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European Challenge

Started on 13 July 2014 by The Lower League Specialist
Latest Reply on 29 July 2014 by The Lower League Specialist
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As my username suggests, I specialise in Lower League Management. Seeing as this is the case, a challenge for myself will be to dominate the top divisions across Europe. So my challenge is to win as many of Europe's top leagues as possible. To give myself a slight head start, I've chosen Barcelona as my starting club as this will give me a good chance of winning the title in my first season and then move on to good clubs as as much as I love FM14, I don't really fancy spending 40 seasons starting from the bottom of the Croatian leagues!!

The countries I have chosen to start with are England, Scotland, Holland, Italy, Spain and Germany. The aim will be to win the top division in one country and then remove it from the database whilst adding another. I will be starting this tomorrow as I don't have time to get going tonight. Feel free to share your thoughts about my mission! More to follow...
Interesting challenge will be following along
good luck!
A little later than planned but here we are:

Part 1 - Spain

As stated before, I have started with Barcelona to give myself the best chance of winning the league early and build my reputation quickly by earning success at a top club so I can get jobs elsewhere.

The first thing was to evaluate the squad which, needless to say, didn't take long!! I opted for a strikerless tactic (4-6-0) which clearly would suit Barca's squad. Team instructions and player roles are all below.

I've tried to emulate how Barca play in real life as this has been successful and I like to get my teams playing short passing stuff anyway.

Valdes is set as a Sweeper Keeper because I have a high defensive line so I need him on his toes to clean up if anything does slip past my defensive triangle of the two centre halves and my holding man.

The wing backs are set to support. I have experimented with different teams in numerous ways with how full backs should be set up. I've discovered that it is not always a good idea to set the player instruction Get Further Forward as this can leave them stranded up the pitch if you suddenly lose possession. However, if you set Cross from Byline they must get there to cross the ball but will break their necks to get back and defend when needed. Plus, with More Expressive set in Team Instructions they are left to choose the right option themselves.

I initially set the CBs to Ball Playing Defenders but this proved costly with a number of goals conceded. I therefore changed them back to standard Central Defenders where they are solid but can pass it around if they wish.

The Anchor Man and the Deep Lying Playmaker do the initial support play of breaking up the opposition and laying it on to an attacker.

The left winger is set to Inside Forward because almost all of my Attacking Midfielders are right footed and Alba is a more explosive and defensively solid wing back than Alves so I want more space for Alba whereas Alves requires someone staying wide in front of him.

The Advanced Playmaker is set to Support because I read an article saying to not put more Attack duties than Defend or Support so this provides BALANCE. Also, Iniesta and Fabregas (the two players I will play in this role) are adept at dropping off the midfield to gain possession and play a killer through ball from deep. By him dropping off, he also tempts a defender out of defence which leaves space in the middle.

The Trequartista in this tactic is set up for Messi (obviously!!). I experimented with him playing up front on his own as a Trequartista in a 4-2-3-1 Deep formation but, as you will see with my preseason results, this did not end well. I lost the game to a poor opposition and Messi was frequently left isolated on his own up front. He has the freedom to com deep or play on the shoulder and is set to Dribble More and Shoot More.

Clearly, Barca's squad is full of quality and as such did not need much transfer activity. However, long term injuries to Afellay and Cuenca mean I am a little short in Attacking Midfield. A quick look through some players and some scout reports tell me that Xherdan Shaqiri is available for a good price. I made an enquiry which they rejected so I offered £10m. They countered with a ridiculous £34m demand so I went back in with around £15m and they accepted (surprisingly easy!!). A good contract thrashed out means I haven't paid over the odds and have a world class player added. Obviously I'm not planning on building a dynasty at Barca but he will help my quest. Shaqiri adds another dimension as a left footed AM which means I can play him as an Inside Forward on the right if I feel Alves won't be threatened too much.

Preseason finished and, as you can see, a pretty successful start. Even the defeat was useful as I found out nice and early that the tactic doesn't work for the players I have.

Plus, a first trophy in the bag. A very poor performance at the Vicente Calderon where my defence was ripped apart by Diego Costa resulted in a 5-3 defeat. A couple of Private Chats and some specific player instructions for Costa later and a 3-0 victory at the Nou Camp completed the turnaround for my first piece of silverware. Also, apart from the 5 conceded against Athletico, I am yet to concede in competitive matches which is pleasing. Onwards and upwards!!
Nice! You've got off to a good start, but if I were you I'd think about formatting it a bit more as it's a slightly long read...

This is a brilliant piece of advice, with a load of different tricks and tips. Good luck with the save, I'll be following :)
2014-07-15 20:37#184494 OUFC2k14 : Nice! You've got off to a good start, but if I were you I'd think about formatting it a bit more as it's a slightly long read...

This is a brilliant piece of advice, with a load of different tricks and tips. Good luck with the save, I'll be following :)

Thanks for the feedback mate! Yeah when I posted it I realised it was a bit long. In hindsight, I should have separated it up into two posts (tactics/initial setup and then first results). I'll keep them shorter from now on!!

Part 1 - Spain (continued)


A pretty successful month with only one frustrating defeat away to Olympiakos. 2-0 up at half time so I'm guessing my team talk was wrong. Also, Sanchez suffered an injury just before half time so I had to bring Shaqiri on which left Alves exposed to Joel Campbell who profited from some very poor defending. Another negative was losing Mascherano to injury for 3 months meaning I have just Pique and Bartra as fit central defenders.

Clearly I have some big fixtures coming up, in particular PSG away in the CL followed by a home match against Real Madrid in La Liga. Some tactical tweak may have to be implemented for these games but that depends on my form and how many injuries I still have.

This is how the league is looking at the minute. Very good defensive record and scoring plenty of goals. Messi currently has 14 goals in 9 appearances in all competitions so I feel pleased that my decision to play him deeper has worked very well.

So far I have not had to make any major changes to my tactics as the players seem to be performing well.

If anyone has any questions then feel free to ask!!
Interesting challenge, doing great so far! Good luck with this, I'll be reading :)
2014-07-16 18:18#184641 AaronHJFT96 : Interesting challenge, doing great so far! Good luck with this, I'll be reading :)

Thanks mate! I appreciate the support.

A fairly eventful two months as you can see. I annihilated PSG thanks to an attacking masterclass from Messi and Shaqiri. Messi now has 23 goals in 20 appearances and an average rating of 8.18. Also, a scrappy 1-0 victory against Real Madrid left me 3 points clear at he top of La Liga. However a very poor defeat to Real Betis means they have overtaken m in the league as you can see below.

The one big issue I have faced is Dani Alves. 3 red cards in consecutive games meant I was left with no choice but to fine him. He did not take this well and as such I have decided to sell him. Not only is his attitude poor but his performances of late have been diabolical to put it kindly. I have signed Seamus Coleman for £8m as his replacement from January as he has a better personality type and I like the way he plays.

More updates to follow soon...

Part 1 - Spain (continued)

December 2013

A very successful month with 5 victories from 5 game and a total of 19 goals scored. Messi won World Player of the Year and my team in general seem to have picked up their form somewhat.

I still haven't really had to tweak the tactics so far. To improve form, I simply had a few Private Chats about recent performances and dropped a few under-performing key players and they soon bucked their ideas up.

I have drawn Leverkusen in the Knockout Stage of the Champions League which should see me through to the Quarters going on my current form.

The league is still looking the same with Real on top. A significant gap is forming between the top 2 and the rest of the table which is pretty much what I expected. Hopefully, Real will slip up at some point so I can leapfrog them as I am hoping to win this title in the first season so I can move on to a different country sooner rather than later. However, I am making sure I am planning for next season just in case I fail to win the league by scouting new keepers and midfielders to replace some of the departing old guard.
If anyone has any tips or advice for how to make my posts better then please feel free to say. I'll be sticking with the "Update" version of writing because it's not really a story as such but more of a challenge I'd like to share. However, any ways of making it more interesting appealing will be gratefully received... I'm still new to this!!
I really like this idea, also you've done great in the first few months, keep it up!
You're in fantastic form, can't believe Madrid are ahead

Part 1 - Spain (continued)


Last update for tonight. Another successful month with bags of goals including a tremendous 9-1 aggregate win against Espanyol in the Spanish Cup. A disappointing draw away to Athletico meant I lost further ground on Real Madrid at the top of the table. As AaronHJFT96 says, I can't believe I'm still not top!! Madrid are also on fire which is frustrating as the title is getting very difficult to get a hold of this season.

It's looking increasingly like El Clasico at the Bernabeu is going to be a decisive fixture in the title race this season. Hopefully Athletico can also take something from them as they have a good record against the "top" teams so far (a poor record against the lower teams means they are struggling). I should be able to finish the season tomorrow so hopefully I will have some good news to report in the first part of my (rather ambitious!!) challenge.

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