Bella Jovetic (Beautiful Jovetic) were the cries of the Inter tifosi has he scored a quality finish to give us a 1-0 win against Juventus in the Supercoppa final.
U.S Sassuolo were our hosts for our opening pre season game, I fielded a mix of first team and Under 20 squad players for this game which we won 2-0 with goals from Zivkovic and Palacio in the second half. Overall we had a good run out and never looked like conceding. Dutch Eredivisie club AZ entertained us next and we produced another good performance running out 4-0 winners with goals from Perisic,Miranda,Palacio and new signing Eric Bailly on his debut. Another away game next against Lega Pro B club L’Aquila Calcio 1927 based in central Italy. We ran out 5-0 winners giving 22 players a run out during the game, our goals came via Perisic, Santon, Kondogbia 2 and new Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka. On to Belgium next and the home of R.F.C Wetteren, the Marcel De Kerpelstadion was the backdrop for our 8-0 win. Zivkovic 4, Palacio 2, Berardi and Kondogbia all on target in a game were we utilised the whole bench giving valuable minutes to the whole squad. Next was to be our biggest test yet of the pre season has we welcomed Real Madrid to Milano, Real fielded a strong side but played second fiddle to us has we warmed up for the Supercoppa match against Juventus with a 4-2 win against the Spanish side. Berardi scored a super hat-trick with Perisic getting our other goal in in a fine display. Next was the Supercoppa match which you can read about below. So our final pre season game was against Centre d’Esports l’Hospitalet the Spanish Segunda League club, I fielded 6 Under 20 squad players for the game that we won 3-0. Pjaca and Kondogbia along with an own goal rounded off our pre season schedule which I feel went well in getting players match fit for the season ahead.
Real Madrid Won 4-2
The Supercoppa final was a chance for us to lay down a marker for the season ahead against a Juventus side with new signing Pierre Emerick Aubameyang making his debut for the Old Lady from Turin. The Olympic Stadium was the venue, I named my team 24 hours before the game with both Mauro Icardi (Argentina) and Ruben Neves (Portugal) both away on International duty at the Olympics. I went with my tried and tested 4-3-3 with Handanovic in goal and a back four of Telles,Santon,Miranda and new signing Bailly, a midfield 3 of new boy Xhaka,Kondogbia and Medel behind a front 3 of Palacio and new boy Berardi in the inside forward positions supporting Jovetic up top.
After a confident start on 14 minutes Jovetic scored with a deft touch from close range after a spell of quality passing and interchanging involving Telles, Berardi and Palacio. Juve created a few chances of their own but we limited them to long range efforts before the break. Palacio and Berardi brought quality saves from Buffon after the restart. Our midfield out muscled Juve for much of the 2nd half to their frustration before we seen the game out late on by keeping the ball. So a 1-0 win to open our campaign and add some silverware to the trophy room. I was extremely pleased with the performance and feel we should be a contender for the title if we can manage both our domestic and European campaign by utilising our whole squad through the season.
The Season Ahead
Director Of Football
Our Director Of Football Piero Ausilio has moved to sign Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid, Odegaard will go straight in to our first team squad to start his development at the club. Ausilio has a list of targets that fit the D.N.A of my Bielsa inspired system.
Well we have had a busy end to the transfer window with 3 players leaving the club and 1 loan signing coming in, D’Ambrosio has joined Benfica, Enzo Rocco has joined Aston Villa and Davide Santon has joined Bayern Munich. Santon pressed for the move so I let him go, he wanted a big club move. Full back Gino Peruzzi has joined us on loan from PSG to provide cover. With the window now shut we can concentrate on achieving our goals for the season. We have a net transfer spend of £46m which I am pleased with because I feel we have improved the squad.
With players leaving it as freed up space in our squad for a few youngsters to step in and get some valuable game time to aid their development. I have promoted the following players in to the first team squad, 18 year old Federico Dimarco, 19 year old Assane Gnoukari, 17 year old Martin Odegaard and 20 year old George Puskas. Its a superb opportunity for these young lads to grow in to our system likewise we have more young players in our ranks who can break in to the first team squad.
The Champions League Draw has been made we have been drawn with Benfica, Manchester United and Panathinaikos.
The Serie A Season is underway we opened the season away at Fiorentina and after a goal less first half we stepped up our game in the 2nd half to win the game 4-0 with goals from Kondogbia, Santon (before leaving), Xhaka and Pjaca. Kondogbia stole the show with a superb performance in the middle of the park.
Next up Lazio visited The Meazza and it was Kondogbia again with a man of the match performance, he opened the scoring after 32 minutes. We got a second 3 minutes before half time via Serbian Inside Forward Andrija Zivkovic. With Kondogbia running the midfield we extended our lead in the 48th minute through Granit Xhaka. Lazio got a consolation goal in the 54th minute but it was not enough to get them back in to the game.
We go in to the International break in positive mood after our opening 2 games, the season promises to be interesting with a squad made up of quality players and young development players who I hope can make their mark home and abroad. Thanks for reading and thanks for all the messages discussing FM. I will be back soon with a post during the winter break, until then