July 2020. And finally, we have some progress! The most important improvement for the save itself is the fact that I’ve finally been at a club for long enough to get myself a new certificate to put on the wall:
This is a big step for the club as it will open up more coaching options for me in the future, and helps me to develop some of my coaching abilities to further help the team. Due to budget restrictions I can’t push my coaching development any further, but we’ve had some real development on the pitch.
I’m not going to screenshot and discuss every single one of these guys, but the vast majority of them have played a massive part in the success of our season so far!
Tactically I’ve struggled at most of my previous posts, so I set out to play a little bit differently, focusing on getting the basics right and then building on that base. To that end, I opted for a 4-2-4, for a few reasons. Firstly, I cannot get a one-striker system working at all this year, and I figured that in a league at the level we’re at, it would be better to have a bit more bite up top. Secondly, I adore Inside Forwards. That’s pretty much the rationale behind my formation, as you’ll see below:-
There’s nothing overly complex here – the wingbacks are on support because even though the Inside Forwards are cutting inside, I don’t want my defence dragged too far out of position. In midfield, the combination of an Advanced Playmaker and a Ball-Winning Midfielder is working well for now, but I am conscious that we concede a lot of chances through the middle, and I’m wondering whether I would be better switching my BWM to a plain old Central Midfielder on Defend to try to bring a bit more stability to that pairing. Up front, our two Inside Forwards are dynamic and drag the defence out of position, while the Pressing Forward does exactly what he says on the tin, and forces mistakes from the defence. My Advanced Forward is probably the biggest goal threat, often hanging right on the shoulder of the defender and latching onto loose balls forced by his striking partner, or closing down mistakes that the defenders make.
In terms of team instructions, there’s nothing really out of the ordinary. I try not to encourage dribbling too much, because we’re not a particularly technical bunch, so I opted for a Vertical Tiki-Take system which I’ve changed slightly:-
In possession, we try to be patient and make an opening, while in transition and out of possession we try to close down and force mistakes from the opposition. Quite often my opposition instructions will show their central players onto either their weak foot, or whichever foot would force them to play the ball to the wings, and then press their wide players hard. I also target players with low composure and decision-making to be pressed and shown onto their weak foot, and this tends to force mistakes.
This all sounds great, but how has it worked in practice? Well, I can finally say I’ve had some success! We’re exactly halfway through the league season, and this is the league table:
We are currently Top of the League. The board are Delighted and so far, I still have a job!
Its unbelievable to me that with a full pre-season and a bit of patience I’ve managed to put together something pretty special this year, and I’m hoping we can sustain this form and hopefully fight out way out of the division, or at least into that playoff spot by finishing second. Not bad for a manager that’s been sacked 3 times already, and a team that was predicted to finish mid-table!