Pre Season Round Up
Another pre season under our belts and a chance to blow the cobwebs off, with the successful campaign ĺast season our pre season incorporates both the Italian Supercoppa and European Super Cup games so we had 6 matches to get ourselves ready for both Final’s which are back to back before our final pre season game against Real Madrid. I always try to get good game time for the whole squad and also look to make any tweaks to the system. To be honest I did not set out to make any tweaks however due to a few injuries and match fitness I found myself trying out a couple of tweaks to our 4-3-3 formation, usually the front 3 are made up of a complete forward and two inside forwards but I used a complete forward, a shadow striker and a central attacking midfielder. The formation now resembles a Xmas tree. So with the new formation in place we put it in to practice for our first game which was away at Swiss side Étoile Carouge FC, a game which we won at a canter 6-0 whilst giving starts to a number of Under 20’s players with a few 1st team squad players involved. Assane Knoukouri grabbed himself a hat-trick playing in the box to box role in the centre owhich f our midfield, Andrea Pinamonti netted a brace and Federico Dimarco got himself a goal. The narrower formation seemed to work nicely allowing both full backs to create the width but a tougher test against stronger opposition is required. Up next we entertained FC Porto at the Giuseppe Meazza and we ran out 5-0 winners with Luciano Vietto grabbing an hat-trick playing in the shadow striker role behind Pinamonti. I kept the same combination for our next game away at Vitesse which we raced in to a 3-0 lead before the break with both Pinamonti 2 and Vietto getting the goals. At half time I made sweeping changes giving the Under 20’s lads a run out which went well despite conceding 2 late goals. Sheffield Wednesday were our hosts for our next game which I gave starts to our 2 new signings Thomas Lemar and Matheus Pereira, Morata played up top with Lemar playing in the shadow striker role and Pereira in the attacking midfield position. Both newcomers got on the scoresheet with Morata in a 3-0 win. I reverted back to our 4-3-3 with inside forwards for the trip to Holland which produced a 7-0 win over FC Groningen which produced 4 goals for Vietto and a hat-trick for Andrija Zivkovic. The last warm up game before the Supercoppa and European Super Cup Finals was at A.C Lumezzane which gave me the opportunity to give a run out to a both Jovetic and Laporte who were recovering from injuries. We won the game 3-0 with goals from Laporte, Morata and Pereira. Juventus and Valencia next which you can read about below before we finished pre season with a home game against Real Madrid which we won 3-1 courtesy of goals by Thiago 2 and Jovetic.
Pre Season Results
I purchased 2 players in the window 24 year old French Attacking Midfielder Thomas Lemar £28.5m from AS Monaco, and 21 year old Brazilian Attacking Midfielder Matheus Pereira £17.5m from Corinthians. Both players can play in a number of roles which gives us a good selection of attacking options.
The biggest name leaving the club was Croatian International Ivan Perisic who as joined Leicester City after his desire to play more matches left me with the decision to allow the 30 year old to move on and hopefully adapt to life in England.
Former player Zlatan Ibrahimović has joined our coaching staff, the big Swede will join our team of specialist coaches and will concentrate his coaching skills coaching in the ball control area of our schedule.
The board have expressed their expectations and it comes as no surprise that they expect us to win the title again whilst reaching the semi finals of the Champions League.
A two minute salvo in the second half from Thiago (74th) and John Stones (76th) gave us a 2-0 win against our big rival’s Juventus. It’s always nice to add a piece of silverware to the trophy room after a win against your rivals. Juventus have had the edge on us in the last few games against each other so the victory was all the more sweeter.
European Super Cup
A trip to England for the European Super Cup Final at Southampton’s St.Marys against Valencia. It was a night to remember for both our Full Backs Yuto Nagatomo and Alex Telles who both scored our goals in a 2-0 win against the Europa League Winners. Telles got his goal in the first half with captain Nagatomo capping a man of the match performance with his goal in the second period.
We have reached the winter break 7 points a drift of leaders Juventus with 2 games in hand due to our commitments in Mexico for the World Club Championship. We have lost 3 games has we struggled a little in juggling the squad a little with our Champions League campaign but that’s no excuse we have lost fair and square away from home to 2nd placed Sampdoria 0-2, leaders Juventus 0-1 and Milan 0-3 along with 2 goalless draws at home against Palermo and Cagliari. Luciano Vietto has scored 10 goals for us in the league with Domenico Berardi scoring 9 with 5 of them coming against Chievo in a 6-0 win. We need to pull our socks up in the league if we are to retain our title. Special mention for Parma who are back in the top flight.
Serie A Results
Champions League Draw
Champions League Results
We started the campaign off with a 1-0 win in Milano against Real Madrid with Alvaro Morata haunting them yet again with our goal. Celtic were our hosts and Celtic Park was silenced in the first period of the game with us going in at the break 4-0 up with goals from Morata 2, Zivkovic and a Armstrong own goal. We went in to the away game with AS Monaco full of confidence and came away with our biggest defeat since I have been at the club with the team from Ligue 1 hammering us 5-1 with Pereira getting our goal. We got the chance to get revenge in the following game as Monaco visited us for the turn around fixture. Again they were a threat but this time we looked strong at the back with the game ending all square at 0-0. A visit to the Santiago Bernabeu for our game against Real Madrid produced a six goal thriller with us taking the spoils 4-2 with Vietto 2 and Neves scoring our goals and an own goal by Ricardo Rodriguez. Last game in the group was at home to Celtic which we won 3-1 to top the group with goals coming from Pereira, Stones and Berardi. The Knockout round draw paired us with Atlético Madrid who we played in last year’s Semi Final, we know this will be a difficult tie and will have to be at our best over the 2 legs if we want to advance any further in the competition.
World Club Championship (Mexico 2019)
We travelled to Mexico for the World Club Championship and played Club America the Mexican club in front of 91,653 supporters for the Semi Final tie which we won with ease. Alvaro Morata capped a fine display by netting a hat-trick in the 5-1 win. Unfortunately the Mexican side did not help themselves with 2 own goals.
95,000 packed in to the Azteca to see us play Brazilian club Corinthians for the right to be called World Club Champions. I told the boys to go and win it for the fans and the wasted no time has we ran in to a 3-0 lead via Berardi, Vietto and Gnoukouri in the first 15 minutes. The Brazilians were left bewildered as we pressed for more but they held out until the break. After the break Corinthians had a few long range efforts before they gifted us with an own goal that knocked the stuffing out of them. Vietto added a 2nd before a late consolation goal from the Brazilians, 5-1 and we were crowned World Club Champions picking up our third piece of silverware of the season so far.
A great start to our season with us delivering the 12th trophy of my reign at the club which is in its fifth year. After the winter break we need to improve our league form to try and go for our third title in succession and overturn the lead Juve have at the top. We also have a tough Champions League game coming up against Atlético Madrid. The transfer window as just opened and Manchester City have unsettled goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stegan after they put a derisory offer in for him. After I turned it down Ter Stegan came knocking about how he was disappointed that I had rejected the offer because he wanted to join a big club. Well I have told him he can go if they match my value of him. I think it will be an interesting window as interest in a few of our players is high. Thanks for reading and hope you will be back soon to see how our season pans out. Arriverderchi
The Story So Far
2019-2020 Supercoppa Winners – European Super Cup Winners – World Club Championship Winners
2018-2019 Serie A Champions – Champions League Winners – Supercoppa Winners
2017-2018 Serie A Champions – Coppa Italia Winners – European Super Cup Winners – Supercoppa Runners Up
2016-2017 Serie A Runners Up – Europa Lge Winners – Supercoppa Winners – Coppa Italia Runners Up
2015-2016 Serie A Runners Up – Coppa Italia Winners