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Bielsa’s High Intensity and Pressurized Football Arrives At The Stadion Poljud

Update

The winter break and training camp are over, and the January transfer window is closed. And I’m happy to report that things are looking good. I support having a  winter break because it gives managers and players a chance to recharge and reevaluate the current situation within their respective clubs.  And if necessary,  it’s a time to make changes to improve the club’s situation.

For this post, I’ll be discussing some of the changes I made during the first half of my first season at Hadjuk.  Specifically, within the backroom staff, (e.g. Coaches) and players. In addition to that, my plan is to bring Bielsa’s type of football to the club, meaning that we are going to play at a high tempo, use quick and direct passing, with intense and immediate pressure on our opponents to win the ball back and hit them on the counter. This philosophy and concepts are non-negiotiable, and those who oppose it will be shown the door.  I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but I will discuss this later in the post.

I will give an overview of  the Croatian First Football League; then I will discuss my assessment of staff and players mentalities; I will report on transfers, specifically, players bought and sold; and I will report my experience in  the Croatian and Serbian transfer markets. And lastly, some closing thoughts on my time with Hadjuk.

 Croatia First Football League (PrvHNL)

For those of you that are not familiar with the Croatian First Football League (HNL), here’s a link to Wikipedia explaining the system. But let me give you a brief synopisis of the top flight of Croatian football. Currently, 10 teams are in the top flight. Dinmo Zagreb won it’s 11th consecutive title since the creation of the league in 1992 following the dissolution of the Yugoslavian Republic. They have won a total of 18 titles followed by Hadjuk’s six. The fiercest rivalry are between Hadjuk and Dinamo is known as the Eternal Derby. Supporters live for this match which happens three times during the season. The Torcida, an ultra supporter group goes back to 1950, which makes them the oldest firm in all of Europe. To say the least, it’s a very important match and has more significance than any other match.

PRVHNL July 2015-December 2015

After taking over the club, I met with the board and their expectations were realistic; finish in the top half of the season; qualify for the European football; use the club’s youth system to develop and promote young players. Outside of those expectations they left it up to me to bring my philosophy to the club; a manager’s dream in virtual and real life. I’ve given full license to bring the principles of  juego de posicion and tactical periodization.

First, to make that possible I had to assess the overall club, finances, backroom,and players. I was in for a shock when I was told my transfer budget was £160K quid and a wage budget of £60K per week. The first thing I said was how do they expect me to run this club on a shoestring budget. I immediately reached out to my brother from across the pond, Michael Skidmore @totalfootball71, and his words  were “well you’re going to have to be prudent.” I am fortunate to have a friend like him because he gave me the answer I needed instead of what I wanted.  With that said, I conducted the first phase of the assessment: data collection and assessment of player mentalities.

Phase 1: Data Collection

Before I started this save I collected as much data as I as could. This consisted of me browsing  Hadjuk’s website and reading player’s bios to get background information on them. Then, I searched YouTube for highlights showing their strengths and weakness on and off the ball. Lastly, I watch the first and second legs of the Eternal Derby, which took place on 16/03/2016 and 20/03/2016, respectively. For some FM’ers this might be too involved, but before I start a new save I like to get as much background information as I can to avoid disastrous results (see my earlier post about getting sacked by Roman Abramovich). To say the least, I am excited to have the opportunity to work with a talented group of players, and manage a club with a strong tradition and  rich history.

Assessment: Players Mentality

The players and backroom staff had been settling for mediocrity prior to my arrival, and those of you that know my management style, mediocrity is intolerable. This was baffling  because the club was filled with talented young players, however, for some reason or another, they weren’t being nurtured the way a young player should be. I was surprised to find that there was no battle tested veteran in the dressing room for these kids to look up to, someone who could guide and mentor these youngsters. I attribute this to a couple of things: (1) the coaches lacked credentials from UEFA, and those that did have credentials were content with National A or Continental A license; (2) none of them had experience working with young players. I was shocked to learn that the  U19 and U21 Managers and Asst. Managers that had low ratings (8 & 9) for working with youngsters. No wonder their mentalities were in the pits because no knew how to bring the best out of them.

Additionally, the club had players brought in on season long loans whose commitment and  dedication were questionable. To be honest, they had difficult personalities and bad for morale. I gave them the usual spiel that managers give to those temperamental players: that needed to get their heads out of the sand, and get on with their jobs. Tong story short Manuel Arteaga on loan from Palermo remains with the club, while the other two loans were terminated.

 

 

I’m sure you can tell that I had a lot to contend with my first 6 months on the job. Our list of fixtures and results for the first half of the season should give you an idea of what I was happening at the club.

Fixtures and Results

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As a rule I try not to make major changes, but I could see there are going to be wholesale changes at the Poljud.  We went into the winter break (20/12/2015) with an abysmal record of 6 wins 6 draws and 4 defeats; excluding our poor showing in the third round of the Europa League Qualifiers and Croatian Cup.  Morale was at an all-time low and I needed to make changes and I needed to make them sooner than later.

Backroom Staff: Assistant Manager & Coaches

Remember  I don’tlike making major changes in the first year, but it was imperative that I took action. So first I needed to change my backroom staff around with coaches and managers that could train the player to be total footballer. I conducted an exhaustive search for some the best coaches eastern Europe had to offer, and I found some real gems. I’m surprised  that more of these coaches are not at some of  the other clubs across Europe.   Asst. managerdefendingshootingtacticl coachTechnicalfitness

Transfers: Nikola Vlasic,  Fran Tudor, Hrvoje Milic, and Franck Ohandza

Now that I’ve assembled solid backroom staff it was time to focus on identifying potential targets for the following season, but I had one problem; remember my budget is £160K quid. So I had to be strategic and really think through who I was going to bring in. Honestly, acquiring players on loan seems logical and feasible. However, we would find a solution to our problem; wonderkid Nikola Vlašić was a target for a number of clubs around Europe.  Arsenal, Real Madrid, Man United, Man City, and Liverpool got in a bidding war for his signature.  the opening bid was £800k, then it rose to £1.5m, then £2.5m, and so on.I realized that if they really want him I could dictate the terms of the deal. I needed bigger transfer budget and  if I got a  good fee for Nikola the board would  get a majority of the fee (75%) but we’d still have something to work with. Eventually, we settled on a deal with Arsenal  for a fee of £6.25million, upfront  and no add-ons.

Fran Tudor request to speak with Hoffenheim was somewhat of a surprise because he seemed settled and began to show promise. Reluctantly I gave him permission to speak with them and the came with a bid of £2.8m (£1.1m upfront) plus add-ons.

Hrvoje Milić was transferred to Swansea City for £1.2m (£850K up front) with add-ons. He was not a good influence in the dressing room, then had a change of heart and wanted to stay but I thought it was best if he tried his luck at another club.

Franck Ohandza is an interesting case, he was injured during preseason and spent the first half of the season recovering from his injury. He did find it hard to adjust to the new system and group of players. Malmo FF offered £180K (£140k up front) with some add-ons  and we accepted  and the transfer took immediate effect.vlastudormilicfranck

Below is a screenshot of the business we conducted this season. I am pretty content with the way things are going and I am expecting great things from this group.  Be on the look out for part two where I will give a recap of my first season at NK Hadjuk Split.  Cheers.

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American Guardiola Takes On A New Challenge by Managing Hadjuk Split

You can tell from my latest adventure in Football. Manager that I thoroughly enjoyed my Croatia National Team save. So much that I decided to try my luck managing one the biggest clubs in that country that sits on the Adriatic coast, NK Hadjik Split.

Be on the look out for part one of this series, and I’ll try to post regular updates.  But before I go I want to leave you with a screenshot of players who impressed me last season. I am looking forward to working with them next season and our hope is to win the title. Until the next time. Cheers.

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American Guardiola Applies His Trade with The Croatian National Team

Hey everyone, its been a while since my last in-depth post about what’s been going on in the world of football management.  If you haven’t noticed something about me is that I’m always looking for a new experience. And I recently got the bug for a new challenge after winning the Champions League for the third time.

New Challenge

First, I want to announce that I am taking  a break from my Spurs save,  I want to devote my time to an international save inspired by the Copa America and the 2016 European Championship. To be honest, I’m going into this save with an open mind and zero expectations, however my new employer (Croatian Football Federation) have their own set expectations they want met while I’m in the job. Later on in the post  I will discuss their expectations and what we achieved and hoping to achieve in the future

Second, I always wanted to return to international management after my short stint managing the Chilean National Team, which I left for the Bayern Munich job. Anyway, for one reason or another I didn’t have the patience to scout players who might get called up to the national team. Lets just say my attention span was not great so it made it hard to do the job effectively.

Lastly, following my success in the German and English leagues I had a change in heart and mind about international management.  However,  it had to be under certain condition, specifically, with a team that I support in real life.  As you can see from the title I decided to apply to the Hrvatski Nogometni Savez (Croatian Football Federation) for the manager position at the senior level. Despite their skepticism over my lack of managerial experience at the international level they took a gamble and hire me on the condition that we qualified for the group stages of the 2016 Euros. But before I get into that I’d like to spend some time discussing the CFF and the some key player on the national team.

Hrvatski Nogometni Savez (Croatian Football Federation)

The CFF was founded on June 13, 1912 and is located in the country’s capital, Zagreb. The country’s affiliation with FIFA began on July 16, 1941; and with UEFA on June 16, 1993. Croatia has a reputation for producing talented athletes and some of the top footballers past ad present were products of the youth systems of  GNK Dinamo Zagreb, Hadjuk SplitHNK Rijek, and NK Osijek.  These are some of the notable clubs however there are others not mentioned in this post.

 

 

Croatia is also home to some famous footballers, notably Davor Suker, Luka Modric  Ivan Rakitic, Darijo Srna,, Ivan Perisic, and Mario Mandzukic.

Davor Šuker

Šuker  famously led the national team to a third place finish at the 1998 World Cup held in France. A product of NK Osijek’s youth system Davor went on to become one of the most celebrated and decorated footballers in his country.  From 1992 to 2002  he had 69 caps and 45 international goals. At the club level he applied his trade in four countries where he had 448 combined appearances and 203 goals Dinamo Zagreb, Sevilla FC, Real Madrid, Arsenal FC, West Ham United, and TSV 1860 Munich. Currently, he is the president of the CFF a position he’s held since 2012.

 

Luka Modrić, Deep lying Play maker

Luka is Modrić is a one of the best central midfielders in the world, he is well known for is tactical intelligence, vision, composure, work rate and powerful shot. He currently plays for Real Madrid where he has won the UEFA Champions League twice. He earned his first cap for national team more than 10 years ago and has represented his country in 5 major tournaments: 2006 and 2014 World Cups; and 2008, 2012, and 2016 Euros.

Ivan Rakitić, Attack Midfielder

Rakitić is a Swiss born Croat that is a product of FC Basel’s youth system. He also played for Schalke 04, Sevilla FC, and currently FC Barcelona. Similar to his teammate Modrić, Ivan is well known for his incredible work rate, vision,  of and movement. He was captain of Sevilla that won two consecutive Europa League titles. In addition to that, his first year at Barca he completed a treble; La Liga, Champion League, and the Copa Del Rey.

Darijo Srna, Wing-back (R)

Darijo is captain of the national team and has represented Croatia at every age level. He is a product of the GOSK Gabela and  Hadjuk Split youth. Srna started out as a midfielder but overtime he began to play as a hybrid wingback which gave him freedom to drift inside. SRna played for two clubs as a professional Hadjuk Split and Ukrainian side, Shaktar Donestsk  for the past 13 years. Srna, has played in the 2006  and 2014 World Cups; and 2008, 20012, and 2016 Euros.  Srna is also known as a free-kick specialist often scoring sensational goals from great distances.

 

Ivan Perišić

Perišić is another bright star produced by this county’s youth system. A product of Hadjuk Split’s youth system he is a winger with incredible pace that can be deployed as an attacking midfielder or forward. Currently, he applies his trade in Italy for FC Internazionale, and before that he was with the Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg. He’s already has 49 caps and 14 goals to his name and we’re expecting hear more from him.

Mario Mandžukić

Mario is by far one of the best Defensive Forwards the world and it is a privilege to work with him. He’s developed a reputation for being  temperamental and unmanageable, hence why he’s been at a number of different clubs the past few years.  However, at the national level he’s been professional and proud. He stands at a towering 6ft 3inches which makes him an easy target for wingers and attacking fullback and wingbacks. Below is a clip of him scoring against bitter rivals Serbia in a WCQ match in 2013:

 

CFF’s Expectation

I mentioned before that the CFF’s condition of me taking the job is that the national team qualify for the group stage for the Euros in France. Normally, under different circumstances I would’ve given some push back because I wouldn’t been setting myself up for failure. However, I thought the expectation was realistic considering I was a real supporter with a decent knowledge of both youth and senior players, so I had every right to feel confident.

Results and Fixtures 

 

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My first match in charge would be a European Qualifier match against Italy. A massive fixture against a team that we’ve met three times before and each ended in a draw. Their most recent match before this latest fixture had to be played behind doors because the first match in Italy had to aborted due to Croatian supporters unrest.

I’m happy to report that the match was incident free but it was a fierce competition that lived up to its billing. We used my customary formation, 4-1-4-1 and were able to walk away with a point after falling behind on a Balotelli goal in the 17th minute. Rather than panic we stayed true the course and fought back to get on level terms on a set-piece (Vida 31′).  I realized something about my management style; I’m pragmatic and have a bit of Jose in me too, but only the good parts of him. Below are screen shots of my formations and players that fit the system.

Formation 4-1-4-1

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As you can see from the screenshots above only certain players made the starting 11 only because they tended to fit better in the system.  For instance, Madzukic was deployed as a defensive forward and his primary job was to harass the centre-back and defensive midfielders; and he did a magnificent job–his defensive efforts , that is win the ball back ad hold it it for the counter led to 4 goals. We also lost some key first team members to injury: Verdan Corluka, Milan Badelj, and Ivan Strinic (was reinjured red while on duty). Josip Radosevic did not have a cap prior to the tornament, but injuries to Badelj led to him getting called up, the same goes for keeper, Maric Delac; Subasic was hurt in the Italy match and Maric stepped in and  never looked back. Tin Jedvaj had a magnificent tournament, to be honest, I preferred him over Lovren due to his tactical awareness and versatility. Overall, I was very happy with the squad and their performance in the 2016 Euros.

Quarter Final and Semi-Final Result

 

Final Thoughts and Assessment

My time managing the Croatian National team has been  absolutely delightful, so much that I’ve decided to stay on and manage them for the 2020 World Cup Qualifiers. I’ve found that the players possession a good amount of technical ability to go far in the tournament if they  qualify the tournament to be held in Russia. I am excited about the up and coming younger generation of players who I will be calling up to the Senior squad over the next few years. Below are screenshots of young players that have caught my eye since taking over the side:bartolecbrekalocorichalilovicmilicradosevicsemperConclusion

Thanks for taking the time to read the post and I will try to not to let so much time pass in between each post. But I want to leave you with a highlight of our first WCQ match against the Ukraine.  Enjoy and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.

 

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American Guardiola Brings Silverware to White Hart Lane.

Yes! We are Tottenham, super Tottenham from the Lane.  I want to congratulate the players for putting together a magnificent run in  fairytale season at White Hart Lane.  I also want to thank the fans, the Chairman,  Daniel Levy, the Board, and my staff.  Without their support we couldn’t have done it.  I also want to thank the “English Michels” @totalfootball71 for helping me work through the difficult times and for being a vast source of football knowledge. Thanks to @cleon81 for his contributions, even though he’s retired, he still my all time favorite tactician. I’d also like to give Gustaf (@sasfm21) a shout out, he’s studying for his exams and writing papers…good luck mate! I’m not sure when I’ll write my next post because I’m going to be fully immersed in the Euro’s. Until then, cheers.

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The House That Bill Nick Built:Season Update

We are continuing to push through  the season on three fronts; the English Premiership, Capital One Cup, and  Group Stage of the UEFA Champion’s League. In the Premiership only four points separate us from my mentor and idol, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City (25 vs 21). We have to stay focused and play perfect football if we’re to keep them at bay.

English Premiere League 2016/17

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Capital One Cup

We’ve progressed into the Quarter Finals of the Capital One Cup, and we will face our crosstown rivals, Chelsea FC. We’re expecting this to be an entertaining and defensive match between the two best defenses in the Premiership.

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UEFA Champions League Group Stage

When I saw that PSG and Fenerbaçe were in our group I got nervous; PSG is my bogey team–I lost a CL final and semi final to the Ligue 1 outfit. You can see that we are at the top of our group in the Champions League–I am happy to report that we have met the boards expectations for this competition: qualify for the first Knock Out Round.

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And lastly, the Emirates FA Cup, the oldest football competition in all of Europe. we’ll enter the competition in the third round in January. This year we’re hoping to improve on our performance from last season. I am looking to add more silverware to our trophy case.

Player Updates: Injuries

Last month we had a series of injuries to key first team players, Wimmer broke his leg and wont be available until the end of season. Dele, pulled his hamstring and will be sidelined for a few weeks; Toby, has strained knee ligaments; Vorm sustained a hip injury; and Yûto is out with a twisted knee. I am confident that the medical staff will do their best to get these players back to full strength and on the pitch at White Hart Lane.

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However, in the meantime, I’ve had to make adjustments, meaning that in our system, juego de posicion, players need to be able to play in a number of positions. For example, Eric Dier can play as an Anchor Man, Defensive Midfielder; DLP, RB, and centre-back as well; Bazoer is versatile player as well, similar to David Alaba. In addition to that, I began playing with a defensive mentality because I needed  to take a cautious approach to matches because I am shorthanded. To be honest, I was very skeptical about playing with a defensive mentality because the best form of defense is to attack. However, after watching Darko’s and Robbie’s work on the training ground I had complete faith in the boys ability to get the job done.  ResultsAs you can see in the screenshot above, we’ve conceded four goals(2 at home; 2 away)  in 11 matches. I’m extremely happy with the way the boys have rallied to play for the shirt, and the house that Bill Nick built.

Formations: 4-1-4-1; 4-1-2-3; 4-4-2

4-1-4-1

4-1-2-3

4-4-2

Injuries  forced me to give some of our younger players a chance in the first team; Thomas Glover (GK-D), Rico Henry (LWB), and Grant Ward (CM).

Thomas jumped at the opportunity to showcase his skills; he earned his first start and a clean sheet in the Capital One Cup.  We’re extremely proud of Thomas’ and we’re expecting more from him the future.

Rico is someone we acquired last season from Walsall FC, and he’s impressed us during his loan spell with Newcastle United. We’re delighted with his progress and the staff are predicting that he will become a top LWB in the Premiership in the near future.

Grant is a special player in the mold of Moussa Dembele; great pace, strength, vision, and difficult to take the ball of him.  He’s impressed us during preseason and as a substitute.  Darko thought it would be good if he was sent out on loan  so that he got first team football else where. So far things are working out very well for him.

Thomas Glover, Goalkeeper U21s

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Rico Henry LWB, U21s

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Grant Ward CM, U21s

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Conclusion

Things are  good at The Lane considering the number of injuries we’ve had this season.  Importantly, the boys persevered and fighting the good fight; and keeping the tradition and values of the North London club founded  by J. Anderson, T. Anderson, E. Beaven, R. Buckle, H.D. Casey, L.R. Casey, F. Dexter, S. Leaman, J.H. Thompson (jun), P. Thompson and E. Wall on September 5th, 1882.  Well that’s it from me, thanks for reading and be on the lookout for part 3 of the series. Cheers!

 

 

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“It’s been my life, Tottenham Hotspur,and I love the club.”

If Bill Nick were alive today he’d say the boys are playing Tottenham way. Below are a few screenshots acknowledging the hard work we’re putting in at the training ground.

Player of The Month

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Manager of The Month

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New Additiins to the Backroom Staff

Robbie Stockdale replaces Michael D’Agostino

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We decided to replace Miguel D’Agostino with someone more suitable for the role of coach and tactician.  So we’re proud to announce the signing of Scottish international Robbie Stockdale who has a wealth of Premeire League and international experience. We’re excited to have a reputable young coach on our staff.

Rui Faria, Physio

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In addition to Robbie, we brought in world reknown physio/coach Rui Faria on a free transfer. We’re delighted to have acquired his services for the next 5 years.

 

English Premiere League standings through 6 matches

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Champions League Group F; Emirates FA Cup; Capital One Cup

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Things are going really well at the Lane, I am enjoying this save immensely, and I cant wait to see how things unfold this season.  Until the next time. Cheers.

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Coming Soon: Season 2: The House that Bill Nicolson Built

Be on the look out for the 2nd season update.  This season we are challenging ourselves in honor of Bill Nicholson to complete the double by winning the League and FA Cup. With this current squad it is very possible, provided that everyone stays healthy and focused.

As you can see from the screenshot below, Darko’s influence on defense is coming to fruition. To be honest, I am happy with the way the boys are playing. Especially, because during the summer we brought in three players (Milik, Bazoer, and El Sharaawy) to replace the four that left: Vertonghen (Barça); Lamela (PSG); Rose (Manchester City); and Tom Carroll (AFC Bournemouth).

I was not sad to see Rose and Vertonghen go, because they were selfish primadonnas and poison pills for the dressing room. Conversely, I dreaded selling Erik Lamela and Thomas Carroll  because they were good servants to the club: Erik was happy to stay but I promised him if a club made good bid he could go; and in Tom’s case I couldn’t find a lace for him so I was happy to let him go work with Eddie. We’re in very exciting time at the Lane, and I’ll be sure to have something up later this week discussing life at the Lane.  Cheers.

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To Dare Is To Do: American Guardiola’s 1st Season at THFC

Its been an exciting first season in charge at  White Hart Lane; all good things–especially, because we weren’t expected to be contenders for the title.  We gave a strong push right up to the end. So rather than dragging out the story, I’ll give a re-cap of  the season. This entails describing changes to my backroom staff; final standings in the league; and a breakout of the away and home fixtures;  highlights; and new signings. So I hope you enjoy the post and I look forward to hearing from you. Without further adieu….

Assistant Manager:

OUT: Jesus Perez

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I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like to make major changes during my first year at a club, but I was not happy with Jesus Perez; and if I didn’t make the change when I did, we would’ve been fighting relegation. Don’t get me wrong he is a great coach, but he was not competent in the principles of juego de posicion, nor was he adaptable to new ideas. So it was best that we parted ways soon than later. So this bring me to the man that  replaced Jesus:

IN: Darko Milanic457067_heroa[1]

I couldn’t have made  a better choice than Slovenian international, Darko Milanic.  He comes to us with a wealth of experience, having been a player at Patizan Belgrade; former manager of Leeds United,  and Slovenian outfit NK Maribor. Darko has a reputation for being a master tactician and defensive guru. Hence, why I hired him because of his  no-nonsense attitude,  and that we share a similar philosophy about team building, that is, defending is a priority and everyone will learn to defend and defend well! His impact on the team has been remarkable, so much that last season we had the third best defense (conceded  35 goals).

Set-pieces and corners: Gianni Vio

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Set pieces and corners are areas we need a lot of improvement, so I decided to bring in set-piece guru, Gianni Vio.  He comes to the Lane with a experience in Serie A and the English Premiere League. We are delight to have his services, and look forward to working with him for a long time to come.

Fitness Coach: Antonio Pintus

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We decided to bring in a fitness coach with a scientific approach to fitness, so players can reach and maintain their fitness levels; something that is vital in English football. Prior to my arrival at White Hart Lane fatigue and injuries plagued the club, so I thought bringing in Antonio would minimize those issues.

Director of Football: Les Reed

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After the Franco Baldini disaster Spurs supporters are skeptical of football directors, but Les Reed is a proven gem; all one has to do is look at the work he’s done at Southampton.  We are very fortunate to have persuaded him to leave the comforts of the south coast club for North London.  My main reason for bringing him to WHL so he can accomplish what he did at Southampton at WHL; create a hub that is known for producing young English football talent. My long-term goal is to do what the ‘English Michels’ (@totalfootball71) is doing in his Fiorentina save: the core players will be from the country where the league is played. In addition to this, I’m staying on with Spurs until the release of FM17 or I get sacked.

English Premiere League 2015/16

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2015/2016 Away Fixtures

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2015/16 Home Fixtures

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As you can see from the league table we finished five point behind our North London rivals, however, we did exceed the board’s expectations by finishing second and securing qualification for the Group Stage of the UEFA Champions League.

In addition to the league table, I posted screenshots of our away and home fixtures, respectively. As you can see we dropped points on the road to Stoke, Newcastle, Chelsea, Swansea, and Arsenal. Our struggles on the road will get sorted out during preseason if we are to push for the title.  The lost to Arsenal was the most devastating because we literally hand delivered the trophy to our biggest rivals. At home we turn WHL into a fortress losing only to Manchester City and Norwich. Overall, I am very proud of the boys and I cant wait for next season to begin.  So before I leave I want to leave you with some highlights from last season, and some photos of our new arrivals. Cheers.

Southampton 1 | Spurs 2

Spurs 1 | Arsenal 1

Newcastle 0 | Spurs 1

 

New Arrivals

 

 

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Rovaz Confidential: American Guardiola Sacked by Abramovich

Hey all, I mentioned in the previous post that I’m taking on a new challenge at the San Siro. Before I go into what life is like at the San Siro, I  need to update you on the events that led to my appointment as manger of AC Milan . I’m going to discuss getting sacked as manager of Chelsea FC.

Towards the end of my last season at Bayern  I was looking to make a big move to England with hope of managing  Tottenham. I consider myself a Spurs supporter through and through. I’ve endured some really rough times following the club-becoming manger  of that club would’ve been a dream come true . In fact, I didn’t think Pochettino would do as well as he did and  I was hoping he’d get called into Daniel Levy’s office and be given his walking papers. However, he led the boys from White Hart Lane to glory.

In the meantime, Abramovich and the Board  invited me to Stamford Bridge to interview for the manager’s position. Part of me was ambivalent about accepting the invitation because history has shown that Roman has no problem giving someone the sack no matter how much success they’ve had (Di Matteo, Mourinho, Ancellotti, and Benitez). Despite my reservations it was a really good interview and we seemed to be on the same page as far as our vision for the future: recruit, develop, and promote young players from within the club.

To make a long story short I had a bad feeling about taking the job,  but I took it anyway, and it was a disaster, and that’s putting it mildly.  It gotten so bad  that I considered retiring from FM permanently; I’m glad English Michels (@totalfootball71) was around to help talk me off the ledge. I worked my a$$ off and tried to turn things around, but I had group of disgruntled players that resented my appointment.

A number of things happened that led to my demise at Stamford Bridge:

(1) I lost the dressing room and when that happens is the results go out the window because the players refuse to play for you.

(2) I inherited a squad that lacked loyalty, cohesion, and identity, several players forced moves to other clubs my first month in charge.

(3) I didn’t have buy-in from the players, that is, they were not interested in playing a new style of football (juego de posicion aka positional play).

(4) To fill the void left by the players that left for greener pastures I had to go bring in new players from Germany and Spain. Those players did not have time to adapt to their new environment and new team and league.

(5) I underestimated Fabregas’ influence in the dressing room; he singlehandedly turned  everyone against me. Consequently, they stopped playing for me, but worse, they stopped playing for the shirt.

Interestingly enough, they had been through a tough time with the previous manager (Antonio Conte), he  left the club in a mess and a hurry. So no matter what I said or did I knew I’d  be the recipient of the anger and resentment they held for him. To be honest, I should’ve stayed in Germany where I was adored and well respected by the players, board and supporters. But I lived and learned from the experience.

On the brighter side of things, I was impressed with how their young players stepped in and put in 100 percent.  I foresee their young players leading that club back to glory, if my replacement (Mourinho) doesn’t do more damage to their young egos.

This will do it for me, so be on the look out for Part 1 of Rovaz Confidential: Life At The San Siro. Cheers!

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