FM20 : ‘The Pride Of Galicia’ (2)

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Welcome to the second blog post of my Celta de Vigo save. I am sure most FM players will be clocking the hours up on their saves due to the lockdown which hopefully is keeping everyone in good spirits.

1587988556409_trimmedIn my first post I touched upon that I have changed the way how I build my tactical systems and I have to say how much I am enjoying the change. The board wanted us to finish in a mid table position but I wanted us to push for a European qualification place and thought that with players at my disposal this was achievable however I did not expect the start that we made.

From the start of the 19/20 season we managed to go 16 games unbeaten in La Liga that included a 2-1 win against Real Madrid at the Balaídos with Iago Aspas scoring a stunning 74th minute winner from a free kick.

Our first defeat of the season came at the hands of reigning champions FC Barcelona at Camp Nou who scored a late winner to inflict a 1-0 defeat upon us after a spirited performance from us in the back garden of the Leagues top team.

In our opening 18 matches we had 10 wins with 7 draws and just the 1 defeat in the Camp Nou. What was all the more satisfying was that in those opening 18 matches we had 11 clean sheets and had only conceded 8 goals which was without doubt the catalyst for our great start to the season. The regular back four of Olaza, Araujo,Aidoo and Mallo have been fantastic add to that Rafinha pulling the strings in the middle of the park and our talimatic forward Iago Aspas both creating and finishing chances we have found ourselves punching above our weight.

Using a 4231 and a 442 formation we had opened the season playing a style of football that I can describe as being influenced by Arrigo Sacchi the former Milan manager who changed the way Italian Football was viewed from the outside. I have never hid my love of Milan from being in Serie B through to the glory years of Sacchi, Capello and Ancelotti through to the present day struggles that the club find themselves in today.

Sacchi’s Milan left a mark on me with an attacking system that you may think is bizarre that I call Total Defence. Sacchi Milan was built on a backline that included two of my all time favourites in Franco Baresi and Paulo Maldini who worked the backline like a dream using the offside system to great effect.

What was particularly apparent about Sacchi’s system was how compact the lines worked together equaliy in both Defensive and Attacking structure. Despite the system being built on a Total Defence the system its self was very attack minded with Sacchi being influenced by the Dutch Totaal Voetbal philosophy played by the Ajax of Michels and Cruyff but also the efficiency of the Liverpool of Bob Paisley.

Sacchi had at his disposal a group of players who would go on to be some of the best of their generation that included the aforementioned Baresi and Maldini but included the Dutch trio of  Gullit, Van Basten and Rijkaard along with the talented Ancelotti, Donadoni and the underrated Galli, Tassotti, Costacurta and Colombo.

See below image taken from my forthcoming series and created on Sharemytactics.com :

Total Defence – The Arrigo Sacchi Influence (to be released later this year)

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My systems are based on the above image and what I am doing is looking at player traits more than ever and is one of the Layers in how I am now building a tactical system. I don’t want to get too deep about the system because like I said above I am already writing about my tactics for a series that will come out later this year called Total Defence – The Arrigo Sacchi Influence and within that series I explain my new system of building a tactic layer by layer.

Let’s get back on track with Celta de Vigo and the first half of the season which saw us develop some excellent partnerships out on the pitch non less so than Nestor Araujo and Joseph Aidoo at the centre of our defence with both players playing the majority of our matches today making a great partnership.

A 10-1 win against Levante was followed by our most difficult run with just 1 win in 7 matches drawing 5 and the loss in Camp Nou.

Entering the Christmas break I was not only looking at our current campaign but I was now planning for next season and beyond and one of the biggest problems that I was posed with was that our 1st team squad consisted of a lot of loan signings made before I joined the club which I needed to access. 1200px-RC_Celta_de_Vigo_logo.svg

  • Fedor Smolov – On loan from Lokomotiv Moscow and not in my long term plans after failing to perform when leading the line in the first few months of life at the club. Smolov will return to Russia in June.
  • Lucas Olaza – On loan from Boca Juniors and been in terrific form this season so I have decided to meet the Argentine’s optional fee of €3.4m to make him a permanent member at the club
  • Pape Cheikh Diop – on loan from Lyon and finding it difficult to get in to our starting line up so I have decided to not exercise the optional fee to make his stay permanent.
  • Rafinha – On loan from FC Barcelona and been a class act in the middle of the park however with no optional fee and on €74k per week wages he will return to Barca in the summer.
  • Filip Bradaric – On loan from Cagliari and I have terminated the Midfielders loan after he picked up an injury that would sideline the 27 year old Croatian for a few months freeing up €18k per week in wages.
  • Jeison Murillo – On loan from Sampdoria and a back up for my first choice pairing in central defence on £28k per week that will return to Italy at the end of the season.
  • Jorge Sáenz- On loan from Valencia until June 2021 and a valuable option in central defence on €10k per week

So out of the 7 loan players just 2 will be at the club next season with the permanent signing of Lucas Olaza and Jorge Sáenz who will remain on loan with us next season.  With this in mind and the surprise departure of David Junka to Galatasaray for €4.5m we will have before anymore departures at least 6 squad positions to fill in the summer for next season.

With this in mind I have decided to promote 3 players in to the 1st team squad ahead of the 2nd half of the season. The players promoted are Winger Miguel Rodrigues, Attacking Midfielder Iker Losada and Left Back Diego Pampin. All three players will endeavour to get some first team experience in the later half of the season.

La Liga Results August 19 – December 19 

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Kicking the second half of the season off with a victory was a must in my mind because before the break we had won just 1 game from 7 in the League and although we had only lost 1 game in 18 I felt that we needed to get back to winning ways if we are going to maintain our push for European promotion.

I could not have wished for a better start to the new year with us winning all 4 of our games in January with Iago Aspas leading the way with 5 goals. Wins against Granada and Leganes at the Balaidos were crucial but it was the away wins at both Real Sociedad (3-1) and Real Betis (3-1) that I enjoyed the most with us playing some really good effective football.

Much like the start of the season we put together an unbeaten run that saw us also go undefeated in both February and March with 4 wins (Osasuna, Espanyol, Valencia and Alaves) and 4 draws against (Mallorca, Granada, Athletic Club and FC Barcelona). This run of games saw our Fab 4 Aspas, Suarez, Fernandez and Sisto  all get amongst the goals whilst performing well as a unit. The run saw us go 12 games unbeaten from the start of the year that put us in a very strong position to get Champions League qualification. A special mention also goes to Deigo Pampin who scored a screamer, his first for the club in the 2-2 draw with Mallorca.

A strong Defencive Unit was effect in the run with another 7 clean sheets in 12 games. Our run came to an end when El Loco Marcelo Bielsa rolled in to town with his Villarreal side who beat us 2-3:.

Lucas Olaza with a double strike along with an Okay Yokuslu goal gave us a 3-0 win away to Sevilla that meant we were on the cusp of at least Europa League qualification if we could beat Levante however things did not go to plan and 0-1 defeat left the Galicians shell shocked.

Results went our way meaning that a victory at Atletico Madrid would guarantee a Champions League place something that the board did not envisage at the start of the season. Atletico had one the Spanish Cup but pressure was mounting on Diego Simeone and we piled that pressure on with a 3-1 win with goals from Yokuslu and a double strike from Fernandez that guaranteed us a place in next seasons Champions League. 

With 3rd placed guaranteed I decided that the last month of the season that I would give the some game time to the fringe players and both Iker Losada and Miguel Rodrigues who I had promoted from the Under 19’s.

Our last four matches of the season were winless for us with 2 draws and 2 defeats including the last game of the season away to Real Madrid who by beating us 2-1 secured the title.

La Liga Results January 20 – May 20

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La Liga Final Table 2020

A fantastic season for us finishing in 3rd place and with 20 clean sheets during the campaign. Iago Aspas ended the season has our top scorer with 17 goals ahead of Gabriel Fernandez with 16, Pione Sisto with 12 and Santi Mini with 10.

Aspas also led the way with assists totalling 9 ahead of Olaza and Pisto with 7 each.

Ruben Blanco was credited with 20 clean sheets in between the sticks.

On loan midfielder Rafinha was voted the Player Of The Season by the fans and I am sure they would like to see him back at the Balaidos next season however he is not an option financially for the club in terms of both transfer budget and wage budget.

final table


Transfer Market 

A third place finish and the board set an initial transfer budget of €24.09m and we had already done our homework on a number of players to fill the following 4 positions within the squad :

  • Goalkeeper – to replace Sergio Alvarez (transfer)
  • Defender – to replace Jeison Murillo (loan expired)
  • Central Midfielder – to replace Rafinha (loan expired)
  • Central Midfielder – to replace Pape Cheikh (loan expired)

I wanted us to get our business done early so when we come back after the break we have the full squad to work with as we turn our focus to next season.

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Goalkeeper : Arnau Tenas (18) Joins on a free transfer after running his contract down with FC Barcelona B. Tenas signed a 4 year contract at the club and comes in to the first team squad as our back up keeper to 1st choice Blanco.

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Defender : Jesus Vallejo (23) Joins the club from Real Madrid for €5m after spending last season on loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Ball Playing Defender was deemed surplus to requirements at Real Madrid so we have agreed a 2 year contract with the Spaniard. We had identified a number of players who matched our philosophy and Vallejo was one of them alongside Eric Garcia at Manchester City who we attempted to sign however the finances were not something we could meet so we turned our attention to Vallejo who like Garcia was in our 1st tier / choices to sign. I look forward to trying to unlock the talent that Vallejo as in his locker.

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Midfield : Lucas Robertone (23) Joins the club from Velez Sarsfield for €6.5 signing a 5 year contract. We are in the market for two Central Midfielders who can offers us depth in the position alongside Beltran and Yokuslu who are our only two players left in that strata in the first team squad with both Rafinha and Pape Cheikh returning to their respective clubs after their loan spell. Robertone was one of our 1st tier / first choice targets and we made it happen without any fuss from Velez who have a good reputation for developing players who fit in to the mould that I am looking for. The Argentine posses good attributes in Vision, Passing, Off The Ball and Team Work plus he is a bit of a free kick specialist who like Vallejo above I can’t wait to try and unlock the talent within the player.

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Midfield : Nicolas  Capaldo (21)  joins the club from Boca Juniors for €5.25m signing a four year contract. Very pleased to have a captured the signature of this hard working Midfielder who will be challenging for the Box to Box role in our starting line up. Capaldo becomes my second Argentinian signing of the transfer window and I hope the pair can come in to the squad and make a positive contribution to the squad.

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First Team Transfers  Arrivals  and Departures 2020 – 2021 

  • Arnau  Tenas (GK) Free Transfer
  • Jesus Vallejo (BPD) €5m
  • Lucas Robertone (CM/AM) €6.5m
  • Nicolas Capaldo (CM) €5.25m

Total Spend €16.75m 

First Team Transfer Departures  

  • Iker Losarda (AM) €4.5m

Toal Income 2020-2021  €4.5m 


Youth Development 

We had a fantastic season with the U19’S  going undefeated in the U19 League which culminated in us taking on the very talented Real Madrid U19’s in the Championship Final after we had knocked FC Barcelona out over two legs. Real Madrid fielded a strong side including the highly rated Rodrygo and Wonderkid Reiner however we played a fantastic game in beating them 3-0 to be crowned the U19 Champions with goals from centre midfielder 1200px-RC_Celta_de_Vigo_logo.svgPascual Pallarés, winger Carlos and attacking midfielder Mikel Expósito. Our squad consists of all Spanish players apart from one and that is Italian right winger Andres Bianco. We have a very talented group of players who can become the pride of Galicia, I really feel that this could well be a Golden Generation and look forward to developing these boys in to top class players.

I have decided that we will have a Youth squad Under 19’s of no more than 18 to 20 players and use our B Team to promote from the Under 19’s to loan players out before their step up to the 1st team squad.

I am in control of the Youth teams training both team and individual but my Assistant takes control of the Youth team matches. I then select certain matches to watch to see how the lads are developing in the game environment. I am also in control of contracts and the final decision on who the Head of Youth Development brings in to the club.

I want the club to be self sufficient in providing players for the 1st team so we don’t have to heavily rely on the transfer market. The youth team are as important to me as the 1st team and getting a lot of my attention in the save.

The Final 

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Our Championship Final Goalscorer’s 

Carlos 

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Pascual Pallarés 

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Mikel Expósito 

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Invincibles

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U19 Spanish Cup Results

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Under 19 Division 1

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U19 Championship Rounds 

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Thank You for taking the time to follow my journey with Celta de Vigo I am enjoying having conversations about the save and interacting with a good few over on Twitter. I will leave you with a few scribblings below ahead of the new season with Celta de Vigo.

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