The Eibar Model : Another Kind Of Football Is Possible (Season 2 Act 3)


We endured a mixed end to the season finishing in 13th position in the league with 46 points compared to last seasons 11th place finish on 48 points. We created history with a Spanish Cup run that ended with us finishing the season as runners up to Real Madrid.The board are saying they are pleased with my management of the club but I can’t help feeling we should have done better in the league with a number of games running away from us after dominating the game  on the pitch.  Off the pitch we are producing positive results with the club in a superb position financially, in just 2 seasons we have through player sales put the club in a good position, we at the moment accept the fact we are a selling club but we are holding our own in the transfer market buying small and selling big. Has I am writing this post Iker Muniain who we signed on a free as just agreed terms with Newcastle United in an £11m deal.

February 18

February was Carlos Fernandez month his goals gave us a a good month with 3 wins against Valencia 2-0, Celta Vigo 1-0 and Deportivo 4-0. We drew 0-0 against Getafe and lost 0-1 to Atlético Madrid. We also reached the Spanish Cup Final despite losing our second leg 1-2 against Real Betis.


March 18

Just 3 games in March with us starting the month with a 0-0 draw at Granada. Next up was the Basque Derby against Real Sociedad which we won 2-1 with both forwards Rescaldani and Fernandez with the goals. We ended the month with a disappointing 0-2 defeat at struggling Real Oviedo.


April 18

Six league games 1 win, 1 draw and 4 defeats have made April a month to forget. The month got underway with a 1-1 draw against high flying Espanyol who got a very late equaliser in a game we dominated. Next up the derby against Athletic Club and a performance which produced my worst defeat on any FM release, a 2-7 drubbing in a game which we well and truly got countered with our fellow Basques looking like they would score with every shot. The game left me thinking that my time at the club was nearing it’s end, however I lifted the boys to a 2-1 win in our next game at Levante which would be our last points of the month with us losing our next 3 games Malaga 1-2, Sevilla 1-2 and Champions elect 1-4 at Real Madrid.


May 18

We entered the last month of the season with a good 3-0 win at home against Las Palmas which lifted the squad before we ended our league campaign with a good 1-1 draw at Villarreal. We then finished the season with the Spanish Cup Final at the Camp Nou against Real Madrid. We lost the game 1-3 after we held Madrid at 1-1 until we fell to two Madrid goals in the last 10 minutes of the game. I told the lads to hold their heads high after a superb effort.



Player Statistics 

Top Scorers

Carlos Fernandez 15 Goals

Sergi Enrich 14 Goals

Iker Muniain 8 Goals


Florian Lejeune 7.36

Iker Muniain 7.20





We have moved back in to our ground after the expansion is completed. The board have announced that they are too build a new stadium.



Job Offer

I have declined the approach from Sevilla after they parted company with Marcelo Bielsa who took the job after the club parted company with Jorge Sampaoli.


Under 19’s Title Win

Nice to see the future of the club is producing on the pitch.


The Under 21’s are developing nicely with the vast majority just 17 years old. This coming season will see a few of the older players go out on loan to gain first team experience. These boys are the future of the club.

The Eibar Model So Far :

2016-2017 Liga BBVA 11th Position Copa Del Rey 5th Round

2017-2018 Liga BBVA 13th Position Copa Del Rey Runners-up


Thanks for taking the time to check our progress, we are entering pre season with an aim to continue to stabalise the club in the top division by improving on our first 2 seasons at the club. I have to say the enjoyment I am getting from this save is probably the best of any previous save. There is definitely nothing more satisfying than having to battle your way through bad patches of results and be prudent with the finances of the club. My first team squad are on wages between £1500 minimum to £28000 maximum which I am keen to keep control of.

A Season 3 Pre Season Post Will Follow In The Next Few Days.

The Eibar Model : Another Kind Of Football Is Possible (Season 2 Act 2 )


Well it’s been an interesting few months at the club with us being hit by a large number of injuries we have had to dig deep and use a number of 16 and 17 year olds so without further a do let’s have a look at what’s happened since my last update.

August / September 17

We kicked the season off with a 2-0 win against Real Betis followed by a 0-0 draw at Sporting Gijón before a fantastic 3-2 win against FC Barcelona. Forgive me for thinking we are looking good. Two away defeats to Valencia 0-1 and Atlético Madrid 1-2 didn’t extinguish my optimism for the season ahead then a 0-0 draw against Celta Vigo and injuries to Sergi Enrich and Carlos Fernandez left us with a bad taste.


October 17

A difficult month started with two defeats against Deportivo 1-2 and Getafe 0-1 and another forward Rescaldani injured. We then picked a point up with a 0-0 draw against Granada. Next up a Basque derby against Real Sociedad and a makeshift front line with Iker Muniain playing in the defensive forward role and scoring the only goal of the game to give us a 1-0 win after an incredible backs to the wall performance. We ended the month with a 1-0 defeat to Real Oviedo after being reduced to ten men with Dani García red carded for a shocking tackle.


November 17

Just three games this month with the first a 0-1 defeat against Levante with the squad looking jaded a team meeting was needed to try and give the squad a boost. A welcome return to the side for Sergi Enrich for the 1-1 draw against high flying Espanyol,and yes you guessed it Enrich got our goal before limping off in the dying minutes with a slight knock. Another makeshift front line for the derby against Athletic Club and a 0-2 defeat that leaves us in 17th position in the table and a possibility of a relegation battle. Time to roll the sleeves up and dig deep.



December 17

Despite opening the month with a 1-3 defeat to Malaga, we start to show what we are made of with our forwards returning from injury. The Spanish Cup pitted us against Huesca who we beat 2-0 away and 2-1 at home to advance to the next round. We pulled off a super 2-2 draw against Real Madrid who were fortunate to grab a point with a last gasp equaliser to deny us all 3 points. Next a 0-2 defeat to a classy looking Sevilla side led by Marcelo Bielsa. We then played a friendly againt Cacereno which gave me the chance to give some game time to our fringe players including 16 year old forward Angel Leal who netted for us in a 2-0 win. We then ended the month and year with a 1-1 draw against Las Palmas.


January 18

A new year and a newly found belief and my best month results wise since I joined the club. The Spanish Cup 5th round 1st leg game against Numancia 0-0 got the month under way before a 2-1 win against Villarreal gained us much needed 3 points. Back to Cup action next and a Sergi Enrich goal put us through to the Quarter Final with a 1-0 aggregate win over Numancia. A last gasp Dani García goal gave us another 3 points with a 1-0 result against Sporting Gijón. Quarter Final action next and a 2-0 win at El Madrigal against Villarreal. A 3-2 win at Real Betis continued our new found form with goals from Carlos Fernandez 2 and Javi Castellano. 2nd leg against Villarreal ended 1-1 which sets up a Semi Final tie against Real Betis. Before the Semi Final we had a trip to Camp Nou to contend with which produced a seven goal thriller with us losing out to a last minute Luis Suarez strike which flattered Barcelona. We most definitely deserved something out of that game however we hold our heads high. Last game of the month the Spanish Cup Semi Final 1st leg away at Real Betis and a 3-1 win puts us on the brink of history.


League Table

Has you can see we are in 14th position and need to continue improving to move away from the relegation zone.



Transfer News 

I have secured the loan signing of Esteban Granero from Real Sociedad, Granero is available on a free transfer so I will decide if we will make him a permanent member of our squad later in the season. Granero brings with him guile and experience in playing the Spanish way.


I have also added Trabzonspor playmaker Mehmet Ekici to our ranks for £6.5m a club record transfer. Mehmet along with Granero gives us some much needed quality in depth, he is also a dead ball specialist.


Leaving the club midfielder Adrian Gonzalez has joined FC Porto for £6.75m and 17 year old youth intake goalkeeper Josu Bilbao has been signed by Bayern Munich for £2.9m with a possibility of rising to £14m with add ons which I am very pleased about. Josu will remain at the club in the Under 19’s on loan. I tried to keep him but the lure of playing for Bayern was too much for the youngster to turn down.



I must say I am really enjoying the challenges this save is throwing up and hope the next few months are as exhilarating as the last few. There is something special that bonds you too a club and I am feeling that at the moment with the ups and downs we are encountering. The next youth intake is round the corner so I am looking forward to that. Thanks for taking the time to read this update and hope you look out for our end of season round up later this week.

The Eibar Model : Another Kind Of Football Is Possible (Season 2 Act 1) #FM17


After my debut season with the club ended it was time to reflect on last season on the pitch. I started the season with a system in my mind it was a the very same system I had used with Villarreal on FM16 which was basically a 4-2-2-2 / 4-4-2 with a double pivot in the Defensive Midfield strata. Whilst the players adapted to the system it was clear to see as the season panned out that we lacked a spark in a couple of areas. Whilst we had lots of possession in games we failed to turn it in to good possession often struggling to find that killer pass or having sufficient numbers in the attacking third. So what was a very successful tactic at Villarreal turned us in to a bit of a boring side who failed to get the best out of what I think was the key positions in the side. At Villarreal I had two defensive midfielders who I built the team around, they were Bruno and Rhodri both very good technical players who transitioned extremely well from defence to attack with both having very high passing attributes, they were the engine of the team compared to my double pivot at Eibar Dani García and Gonzalo Escalante  (until his move to Tottenham in January £10.75m). Whilst García and Escalante performed well in the defensive phase they lacked that spark to drive us forward. Secondly at Villarreal I had two explosive wide players in Denis Cheryshev and Sam Castillejo playing as attacking wingers and two forwards in Roberto Soldado and Cedric Bakambu who scored goals for fun. So anyway to pre season I decided to put together a system that gives us more energy putting us on the front foot, so I decided that I would put together a system based on the philosophy of Jorge Sampaoli a disciple of Marcelo Bielsa. I won’t go in to too much detail about the tactic but basically it’s a 5-3-1-1 formation with an emphasis on playing out from the back and an aggressive press using a high defensive line. I want us to take control of games and make our opponents time on the ball hell by pressing the play deep in our opponents half.

Link to tactic :

Transfer News 

I have managed to bring £40.5m in to the club from player sales, the players moving on are: Takeshi Inua £12m, Bebe £6.25m, Ruben Peña £3.5m, Pedro Leon £5.75m, Kike £3.1m and Nano £9.75m.

I have spent £2.7m in bringing the following players in to tbe club, defender Alex Salto £0, forward Ezequiel Rescaldani 400k, goalkeeper Yoel 875ķ, forward Iker Muniain £0, Javi Castellano £0, Pedro Ros 950k and midfielder Jon Gaztanaga 450k. Obviously the stand out transfer is that of Muniain who was released by Athletic Club.




The finances have had a boost with the £40m  generated by player sales. The money as put the club in a very healthy financial position however a tight reign must be kept on the purse strings. Since being at the club I have managed to bring in just over £50m in player sales.


Season Expectations 

Again the board are looking for a mid table finish and a 5th round showing in the Copa Del Rey. I feel it’s a fair assessment of were we are at as a club however I am aiming for a European spot which would be a fantastic achievement for the club with us playing our home games in San Sebastian due to our ground expansion.


Pre Season Games


Pleased with the pre season and how the squad are looking comfortable with the new system, the new additions have had some good game time. I am hoping we hit the ground running as the season gets underway.

Well that completes my quick update my next post will see how we have gone on during the first half of the season.


Verticalità 17 A Tactical Philosophy Inspired By Jorge Sampaoli #FM17


I am releasing this post due to the interest from the FM Community since I tweeted it last week. I am not in any way claiming that this is a super tactic that you can just plug and play and win a lorry load of titles. It’s the framework of a tactic that works for me at SD Eibar based on the philosophy of Jorge Sampaoli a disciple of Marcelo Bielsa who I hold in high regard. In FM16 I created a tactic based on Bielsa’s philosophy which I named Verticalità after Bielsa’s vision of Verticality. So this year’s version is simply named Verticalità 17. This year’s version follows many of the same principles of last year’s with a few changes along the way. A lot of people feel that you can’t translate Juego De Posicion  (Positional Play) in to FM. I disagree with this thought process. Every one of us has who plays FM and creates a tactic have our own mechanisms and instil our own ideas on how we want our system to play. The stupidly named football hipsters (sorry I think the term stinks so I apologise to any football hipsters) will correctly tell you that juego de posicion is a concept that instructs players to play within certain zones determined by the position of the ball, made famous by Josep Guardiola. We all know about how managers like Guardiola, Tuchel,Schimidt,Sampaoli, Bielsa and Co have made the system work but how do we translate that in to the game? I have had many a conversation with Saadiq Bey @Rovazzz about juego de posicion and the conclusion we come to is that if you think about any game of football what ever the systems being played, you use some sort of positional play just by setting your team up. So back to my interpretation of juego de posicion Sampaoli style. I want to control the game with or without the ball through agressive pressing to gain possession in the opponents half whilst blocking passing lanes. I want to build from the back using a high defensive line, I want my wing backs to overlap to create width whilst my midfield push on to create space for my forwards. I want to press the life out of the opposition whilst attacking on the front foot.

I have had a few people test the tactic and received some excellent feedback from all but this message received tonight gives me great satisfaction:


That message alone makes it all worthwhile, so below you can find the details to create the tactic in its rawest form so you can mould it to your club and players until your heart is content. This is the easy to follow framework to create my Jorge Sampaoli Verticalità 17.

The Framework 5-3-1-1 


Team Instructions


Opposition Instructions

Simple closing down all positions.


Training Once Tactic Is Fluid

I personally like to switch my training around on a 2 week rotation giving all categories good coverage. I keep match tactics to Defensive Positioning all season.


Individual Training

I set individual training to the specific player position.

Average Positions Without Ball


Average Positions With Ball


Please remember that this tactic is not intended to be a super tactic and requires you to watch your games and analyse what’s happening on the pitch during the game.

Thanks for reading and feel free to give me feedback from your experience if you use the tactic.


Look out for my next update in the next few days has SD Eibar enter season 2 with our new system.

The Eibar Model: Another Kind Of Football Is Possible (Season 1 Act 2) #FM17


Welcome to my end of season post as the curtain comes down on my first at Eibar. So on to the January transfer window, we lost midfielder Gonzalo Escalante to Tottenham Hotspur for £10.75m rising to £13.5m with add ons. It was a big loss to our midfield but the money received makes the loss a lot easier to take. I invested £2m of it back in to the squad with the signing of 20 year old forward  Carlos Fernandez from Sevilla B.



January 17

A 2-6 aggregate result against Real Madrid put paid to our hopes of progress in the Copa Del Rey. Four league games produced one win against Real Hispalls 1-0, two draws against Las Palmas 1-1 and Sevilla 3-3 and 1 defeat at the hands of Malaga 0-1. The highlight of the month was Carlos Fernandez scoring a brace against his old club just days after joining us. Despite only 1 win in the month we are playing well and hope to build on the form.


February 17

Well we continue to play well and start the month winning the Basque derby against Athletic Club 3-2 with a last minute Nano goal. This would be our only win in a difficult month against the top sides in Spain, we go on to draw 1-1 against both Villarreal and Atlético Madrid. We lost too Spanish giants Real Madrid 4-5 and Barcelona at home 2-3. The squad went toe to toe with our opponents this month and with a bit of luck could have had a better return. I am pleased with the signing of Carlos Fernandez he returned 3 goals but has given us a different option up top with the ability to play in a number of roles. Fernandez was our player of the month.


March 17

A change of fortune this month with 3 wins against struggling Sporting Gijón 2-1, Alavés 2-0 and Leganes 3-2. Atlético Pamplona inflicted the one defeat this month with a 0-1 result. 3 more Fernandez goals continued his great start at the club. The team fully deserved their 3 wins this month after they continued to perform on the pitch. Player of the month was captain Dani García who was majestic in our midfield.


April 17

A busy month stretched our squad with six games that produced 1 win 2-0 against Real Sociedad, another Basque derby win. Three draws against Deportivo 0-0, Celta Vigo 1-1 and Espanyol 2-2. Two defeats this month against Valencia 1-2 and Granada 2-3. Ander Capa was our player of the month after a fantastic month which produced 2 goals and 2 assists including an injury time equaliser against Celta Vigo.


May 17

The last two games of the season and four valuable points the first game was a 2-2 draw with Real Madrid followed by a last day 5-1 hammering of Las Palmas.


Player Of The Season 

Ander Capa 7.36 Avg 6 Goals 13 Assists

Top Scorers

Nano 20 Goals

Carlos Fernandez 10 Goals

Sergi Enrich 9 Goals

Final Table 16-17

We finished 11th in the table after grinding out some super results in the 2nd half of the season.


New Contract

I was starting to wonder if they would offer a new contract but they did and it gives me two more seasons to build on my first season at the club.


Training Facilities Upgrade

A welcome upgrade of the training facilities.


Stadium Expansion

We are going to play our home games next season at our Basque neighbours Real Sociedad’s Anoeta ground whilst our own ground is expanded to 15.000 capacity to bring us in line with the minimum requirements of the Spanish FA.


Youth Intake

Very pleased with our first intake of players, we have some good talent to develop for our future.









Well that’s our first season over its been enjoyable however we need to push on from here. I have taken a good look at our games and decided that a change in formation is needed, whilst we dominated possession in fact we led the whole division in possession stats I feel we didn’t make enough progress in the final third and looked fragile at the back, so I have introduced an high pressing 5-3-1-1 system which I will talk about in my next post. I can tell you now pre season as started at Eibar with a number of players exiting the club in a very busy couple of months, So until next time thanks for reading and lookout for our season two opening post later this week.


The Eibar Model : Another Type Of Football Is Possible (Season 1 Act 1) #FM17



Welcome to my opening Eibar post, it’s been an enjoyable opening to the season.




Team Kit 

eibar-h eibar-a eibar-t





The Squad (First Team Overview)

The squad looks a lot better than I expected, we have some quality players in the first team squad, it’s now up to me to get the squad playing to their potential.






























I am going to have to be prudent with the finances, at least the club is debt free.


Season Expectation

The board are looking for a mid table finish and a place in the 5th round of the Copa.



I brought 2 players in to the club, 19 year old midfielder Ferran Sarsanedas from Barcelona B joined for £100k and 19 year old forward Fran Navarro joined from Valencia B for £200k. Both players will add depth to the squad with the long term future set in mind.



Pre Season 

We had a very good pre season with the squad getting good game time, however the real test will come when the season starts.


Season 16-17

August / September 16

Well we got underway with a hard fought draw against Malaga but we only managed one win against Villarreal 3-1,  out of the six games up to the end of September. We lost against Sevilla 0-4, Real Hispalls 0-1,Athletic Club 2-6, Barcelona 0-4. A tough start by no means of the imagination, despite the results the team are actually playing well but not finishing the chances we are creating and shipping silly goals at the back. The form of Forward Nano is a positive, he looks to be staking a claim for a starting position up top every week. Player of the month Nano.


October 16

A much better month  with 3 wins out of 5 against Alavés 4-0,Sporting Gijón 3-0 and Leganes 1-0. Two defeats came at the hands of Atlético Madrid 0-3 and Atlético Pamplona 0-2. Dissatisfied with the way we lost to Pamplona our worst performance of the season to date. Player of the month full back Ander Capa. Injuries to Jota, Bebe, Rivera and Nano ment squad rotation was required.


November 16

November brought just 3 league games which produced 1 win 4-1 against Valencia, 1 draw 2-2 against Córdoba and 1 defeat a 0-2 at the hands of Celta Vigo. We also drew our Copa del Rey 4th round 1st leg tie 1-1 at home to Deportivo. Player of the month Dani García, alongside Escalante in the middle of the park García is looking a valuable player in our system.


December 16

We started the month with a 2-2 draw in the Basque derby against Real Sociedad thanks to a last minute equaliser from in form Escalante. We then went to the Riazor for the return leg of the Copa against Deportivo and put in the best performance so far in my opinion this season, we won the game 2-0 with goals from Bebe and Nano in a game which we had 70% possession. We then entertained Espanyol at home and played out a 0-0 draw. We ended the year with a disappointing 0-1 defeat at home to Granada leaving us with a monthly record of no wins, 2 draws and a defeat in the league. Escalante was our player of the month.


Liga BBVA 

So we have ended the year in 15th position in the table.


Stadium Expansion

Much needed extra revenue with the extra seats.



I have learnt more in 6 months with Eibar than any other 6 months on any other save, I thought that at this point in the season we would be better placed in the table but looking at it now it’s taking longer than I expected to introduce my system in to the club, if you watch the games we have played the squad are playing well however we are not finishing the chances we are creating and making silly mistakes at the back. In 3 games we have been reduced to ten men, we have given away 4 penalties and had a good number of injuries, that said it’s down to how I manage the squad and implement the system. On the player front we are entering the January transfer window and already Gonzalo Escalante is being tracked by PSG, Tottenham and Lazio and as already asked me to accept a bid if PSG put one in for him. I am tracking a 19 year old forward who I think can play in my Verticalita system that I have been working on with the under 19 squad. 2017 will bring a new tweaked version of the Verticalita land in The Basque Country. I look forward to the challenge and hope I can improve on my first few months at the helm of this superb club.

Thanks for reading, for anyone who is unfamiliar with my Verticalita system you can read about my 2016 version here

The 2017 version as had a makeover and will be revealed soon.