris: I think my first game was everyone’s favourite Championship Manager 01/02. A mate of mine had it, and between that and WWF games, I would spend a lot of my time at his, just watching him take Sheffield Wednesday to glorious heights. In truth, when I finally got the game, I was awful at it. I don’t know if I had the patience back then.

Saadiq: I started playing FM last July (2015), so I’m kind of a late bloomer. I was a big fan of FIFA, but  I got bored, I guess I wanted something a little more sophisticated. But back to you question,  I learned about FM from a write-up on former Chelsea and Spurs manager, Andres Villa Boas. What I remember from the piece was that he attributed his success as a football analyst from playing Football Manager. So immediately I did a Google search on FM and the rest is history. I can’t get enough of it.

John:  The first series I bought myself and was obsessed over was the first ever release of FM which was Football Manager 2005, I was 11 and fell in love with the game however I had been playing the old Championship manager series at some weekends at my friends house for a few years previously without ever owning a copy. I am now quite interested in tactical systems and right now the recent Bayern-Atletico game fascinated me due to the big difference in styles and how effective Atletico are with little ball possession, however when you’re 10 or 12 all it was about was trying to win everything and I probably played a simple 4-4-2. 

When starting a save, what are the first things you do at a new club?

Michael:  I spend an eternity on day one at the club going through the squad and staff and then setting the scouting up. Once I have done this I identify the areas we need to strengthen at the club and make a plan. The youth system is vital for any club so I do a lot of ground work looking at each player in our youth ranks. I remember reading about how David Moyes and his scouts compiled a player list of players for each position at the club, identified targets in the transfer market and included the clubs own youth players, they would have ready made replacements for every first team member in the event of them leaving the club. I do the same and keep it rolling season by season, yes I have hundreds of players in a notebook that I study nearly every day. I have a philosophy that I believe in. I want people to see my team play and say that’s a Skidmore team.

Chris: I have to be enthusiastic about the club in real life. I have to buy into them as an organisation, and I have to like what they stand for. I love clubs that traditionally have a reach beyond the field. I’m not talking necessarily your big global clubs, but those that have something special about them. I’ve tried to just do general saves, but I’ve struggled, and not been able to buy into it!

Saadiq: In my personal life I’m a social worker, so the first thing I do is read each players file to get basic information about the player, such as, nationality and languages spoken; physical attributes; statistics; international experience; injury history; strengths and weaknesses.
Next, I assess the youth set up to ensure there’s consistency at every level, what I mean by that, are the youth learning the same principles as the Senior players. It’s vital for a club survival to have  youth system developing the next generation of “total footballers”.
Then, I assess the backroom staff the way I do  players: demographics, adaptability, playing style, credentials, and philosophy. Similarly, are they good man manager; motivator, good with youngsters, fitness, and so on.
Lastly, I assess the board in a similar fashion as the others: are they the right fit for me and my philosophy? Will they support my vision and  make available the funds to bring in players? These are the first things I do, more so now, after getting sacked from a club I had no business being at.

John: After the standard meeting with the owner and assistant manager I will run the rule over the squad – youth squads including, who could be moved on, what areas need improving etc. I will also set up my tactics and look at staff recruitment and terminations if necessary.

Do you have a specific philosophy that you implement from day 1 at any club, or do you adopt a  different philosophy suited to the club?

Michael:  I have always gone in on day 1 with the same philosophy to play attacking football. I like to promote and develop within the club however I am not afraid to spend the cash to bring the right player in to the club, I am an advocate of the juego de posicion philosophy.

Chris:  do like trying to develop my own players, both through the academy, and buying youngsters with room for growth. I suppose that ties in with the romanticism of football which I love, but nothing is better than having a 16 year old right back, who comes to your academy, who you see improve year on year until he is playing in a cup final for you!I also always try and play a high intensity game. It’s the type of football I love to watch, so it bares to reason that that would be the type of manager I would be!

Saadiq: Yes, Juego de Posicíon!  I’m wedded to this philosophy because it embodies everything I believe football should be: collectivism: the group ahead of the individual. I think it’s important that the values and mission of the club  be aligned with these principles, if not, it can be disastrous. I’m speaking from an experience I had with a certain club in England. They splashed the cash but there was no identity or loyalty from the players which led to me losing the dressing room and getting the sack.

John:  In terms of tactics, I stick to my 2-3-2-3 tactic with every club I manage, it delivers exciting football and aims to dominate the game. Then I will look to have a young, vibrant squad, aim to develop players from our youth system, play possession and attacking football.

When implementing  tactics at a club do you build a tactic around the players at the club at the time or do you recruit players to fit in to a specific system over a period of time and implement a specific system over time?

Michael: I go in with the same philosophy from day 1 if a player doesn’t fit in to the system then I will let him go, I know how I want the team to play, for me the formation is the framework  that the players fit in to so whatever formation fits the players best I will use and implement my philosophy via the individual roles within the framework. Some people look at a formation and think they know how a team will play, its simply not the case my 4-4-2 would play differently to Jose Mourinho’s or Sam Allardyce. (I have not used a 4-4-2 for years).

Chris: I usually base it around the players in the first instance. Whenever I buy a new version of the game, I do a save with Stoke, as I know the players, know where to strengthen, and have a good grasp of what is realistic. Now, when we were under Tony Pulis, it would have been impossible and a little bit fruitless to come in an implement a possession game, at first at least. I’d utilise what I had, play a strong game, and build on the success. As I replace players, I would bring in folks who would be more my style, and gradually change my system. Saying that, with saves like with Ajax, which are possibly more suited to a playing philosophy type save, I would stick strictly to my principals, and any player who didn’t fit would be thrown to the wolves!

Saadiq: I don’t make any “major” changes in the first year because its the assessment phase, that is, am looking at how everyone gets on at the club. It’s me taking stock of what’s good and what’s not good for the club. For instance, my Assistant (Jesus Perez) oversees team training, individual training, and match preparation and he arranges all friendlies. I suggest things to him and if he does not agree I will defer because he has a working relationship with the players and knowledge of their capabilities.
The second year, if possible I’ll promote a kid from our youth system, and I’ll bring in a few new recruits, again, a young player  that’s ready to play, but  needs refinement.  I try to protect my players from the wolves (agents) who are out for themselves and chasing the almighty dollar or pound😉.  This is the year I start tweaking the system,for instance, you’ll see me use 4-1-4-1DM,2-3-3-2 with False Fullbacks aka Double Registas, a 6 as a centre-back, W as a FB. Everything done in year 2 sets the stage for the big push following season. I was blessed at Bayern with a group of amazing players and staff that I was able to build on predecessor’s work to win everything in 2 seasons.

John: This is an interesting question but I personally have a set system and I will look to recruit to fill any gaps within that system and look to strengthen the weakest area of the squad also.

Do you identify players yourself and recruit them or do you let your Director of Football or Head of Youth Development do it ?

Michael: I like to have control of players coming in to the club, I like to identify target but I don’t mind the staff identifying players but I have the final say. I have found the Director of Football either makes huge bids or low bids in my experience. I do let the Head of Youth Development bring young players in along with myself.  

Chris: I’ve never been sold on the DoF position in the game. I’ve used it once, on FM14, where I installed Matthias Sammer as my Director of Football at Stoke. A few seasons in, and with money to spend, he started trying to buy the likes of Wilfred Zaha for £35million. I decided that that was the end of the experiment, and from then on, I would decide the targets. Saying that, I am happy for them to identify players, as long as I play a key part in the negotiations. Head of Youth Development is a position I do use. On most saves, I have them identifying young players, and handling everything. Usually, I just have it so that I have the final say on whether they are to be confirmed into the club or not.

Saadiq: It’s a combination of the three. I’ve managed in Spain, Germany, Chile, and Argentina so I have a decent knowledge of players in those countries. I think a good scouting system is key as well, they’re the ones with their feet on the ground. So it’s a combination of those things I mentioned.

John:  I will set my scouts out to look at different regions which is helpful in finding talented young players and regens further down the line. I find picking certain attributes and for players to have a certain level of attribute a more effective way than just searching by value etc.

How do you watch matches and to what detail?

Michael: I watch most games in full but I do use the other modes, I want to know exactly what’s working and what’s not, who is doing what and how can we do it better. It takes me a while to get through a season but it keeps me interested in the game long term.

Chris: I’ve generally flicked between extended and comprehensive on the latter versions of the game, although after listening to an episode of the Deep Lying Podcast (who I recommend) the other week, I am fully convinced that comprehensive is the way to go. I try to cram in as much information as possible, and (especially on FM16) have all stats flying up in my face! If Shinji Kagawa has missed more than 50% of his passes, he is in for a serious talking to!

Saadiq: I tend to watch a full match which makes for a long season. I’m so obsessive over details (like Pep) that I feel like I’m missing something if I watch comprehensive or extended highlights…my wife thinks I’m strange.

John:   I will usually watch games on extended highlights, pre season can sometimes be watched on comprehensive if I make any tactical changes or to see how new signings are performing on the pitch.

On average how many days/hours do you play FM a week?

Michael: A couple of nights a week, mostly weekends though. I find by only playing a couple of nights it keeps me interested all year round instead of overkill, plus I have a life outside of FM (honest).

Chris: In the last few months, I’ve curtailed my obsession, with the birth of my daughter at Christmas. I play as and when I can and should. And to be honest, that’s actually done me a favour. I’ve savoured my save this year, really thinking about what and where I will go with it, rather than rushing through.

Saadiq: I try to play everyday: 1 match during the week and on the weekend I’ll play as much as possible, meaning I’m up till 3am or 4am.

John:  It’s quite flexible, with my job I usually do 10 hour shifts which range from 3-6 days a week so on those days I may sneak in an hour or two if I’m lucky but if I have a day off and nothing planned I could play for 5-6 hours quite easily as it’s a very immersive and addictive game.

Do you have any players or player that you always look to sign ?

Michael: I used to sign certain players on the earlier versions, (Riquelme, Aimar,Veron, Tevez) but now I like to find and use different players when taking charge at a new club although Lincoln and Zivkovic are top talents you cant ignore.

Chris: For a time in the last few years, it was Håvard Nordtveit from Gladbach and Arsenal before it. He’s my go to guy when I need strength in midfield. He’s certainly decreased in his ability in the last few games though, much to my disappointment.

Saadiq: Yes, Lincoln (Gremio);  David Alaba; and Álex Grimaldo; Juan Bernat; Gabriel Barbosa. Funny thing about that is each of them plays on the left wing.

John: That really depends on what level of club I manage, I have played a few network games as Tottenham and I looked to sign Emmanuel Mamanna, Gabriel Barbosa (Gabigol) and Andrija Zivkovic

When taking over a club, how far ahead do you plan?

Michael: I always look to have a rolling 3 year, year by year strategy, Identifying players to bring in to the club in advance of players moving on, plus potential youth players who could step up. I am crazy with making notes in a notebook that is never too far away wherever I am.

Chris: Good question! I think it depends. This year I have planned at least a season in advance, or at least I know where I would like to be, and have identified several key targets if some of my players leave. I’ve enjoyed that a heck of a lot more than some saves in the past, where I have found myself with no strategy, and just “winging it”.

Saadiq: I set up a three year plan and if I’m still with the club at the end of three years I’ll reassess the plan.

John:  I’m always planning years ahead and looking to implement my own ideas, for example with my Parma series I have a plan of when I want to achieve certain things which will be on a further blog update.

Who is your all time favourite FM player ?

Michael: Juan Roman Riquelme I used to sign him wherever I managed, he was my conductor for many years. Pablo Aimar runs him close though.

Chris: Right, so, to explain this I’m going to have to give a back story. So, on FM13, I had a save with CSKA Moscow. I spent several years there, becoming a strong force in European football before accepting the Real Madrid job. I hated it at Madrid, but that just added to the story. I saw Stoke laying in 18th, after a few seasons in Europe, and took my shot when they fired Michael Appleton. They had a talented squad, but had heavily underachieved that season. BUT in their academy was a young, English/Greek striker by the name of Manos Cholevas. He was born in Dudley, and a Stoke supporter. He was amazing. I’d been tracking him at Real, but the player had no interest in joining. That made him a favourite before I even took charge of the Potters. Oh man, he was incredible. Over my 10 years at Stoke, he became record club goal scorer, record premier league goal scorer, England captain, won a balon d’Or. After I left Stoke I kept tracking him, never with the intention of buying him, but just to watch his career. I still have the save, in 2036/37, and he is still playing at 36 years of age, now in Stoke’s midfield! A proper proper legend of the game.

Saadiq: The English Michels (@totalfootball71). We’re both are passionate about football and Juego de Posicíon. We have a lot in common outside of FM,which is pretty awesome. I’m a big fan of Cleon too! He’s been a huge for the community and he’s a good dude too, straight forward with no hidden agenda.

John:  Lulinha, he was a wonderkid who came from nowhere in the 2007 version and I think it was in this version or 2008 that I had him as my number 10 for my Tottenham side that conquered europe and he was pivotal to that – his technical attributes were unbelievable, sadly in real life his career never reached those heights but he had very impressive displays for Brazil u17 side.

Thanks Chaps 

 

The Viola Story (1.0) #FM16

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Welcome To The Viola Story

This will be my final FM16 save before the release of FM17 (Unless I Get The Boot) I have taken the reigns at Fiorentina (The Viola). Before we get stuck in to pre season below is a history of the club and a few screenshots of my first day in charge.

Associazione Calcio Fiorentina was founded in the autumn of 1926 by local noble and National Fascist Party member Luigi Ridolfi, who initiated the merger of two older Florentine clubs, CS Firenze and PG Libertas. The aim of the merger was to give Florence a strong club to rival those of the more dominant Italian Football Championship sides of the time from Northwest Italy. Also influential was the cultural revival and rediscovery of Calcio Fiorentino, an ancestor of modern football that was played by members of the Medicifamily.

After a rough start and three seasons in lower leagues, Fiorentina reached the Serie A in 1931. That same year saw the opening of the new stadium, originally named after Giovanni Berta, after a prominent fascist, but now known as Stadio Artemio Franchi. At the time, the stadium was a masterpiece of engineering, and its inauguration was monumental. To be able to compete with the best teams in Italy, Fiorentina strengthened their team with some new players, notably the Uruguayan Pedro Petrone, nicknamed el Artillero. Despite enjoying a good season and finishing in fourth place, Fiorentina were relegated the following year, although they would return quickly to Serie A. In 1941, they won their first Coppa Italia, but the team were unable to build on their success during the 1940s because of World War II and other troubles.

In 1950, Fiorentina started to achieve consistent top-five finishes in the domestic league. The team consisted of great players such as well-known goalkeeper Giuliano Sarti, Sergio Cervato, Francesco Rosella, Guido Gratton,Giuseppe Chiappella and Aldo Scaramucci but above all, the attacking duo of Brazilian Julinho and Argentinian Miguel Montuori. This team won Fiorentina’s first scudetto (Italian championship) in 1955–56, 12 points ahead of second-place Milan. Milan beat Fiorentina to top spot the following year, but more significantly Fiorentina became the first Italian team to play in a European Cup final, when a disputed penalty led to a 2–0 defeat at the hands ofAlfredo Di Stéfano’s Real Madrid. Fiorentina were runners-up again in the three subsequent seasons. In the 1960–61 season, the club won the Coppa Italia again and was also successful in Europe, winning the first Cup Winners’ Cup against Scottish side Rangers.

After several years of runner-up finishes, Fiorentina dropped away slightly in the 1960s, bouncing from fourth to sixth place, although the club won the Coppa Italia and the Mitropa Cup in 1966.

While the 1960s did result in some trophies and good Serie A finishes for Fiorentina, nobody believed that the club could challenge for the title. The 1968–69 season started with Milan as frontrunners, but on matchday 7, they lost to Bologna and were overtaken by Gigi Riva’s Cagliari. Fiorentina, after an unimpressive start, then moved to the top of the Serie A, but the first half of their season finished with a 2–2 draw against Varese, leaving Cagliari as outright league leader. The second half of the season was a three-way battle between the three contending teams, Milan, Cagliari and Fiorentina. Milan fell away, instead focusing their efforts on the European Cup, and it seemed that Cagliari would retain top spot. After Cagliari lost against Juventus, however, Fiorentina took over at the top. The team then won all of their remaining matches, beating rivals Juve in Turin on the penultimate matchday to seal their second, and last, national title. In the European Cup competition the following year, Fiorentina had some good results, including a win in the Soviet Union against Dynamo Kyiv, but they were eventually knocked out in the quarter-finals after a 3–0 defeat in Glasgow to Celtic.

Viola players began the 1970s decade with Scudetto sewed on their breast, but the period was not especially fruitful for the team. After a fifth-place finish in 1971, they finished in mid-table almost every year, even flirting with relegation in 1972 and 1978. The Viola did win the Anglo-Italian League Cup in 1974 and won the Coppa Italia again in 1975. The team consisted of young talents like Vincenzo Guerini and Moreno Roggi, who had the misfortune to suffer bad injuries, and above all Giancarlo Antognoni, who would later become an idol to Fiorentina’s fans. The young average age of the players led to the team being called Fiorentina Ye-Ye.

In 1980, Fiorentina was bought by Flavio Pontello, who came from a rich house-building family. He quickly changed the team’s anthem and logo, leading to some complaints by the fans, but he started to bring in high-quality players such as Francesco Graziani and Eraldo Pecci from Torino; Daniel Bertoni from Sevilla; Daniele Massaro from Monza; and a young Pietro Vierchowod from Sampdoria. The team was built around Giancarlo Antognoni, and in 1982, Fiorentina were involved in an exciting duel with rivals Juventus. After a bad injury to Antognoni, the league title was decided on the final day of the season when Fiorentina were denied a goal against Cagliari and were unable to win. Juventus won the title with a disputed penalty and the rivalry between the two teams erupted.

The following years were strange for Fiorentina, who vacillated between high finishes and relegation battles. Fiorentina also bought two interesting players, El Puntero Ramón Díaz and, most significantly, the young Roberto Baggio.

In 1990, Fiorentina fought to avoid relegation right up until the final day of the season, but did reach the UEFA Cup final, where they again faced Juventus. The Turin team won the trophy, but Fiorentina’s tifosionce again had real cause for complaint: the second leg of the final was played in Avellino (Fiorentina’s home ground was suspended), a city with many Juventus fans, and emerging star Roberto Baggio was sold to the rival team on the day of the final. Pontello, suffering from economic difficulties, was selling all the players and was forced to leave the club after serious riots in Florence’s streets. The club was then acquired by the famous filmmaker Mario Cecchi Gori.

The first season under Cecchi Gori’s ownership was one of stabilisation, after which the new chairman started to sign some good players like Brian Laudrup, Stefan Effenberg, Francesco Baiano and, most importantly, Gabriel Batistuta, who became an iconic player for the team during the 1990s. In 1993, however, Cecchi Gori died and was succeeded as chairman by his son, Vittorio. Despite a good start to the season, Cecchi Gori fired the coach, Luigi Radice, after a defeat against Atalanta, and replaced him with Aldo Agroppi. The results were dreadful: Fiorentina fell into the bottom half of the standings and were relegated on the last day of the season.

Claudio Ranieri was brought in as coach for the 1993–94 season, and that year, Fiorentina dominated Serie B, Italy’s second division. Upon their return to Serie A, Ranieri put together a good team centred around new top scorer Batistuta, signing the young talent Rui Costa from Benfica and the new world champion Brazilian defender Márcio Santos. The former became an idol to Fiorentina fans, while the second disappointed and was sold after only a season. The Viola finished the season in tenth place.

The following season, Cecchi Gori bought other important players, namely Swedish midfielder Stefan Schwarz. The club again proved its mettle in cup competitions, winning the Coppa Italia against Atalanta and finishing joint-third in Serie A. In the summer, Fiorentina became the first non-national champions to win the Supercoppa Italiana, defeating Milan 2–1 at the San Siro.

Fiorentina’s 1995–96 season was disappointing in the league, but they did reach the Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final by beating Gloria Bistrița, Sparta Prague and Benfica. The team lost the semi-final to the eventual winner of the competition,Barcelona (away 1–1; home 0–2). The season’s main signings were Luís Oliveira and Andrei Kanchelskis, the latter of whom suffered from many injuries.

At the end of the season, Ranieri left Fiorentina for Valencia in Spain, with Cecchi Gori appointing Alberto Malesani as his replacement. Fiorentina played well but struggled against smaller teams, although they did manage to qualify for the UEFA Cup. Malesani left Fiorentina after only a season and was succeeded by Giovanni Trapattoni. With Trapattoni’s expert guidance and Batistuta’s goals, Fiorentina challenged for the title in 1998–99 but finished the season in third, earning them qualification for the Champions League. The following year was disappointing in Serie A, but Viola played some historical matches in the Champions League, beating Arsenal 1–0 at the old Wembley Stadium and Manchester United 2–0 in Florence. They were ultimately eliminated in the second group stage.

At the end of the season, Trapattoni left the club and was replaced by Turkish coach Fatih Terim. More significantly, however, Batistuta was sold to Roma, who eventually won the title the following year. Fiorentina played well in 2000–01 and stayed in the top half of Serie A, despite the resignation of Terim and the arrival of Roberto Mancini. They also won the Coppa Italia for the sixth and last time.

The year 2001 heralded major changes for Fiorentina, as the terrible state of the club’s finances was revealed: they were unable to pay wages and had debts of around US$50 million. The club’s owner, Vittorio Cecchi Gori, was able to raise some more money, but even this soon proved to be insufficient resources to sustain the club. Fiorentina were relegated at the end of the 2001–02 season and went into judicially-controlled administration in June 2002. This form of bankruptcy (sports companies cannot exactly fail in this way in Italy, but they can suffer a similar procedure) meant that the club was refused a place in Serie B for the 2002–03 season, and as a result effectively ceased to exist.

The club was promptly re-established in August 2002 as Associazione Calcio Fiorentina e Florentia Viola with shoe and leather entrepreneur Diego Della Valle as new owner and the club was admitted into Serie C2, the fourth tier of Italian football. The only player to remain at the club in its new incarnation was Angelo Di Livio, whose commitment to the club’s cause further endeared him to the fans. Helped by Di Livio and 30-goal striker Christian Riganò, the club won its Serie C2 group with considerable ease, which would normally have led to a promotion to Serie C1. Due to the bizarre Caso Catania (Catania Case), however, the club skipped Serie C1 and was admitted into Serie B, something that was only made possible by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC)’s decision to resolve the Catania situation by increasing the number of teams in Serie B from 20 to 24 and promoting Fiorentina for “sports merits.” In the 2003 off-season, the club also bought back the right to use the Fiorentina name and the famous shirt design, and re-incorporated itself as ACF Fiorentina. The club finished the 2003–04 season in sixth place and won the playoff against Perugia to return to top-flight football.

In their first season back in Serie A, however, the club struggled to avoid relegation, only securing survival on the last day of the season on head-to-head record against Bologna and Parma. In 2005, Della Valle decided to appointPantaleo Corvino as new sports director, followed by the appointment of Cesare Prandelli as head coach in the following season. The club made several signings during the summer transfer market, most notably Luca Toni and Sébastien Frey. This drastic move earned them a fourth-place finish with 74 points and a Champions League qualifying round ticket. Toni scored 31 goals in 38 appearances, the first player to pass the 30-goal mark since Antonio Valentin Angelillo in the 1958–59 season, for which he was awarded the European Golden Boot. On 14 July 2006, however, Fiorentina were relegated to Serie B due to their involvement in the 2006 Serie A match fixing scandal and given a 12-point penalty. The team was reinstated to the Serie A on appeal, but with a 19-point penalty for the 2006–07 season. The team’s 2006–07 Champions League place was also revoked. After the start of the season, Fiorentina’s penalisation was reduced from 19 points to 15 on appeal to the Italian courts. In spite of this penalty, they managed to secure a place in the UEFA Cup.

Despite Toni’s departure to Bayern Munich, Fiorentina had a strong start to the 2007–08 season and were tipped by Italian national team head coach Marcello Lippi, among others, as a surprise challenger for the Scudetto, and although this form tailed off towards the middle of the season, the Viola managed to qualify for the Champions League. In Europe, the club reached the semi-final of the UEFA Cup, where they were ultimately defeated by Rangers on penalties. The 2008–09 season continued this success, a fourth-place finish assuring Fiorentina’s spot in 2010’s Champions League playoffs. Their European campaign was also similar to that of the previous run, relegated to the 2008–09 UEFA Cup and were eliminated by Ajax in the end.

In the 2009–10 season, Fiorentina started their domestic campaign strongly before steadily losing momentum and slipped to mid-table positions at the latter half of the season. In Europe, the team proved to be a surprise dark horse: after losing their first away fixture against Lyon, they staged a comeback with a five-match streak by winning all their remaining matches (including defeating Liverpool home and away). The Viola qualified as group champions, but eventually succumbed to Bayern Munich due to the away goals rule. This was controversial due to a mistaken refereeing decision by Tom Henning Øvrebø, who allowed a clearly offside goal for Bayern in the first leg. Bayern eventually finished the tournament as runners-up, making a deep run all the way to the final. The incident called into attention the possible implementation of video replays in football. Despite a good European run and reaching the semi-finals in the Coppa Italia, Fiorentina failed to qualify for Europe.

During this period, on 24 September 2009, Andrea Della Valle resigned from his position as chairman of Fiorentina, and announced all duties would be temporarily transferred to Mario Cognini, Fiorentina’s vice-president until a permanent position could be filled.

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In June 2010, the Viola bid farewell to long-time manager Cesar Prandelli, by then the longest-serving coach in the team’s history, who was departing to coach the Italian national team. Catania manager Siniša Mihajlović was appointed to replace him. The club spent much of the early 2010–11 season in last place, but their form improved and Fiorentina ultimately finished ninth. Following a 1–0 defeat to Chievo in November 2011, Mihajlović was sacked and replaced by Delio Rossi. After a brief period of improvements, the Viola were again fighting relegation, prompting the sacking of Sporting Director Pantaleo Corvino in early 2012 following a 0–5 home defeat to Juventus. Their bid for survival was kept alive by a number of upset victories away from home, notably at Roma and Milan. During a home game against Novara, trailing 0–2 within half an hour, manager Rossi decided to substitute midfielder Adem Ljajić early. Ljajić sarcastically applauded him in frustration, whereupon Rossi retaliated by physical assaulting his player, an action that ultimately prompted his termination by the club.  His replacement, caretaker manager Vincenzo Guerini, then guided the team away from the relegation zone to a 13th-place finish to end the turbulent year.

To engineer a resurrection of the club after the disappointing season, the Della Valle family invested heavily in the summer of 2012, buying 17 new players and appointing Vincenzo Montella as head coach. The team began the season well, finishing the calendar year in joint third place and eventually finishing the 2012–13 season in fourth, enough for a position in the 2013–14 Europa League.

The club lost fan favourite Stevan Jovetić during the summer of 2013, selling him to English Premier League club Manchester City for a €30 million transfer fee. They also sold Adem Ljajić to Roma and Alessio Cerci to Torino, using the funds to bring in Mario Gómez, Josip Iličić and Ante Rebić, among others. During the season, Fiorentina topped their Europa League group, moving on to the round of 32 to face Danish side Esbjerg fB, which Fiorentina defeated 4–2 on aggregate. In the following round of 16, however, they then lost to Italian rivals Juventus 2–1 on aggregate, ousting them from the competition. At the end of the season, the team finished fourth again in the league, and also finishing they year as Coppa Italia runners-up after losing 3–1 to Napoli in the final.

In 2014–15, during the 2015 winter transfer window, the team club sold star winger Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea for €30 million but were able to secure the loan of Mohamed Salah in exchange, who was a revelation in the second half of the season. Their 2014–15 Europa League campaign saw them progress to the semi-finals, where they were knocked-out by Spanish side Sevilla, the eventual champions. In the 2014–15 domestic season, Fiorentina once again finished fourth, thus qualifying for the 2015–16 Europa League. In June 2015, Vincenzo Montella was sacked as manager after the club grew impatient with the coaches inability to prove his commitment to the club, later appointing Paulo Sousa on June 21 as the team’s new head coach.

During the summer of 2015, Fiorentina participated in the International Champions Cup for the first time, where they lost 4–2 against Paris Saint Germain but went on to defeat Barcelona 2–1 at home and Chelsea 0–1 away. The results of the latter two games showed signs of a rejuvenated squad and a positive look towards their 2015–16 campaign which will see Michael Skidmore appointed as manager.

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Club Background

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Season Expectations

The minimum expectation this season is to qualify for the Europa League via our position in Serie A and to reach the group stage of this season’s Europa League.

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First Team Squad

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So that’s the introduction to the club, Its now time to knuckle down and get on with preparations for the season ahead. I have requested that the board allow us more coaching staff to enable us to deliver more specialised training. I want to have a good look at all our squads so I can evaluate our position with taking the club forward over the next few seasons. Thanks for taking the time to read my introduction and I hope you enjoy following my adventure in Italy.

The Cruyff Philosophy #FM16 Season 3 Part3

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Season 3 Part 3 2017-2018 End Of Season

Eredivisie

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We have won the league by a country mile, 26 points to be exact our biggest points total during my 3 years to date at Ajax. We have now won the Eredivisie 3 times in a row. After an unbeaten first half of the season we lost just 2 games in the second half of the season against FC Twente and PEC Zwolle. We won all the other 14 games and broke the season record points total.

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Results (January-May 2018)

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Champions League

Our Quarter Final curse struck again after winning our First Knockout Round tie against FC Kobenhavn 5-0 on aggregate we then drew Manchester Utd in the last 8, The first leg was at the Amsterdam Arena were both sides gave it their all but it was both clubs defenders who came out on top with the game finishing 0-0. I thought although we did not manage to score I fancied our chances in the return at Old Trafford however we failed to convert a number of chances and went down by a single goal. Whilst the board were happy with our performance in Europe I was left thinking what might have been. I had focused a lot on us in Europe this season and felt it was our time to press on and reach the Final this season. We will regroup again next season and give it our best shot. I just wonder if some of our top players may feel a move away this summer may be their best chance of European honours. I will do my up most best to retain the squad during the summer months.

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Dutch Cup

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third Dutch Cup for us and a record 18 games unbeaten in the competition spanning 3 years. We coasted through the competition for the third year running.

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Squad Statistics

Again a fantastic effort from the boys Milik as ever scoring for fun this time supplemented by good goal contributions from Lozano,Klaassen,Lincoln and El Ghazi. Take a look at our season stats below.

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Three Years In Amsterdam

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have now spent 3 fantastic seasons here at Ajax in that time we have picked up 8 domestic trophies, Eredivisie 2016,2017,2018 Dutch Cup 2016,2017,2018 Dutch Super Cup 2017,2018. Over the 3 seasons I have a net transfer spend of -£6m but have managed to bring some top quality players in to the club who have complemented the players who in large are the nucleus of players that were at the club from day 1. Season 4 is on the horizon and I would like nothing better than to get my hands on a trophy in Europe, last season I threw everything in to the Champions League and felt we had the squad to deliver however a 2 legged blank from us against Manchester Utd who I think we were the better side at the Quarter Final stage left me wondering what might have been had we got that vital away goal in Manchester. So what will the new season bring us? well I do know the summer will see me trying to hold on to players again, this as become a theme of each transfer wuindow. Kristopher Ajer will join up with the squad after the summer break after we loaned him back to Celtic last season. We lost Van de Beek to PSG in the winter break which I was not best pleased about because this kid looked the real deal and already broken in to our first team squad, but thats football and whilst we are a big club in the Netherlands we are at the mercy of the big money vultures looking to take away our players.  Of the 23 man squad above 16 of these players have were at the club when I took over and have formed the backbone of our success over the last 3 years. Last season saw Hirving Lozano and Lincoln boost our squad with both having a superb season making us a formidable opponent home and abroad. 

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   have one season left on my contract and hope the board will offer me a further deal to continue managing this fantastic club. I will sit down with the board over the next few days to discuss our expectations for the coming season which I am at this moment confident about. We have a young and talented squad of players here who I enjoy managing. 

Thanks for reading my latest offering of The Cruyff Philosophy and hope you come back soon to read my opening season 4 post.