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Empoli - Mission Impossible

Rise of the Azzurri
Started on 16 July 2014 by kFp
Latest Reply on 19 July 2014 by kFp
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February/March Update: It's hard when you have no funds

Serie A Results

Two months of twists, two months of ups and downs. First game of the month was home at Cesena. Another italian draw in which at the start of the games we were certain favourites but in the end we were lucky to draw.Milevski managed to equalise for us from a penalty kick after a superb back-heel from Vicente.
The second game was again a 1 - 1 against Atalanta, a hard fought draw against a side which played beautifully but did no take their chances. Milevski scored again from another penalty but then in the 80' minute Marco Amelia was in the wrong place at the wrong time and scored an own goal. The ball bounced from his back after it hitted the bar from a well executed free-kick.
It seemed that we were not at our best, the gameplay was not going as we wanted to. We lost against Cagliari, Fioretina and Lazio. We were not anymore that side which made wanderers, which made the unthinkable thinkable. We played like a small team and got what it was coming. Horror results 3 losses and 1 draw against Palermo. I knew I had to do something to change the situation because I could not let the hard work and historic results go in vain. I made a team meeting and the squad responded exactly the way I wanted.
We got an away win against Chievo and beat Sampdoria in a terrific match in which we were down 1-2 in the 66' minute. And along the way came Juventus. Our NIGHTMARE ! We went to Juventus Stadium to try and get revenge upon the last match but have failed to do so. We lost 5-1 .. but the score was not fair. At half-time it was 1-1, a perfect half for us. Then we fallen apart from the 77' minute. In 13 minutes we got four goals and Juventus lifted the title. YES, Juventus are Serie A Champions after 31 matches. INCREDIBLE, HISTORICAL and UNIMAGINABLE !

League Table

Juventus lifted the title

After the games against Juventus, Raul Stoica words were:

I guess everybody wants to know what happened after the 76 minute ?

First of all I want to congratulate Juventus for their title. They were absolutely amazing all along the way, rarely giving opportunities for the chasers, always wanting to win. They are the best and deserve this scudetto.
We came with high morale, with high ambitions to restore our pride after that 0-5 in the first leg. But you know, sometimes even if you want it with all your heart, you can't do it. They were that good.
What happened ? The lads wanted it so badly that after they saw themselves being put behind with so little time on the clock they had a psychological block and did not concentrate no more on the game and that's what happened.
Juventus were spurred by a fantastic atmosphere and the chance of clincing the title at home.

When we last meet you had extraordinary results, now you had some bad results

Indeed. I must admit that is hard to be able to push farther than your hand can reach. By this I mean that is hard for the club to reach a european place with this little budget that we have.
We are not Juventus, we are not AC Milan, clubs with big budgets and top training facilities. But I still consider that a 10th place is fantastic for us, given the fact that we came from Serie B and transferred no less than 11 players which is a lot.

How do you wish to finish the campaign ?

As best as possible. We want to maintain this position and will hold it with our teeth.

April/May Update: A proud positioning

Serie A Results

The last two months were bad but good enough. We did avoid relegation and got ourselves on the 10th position. We were nicknamed the giant slayer after we defeated AC Milan with 2 - 0 following a red card that we had in the first half.
We were unlucky at the beginning of the match but lucky at the end so a draw is a good result for us against Sassuolo. Then we had tough opposition and lost the game against Napoli and then lost against the surprise of the season Udinese which showed quality gameplay along the duration of the match.
We defeated relegated Parma with 2-1 .. a lucky 2-1 because we both had opportunities but we made them count. After that Roma has took revenge and beaten us at home with 3-1 and Verona salvaged themselves with a 1-0 victory.

League Table

Empoli given award as best team in the Serie A

Empoli 10th place

After the last game we had to opportunity to talk with Empoli's boss, Raul Stoica:

Firstly I want to congratulate you and your team for winning the best team in Serie A

Yes, it is beautiful to see that people enjoy the work you put in. Myself and the team are very prod of this award and this will spur us for more awards in the future.
I want to thank the team, they have fantastic, have listened to me from start to end and together we managed something big because at the start of the season we would have never dreamed about this place.
I would also like to thank the fans. They have been fantastic all season and I hope we pleased them.

Do you think you could have done more ?

It's useless to talk about this right now. We just finished the season and we are all satisfied about this.
Now it's vacation time and we'll gather after it in the hope of accomplishing something greater. That's the most important thing we need to do: to build on this success !

Next season objectives ?

To be better than last season.

Some signings in mind ?

It's too early to talk about this. Have to go now. Thank you !

Finances at the end of the season

The 2013/2014 Empoli Squad

A great debut season mate, hopefully you can build on that with a bit of funds behind you.

Pre-season meeting and transfers

Board entrust Raul with 20 Millions EUR

For a mid-table positioning the board have entrusted me with 20 million euros. I said that I'm satisfied so the work to get rid of the deadwood and bring quality to the squad has begun.

Last season we have lacked some good fullbacks and I think that Didac Vila will be a good acquisition. Good marking, tackling and positioning, he's not old, only 25 years old.
I have managed to get him from Chievo for 1.5M a total bargain if I can say so.

Also we have lacked some quality finishing and I think the likes of Simone Zaza will solve the problem. He's got some stats and he's got a huge desire to get one over Juventus, to prove them wrong.
I payed 1.1M for each team, Sassuolo and Juventus, getting to a total of 2.2M for a good striker.

Marco Cassetti aged has worried me and I thought it was time so change something. I brought Zambelli, the player from Brescia. He's showing some good stats with his disadvantage being his acceleration.
I bought him with 1.8M so yet again another low sum transfer that brings quality.

Vicente is already too old to be an advanced playmaker so I need to bring some creative youth with crazy desire to win.
Ante Coric fitted perfectly for me. A croatian wonderkid with some crazy stats at only 17 years old ! For 1.8M I find it a bargain.

Still Vicente is too old, Coric is not yet to be a regular so I need someone who can play regularly. My basic playmaker will be the polish kid from Kozienice.
He's got some good passing, creativity, technique, dribbling, first touch but some bad decisions. I put in on his age and I think he can develop nicely.

Serie A is the most tacticized championship in Europe. So I need rocks in front of my goalkeeper.
For 400k I managed to get the services of Stefan Strandberg, a rock solid norwegian. A total bargain !

In total I have spent 11.4M but I still need that key signing, that player who will amaze Europe.
My search for the best goes on.Until then I have managed a good sell in my opinion.

Mandorlini camed with a direct offer of 5M cash for this young italian defender. I tought that it was good decision to take advantage of the offer and say yes.
So Tonelli went to Verona where he's salary tripled. A good business for both the player and the club.

After's Tonelli departure Empoli is looking for a centre-back

Two more in

I am so excited about this transfer. One of the best young defenders you can find. He is A BEAST.
Bought him with 6.5M which is NOTHING compared with how good he will develop. He will be ruthless, he will be our rock in the defense.

This is a hot prospect. He can finish, he can pass, he can tackle, he can shoot. He's good at everything and for 300k it's like finding a diamond in the sand.

Stoica announces that the mercatto has ended

Hello, Raul ! We saw no less than 8 players brought to the team.Why so many ?

Well, we needed quality. Last season our tight squad has been a disadvantage and we need to bring quality players who will make the team stronger. Like I said last year, we need to build on our success to try to be better this season.
I am very happy with the transfers and I am happy that the president entrusted me with a huge amount of money.

So we can expect Empoli to challenge for an european place ?

Everything is possible and as long as we train hard and smart we can achieve whatever we desire.

More will come ? Some will leave ?

No. Empoli has officially ended the campaign with the signing of Rafael Guardares and Alvarez Balanta.

Balanta. You have surprised many with this move, especially after his good performances from the World Cup.

Yes. I am very satisfied with the player, as he is with our project. He's got quality to be the best in the world in his position. I told him that this is up to him because he's got huge potential and I will try to help him develop as much as possible, as I do for each of my players.

What about the others ?

I don't like to star out individuals. Like I told you, in my opinion if we fail to form a united group with desire to win we will fail our objectives.
Football is about teamplaying, not about individuals. On the pitch there are 11 players that must be able to sacrifice for the men next to them.

Thank you for your time and we wish you good luck in the next season !
Congratulations place in the championship! And congratulations for transfers, many good players, and potentially, Zaza I know, and can make good seasons! Good luck !
Some good signings especially Balanta mate

Pre-Season Results and First games:A hell schedule


Some good and bad results in the preseason. All that matters is that we have tested some new instructions which I think it will help develop a better Serie A season.
First friendly was a match to forget. We lost against Valladolid. Then we won against Deportivo and lost to 2-0 to Barcelona. I have to say that I'm proud of my team getting a 0-0 at HT. How did we get a friendly against them ? We had that under contract when we sold Daniele Rugani.
And we did not repeat last year's mistake and managed a win against Crotone with 1-0, a goal that came from our captain, Francesco Tavano.

The first three matches of the Serie A send Empoli to face Lazio, AC Milan and Juventus

The schedule has not give us a 'breather'. In the first three matches we had to play Lazio at olimpico, AC Milan at home and Juventus at Juventus Stadium.
You simply could not wish for something harder. Although the pre-season gave me confidence, I knew it would to hard to gain some results after this matches but something special happened.

We start our second season at Olimpico where we face Lazio. With Flamini being the biggest reinforcement of the romans, we knew we would basically face the same team as last year.
We went with confidence of being able to put a display and what display it was ! They took the lead by Dusan Basta but with a poacher like Zaza you can expect any time a quality finishing and there it was, Zaza made it 1-1.
As we prepared to defend this result, a free kick that announced nothing made the cross from which Strandberg raised above all and headed three points to Carlo Castellani.
What a way to start the season !!

Following the win against Lazio, now we had to host the rossoneri, AC Milan. I told the players to believe in themselves because they are certainly not below the players of AC Milan.
Simone Zaza vowed the crowd with a beautiful finish to make it 1-0 for us. Unfortunately a free-kick bounced from the bar into the back of Amelia and went into the net changing the score to 1-1.
After that both teams created opportunities but failed to take advantage of them. A good 1-1, 4 points in two hell matches !

Likely one of the hardes games in all the season. We were up against the reigning three time champions, a team that last season has had a +8 goal difference against us.
We were their favorite pray and we needed to show everybody that we are lions, not sheep. And so we did, with a bit of luck, but luck is part a football match !
Like last time, Asamoah opened the score and then Zaza made it quiet on Juventus Stadium with yet another goal after the big mistake of Chiellini ! Incredible form he is showing ! Vidal made it 2-1 from the spot with only 8 minutes down to go.
Annan hit an early cross which caught Muslera off-guard, making a horrific mistake and we equalised in the 88' minute. Beautiful, simply beautiful !

League Table


Wanted to show you that even after a 17M transfer campaign where are on a floating level and the club has no debts which I consider a very important factor for a bright future.

You are reading "Empoli - Mission Impossible".

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