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Having a Crac Ovia here in Poland

Started on 27 January 2019 by JT / First Post
Latest Reply on 25 June 2019 by ScottT / Last Post
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Wow, a really interesting league campaign this is turning out to be. Excellent that you’re leading the way, but a bit of bad form and dropping points could appear to have its consequences if other teams pounce!

December

On the pitch

A short month to end 2018 and move us into a winter break but 3 more league games have been played and they went pretty well as you can see from the league table.


The first match against Arka was by far our worst showing as a drab highlight less 0-0 draw was played out. I couldn't help but think that was 2 points dropped as we showed nothing. For the next 2 games, my assistant pointed out we should go more attacking and switch our mentality to that. I gave it a go and 6 goals and 6 points later i have to say it worked.

We attacked well, got people in the box and scored some good goals. Even out of form Airam Cabrera scored albeit it was a shot that just hit him but it stopped his goal drought and we looked good, possibly the best we have all season. Which means the winter break is a little disruptive.

Even more so when you look at the fact a little breakaway has started to happen as the league finally starts to stretch out. The pack contains runners up for the last 2 years Jagiellonia, arch rivals Wisla and joint top league titles holder Gornik Zabrze. The main surprise comes in Legia Warsaw not being in that group as they have dominated Polish football for the last 5 years.

Can we hold on? If we click like we did in the last 2 games after the winter break than yes but i think we need some reinforcements to help with a plan B and to allow some rotation over the next few weeks. So i was already planned to start to scouting in earnest in January, make some offers and get some new faces in before we start again, only to find out the transfer window doesnt open till February! Why have a winter break if you can't buy anyone in that time?!

Recognition

Off the field, there was some recognition for both myself and for one of my players. I personally sealed a new contract which when it is done quite early in the first season highlights you are doing a pretty decent job.

Whilst more impressively midfielder Janusz Gol picked up best player in the league for that year. Based on timing i guess that is calendar year and not the season itself but i can't disagree with how good he has been for me.

Now off to play a month of friendlies... but not buy anyone

Winter Break

Goings on

As per my last update, the winter break in Poland is a little strange with the transfer window opening right at the end of it meaning the month is just about playing some meaningless friendlies. Joy!


As you can see it was a mixed bag as we played our reserve team 3 times (Although they don't exist) as well as games against Spal, Hertha Berlin and Viktoria Plzen. The Spal game was probably the highlight whilst we showed spirit against a stronger Hertha Berlin side. Viktoria Plzen just counter attacked us 3 times to beat us but we showed some promise.

What the games did become though was a testing ground for both Triallists and also some of the U18 squad to see if they could make a difference in the back half of the season. The likes of Lassina Traore were bought in on trial with youngsters Pik, Racokzy, Feret and Bala all getting a chance to see if they were good enough for the first team.

The Triallists didn't work out but the youngsters in particular Racokzy and Pik looked like they could be of use. In the upcoming window, we were looking for options on the right flank, No.10 and striker positions all on either a short term loan or short term contract. That is harder than you think when FM19 doesnt allow you to see potential loan options outside of the window.

To help i also added another affiliate club in the form of Puskas Akademia of Hungary who will allow us to loan players to them but also get first option on their side. They have good facilities and in previous FM's i have seen them develop some decent youth.

February

Transfers

The window finally opened and it was time to scour the market for new players. It was also a window that saw us send out more youth players on loan whilst letting winger Wdowiak leave when his contract expired. He wasn't getting game time and to be honest the youth players coming through were not far off being on par so it was time to cut my losses.

In terms of incomings it was the loan market that was going to work out best for us and i was happy to bring in just one man. Monaco have loaned us Samuel Grandsir for the rest of the season. The French U21 is a step above what we have right now and is easily our best player in terms of star ability and he gives us an injection of pace whilst also being able to play in a few positions.


On the pitch


Let's just take a look at that league table. Top after 23 games and the breakaway group is starting to shrink to just 3 teams. I was worried about the break ruining our run of form but i was completely wrong as we eased past Piast 3-1 before pulling off our best result yet - a 3-1 win over current champions Legia. The game saw two crucial moments. Grandsir made his debut only to get sent off after two yellow cards and young Michal Rakoczy came on to score his first goal in just his 2nd senior appearance.

Jagellonia were the final game and with both teams at the top it was just a case of not losing. Something we did thanks to Serder Serderov's brilliant goal which allowed us to draw 1-1. In fact the Russian Serderov is starting to really come into his own and was the player of the month.

Youth Intake


Oh! Not a great intake but than again my facilities are not great yet. Only two players look like they have some potential but they are a long way away from getting near the first team. Krzysztof Zaba can finish and has composure so that is a start but his physicals are awful and that might just stop him making it as technically he could be ok. Kamil Kuczek is better physically but is lacking in some key areas on mentals and technicals and again that might just stop him progressing further.

No superstars here but right now it is all about the present.
The title is definitely yours for the taking if you can continue on your current trajectory
Smashing it in the league at the moment! It looks like it could be a tight run-in but you have the advantage going into the home stretch!

March

On the pitch

A rollercoaster of a month that included the 2nd part of the Holy War but somehow we still sit top. Any other season we would be way out of this title race.


It started well enough as we bottom of the table Wisla Plock 1-0 in an admittedly tougher than i expected match but it was once again the Russian Serderov who got our winner. We than entertained mid table Zaglebie Sosnowiec and again i was confident that we could win this game but it turned into an almighty battle as we at first went 1-0 down before going 2-1 and 3-2 up before finally getting pegged back for a 2nd time to leave us with a 3-3 draw.

I had never seen us defend that badly until we got to the Holy war where it was a bloodbath and we were shipped by rivals Wisla 3-0. This was a Wisla side that had dropped down to 7th having been in a rut since the Winter Break. A shocking and a horrible result that saw me lose my cool with the team. We didn't even respond as in the next game against Gornik Zabrze we were poor and it was only down to Gerard Oliva scoring an equaliser having just returned from injury that had kept him out all season.

So 5 points from 4 games and somehow we are still top. If we could have just picked up two more wins we could have opened up a lovely little lead going into the league split. I am not sure what quite has happened, sure there have been a couple of injuries but in reality we should be able to cope well enough but weirdly i think it might be down to the fact that we are now mathematically guaranteed to be in the top half and the boys have just switched off thinking the job is done.
Not the greatest of months, but it's enough to keep you top and that's all that matters. Immensely tight at the top too. Got to be said, these Polish teams love a good draw!

18/19 Regular Season End & Championship group

On the pitch

The first half of April sees us end the regular season ready for the league to be split into 2 with a final 7 games to play for the Championship. The last 3 league games saw it all - A draw, a win and a loss as we somehow clinged onto top spot.


It is still incredibly tight at the top and with 7 more games to decide the title it seems like every single team could just about do it. The amount of draw's is ridiculous and it is simply going to be down to who gets into the most form as the season ends. If you look at the group it seems to be that Lech, Lechia and potentially Wisla are the most in form sides whilst we have only 1 win in the last 5 games.


So these are the 7 games we have to try and win our first major domestic trophy since the 1940's. When i go through these fixtures, earlier in the season we picked up just 10 points from these exact fixtures which based on our lead is probably not going to be enough. I think if we can get around 16 points from the 21 we should see ourselves champions but that will be tough.

I need to pick up the boys for one more push.
Five wins would almost certainly guarantee the title. Good luck!
It would be a massive accomplishment if you could capture the title in your first season in charge, especially after such a long wait for a major title.

It is going down to the final game of the season and we have Gornik in the last game of the season in a title shootout.

We are at least guaranteed European football next season. Will it be Champions League or Europa League?
It is literally one game for the title.. intense!

18/19 Championship group

On the pitch

So as you saw i was 1 game away from clinching an unlikely title but before i go into that final deciding game. What happened in the preceeding 6? Well we didn't score in the first 3 games of the Championship group, that's what. Two 0-0 draws draws against Legia and Lechia before losing another Holy War to Wisla 1-0. In all three games we had more possession and more chances but we were lacking something crucial and that was goals.

Back to the tactics screen and more tweaking was needed as i enforced the overlap option on both wings and doubled down on playing the ball into the box. It worked as we than beat Korona 3-1 before drawing with Jagellonia 1-1. It took a dramatic 96th minute winner to beat Lech 2-1 but suddenly we had found some sort of form (Or what has counted for it this season in Poland) to leave us level on points with Gornik Zabrze who had also just won the Polish Cup. So how did it go?


We did it! A comfortable 3-0 win thanks to a Serder Serderov double saw us win our first Championship for 71 years!


So the Champions League is our destiny and the board want to pump some money into the side. Doubling our wage budget and giving us a couple of million to spend on some new faces.

Season 1 Review

What a first season it was as we won a league title despite being predicted to just come 7th. Certainly we were helped by what proved to be a year of the draw as none of the big sides came into any form and i have no doubt that the points total of 64 points will be the lowest winning points total.

However, Champions we are and it is time to look at how we did it. Well somehow we outscored everybody which still shocks as me as in some games we looked completely toothless. What we also did was dominate possession (60%) and also keep possession (83% pass rate) which was a good sign that the possession football was working. We were though the worst when it comes to shooting accuracy which kind of follows. In may game we had 20+ shots but scored just the once or not at all.

So Where can we improve? Let's look at it by role

Goalkeepers


We started the season with Gostomski as No.1 but an injury meant i bought in Hadzikic to be the new number 1 and we never really looked back. The Austrian for a long time had over a 7.00 average rating which is almost unheard of in FM but he eventually dipped under a 7. However, i have no qualms here. Gostomski started whinging about lack of game time and even missed training so i suspect he will get moved on and i will look for a younger back up to compete with Hadzikic who was voted into the leagues team of the year.

Defenders


Onto the defence and despite not having the best defence in the league by any shot we had 3 of the team make the Leagues team of the year. Cornel Rapa was solid in the RWB slot but i think i need to tweak some instructions to get the best out of him moving forward. At one point we didn't have the right left back but as soon as we moved Bulgarian Diego Ferraresso to the LWB slot we looked a lot more balanced and he ended up being a good outlet for us. Olexiy Dytyatev was the shock for me this season as i initally wrote him off as being the back up centre-half all season but he ended up being our best defender and even won the fan's player of the season.

Still we were leaky at times in the back and some work i think is needed. We play posession football but no one at centre half is good at passing and although we have an abundance of height and strength, we do lack pace. A Ball playing centre half will be on the shopping list whilst i will probably loan out young Kruppa to give him more game time.

Midfielders


A mixed bag here as well. Serder Serderov was the standout benging in 12 goals and winning the League's player of the season. He is one of the only players in the attacking part of the team with any pace which probably highlights where we lack. Javi Hernandez started the season well but he dropped off and i think there is certainly a call for a new AMC with more creativity as 4 assists for a man that was in a playmaker role all season isn't strong enough for me. Grandsir was generally average coming in on loan whilst Culina was up and down with his particular strength being set piece goals. However a lack of pace for a wide man isn't great and he could be moved on.

Further back, Janusz Gol despite being 33 was a constant presence in the midfield and boy was he able to score from outside of the box. The rest of the central midfield did little to impress. Budzinski never quite looked right whilst Dabrowski kept the ball well but struggled to make any impact scoring just once and assisting just twice. Dumin and Serafin were rarely used along with Danek and it could be argued all three get replaced with a mixture of youth players coming up and maybe a new face.

I am certainly undecided whether to freshen it up but i can probably imagine at least one MC coming in with a couple moving out.

Forwards


Airam Cabrera was an almost ever present because we lacked genuine competition and although he finished with 18 goals and 2nd in the league for goals, the Spaniard could go missing for long stretches. However, i can't deny his goals and his loan deal is due to expire. If he was younger i would be tempted to renew it but at over 30 i think we will need a new striker. Oliva returned from a long injury lay off but lacks the quality whilst Pisczek isn't going to be strong enough moving forward.

A new striker or two is a must.

Summary

Lot of areas to improve and the scouting work has begun to see who we can bring in to improve the side which is weird to say when we had 5 players in the team of the season and won the league. Still we can not rest now and it will probably be quite a busy summer as my main targets will be

A New striker to replace Cabrera along with a young back up.
A New AMC to replace Hernandez
A pacy Inside forward to go on the right
A ball playing centre half
Potentially a new MC

Time to crack on with pre-season

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