At the end of the last update, I’d changed from my successful wing back orientated Brazilian influenced system, to a Barcelona tiki taka style, in an effort to control games more successfully. 7 games in, and this formation has kept an unbeaten record, and vast amounts of possession, but has not stopped us leaking goals. 3 wins and 3 draws, admittedly the 3 draws were against Sevilla, Leverkusen and Real Madrid though. So the experiment is going OK so far.
Next up we face an away trip to AS Monaco, managed by Diego Simeone. This is our 2nd Champions League match, having drawn 1-1 with Leverkusen. The other team in our group is Udinese, my former employers.
To cover for 3 key players out injured, including star wingback Tiny Tim Nederburgh, I’m forced to revert to a 4-2-3-1 with full backs, although I have set them to wingback roles with attack duties. I’m hoping this will replicate the wingbacks I used last season to devastating effect. As usual, I offset the striker and trequartista to create attacking triangles. I got this idea after reading a superb guide to mentalities and asymmetrics on the Passion4FM website, if you need any help setting up asymmetric tactics or deciding on a mentality, I can thoroughly recommend you read this. Passion4FM
Monaco start with Icardi and Berardi up top, with key player Bernardo Silva out wide. Emre Can is another top player in central midfield, while Timo Horn is in goal. This match will not be easy.
Despite having lots of possession, we don’t create anything and get sent home with a 3-0 defeat. Diego Simeone invites me for a drink before we leave, which is all good fun until I learn the French wine we’re drinking cost more than Mauro Icardi’s transfer fee, and promptly choke on it.
Back home with a wine induced hangover, I have a meeting with Rong Qifei, who sheepishly requests that he be taken off the transfer list. I take him out for dinner to celebrate, but things backfire when some Barcelona fans spot us and ask Qifei when he’s signing for them. Long story short, I am given a large fine for assault from the police, and a stern warning from the board, until I state that I was defending the honour of the club. Valencia pay my fine, and add a small backhander to clean my record. I love Spanish politics.
A 2-1 defeat to Villareal moves me down to 4th, before we welcome Udinese, who didn’t appreciate my managerial talents enough to keep me on for even 12 months. Hopefully I can show them just what they’re missing. The match stays close, Yvon Mvogo keeps me in it with some top drawer saves, till Hicham Yildirim sneaks us a late winner to spare my blushes. While Mvogo is dragged off for “random” drug tests, I have a small queue of players at my office door. New signings Nicky Hurst and Kevin Van Keulen are unhappy about the amount of game time they’ve received. I remind KVK that he’s here as backup, and was worth literally nothing when I picked him up for free.
KVK: I’m not very happy with the little playing time I’ve received since signing. I really would have expected better.
Me: So would I, if I were a big name signing who was in demand across Europe when my contract expired.
KVK. Exactly, so will I be……
Me: You’re not a big name signing though. You were surplus to requirements at Paderborn. That’s 2nd division football, saying you’re not good enough. If you couldn’t get in their team, what the f*** gives you the God-given right to waltz into my office and tell me who to bloody pick in my own f***ing team? This is the Liga BBVA you dopey c**t, you’re being paid backup wages, so do a backup’s job you sh*thead!!!!!
KVK: I’m not at all happy with how you’ve dealt with this.
Good talk. Nicky Hurst is promised some game time against the weaker sides, and walks away perfectly happy. KVK storms off in a huff, muttering something about a press leak.
Luckily KVK isn’t the most popular of people in and around Valencia, so the rest of the squad stands by me. KVK is booed at an open training session, and in the press, compares his position as a regular substitute to the invasion of the Netherlands by Nazi Germany.
While the rest of the football world is astounded at his outburst, I quietly remind him that he’s making himself look stupid, and I can happily let him rot in the reserves, like a Dutch prisoner of war. Eventually he blames his outburst on a mistranslation and gets away with it.
Back on the field, things aren’t going too bad. Defeats against Villareal and Barcelona are the only blips in a successful 6 weeks, culminating in a magnificent return to Udinese where Rong Qifei and Wang Tang put my Italian ghosts to the sword with a 5-0 demolition job.
The newly built Di Natale Arena has never seen such devastation.
All in all, a successful start to the season. I’ll be updating again in January, so please follow the blog here on WordPress, or you can find the blog on Passion4FM’s Story section, where they’ve very kindly embedded my blog into their site.
You can find me on Twitter Follow @JDdwerryhouse
Also, can I throw a shameless plug in here?? I’ve written a new blog for FM Central called The Boss and I’ve been getting some superb feedback on it so far!