29 March 2013, 22:00
It's been a very interesting few days and I'm starting to settle into my new club. The language barrier, unsurprisingly, does have its difficulties but soon I'll be starting Croatian classes and hopefully I'll be able to speak the basics in a few months. Despite this I've had a great welcome from the fans and players. I hosted a team meeting to introduce myself and it went done well with the team. All the players seemed to react positively and seemed genuinely pleased to meet me.
A few days back I had my first press conference, what an experience... I've never been brilliant at speaking to large crowds and when I first entered the room I was shaking with nerves. As I started to face a few questions I settled down and got into my stride. During the conference I expressed my delight at being appointed and stated that I'd be bringing in some new staff. At no point did I discuss transfers, in or out. Generally facing the press went well, I believe I came across as professional and ambitious.
As I said before I was going to get my own set of backroom staff in, which I've now done. I won't bore you by going through each staff member but I will show my assistant manager who I'll be working with for the next few years. I would also like to note that I decided against hiring a director of football as I feel it's not worth the money when a team is in financial difficulty, like we are.
Now onto my squad. The first thing I realised when viewing the squad is how young it is. The oldest player being 30 and an average age of just 21. This is certainly not a bad thing as it means most of players can only get better but we do need a few more experienced players to help lead the team. Here's the squad report Dinko compiled:
As you can see we have a good 'spine' but we lack any depth. I feel we need a RB as currently I'm playing Blaic out of his natural position (he's a LB) and a ST because Vuk is injured for 3 to 4 months therefore we lack a poacher. Obviously there are many more areas that could do with improvements but in our current financial position we simply can't afford it.
Top 5 players:
My best player, he is a great target man due to his strength and height. A former U21 international for Croatia and has already scored 7 goals in 17 appearances this season, which is respectable considering our league position. Hopefully he can fire us out the relegation zone.
Tank. He's a massive 6ft4 and weighs 12st10. I'll be looking for him to organise the back line and use his experience from first division football to get us out the relegation zone.
The most creative player in the squad. He will be my main playmaker for this season and I will be looking for him pick up a high amount of assists whilst chipping in with a few goals.
The kind of player I love. Very hard working and never gives up. He more than makes up for his poor defending by constantly being a threat to the opposition with his forward runs. Unfortunately he was transfer listed by request before I joined, hopefully I can convince him to stay (although his wage may be an issue). Despite all this I named him vice-captain due to his great determination.
Made captain by me at the tender age of 23. Despite this he does have the leadership skills that you would expect from a much more experienced player. Not only is he a great leader, he's a brilliant keeper. One of the best in the league and he needs to show that in the last 12 games of the season.
Another thing I'm excited about is the fantastic youth prospects. Here's the top 3:
No doubt a future star, will look to start to give him the odd appearance in the league although his game time will be limited this season. He has almost all the attributes to be a great CB, although he does lack strength which I will look to improve in the next few years.
Definitely our most technically gifted youngster. As he gets older he should develop mentally and become a more all rounded player. He will be getting the odd game this season, although more likely to be in ST than AML. If he performs well then he may earn a starting spot.
He's already a brilliant shot stopper and will develop mentally with experience. I'm going to sell my current back up keeper and Ivan will be promoted from the youth team to fulfill that role.
Like I said before getting players in will be very difficult so I'm looking to thin down the squad and get rid of deadwood. Who I will be selling/releasing is still to be decided.
I have three tactics I've designed. Two will be used depending on the opposition and one is a 'Mourinho style' hold the lead tactic.
I noticed our squad lacks quality wingers so I decided it may be good to produce a tactic that works around that. The great thing about 4-2-2-2 is that it's very balanced, in terms of attacking and defending. It requires hard working wing backs who are capable with the ball at their feet and CAMs that are willing to push out wide to make space for the STs. Ultimately this tactic is a possession tactic where the team aim to keep the ball on ground and wait for a space to exploit. Another thing I've tried out is the sweeper keeper type role for Radosevic, as we play a high defensive line he will push up and look to clear any through balls from the opponents. This will normally be used against weaker opponents.
This tactic is a more direct, counter attacking tactic. A good name for it would be the 'smash and grab' tactic as we aim to soak up pressure then hit the opposition on the counter. It also plays to the strengths of Tepuric who is a strong in the air so will be able to knock down any long balls.
A contain tactic which I may employ when in the lead against a strong team. This will normally be used in the last 20 minutes of a game. All we will do is sit deep and try to avoid giving the opponent any clear cut chances.
Tomorrow is the big day, my first match in management! Excited but very nervous, wish me luck...