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Direttore sportivo - Atalanta F.C

Started on 11 February 2020 by Aaron / First Post
Latest Reply on 15 February 2020 by ScottT / Last Post
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Dominik is a decent addition to the side. An upgrade on de Roon? Potentially.

Serie A Openers


If I'm being completely transparent, I paid next to zero attention to our pre season friendlies having not played them myself, I felt it was necessary to dive head first into scouting for incoming players for this window just passed and for windows in the near future.

So with that I say, what's really the point in showing you them if I myself paid no attention? I don't think there is any. So with that being said we take a look at the two openers of our league season.

Bologna were first up on the opening day of the season away from home, by no means an easy fixture. Then again is any match up easy on an away day?

The lads had to work really hard for this win putting in a performance worthy of my highest praises. Luis Muriel scored the first goal of the season and it was substitute Duvan Zapata who came on and sealed a solid 2-0 victory.

A win, 2 goals and a clean sheet. Can't ask for any more than that. A thoroughly brilliant effort here.

It was Udinese who would fall to the exact same result. Duvan Zapata has started very well this year it has to be said, scoring 2 in 2 now. After being substituted and scoring last game our manager clearly felt he deserved to nick a start over Muriel and he's proven his faith to be well placed.

Josip Ilicic scored the second goal of the game to put us on 6 points, securing a fantastic start to the season with 2 wins from 2. Udinese were no match, and the scoreline only backs that up.

There's not a great deal more to say. For these games we did go out with our counter attacking style in a bid to familiarise the team with it for some of the bigger upcoming games. I plan for us to play a bit more positively soon against some of the lower sides, fingers crossed we can execute the match plan to the effect I want it to have.

Next month is tough, Napoli, Roma and we begin our CL Campaign against Olympiakos which is going to be nothing short of exciting! I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into the champions league, I think with the group we got we can definitely make a push to get through!

Good stuff. A couple of goals and a clean-sheet in either game can't be sniffed at, nor can that Champions League group. It certainly presents a reasonable opportunity to progress.

September - Setting The Precedent


Atalanta are undoubtedly a strong team, but I feel I may have underestimated just how strong. It seems our great start to the season has us beating the likes of Napoli and coasting through Champions League Games as if our pedigree suggested we should.

After 3 games to be level on points with Juventus is nothing to shrug your shoulders at. Of course it's only 3 games but to be keeping up so early on when no one else can I think is certainly a little something to be admired.

Although we found ourselves in a frustrating position, drawing with Parma late on we can't ignore the fact that results like this are inevitable. Part of football is dropping points and we were powerless to stop footballs law from making it's mark in this one.

Of course anyone would look at our Champions League group and think, they'll get through that. Though it's harder than I think some people would believe. After all this is the Champions League and these teams we play are here on merit just like ourselves.

I think it's fairly obvious that when our name came out the hat I too felt like qualification was highly possible, I just don't want to take anything for granted. We must enjoy this chance we have and we're already making it clear and obvious that we want to set our mark upon this competition with nothing held back.

Things were always going to be tough against Roma and so it's no surprise to come away with nothing playing away from home. Never a team to be ignored, Roma have always been a force to be reckoned with in the Serie A, even in what may be considered their worst seasons.

The game was not as comfortable as the scoreline may suggest I must admit, we were 2-0 down right to the 85th minute and it was Hateboer that gave us sight of a lifeline, however it was only to be a consolation.

We ended what I consider to be a brilliant month with a win against Genoa. We left it very very late but what matters in this game is winning, and we did that. Sometimes you've got to forget about winning comfortably. Some of the best teams leave it late, and leave it looking ugly.

October - Rocky Road


Going against a Champions League team like Zenit and putting 4 past them with your star player scoring a hattrick, you'd expect to carry on in good stead scoring plenty of goals in the following games. It's not a result that screams clinical issues at you but this month that couldn't be further from the truth.

At this point though, it's clear to all that we can qualify from this group and I'm really happy we've made these strides to show that. I think at this point Round of 16 football should already be nailed on providing we give it the same effort in the return legs.

Atletico however will be a different ball game, one of Europe's elite. I'm relishing the chance to go against them but to get anything out of this game we're going to need to be at our very best.

For the next 3 games we didn't score a single goal which highlights are need for more clinical finishing in the final third. We got our first loss in the league to Torino who i thought we really should be beating given we pulled off a clean sheet and a point against Inter Milan. Not the easiest thing to do against Conte's new side.

Atletico as I said would always be a tough team to play and they were sure to show that to the world beating us 2-0, brushing us aside completely. It was clear right from the start that we were no match, Diego Costa scoring just two minutes in and Saul bagging their second 10 minutes later. It was as cagey and physical affair for the next 80 minutes and chances were few and far between.

With Gomez scoring his 4th and 5th of the month it was really nice to get back to winning ways (and scoring ways) with a solid 2-0 win against SPAL but I can't help but feel that this result adds insult to injury in the next game against Cagliari which we failed to score in a match we completely and utterly dominated. A point isn't the end of the world, but once again this is a game we could've and should've won.

8th in the league looks like a slack effort so far but when you consider the gap between 9th and 2nd is just two points, you've got to hand it to the team for keeping up with the pack. It's dog eat dog in league football and we're finding that out very quickly.

We've got to put in better performances next month, I'm not expecting us to go out and get Champions League football again this season. That was in all fairness a massive over achievement last year, but I expect a certain level of commitment and I feel we lacked this in October.

Not the best of month's overall, but a good start to the European campaign. You're on course to finish behind Atletico as expected. Serie A is extremely close so the current league position isn't too concerning at the moment.

November - Flying In Europe


It's been surprisingly smooth sailing in the Champions League this term. With 2 wins from 2 already, November could potentially decide whether we qualify from the group stage's in 1st or 2nd place or whether we'd have to fight it out in the last game in December.

We started off this month by beating Brescia 4-0, 4 different scorers. 3 of them from our attackers which is just what we needed after a barren spell last time out. Don't let this distract you though from the fact that we actually managed to do Atletico over at home and put ourselves in poll position to qualify against Olympiakos at the end of the month with a draw.

Both goals surprisingly came from our Dutchman Hateboer who is more often than not deployed at right back. He scored very early on in the second half just after coming on and it wasn't until the 92nd minute when the game was all but won, that he headed in the winner from an in swinging corner.

We'd taken a lot of pressure off of ourselves in the last two games both in Europe and the league but we were sure to pile it all back on with two disgustingly poor results against Lecce and Sassuolo.

We were in the lead against relegation fodder Lecce, and we gave all that up conceding two goals by the 60th minute leaving it all to do late on. Thankfully, Gomez was on hand to get an equaliser of his own and we took home a point in yet another match we should be winning.

The Sassuolo result was really something out of the ordinary. As I said previously dropping points and losing is part of football but when it comes this embarrassingly you have to have a think about where the problem lies. I'm really hoping I can put this one down to a bad day at the office, and that the coming games don't prove otherwise.

Olympiakos were also no match for us in the return leg at our stadium. 3-0 on the night, a much better score than a scrappy 2-1 that we managed first time round. Very very pleased to say we'll be in the round of 16 in February.

There are no easy teams in the Champions League, I'm anxious to see who we draw after the last game against Zenit.

Scott: No matter what people say Serie A is always competitive. Fiorentina, AC, Juve, Inter, Roma, Lazio, Napoli. That's your top 7 right there and every single one is extremely difficult to break, let alone the boys at the very top.
A fantastic result against Atletico is followed up excellently. A thoroughly deserved spot in the last sixteen awaits. Two shocking results against Leece and Sassuolo, though. Yes, it's inevitable that points are dropped, but in these circumstances it's not good enough. Full confidence in yourself to address this.
Aaron's avatar Group Aaron
1 dayEdited

December - Down To Earth


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere - except here. Yes as you can see we failed to score in not one, not two, not even THREE but FOUR matches. What an exhausting month it's been for everyone involved with the club, it's our assistant manager I feel sorry for. Having to put out a side away from home to Lazio, Juve, Zenit and then hosting AC Milan all in a row...

It's been far from easy. It's been showing in the squad too. Injuries are becoming a much bigger problem the deeper we get into the season. I think at one point we had 5 injuries and a suspension which stopped us from fielding a full bench. Most of our u20s are out on loan so there was no filling it out with them.

The increased number of loans here is something that has to be addressed next year. It's left us up shit creek without a paddle, plenty of great players at other clubs that could be more than beneficial here.

None of the first 4 games were any easier than the last. I expected maybe to pull of a result against Zenit but it wasn't to be. Neither side scored, neither side had much of a chance go their way and because of Atletico's 1-0 loss against the whipping boys of the group we finish the group at the very top!

One of the two positives to take from the Christmas period that's for certain!

We really really needed that win against Sampdoria. I thought that in our form, it was going to be a lot more difficult than it usually would be but the boys stepped up to the mark and gave them a good old thumping as expected. I'm really hoping this will spur the lads on in January and we'll see a surge in our form!

In conclusion, at the half way point of the season it's not good enough. Dead set in mid table, we need an improvement and fast. It was never going to be an easy ride but this for sure is not what I expect from a team playing in the Champions League.

Overachievers or not.

Scott: Looking for much better performances in the second half of the season I assure you of that.
This looking good so far some big movements as well
Tough run of games there, but a lack of goals is still a reasonable concern. Six points off the top-four, it's still not too bad but needs to be addressed quickly. Hopefully the Sampdoria result is the beginning of an upturn in form.

January - New Year Blues


As it becomes apparent that the Sampdoria result drove us to sweet FA, we now sit a dismal 10th place in the Serie A. The fact of the matter is it's just not good enough, and things need to improve. I've been saying this for a while now but I want to give my thoughts on why we're not performing as expected.

Quality of strikers. Don't get me wrong, Zapata and Muriel have been great at this level for a long time but they're ageing and clearly just aren't up to the standard of physicality required at this level of football. Outside of that, we've no one of any real quality and lets not forget that Zapata is only here on loan.

Not our team. The age old excuse. It's not our team. Well, it's not. I've brought in two players with minimal money to spend. The board have allocated some extra funds for January but it's not enough for real change. Aside from this, it's not all about bringing in players. It's about getting to know the ones you've got, which we're still doing.

Tactical familiarity. I appreciate the effort from the players to play out my style of play. It's new to them and I understand that. In games we've lost even quite heavily we've dominated possession nearing on 70% sometimes, and even had the lions share of shots at goal. I think the main issue is the quality of chances being created, and defensive weakness'. We lack a certain flair in midfield to open things up properly.

All in all we are actually performing well and that's good but it doesn't win you games. We should be beating teams like Verona and it's just not happening for us. Some will say it's luck, some will say it's cohesion. At the moment I go with a mixture of both.

At the end of the season we have a whopping 76 loans expiring. That's players returning to and leaving the club. That's wages freed up, and players on their way back to potentially sell on for good sums of money. Either way I'm certain we'll have the right tools to build something special next summer, and I'm excited.

Yet more testing times...

Mid Season Review

Upon the midway point of the season, I want split apart the monthly updates with a mid season review. Firstly, I just want to take a moment to think about how we've been playing and how I want us to play moving forward. Secondly, transfers. The window is over, and I have news to bring, not much but enough. Lastly, we've updates on some player progress I want to go over.

So, this far in the season I think we've fallen a little short of the mark. 10th place is not where I expected to be at this stage, and things should be better. That being said, I believe the reason we're where we find ourselves is mostly down to lacking just that bit of luck.

In almost every game we've played, we've dominated possession and kept the ball well. We've had our fair share of the attempts, at no point have we been dominated. Even play against Juve was a much tighter affair than they'd have you believe.

I want to be stubborn and continue how we are, I think another summer window will be imperative in the rebuild and when we set our mark on this team things will progress.

Transfers In:

Enio. In comes Enio firstly. I've brought Enio in from the Brazilian first division for roughly around 50K. He by no means is setting the world alight right now but I have the sole intention of loaning him out for some experience in a top league. He's currently on his way to Charleroi for a medical.

A good bit of business I think.

Racchumick. Again, not the best player ever but a cheap young talented centre back from the Peruvian leagues. My scouts ensure me that his very small price tag is worth the deal and he'll join up with the squad on the 1st July.

Looking forward to him arriving, I don't expect him to be near the first team any time soon but with some loan experience he could provide valuable cover after a while, or maybe a bit of profit.

Mark Chan. An American in the Serie A. It almost looks ugly. Bags of potential this one, and I think I'm right in saying he doesn't actually join until 2022 (could be wrong) I'll need to look into that one.

Jeremy Doku. A familiar face I'm sure to all of you. Jeremy will be providing decent cover for Gomez on the right for the second half of the season. I don't expect the manager to play him a great deal but any game time at 17 is worth it's weight in gold.

comes in for roughly 7M - 3.5M upfront. Another great deal for the club!

Transfers Out:

Jose Luis Palomino. Jose has been ever present for us this season, cropping up with a few important goals though at 30 years old I believed it was time to cash in on the central defender acquiring around 12 million for him.

I'm already looking to bring in fresh blood ready for next season and have a replacement lined up. Tune in at the end of the season to find out if we get him.

Player Progression:

Dominik Szoszbolai. Dominik has had a lot of game time this year and I'm glad to see it given the fee we played. He's not been a stand out figure as of yet but his improvement is certainly note worthy and I'll be keeping a closer eye on him from now till the end of the year.

Gaetano. I can't praise Gaetano enough for how he's been this year. He's played about the same games as Dominik only to find the same results. There's not been much in the way of goals or assists but on and off the pitch he's been thoroughly professional in the way he's developed.

Always keen to improve, always top of the ratings list for training. Week in week out and the results are shown clearly to be beneficial.

The latest incomings are mainly with an eye to the future than the here and now. It hasn't been the greatest start to the season come the halfway point, but there's certainly signs to suggest you can improve.

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