On FM Scout you can chat about Football Manager in real time since 2011. Here are 10 reasons to join!

Pierre Pellegri: The Pink Panther

Started on 6 May 2020 by Justice
Latest Reply on 2 June 2020 by Griffo
Pellegri bottling it when Pep’s giving him big ones with his medal. Could never be my manager.
A tough loss to take both on and off the pitch. Pep has the last laugh... for now.
Another trophy to City, at least this story is realistic!
Loosing trophy on pens it's really cruel, probably in the next final the luck will be with you!



"I don't think we can risk starting either of them," said Roy calmly. "If they're not going to be able to run properly in the middle of the pitch, we're going to have to look for a different solution. No matter how good they are, an unfit Neves and an unfit Moutinho will hurt us more than they will help us tomorrow."

It was the response I didn't want to hear from Roy Keane, my assistant manager, but one I was expecting. We had come out of Saturday's FA Cup final against Manchester City with more than just a defeat on the score cards. Our egos were bruised, which was an impressive feat considering how big our egos were, but the players were also bruised too. The two who were struggling to overcome knocks, in particular, were our prized midfielders Rúben Neves and João Moutinho. Muscle fatigue had effected them both and neither had trained since the final.

We brought them along to Gdánsk in the hope that they'd be fit enough to start in our Europa League final against Atalanta but it became apparent during the day before the game that they would be reduced to appearances as substitutes, if at all. We knew that we had to make contingency plans but, while we had plenty of other midfielders who could fill the void, we were going to lack serious quality in the middle of the pitch.

The aftermath of the FA Cup final was harsh. Guardiola and I had to be pulled apart several times. Of all people, Roy provided the voice of reason on the day. He reminded me that part of competing for trophies included not winning them at times. As Sir Alex Ferguson's greatest captain at Manchester United, Roy was familiar with competing for trophies and, despite winning more than he lost, he knew what it was like to lose. His experience helped him to react well.

The game reminded me that I was still at the very beginning of the managerial learning curve and that I had to take the losses with the wins. It was a major blip but a moment I could hold onto for motivation. It made me more determined. It made me hungrier. I never wanted to lose again. I was going to make sure of that too, starting with our Europa League final. It was my chance to earn redemption.

Aside from Neves' and Moutinho's knocks, the rest of the squad was available. There were a few knocks and bruises but nothing unmanageable. We were likely to have a full-strength defence, which still didn't fill me with joy. Captain Coady and Jonny had been excellent since my arrival. Influential on and off the pitch, their performances were first rate. Rugani was incredible too. He arrived in January and settled in very quickly. Those three were great players, and far beyond other defensive options at our disposal.

I was severely let down by the individual performances of Willy Boly throughout the season. He had become a bit of favourite among the Wolves fans before my arrival but he made severely poor, and often unforced, errors throughout the last few months. He had become a liability and, while he was set to start in the Europa League final alongside Coady and Rugani, I wanted to replace him in the summer. We needed to replace him if we wanted to challenge for more honours and be more consistent.

The agreed transfer of Dest was a massive coup for us. We secured his future move to us for a fee (£10.5M) a fraction of what I would have expected to pay for a player of his ability and potential. It was much needed. While Adama Traoré had impressed as an unconventional right wing back, he was not the best man for the role. We would be looking to move him on for an acceptable fee, should we go on to receive an offer for him. His backup, Doherty, was more likely to leave the club, having fallen out of favour since I arrived.

They were our two problem areas in defence. While we have already addressed one by securing the signing of Dest in the summer, we knew we needed to be clever about signing a central defender. The budget we would have available to sign a defender very much depended on the outcome Europa League final. Win or lose, the revenue earned directly and solely from the fixture would be similar. However, a win would see us earn Champions League football for the following season. The financial rewards would help to propel the club to a level where we could compete with the top teams for players. That was our objective.

The players knew what was expected of them, and they were sent to sleep early the night before. Roy and myself, meanwhile, ventured to the bar of our hotel where we shared thoughts on football and of our own personal lives too. Roy was very much a man that fit the motto 'what you see is what you get'. He was an honest, but uncompromising, individual who was a fiercely loyal professional. He was a reliable ally and a knowledgeable human, with experiences of the highs and lows of life. A good partner-in-crime to have.

Naturally our conversation always shifted back to the upcoming game, with the importance of the final against Atalanta drowning out other thoughts and emotions. While we had faith in the quality of the midfield depth within the squad, we knew that not starting Neves and Moutinho would be a major blow for us in terms of ability, not to mention the psychological impact on the rest of the team. We needed a solution.

We had previously agreed on a similar tactical setup to what would have featured with Neves and Moutinho available. Kalvin Phillips and Leander Dendoncker were the natural candidates to fill in for them, alongside Morgan Gibbs-White in midfield. That was the plan that we were comfortable with. However, as the time ticked on, inspiration struck with clarity and hope. I grabbed a napkin from the bar counter and a pen from my pocket and began scrawling an intricate formation diagram with arrows and lines pointing here and there.

"What are you playing at now, Pierre?" asked Roy inquisitively. Our plan for the game was set in stone in his mind, and he was anxious about any changes to it so late on.

"This, my good friend," I responded, biting my lip between breaths as I focused on my penmanship, "this is how we win tomorrow."


Tango, it was certainly far from ideal :(
Zed, just the one or two
tedbro20, exactly ;)
TheLFCFan, that is the aim!
Jack, not enough spying done on Pellegri's part.
ScottT, he who laughs last...
Griffo, but for how long will that be realistic? ;)
OneMoreGame, one can hope for as much!
And with just a spare hankie that was questionably stuck together, the Europa League was won.
Whilst Wolves will be limited with the absence of Moutinho and Neves, I suspect there will be a sense of desire unseen before in the players to want to beat Atalanta. Keane and Pellegri, as noted in this particular update, know all about these scenarios. Watch out, Atalanta.
Could either be a masterstroke or a disaster for Pellegri to change his mind tactics wise so late. It'll be interesting to see which it will be, but it's good that he knows what he needs to change squad-wise for next season to be more successful. Reliability is the number 1 expectation from a CB, so if Boly isn't capable of it: it's best he goes.

Good luck against Atalanta :D
*breathes heavy with anticipation*


Wolverhampton Wanderers lifted this season's UEFA Europa League trophy following a dominant 3-1 victory over Italian side Atalanta in the final. A Raúl Jiménez brace inspired Pellegri's side to victory and to a place in next season's UEFA Champions League group stage. The trophy win comes just four days after heartbreak in the FA Cup final at the hands of Manchester City, while Wolves could only manage a 10 place finish in this season's Premier League table, marking Pellegri's first (half) season in management with a major trophy.

Wolves headed into the game with injuries to two key players as Rúben Neves and João Moutinho were only fit enough to be substitutes. The selection dilemma prompted Pellegri to go for an unexpected tactical layout. Willy Boly, Conor Coady and Daniele Rugani lined up in a back three, with Rui Patrício in goals behind them, while Adama Traoré and Jonny played as wing backs on the right and left, respectively. Pellegri went for an unusual midfield, as Kalvin Phillips and Morgan Gibbs-White made up a duo in midfield. Wolves started with a front three as Pedro Neto joined hotshots Raúl Jiménez and Diogo Jota up front.

The tactical decision to start with three strikers and just two midfielders appeared to pay dividends. The athletic prowess of Phillips and Gibbs-White dominated the midfield contest while Wolves were able to stretch Atalanta's defence with sly, darting runs in behind the Italian back line and clever, intricate build-up play involving overlapping wing backs and always-available midfielders. The risk that Pellegri took to change from their usual 3-5-2 shape appeared to pay dividends.

However, it was Atalanta who broke the deadlock in the game. Willy Boly had made a number of errors in previous games, and was at fault for Atalanta's goal. Club legend Alejandro Gómez's cross from a wide free kick was met by Hans Hateboer, who had evaded the marking of Wolves' Willy Boly, to power a header beyond Patrício. It was a simple, and very avoidable, goal which gave Atalanta a lead on the 19 minute mark in the final.

If Wolves were anything under Pellegri, they were big game performers. Despite their defeat in the past weekend's FA Cup final, they were the dominant side at Wembley, and they rose to dominance after Atalanta's goal. Raúl Jiménez showed Wolves' dominance as he leveled the score less than ten minutes after the opener. The Mexican forward raced away from Atalanta's defence before drilling a low shot at goal. It was a shot that Pierluigi Gollini should have perhaps saved, but the Italian goalkeeper fumbled the shot into the goal to allow Wolves an equaliser.

Jiménez scored his, and Wolves', second goal of the game nine minutes later in impressive style. Morgan Gibbs-White was dominating the midfield with his athleticism and passing range. The young Englishman found Adama Traoré in space on the right wing. The Spanish wideman centered the ball into the path of Jiménez who swept the ball into the far corner of the goal and beyond the reach of Golini. Wolves had taken the lead.

Wolves' third, and final, goal of the game came with just over five minutes remaining in the first half. With Neves and Moutinho both on the bench, Kalvin Phillips had taken over set-piece duties. The Englishman whipped in a delightful back-post cross from wide, and Italian defender Daniele Rugani was on hand to head the ball low into the goal at the near post. It was a goal that doubled Wolves' advantage and gave them plenty of breathing room, with Atalanta's heads dropping just before half-time. A knife in Atalanta hearts.

Wolves took their foot off the attacking gas in the second half and instead played a more passive, self-contained approach. The adjusted style of play worked well as Atalanta struggled to create any chances. Wolves worked hard to close spaces and remain as tight as possible. Boly, surprisingly, remained error-free throughout the second half. Neves and Moutinho both appeared in the latter stages of the game to help see out the game. Their tactical nous and ability on the ball allowed Wolves to keep the ball and slow the play down at times.

After a long second half, the referee called time on the contest. The Wolves players and staff fell to their knees in rejoice as the trophy was secured. As Conor Coady lifted the trophy as captain, history was made. It was the club's first European trophy, despite their proud history, and a significant milestone in their evolution under the ownership of Fosun International. The Pellegri revolution was in full swing and the Wolves fans were certain that more trophies were under the way with the Frenchman running his rule over the club. Pellegri summed up the club's ambitions in his post-match interview - "We're not here to take part, we're here to take over."


Jack, the birth of something great came of it!
ScottT J_ames, Griffo, WE DID IT! :)
Stunning result in Pellegri's first trophy in his managerial career. If Wolves fans were in any doubt if they had got the right man then this result should sure put their minds at rest. A big summer ahead, I would imagine, with the owner seemingly prepared to shell out for the needed requirements at Molineux.
An excellent start to Pierre's career. Hard to believe he has only been in management for a year and is already coming away with a European trophy. A large part of that comes down to the guts to change the tactic. Congrats, interested to see who will be coming in during the summer window.
An unconventional tactical system leads Wolves to victory!

Willy Boly is certainly doing himself no favours...
That is an absolutely outstanding achievement, I can see plenty of clubs showing interest in Pellegri for the new season
What a first trophy to win. Just shows how good a manager Pellegri is. Now does he stay or move onto another challenge. If he stays will be interesting to see how much money he has to play with and who he brings jn

You are reading "Pierre Pellegri: The Pink Panther".

FMS Chat

hey, just wanted to let you know that we have a fb style chat for our members. login or sign up to start chatting.