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Trying to get my beloved Whites to the Premier League and beyond

Discussion
Hey guys, i know it is late to start a career at this point, but bear with me and let's see where this leads, because this might be the last chance to start a Championship career with Leeds (fingers crossed for the Whites).
The first post is going to be a bit long, because i am going to concentrate on building the foundation for what hopefully will turn out to be a successful season.
Let's start by looking at the squad. It is build for a 4-2-3-1 wide in my opinion. Defense looks shaky with no real cover for Ayling, the right back and the 2 central defenders Jansson and Cooper.At left back Douglas, the new comer is going to be doubled by Tom Pearce, a good prospect promoted from the youth academy. In central midfield we have Phillips, Klich, Forshaw(injured for 2 to 3 months), Baker(on loan from Chelsea), O'Kane(transfer listed) and Shaughnessy, another prospect promoted from the youth academy. Good number of central midfielders, not so happy about the quality of them all. I was extremely disappointed to see Kalvin Phillips is still considered to not handle well the big matches. On the wings we have Dallas on the right and Alioski and Harrison(on loan from City) because Pablo Hernandez is thought to be a more natural central advanced playmaker which again a bit disappointing.There is also Samu Saiz and Brown(on loan form Chelsea) competing for that starting spot while on the stiker role we have Roofe, Bamford and Roberts. Looking at the under23, probably Huffer(GK), Shackleton(CM), Downing(LB), Halme(CD) are looking more likely to have an impact during the season. The biggest disappointment looking at the squad was for sure Jack Clarke. He is considered to be a poacher. In real life he is a very talented and sought after winger.
Finances are not looking good at all, with just 1,5 million pounds to spend(75% transfer revenue) and 20,033,832 pounds for wages and currently spending 19,695,468 from it. So probably not much changes are going to be possible immediately. One thing i noticed eating my wage budget is some of the on loan players are paid by the club like De Bock and Anita.
And the players loaned from Chelsea are on big contracts too.
One of the first things that i do, before starting to deal and wheel is to go to staff responsibilities and make the changes needed so i am in as much control as possible. It is my first time working with a director of football so i need some time to learn how to use him in my advantage.
The next step would have been to look for staff. But as the training has changed completely from last time i played this, i have no idea what to look for so i decided not to make any changes. Although i should fire some of the recruitment staff as i have 5 too many.
When meeting the chairman, i did manage to get the transfer revenue up to 90%.
I do not want to make the first post any longer than this so i will end it here.
Next post is going to be about the tactic and of course the transfer window.
Marching on together
As promised, my 2nd post is going to focus on tactics and transfer window.
Let's start with tactics first. My 1st option is a positive vertical tiki taka 4-1-4-1 DM wide.For my second option, I opted for an attacking gegenpress 4-2-3-1 narrow while my 3rd option is an attacking custom tiki-taka 4-2-3-1 wide.
My plan is to use Peacock-Farrell as a sweeper keeper, with Ayling, Jansson, Cooper and Douglas at the back. Phillips is going to be the regista. Klich and Forshaw are going to be the central midfielders, Roofe as right winger and Alioski as a left winger with Bamford as an advanced striker.
As a squad, i am not pleased with the depth. The keepers are safe for the moment. Peacock-Farrell is going to be my first choice because he is under contract with Leeds and also came through the ranks. A home grown player with the club is very important for me. At 21 he is still very young and has time to develop. Ayling is going to be the undisputed right full back for sure. Berardi does not suit my style of play and with his high risk of injuries i will look to sell him as quickly as possible. For Central defenders i put all my trust in Pontus. I am not a big fan of Cooper, in real life or the game, but i will have to rely on him for this version for 2 reasons: no other real option at the club and he is very important in the squad dynamics. I am going to look for opportunities for Halme and maybe even Shaughnessy for CD but, i will definitely start with Jansson and Cooper. On the left back i am curious to have 2 players i did not manage before. Douglas is going to be my 1st choice but very curious to see where i can take Tom Pearce, another home grown talent. Kalvin Phillips is my undisputed regista. I am really disappointed to see he still was not updated for FM19 and still does not enjoy the big matches. But he is home grown and a fairly good team player so i will definitely look to improve him and rely on him as much as possible. Klich is unknown to me, game related. So i will give him a chance to prove himself as a deep lying playmaker and probably going to partner him with Forshaw, when he is fit. For now i am looking into bringing a central midfielder and i think i have just the right man in mind. Baker and Shaughnessy are the covers for them. Looking forward to see how Shaughnessy will perform, while O'Kane is going to be sold. On the wings, i was put into a bit of difficulty by Pablo Hernandez. In real life, his natural position is on the right, although he plays as well on the left or center. In the game his natural position is considered to be in the center. And what is up with his physical attributes? Disappointing to say the least.This made me look to Roofe for a right winger. He has much better physical attributes so he can run down the flank. Also it would be hard to keep him as a striker with Bamford there. Not saying Bamford is better but i need to make an opinion on him quickly because he is very well paid, in comparison with the rest of the squad. If he does not deliver quickly i will look to sell him. I tried using Dallas there on older version of FM but he never seems to get going and be the offensive force i need. So he is more likely to be retrained as a FB if i cannot manage to sell him. On the left, Alioski and Harrison are going to compete for a regular role. Alioski is my first choice because he is a Leeds player but i will see how he perform. Up front Bamford is going to be 1st choice. He is the highest earner and in a way i am forced to start with him so i can make a decision fast. Roofe does not have long to go on his deal, and i am sure he is going to start making pressures soon. I need to find out both of their value before i know if i am desperate to keep Roofe. Roberts is hopefully going to make an impact as a sub.I will offer him minutes as much as possible because i am looking to improve him. Which leaves me with Samu Saiz and Brown outside the first or second team. But i am counting on them to make the difference when i change to the other 2 options i am currently training.
As for transfers, is quite easy.I have to sell before i can buy.
First piece of business i did was to bring Carles Alena on loan from Barcelona. I have high hopes he will provide the creative spark in my midfield and also, very important, he was free. No wage, no fee. O'Kane was sold to Bristol City for 700K (pounds). That gave me the opportunity to start looking into CD. I started by looking at free agents, of course, and i think the best i could find for this level was Wollscheid. But because of his low acceleration, pace, stamina, work rate, aggresion and tehnique i decided against signing him. By the way, love the new scouting system in place for the game. Now i have to spend double the amount of time looking for players because just using the filter in search limits my options to almost nothing good. Anyway, enough of my frustrations, i decided to buy Yoann Barbet from Brentford. I paid 1M but with future clauses than can bring the transfer up to 4M. He is young at 25, is a ball playing defender with good attributes for physical, mental and technical. He has already championship experience. And he was in the last year of contract, which is why i managed to get him so cheap. I also loaned Max Wober, from Ajax. I will have to pay his wages, but i feel he can add value to the team. Both speak english already and both can also play left back, which will give me more room to manoeuvre during games. After this, i managed to offload Berardi to Sion for 2.3M with clauses that may end up to a total of 2.8M. I had an offer from Seattle of 2.9M, money up front, but he rejected it.
I looked for a lot of players but as i am not financially rich, i decided to put my hopes in the current players. Because i had to pay their wages I hesitated in signing Isak and Bruun Larsen, on loan from Dortmund, and they joined different teams. Unfortunately Nissen Kristensen from Ajax rejected the loan offer. His versatility would have brought a lot to the table, i think. And also would have made my decision on whether or not to terminate the loan of Baker and Brown so much easier. Because neither of them looks like being worth the wage i am paying them i was thinking a lot if it wouldn't be better to cut the loan. But then Shaughnessy got injured pretty bad in a friendly match (3 months out) so i decided not to make any decision this transfer window. Another reason why i decided not to go overboard during this transfer window is i will have players coming back from loans during the next transfer window like Coyle, Wilks, Cibicki who could make a difference.
So this is how i stand at the moment: Peacock-Farrell and Blackman for GK. Ayling and Dallas are the RB. Jansson, Cooper, Barbet and Wober are the CD. Douglas and Pearce are the LB. Phillips remains the only Regista. Klich, Alena, Baker and Shackleton for CM. Roofe and Pablo Hernandez for RW. Alioski and Harrison for LW. Bamford and Roberts for ST.
I will try to play Samu Saiz as a CM while Brown will probably be used as a winger. But will see how they do there.
Enough for today. Next post, i will tell you the conclusions of the pre-season and talk about the Championship experience.
Marching on Together!
Pre-season is usually a good moment to see where your squad is, performance related, and also gives the opportunity to make the tactical tweaks needed, from what you have in mind to the reality of the game. For me, until now, pre-season consisted of 1 week of intense physical training followed by friendly matches every 2 days until the 1st official game. But, as i still do not have a clear view of this new training feature, i did not make any changes to what i was given from the beginning. Diego Reyes is responsible for training, at least for the moment. Results wise, pre-season went great. 6 wins out of 6: Bristol Rovers(3-1), St. Mirren(4-0), Partick Thistle(3-1), Dunfermline(2-1), Guiseley(4-0), Farsley(6-0). Match wise, not so happy, as my opponents are smaller reputation clubs. My first concern is i see a lack of consistency from my players. My strikers need to be more clinical in front of goal, while i cannot be sure how strong my defense is, as they have not been really tested yet. The biggest worry was loosing Shaughnessy for 3 months, while playing a friendly for the under23. Always frustrating loosing a young prospect you want to grow so early in the game for so long.
My Championship debut was at Elland Road, in front of the home crowd, against Stoke, recently relegated from the Premier League. Started with my 4-1-4-1 that i have in mind to use. Normally, at home, i would have gone for the more offensive 4-2-3-1 but i felt cautious would be wise against such a strong opponent. Starting line up was the one i had in mind from the beginningeacock-Farrell, Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Douglas, Phillips, Klich, Alena, Roofe, Alioski, Bamford. Goals from Klich and newly signed Alena gave me the perfect debut. With a possession of 67%, we were always in charge. But i have concerns related to the shooting precision. 20 shots, only 7 on target, while Stoke had 10 shots with 5 on target. They had half of their shots on target while i had 1 third of them. Klich was PoM.
Second game, away at Derby and i decided to try to have some consistency.Same tactic, same players. A good first half with goals from Roofe and an own goal from Malone and i was riding high. 2nd half did not went that well. Waghorn scored for Derby on the 79 minute and the morale seemed to drop. The last 10 minutes were tense but it the end we got it over the line. Roofe was the plus of this match, scoring a goal and finishing with 8.3 rating while Alioski is not really delivering on the left side. Just a 6.3 and a lot of wasted possession. 51% possession at the end, but the drop in the second half continues to ask questions about my team's consistency.
Carabao Cup gave me the opportunity to try something new. i went for the 4-2-3-1 narrow and gave the unused players a chance to play as we were up against Crawley. The game started brightly with goals from Saiz and Pablo Hernandez inside the first 13 minutes.But there is where all stopped. And to make matters worse Shackleton got a second yellow card on the 55 minute. Dallas, playing as a FB, was PoM. Possession was good at 66% but again the shooting was wasteful. 7 shoots on target from 21 tries. I was a bit amazed by Shackleton reaction after i fined him for 2 weeks for the red card. now he has slight concerns.
Next, Rotherham at home, and i went for the 4-2-3-1 wide. After strong showing in the last game, Samu Saiz and Dallas started the game, while also giving Harrison a chance on the left in place of the disappointing Alioski. I really need to do something about the shooting. 41 shots, 17 on target, 1 goal. Possession 66%. Thanks to a goal from Roofe(still playing as a right wing) we still continue our winning ways. Barry Douglas was PoM.
3 days later, another big test, away at Swansea, another relegated team from the Premier League. Went back to my more cautious 4-1-4-1. Decided to give Roofe a start as a striker, with Bamford stepping down the bench. Alioski continues to be disappointing so i moved him on the right wing as an inside forwards in place of Roofe while Harrison continued on the left wing. Things went ok until Alioski gave such an easy penalty to Swansea. McBurnie stepped up and it was 1-0 to Swansea. We barely made it to half time with no other goal. As Bielsa showed me in real life, when a player under perfoms, it is better to just change him. Alioski was already on my naughty list and his penalty error combined with his general showing(not just this match) made it an easy decision for me. The central midfield was also not going on full cylinders with Klich and Alena being overrun by the Swansea midfield. So i decided to try to cut the construction part and go for a very attacking, direct 4-2-4 almost. Bamford replaced Klich and he went upfront partnering Roofe while Pablo Hernandez was sent in place of my favorite victim Alioski. Things did not change for the better after my decision to go all crazy in attack. McBurnie, Montero and Celina were all having fun. The only thing i could do was to remove Alena who continued his underperforming showing and put Saiz in. 5 minutes later, and Hernandez, with his genius touch, finds an amazing assist for Harrison, who scores his first goal for the club. After this goal, Pablo continues putting the Swansea defense to the sword with some excellent passes. Another 6 minutes, and is time for Phillips to show he can put a through pass. His long pass finds Bamford who shots first time, on the volley with his right foot and we are 2-1 up. First goal in an official game for Bamford and what a lovely strike. Big contribution from Phillips with that amazing pass. I decide not to change anything, even if i am 2-1 up now and i continue letting them go all out attack. And the guys, with their morale up by the 2 goals, continued to have fun. Bamford and Harrison are all out attacking, being supplied with great passes by Pablo and Phillips. Douglas is running like crazy on the left flank. By the 78 minute Swansea abandoned all out attack and tried to slow it down a little. But my guys, fired up the the goals, keep going and i do not see any reason to be cautious now. And it the 83 minute, a set piece delivered by Douglas, is headed on the other side by Cooper and Harrison is left with an easy scoring situation. A brace by the on loan player and the game is done. Harrison of course gets the PoM for his brace. I am delighted to come back from 1 goal down, away, in front of such a strong team. But half time, things were not looking too good. The changes made had a big impact on the game, with Pablo finding some great passes for his colleagues and Bamford scoring his first goal for the club. I would prefer to not have to do this too often.
Next game, away to Norwich. Again, cautious approach, 4-1-4-1. I decide to try Samu Saiz as a central midfielder in place of the under performing Alena. Roofe goes on the right wing in place of Alioski, while Bamford comes back to start as a striker. We start the game well, and Roofe opens the score in the 20 minute. But surprised, it is disallowed. Sako opens the score with a long range freekick for Norwich. Half time and Norwich are 1 up. Things are not going that bad so i decide to have some patience and not go all attack as i did against Swansea. That is until the 58 minute when i loose my patience. Dallas and Brown are thrown into the battle and i go again to my 4-2-4 attacking setup. 1 minute later we are 2 goals down as Klose heads a freekick from Passlack. Not much to do anyway, as i was already setting up to go all out attacking. In the 76 minute we get a lifeline back in the game, with Klich scoring from outside area after a poor clearing by Norwich defense. And in the 84 minute we are back in the game. Long free kick from Douglas is headed in by Cooper. It crashed in off the crossbar, but who cares, we are level after being 2 goals down, away , to another strong team. Nothing happens until the last whistle and we go home with a point i am not sure how we steal. The possession was 57% for Norwich, they had 10 shots 7 on target, while i had 11 and only 5 on target. From the midfield up, except for Klich, who scored, the rest were mostly disappointing. After scoring a brace against Swansea, Harrison was the worst performer of the day. Dallas continues to show me he is not going to deliver in an attacking position. Samu Saiz was a bad idea as a central midfielder, while Brown is walking a thin line.
Last game of the month is a Carabao Cup 2nd round on Elland Road against Gillingham. I try my 4-2-3-1 narrow, starting my less used players. Not much to say about this. A brace from Tyler Roberts and a goal from Samu Saiz get us through to the next round. The shooting keeps bothering me. 23 shots, 10 on target, 3 goals with a possession of 62%. With the brace, Roberts wins PoM.
The month of August was kind to me. 6 wins and 1 draw. So far Roofe is the star of the team. He managed to perform even when used on the right wing. Best rating in the league and joint goalscorer. I have to look for solution on the left wing. Alioski is disappointing while Harrison is not consistent at all.The rest of the team seems settled.
On the next post, i will tell you about September.Maybe not with so much details.
Marching on Together!
The month of September started brilliantly for us. I decided not to let my self being pressured by the unbeaten tag and i started the game against Middlesbrough using my 4-2-3-1 attacking wide tactics. Inside 5 minutes, Alena was opening the score. A brace from Roofe, used as a ST in this game, completed the routing. Samu Saiz, used as a starter, continues to underperform. Shooting is still bad, 20 shots and only 7 on target, but with 3 goals from those 7, i am very happy. Possession was 57%
Another young player i was looking to use got injured really bad in an under23 game. Tom Pearce has a damaged cruciate ligament and will probably be out for about 7 to 8 months. Second player after Shaughnessy.
Next stop, The Den, where Millwall was waiting for the perfect opportunity to stop our perfect run. I turned to my cautious 4-1-4-1 for this game, and another brace from Roofe tamed the lions in their own den. The goal from Tunnicliffe was too little too late. With Roofe PoM for his brace, i have to mention Pablo with one assist and starting to look like a solid option on the right flank. It goes without saying shooting is still disappointing. 23 shots, only 8 on target. Possession 63%
3rd place Preston came to visit and i put my 4-2-3-1 attacking wide tactics to work. Good thing Ayling managed to score on 45 minute, otherwise this could have turn out ugly. From midfield up, the performance was concerning. Saiz, used as an AM continues to underperform. Alioski got a rare start on the left wing but he got injured. 23 shots, 10 in target and a 61% possession. Ayling PoM.
Birmingham, lead by former Whites manager Gary Monk was the next victim. I continued with my 4-2-3-1 attacking wide tactics. Brown was given a chance to impress, in place of the underperforming Saiz. Good thing my defense keep scoring goals, because my midfield and strikers seem to not be able to this time of the season. If last game it was Ayling, this time it was Douglas who delivered the goods. He opened the score on the 55 minute and delivered the free kick that lead to Cooper's goal on the 90th min. 61% possession, 37 shots, 15 on target. Douglas PoM, while Brown continues to underperform for me. I wonder how much can i keep this up without goals from the strikers.
Next, we went to Accrington for the 3rd round of Carabao Cup. I kept the pattern for cup games. 4-2-3-1 narrow with most of my unused or underperforming players given a chance to impress. Almost got bitten on the behind by this. Started brightly with goals from Roberts(7) and Samu Saiz(21). They got one back, from Finley(39) but i was not that worried. I send Matty Downing for his Leeds debut and also gave a first outing to Forshaw, coming back from injury on the 2nd half. On the 68 minute, an own goal took the score to 3-1 and i thought this is won. 2 minutes later Hughes pulls one back and on the 79 minutes we are level after a goal by Clark. I send my team all out attack, but of course nothing happens anymore and we get to penalties. Luckyly for us, Peacock-Farrell manages 2 saves, so Bamford's miss does not count. Baker, Wober, Saiz and Forshaw scored and save our blushes from a big humiliaton. What can i say after such a game? Bamford is going from bad to worse. Shackleton, still concerned after being fined for a red card, managed a 6.4 rating. Good thing we managed to get it over the line. Our next opponent in the cup is going to be Liverpool, so they will have a chance to show this was just a bad day at the office.
Last game of the month, another rival is waiting for us to end our great run. On Hillsborough, Sheffield awaits their rivals, more than willing to show who is the boss of Yorkshire. Still under the disappointment of the last cup game, i set my team on my cautious 4-1-4-1. Phillips, one of the Leeds lad, opens the scoring on the 11th minute. The rest of the game is my players shooting at pretty much everything else except the goal, while Sheffield had a few very good opportunities on the counter attack. Roofe seems to have lost his goal scoring touch. Bamford replaced him in the 71 minute, with no result. And to make matters worse, Ayling got his second yellow card on the 90th minute so he will be unavailable for the next game. Kalvin Phillips was PoM. Possession 57%. 23 shots, 8 on target
September is over and i am still unbeaten. A tricky month with 2 away games at Milwall and Sheffield, 2 bitter rivals, Boro and Preston(3rd place at that moment) and the toughest game turns out to be against Accrington. Roofe had a great start of the month with 4 goals but than it went missing. Barry Douglas seems to gain more influence on the matches. The atmosphere in the dressing room is good, but i start having unhappy players. Phillips, a player who i count on a lot wants a new contract, but i am not ready to offer him one for the moment. So he asked to leave. Peacock-Farrell is another Leeds player who wanted a new contract, so he is a bit dissatisfied at the moment. Bamford is going to start complaining soon because he lacks game time. I wonder if he is the answer to Roofe's missfiring. Samu Saiz is another player discontent with his playing time. Both of them mostly played bad when called upon so how can i give them the game time they request? Not sure how i will deal with this, but will see how October goes.
Marching on Together!
The month of October started with an away visit to Hull, another rivals eager to stop our perfect run. With Ayling suspended, Dallas started as a RB, while Harrison seems to win his left wing battle with Alioski. Douglas scored on 45 min, but Evandro drew level for Hull on the 46 min. 52% possession and 24 shots, only 9 on target. For comparison Hull had 11 shots, 8 on target. Dull
When Brentford came to visit Elland Road, i decided to go attacking again. I went for my 4-2-3-1 wide, with Saiz getting a start in the attacking midfielder position. But it was Alena who stole the show. He opened the score quickly, on the 13 minutes and finished the game with 2 assists. Roofe (finally) and Tyler Roberts, stepping from the bench, with a brace, completed the routing. 4-1 and we still are going strong. 57% possession and 25 shots, 16 on target while Brentford only managed 1. The goal.
Blackburn away, and i begin thinking about what changes are needed as my strikers keep misfiring. I made some tweaks from my 4-2-3-1, changing the wingers role to inside forwards. The 2 CM are put to deep lying playmakers with defense and support duties to compensate for lateral defenders being put on attacking duties. Not the results i was hoping for. Luckily for me, Pablo showed again what a wizard he is and scored a magnificent goal in the 73 min. Samu Saiz made 2-0 in the 90+6 min. Bad game, decided in the end by a great piece of play from Pablo. 50% possession, 16 shots, 7 on target.
Against Ipswich i continued my small changes. But this time, my 4-1-4-1 was at a glance. Before, my central midfield was made from a regista, a deep lying playmaker and an attacking playmaker. So i decided to move back to a regista, box to box midfielder and a mezala. Forshaw started as the regista, while Phillips was moved as the box to box. Mezala role was given to Alena. On the right, Pablo is still going strong as an Attacking Playmaker, while on the left Harrison is keeping his left wing spot. In offence, the misfiring Roofe is the advenced striker. Before i good get a grip on the game, Ipswich were 2 goals up. A brace by Graham(4,8) and i was preparing for a serious beating. Boomer. But Harrison pulled one back in the 10th min at things were looking better. Pablo leveled from the penalty spot on the 22nd minute and we were back in the game. Alena completed the comeback just before the halt time and things were looking good again. At half time i expressed my disappointment to Roofe regarding his overall contribution and while he seemed inspired nothing changed in the 2nd half. I decided to take him off, and Bamford made the most of his chance with a brace(73,82). wow, what a comeback by the guys, especially as i did not get to make any tactical changes. 56% possession, with 26 shots and 16 on target. Finally a more decent ratio.
Forest was the next rival trying to stop the high flying Leeds. I did not change anything in terms of tactics but i was forced to start using other options as i have to give the regulars some breathing time. Dallas, Barbet and Wober came in the defense while Douglas continued on the left. Klich and Saiz came in for Phillips and Alena while Forshaw kept his regista place. Up front Brown and Alioski came in for the tired Pablo and Harrison while i decided to keep Roofe as the advanced striker and see if Bamford can be a super sub. That turned out to be an inspired choice as he bagged a brace and got the PoM. We opened the score quickly, on the 7th minute and things seemed to go well. Grabban got Forest leveled from the penalty spot, after a mistake by Wober, but a minute later Roofe scored again. 2-1 in the end and the run continues. 50% possession and 19 shots, only 4 on target. Unfortunately i lost Dallas for a month after a bad tackle from a Forest player, while Roofe is out only for 1 day.
October and Leeds is still undefeated. Definitely more than i could have hoped for. I need to see how can i make my strikers more efficient, but other than that i think i can happy with the overall performance. If i can keep the team injury free, i should be fine, at least until January. But the next game, in the cup, against Liverpool should show me the level where we are. I think end of October and i can start putting some print screens with the table. I will into how i can do that.
Marching on Together!
The long awaited test against Liverpool finally came in the 4th round of the Carabao Cup, on Elland Road. The Reds are currently top of the Premier League, which is good for us, as i do not expect to use their 1st choice team. Klopp started with an attacking wide 4-2-3-1. Mignolet was in goal, Clyne, Gomez, Lovren and Moreno the back four, Wijnaldum and Virtue the 2 CM while Shaqiri, Varesanovic and Adekanje were playing behind lone striker McAuley. I, on the other hand, started with my best 11. Blackman, Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Douglas, Forshaw, Phillips, Alena, Pablo, Harrison and Bamford.
Things did not start well. On the 22 minute Liverpool were awarded a penalty kick after McAuley was tripped by Jansson. Shaqiri stepped up but Blackman made the save. Harrison had to go off, injured, on the 27 min. Alioski was the substitute on. Liverpool were dominating the game, having the chances. What i have not mention here, yet, is the fact that, in an effort to keep this unbeaten run going, i am looking at ways to better my team. So lately, i spend some time in making changes to the free kicks, corners and even throw ins. No special plan for them, just making sure the proper guys are in the position to make the difference, both offensively and defensively. And this paid up when Pablo put the swinging ball from the corner and Douglas, attacking the ball from deep, made no mistake.1-0. Bamford missed another perfect opportunity just before half time but overall things were looking good. 2 minutes in the second half were enough for Liverpool to draw level. Virtue pounce on the rebound after a good shot by Shaqiri. Roofe came in for the ineffectual Bamford, and he played his part for the 2nd of the game. A swift break from the back and Alena scored after a fine assist from Roofe. 77 min and we are 2-1 up. 1 minute later, the roles were reversed. Clinical counter attack and Alena returned the favor with a superb assist for Roofe, who scored for 3-1. Liverpool had the better of possession, 52%, but we were more clinical. 15 shots, 9 on target to Liverpool's 14 shots, 6 on target. Next stop is Old Trafford against rivals Man Utd.
November started with an away trip to Wigan. Roofe opened the score on the 30 min but Powell drew Wigan level on the 50 min. Only a 46% possession but 12 shots and 7 on target. Definitely not good enough. The 2nd options are not providing any real competition to the usual guys. Saiz continues to be a big disappointment and Klich is not to far from being useless.
West Brom was next, away, but with my 1st choice string on the field they did not stand a chance. Alioski(36) and a brace from Roofe(53,85) made the game look easy. 56% possession, 23 shots, 7 on target. West Brom had 13 shots, 9 on target. Roofe got PoM.
Roofe found his shooting boots and Bristol were his next victim. Hattrick and PoM for him. Another 3-0 and we are flying.
3rd place Reading came visiting, determined not be blown away. They seemed to hava made their homework as they completely annihilated Roofe. Luckily for me, the time spent on the set pieces paid off. Jansson and Cooper scored from this kind of set pieces to bring home the 3 points, after Barrow, the ex Leeds man, pulled one back. Possession was an astonishing 59% while from the 24 shots, 11 were on target.
Lat game of the month, away to Sheff Utd. The unbeaten tag keeps adding pressure to perform. Last thing i would wish is to have it stopped by one of our biggest rivals. But the morale is so high at the moment and the guys keep doing the little things great. Douglas, who came in after suspension, started the game in big fashion, scoring in the 9th minute and taking PoM. Goals from Alioski(28) and Roofe(37) brought a sense of calm real quickly. We finished the game with a 60% possession, 18 shots and 8 on target.
Another amazing month, with Roofe on fire. So satisfying to see the time put into organizing the free kicks, throw-inns and corners being rewarded with points. My 1st team is settled now. Unfortunately i do not see the bench able to threaten the 1st 11. I have to see what i can come up with to still have an edge in games. This unbeaten tag is putting a target on our back.The month of December is next and the biggest challenge to date is coming up. The game on Old Trafford against our old enemy ManUtd.
Marching on Together!
December is here. Not so festive, as i would have liked. I started having issues with my team. Some of the players are looking for better deals, some are not happy with their current playing time. Injuries keep happening and the players coming in the team do not bring the quality expected. Also, some of my players from the 1st team have a dip in form. Another very frustrating thing that happened is i start having players sent off.
First game of the month started brightly with 2 goals in 12 minutes: Roofe and Phillips the authors. But we loose grip on the game and we end up being leveled on the 77 min. Not an easy pill to swallow, after being 2 goals up. Next game is at Bolton at Phillips gets an early bath after getting himself sent off for 2 yellow cards in the 30min. We managed to draw but some of the performances are starting to worry me.
Maybe the players are more focused on the big game on Old Trafford. The quarter final of the Carabao cup against out biggest rivals.. I spent some time thinking what is the best way to approach this game. Try my usual 4-1-4-1 tactic or go for something more defensive, maybe more appropriate for an away fixture to Man Utd. I decided in the end to go for the usual. Blackman was my starting GK, as Peacock-Farrell is injured for a whole month.. The usual back 4 with Ayling, Jansson, Cooper and Douglas. Forshaw as a regista, while Klich was sent in place of the suspended Phillips. Alena, the on loan Barcelona midfielder, completed the 3 men midfield. On the right, Pablo as an attacking playmaker, while on the left i keep giving opportunities to Alioski. Up front i went with Bamford in place of Roofe. Man Utd started with a 4-1-2-3 DM wide. Romero on goal, Valencia, Smalling, Bailly and Darmian the back four, De Rossi the DM, Herrera and Adrien Silva in the CM, with Mata and Sanchez behind Lukaku. Not too much to tell you about the game. They were the better side, as expected, but not decisive i felt. I was forced to move as Douglas was exhausted on the left, so i brought Barbet on. Also, got Bamford and Alioski off, as they were poor. Roofe and Brown replaced the 2. Mourinho brought Lindelof in place of Valencia, Lingard for De Rossi and Rashford for Lukaku. And one of this changes turned out to be decisive. On the 87 min, Lingard sold the ball easily, giving Jansson the chance to intercept and start a quick counter attack. The ball was played to Pablo, who patiently waited for Alena to move on the channel created by Roofe's very smart move. The pass went in like a hot knife through butter and Alena did not made any mistake. 1-0 and not a lot of playing time left. 4 minutes added time were shown from the margin and Man Utd went all out in an attempt to draw level. Thanks to some brave defending from the Mighty Whites, the game ended with a victory. Looking over the statistics, 51% possession for Man Utd, with 17 shots, 6 on target for them, compared to our 8 shots, 3 on target. Smalling was PoM. For me, once again, Alioski showed i need to look for a left winger.
The unbeaten run barely keeps running and Villa was next. 1-0 thanks to a 79 min goal from Brown, who came in for the exhausted Pablo. Phillips got injured and it is a bad one: broken ankle. Verdict 2 month out.
Blackburn took the chance on an exhausted team, as am running out of viable options. They won 2-0 and i lost Saiz to injury. Probably 3 weeks out.
Hull was next in line to make us suffer, as i try to juggle with my squad. Dallas, Barbet, Alioski as a LB, Baker, Shackleton, Brown, Clarke all started because of injuries and fitness concerns. To make things worse Shackleton got him red carded (again) at the end of the first half. Bamford also got injured but i decided to keep him for a while longer. An inspired choice as he scored after a great assist from the left side by Jack Clarke. We did not manage the get it over the line, and Hull equalized on the 79 min, A draw after playing without a man for 45 min. Not sure how to feel about it, but i am concern about the lack of discipline.
First day of the year, and Forest were up. I keep making changes to try and balance the demanding schedule. Pablo got us in front on the 5th minute. Forshaw got sent off on the 35 min. This is getting annoying. Roofe (51) and Dallas (90+1) made it 3-0 but what is going on with this dismissals?
The month of January is here and i am back at the drawing board, looking for the best options available. I plan to keep Coyle as cover for Ayling making Dallas dispensable. I need to add CM, as Baker is going to have his loan cut out almost certainly. Harrison and Alioski are big disappointments as left wingers. At least Alioski, as in real life, seem to give more to the team as a LB. I will also have to see if Cibicki has any value in the right flank. Bad news for me is Wilks got injured and he is going to be out for a month. I was curious to see what i can get from him. A player with 20 determination is always welcome in my team. I am warned he is not consistent but neither of the other strikers are.
Marching on Together!
I write this bit while looking at what might be the decisive game of the season for the Mighty Whites, the Yorkshire derby .
January. The transfer window is open again so let's have some fun. The chairman is delighted with my work so i get to sing a new contract. I use this to get my transfer revenue up to 90%. Most of the time since my last bit was spent looking into the best options available. I realized quite quickly that i do not have the money to make dramatic changes in the squad. So in order to make some buys, i needed to sell first. Dallas was the first to go.3.1 million pounds to Boro. The reason why letting him go is easy. While being a good team player he is not the menace i need up front. He played as RB most of the season but now i have Coyle, back from loan, to cover that position. I also went back for Nissen Kristensen from Ajax. I got him on loan for 12 month with a 5.5 million pounds buy clause inserted. There were a lot of offers for Ayling but most of them embarrassing. Unfortunately he is unhappy and i think he is a lost cause. I tried to offer him a new contract but he made it clear he will only sign for a lot of money. That did not sit well with me so i countered with Kristensen. For the rest of the defense, i am pretty happy for this level. With Jansson, Cooper, Wober and Barbet covering the center, Douglas doing a great job on the left, i feel no extra addition is needed. The midfield, on the other side, is a totally different story. I already mention my disappointment towards the 2 Chelsea on loan players, Baker and Brown. With the amount of wages i am covering for them, cutting their loans was a no brainer. I brought Diego Poyet for free to cover for the DM. Henriksen, Hull's captain, was brought for 450k. But one of the most important addition is Florentino Luis, brought on loan from SLB for 12 month. Unfortunately, i did not managed to get a decent price inserted in the contract. Now, that is what i call a lot of good options in my central midfield. For the wide midfield, i got Samir Nasri on a free transfer. He looked as a good option for my budget. His career here is a funny story. He scored on his debut and things were looking good. 2nd or 3rd game and he has a really bad game. As he is considered to be premier league quality and i am looking from him to be an example, i do not hesitate to fine him. Of course, he has a negative reaction so we decide the best way to continue is separately. I get him transfer listed and he goes to Crystal Palace for 12.75 million pounds, money upfront. He lasted 20 days with us. Now i finally have some money to spend. I went for Javier Ontiveros, from Malaga. Not a cheap option. I was offering 5 million up front, Samu Saiz and a lot of clauses that i think would have up the price to 15 million and a 20% from future transfer. But with a young and full of potential player like Ontiveros it was more like an investment. Getting rid of Saiz was a bonus. Everything seemed set and i was just expecting the announcement. But then Watford came in and sign him from under my nose. Bollocks. Instead i went for 2 players on loan. Jota from SLB, 12 months on loan, no future fee in the contract and Ibai Gomez from Alaves, who is transfer listed. He has a 1.5 million pounds optional future fee inserted. I mention Cibicwi in my previous post as a potential option for the right. But after seeing his crossing rating i decided it is better to be sold. Unfortunately, despite all of my efforts, he rejected offers from Millwal and Balckburn so now i am stuck with him. Samu Saiz is a another players i tried to get rid of, unsuccessfully. No changes were made in the strikers department, with Wilks an interesting option that i will try to exploit.
Other things that happened during this transfer window is I lost Carlos Corberan. He is the new manager of Stoke. Some new faces in the Championship dug outs. Hiddink at Sheff Wed, Bielsa is now at Norwich, Manzano at Birmingham, Solskjaer at West Brom.
Next stop is the month of January.
Marching on Together!
Attachments
After starting the year brightly with a 3-0 win against Nottingham Forest, we went to Birmingham for the FA Cup 3rd round. They have a new manager, Gregorio Manzano, replacing former Leeds boss Gary Monk. I went for an offensive 4-2-3-1 wide, with Barbet and Wober in central defense, Baker was given a rare start in central midfield alongside Alena, while Harrison, Brown and debutant Nasri were playing behind Bamford. Harrison, with a brace, got PoM. Barry Douglas and Samir Nasri, scoring on his debut, rounded things off, 4-2. Next stop, in the FA Cup is Premier League Fulham.
We continued our cup run with the 1st leg of the semifinal. Away to Arsenal. Went for my now usual 4-1-4-1. Not very effective as Arsenal were clearly the better team. Lost Ayling to injury in the 27 min. Kristensen came in. As things were not going well for us, i decided to try something different. In the 58 minute i changed to 5-2-2-1 WB i have been working for a while. Barbet went in for the very weak Alena, while Nasri came in against his former club for Harrison. We were hanging in there but than Forshaw gets sent off for a 2nd yellow card in the 76 min. On the 80th min Arsenal finally broke the deadlock from a corner. An own goal from Barbet. But it is disallowed and we survive the scare. That is until the 88 min when Lacazette scores from a volley. This time. no decision from the referee saved us and it ends 1-0 to Arsenal. So close to getting a draw. And so disappointed by Forshaw. He was just coming back from another red card.
Next 2 games were draws to Derby and Stoke. Weak games from our part that i am happy we got anything from it to be honest.
The 2nd leg of the semi final was up, we i could not dream for a better start. Alena scored inside the first minute. Aubameyang drew Arsenal level in the 21st minute but Harrison got us back in front in the 36 min. Half time it went 2-1. What i was not aware at the time is that the away goal rule is not active in this competition. So my approach for the 2nd half was to score a goal. That did not happened, so i was gutted to exit the competition so close to the final. At least that was what i was thinking. You can imagine my surprise when i was asked to pick my penalty takers. Pablo, Klich, Alioski and Wober made no mistakes while for Arsenal Aubameyang, Elneny and Lacazette were also on the spot. But Mkhitaryan sent the ball over the top and we were looking at the chance of a final. Forshaw stepped up and of course missed. Torreira was the last man for Arsenal to take the spot kick but Blackman made the save and we are on our way to Wembley. Alena was PoM. They had a 56% possession while the shots were pretty even. I have some stats for you in the prinscreen attached, for the curious
https://imgur.com/ymgN1Ec
3 days later, Fulham came to Elland Road for the FA Cup 4th round. Another great start with Roberts making it 1-0 in the 2nd min. When Forshaw made it 2-0, in the 51 min, i thought this was done. They pulled one back, Cairney in the 70 min, and suddenly things were not looking that good. Luckily we grind it out. Bury will be out next opponent in the cup.
https://imgur.com/4cLMv15
Last game of the month was an away loss to Rotherham. It was one of those games where you cannot score. 26 shots, 13 on target, 59% possession and just one goal scored by Roofe on the 90+3 min.
January is over. Maybe a bit distracted by the transfer window and the cups run, we are starting to loose our tempo. Not a reason to panic yet as Swansea, the 2nd place team, is still quite far. I expect to period of transition until the new faces adapt to their surroundings but overall i am pleased with my dealings. Will see what February brings but i am quietly optimistic.
https://imgur.com/eO6Eana
Marching on Together!
February. The transfer window is done so now i can switch my focus back on the matches. For Leeds, probably the most challenging month. Matches against Norwich, now led by Bielsa, 3rd place Boro, 2nd place Swansea, FA cup 5th round and the Carabao Cup Final on Wembley versus Spurs.
We finished January with a rare defeat to Rotherham so when Norwich came to visit, we were all motivated to show last game was just a fluke. And indeed we did. Roofe opened the score inside 4 minutes. An own goal from Godfrey (10) and another from Roofe (32) and we were cruising. Unfortunately, Pablo got injured on the 17 min, giving the chance to our own Jack Clarke to get minutes. Sako scored just before half time, but it was too little, too late. Bielsa's men did not stand a chance. We went to Boro, 3rd place, and took the victory thanks to a great game by Douglas. Assist for Cooper's opener(76) and goal in the 90th min. 2-0 and next was 2nd place Swansea. Elland Road was rocking inside the 1st minute. Another quick start, this time Ayling, with Roofe doubling the lead on the 29 min. Alena missed a penalty but it did not matter on the end. 2-0 against 2nd place and we furthered our lead. We did have our losses though, with Roofe and Forshaw getting injured. With 58% possession and 14 shots, 6 on target, we dominated the game and showed who is bossing the Championship.
Full of confidence we went to Bury for the 5th FA Cup round. Jack Clarke opened the score in the 2nd minute and from there it went all downhill for the hosts. It ended 5-1 with goals from Samu Saiz, getting a very rare start from the u23 team, Douglas, Klich and Bamford getting on the scoresheet. Things are great on planet Leeds and Bolton were our next victim. Clarke opened the score in the 22 min, Henriksen and Klich completing the routing. 60% possession and the visitors did not mustered a shot on target.
The mood was perfect for the next challenge Carabao Cup Final. The question was is the form we are in enough to win against an inconsistent Spurs? The morale of the squad is great but we do have some issues with the numbers. The fire power is under scrutiny up front as both Bamford and Roofe are injured. Also, Pablo and Forshaw, players with value and experience are unavailable. On the other side i see Kane is also injured but you would think a team as strong as Spurs have an adequate cover for him. You can see the preview
https://i.imgur.com/BfGJC6U.jpg
Tactically, i started as i did the whole campaign. 4-1-4-1 DM wide. Blackman started in goal while the back 4 is pretty settled: Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Douglas. With Phillips injured and Luis brought to cover the DM position, i moved that role from Regista to a defensive playmaker with defense duty. Klich was playing as a mezzala, while Alena was given an attacking playmaker support duties. The young Jota and Jake Clarke are playing on the wings, while Roberts is the pressing forward.
The first half we were struggling for possession, with no real attacking power. This is the review for the first half. 12 fouls, double the number of Spurs.
https://i.imgur.com/lR4SaOq.jpg
At half time i was thorn between making changes, try a more countering approach or have some patience and see what the first 15 -20 minutes of the 2nd half bring. I did make one change. Jota, on the right flank, was playing as an inside forward. So i change his role to a winger. The 2nd half started with a blitzkrieg. 48 min and Douglas take a throw in short to Roberts and, after receiving it back, sends immediately a long ball towards the far post. Vertonghen makes a mess of dealing with the cross and Jota is there to react the quickest and score from a tight angle. 1-0 and Spurs are looking for a reaction. Blackman is put to the test by the Spurs strikers. 5 minutes later, corner kick whipped in by Douglas, Vertoghen clears but only to Roberts to tried a shot. Wanyama blocks and the ball goes back Douglas who swung a deep cross to Klich, free in the middle of the box. All the Spurs defense charge to block him, but instead of shooting, he passed to Jota, who is now free on the right, because all the defenders rushed to block Klich. Jota makes no mistakes, and with the help of the frame of the goal, we are 2-0 up. Are we really going to win this after that 1st half. I loose patience with Jack Clarke and send Ibai Gomez in his place. Spurs are doing their best to come back in the game, but not with too much success. Alena gets injured in the 89 min and he is brought off to be replaced by Kristensen. There is still some time for drama. In the 90+5 min, Aurier shoves Gomez and a penalty kick is given. Up steps Jota for his hattrick. Pavlenka saves but he latches onto the loose ball and does the hattrick. What a performance by the portuguese wonderkid.
https://i.imgur.com/sJqrvkp.jpg
What can i say after such a game. Spurs should feel a bit robbed because the difference on the scoreboard is a lot. Without the 2 2nd half quick goals from Jota, which gave a lot of confidence to the team, i am not sure we would have made it to penalty kicks. But at end of the day, this is what a final is all about. Giving the best performance on the spot. And most important, next year we have Europe to look for.
We end the month perfectly with an away win, at QPR, Klich(7) and Henriksen(13)
https://i.imgur.com/qwem9du.jpg
February was perfect for us. I love to see matches won after quick goals from the start. Tactically, i think we have reached a point where we are settled. The guys that came in January added value to our squad and helped to overcome the injuries sustained to a lot of important players.
March is next and i cannot wait.
Marching on Together!
March(ing on Together!) was the promotion month.
Our strong run continued, thanks mostly to 2 men: Klich and Roofe.
https://i.imgur.com/0nJSSPW.jpg
6 games, 5 won, 2 scorers.
Our cup run was stopped by Man City, after a painfully own goal by Douglas, but not even that tampered with the mood.
We ended the month on a high, officially promoted after the last game against fierce rivals, Milwall.
https://i.imgur.com/5uYBLba.jpg?1

https://i.imgur.com/rh27t9r.jpg

Another month left from this season and we it is only a formality. I do want do push it to the maximum, but in the same time i have to start planning for next season.
One thing i do have to mention because it seems so strange, is the situation of Pablo Hernandez. When i brought Nasri at the club, he was concerned about his place. I had a chat with him, and i promised his place is safe. Which he was. Except for his injury, he played constantly. In March i got the news he is no longer concern about it. Probably the next day after that he gets unsettled, home sick, and after trying to reason with him unsuccessfully, i reluctantly accept to let him leave. He asked to be transfer listed and immediately signs for Al-Sadd. Quite a long way from home.
Marching on Together!
Been a while since i manage to update here. The game is still going strong.
So let's try to get you up to speed. Final month of the 1st season. 2 defeats, to PNE and Aston Villa but still, such a great season for the Mighty Whites.
https://i.imgur.com/0SIgEL6.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/HAVlHVL.jpg

As expected, we dominated the final season awards:
https://i.imgur.com/B8Kt0vK.jpg

In conclusion, very promising start of the centenary year for Leeds United. Won promotion and the Carabao Cup, which offers european football next season, and hopefully some access to better players. Off the field, as always, kept an extremely tight control of the financial side. Spend only 1.5 million on players, while selling for 21 millions.
https://i.imgur.com/KmAmQ2Q.jpg

The other team promoted to the Premier League is Aston Villa. They won the Play-Offs finals 1-0 against Bielsa's Norwich.

Marching on Together to the Prem and the 2nd part of our centenary year!
2nd Season is here. The transfer window is up and this is the most exciting period for a manager.
Tactically, i decided to continue with my 4-1-4-1 used last season. I need a new GK as Blackman returned to Chelsea after his loan move expired and i only have Peacock-Farrell as a decent choice. Money are tight so i cannot afford to many choices. As always, i am looking at freebies, transfer or loan listed players. Alban Lafont was definitely the best choice around. Unhappy at Fiorentina and willing to come, but for a fee of around 15M and with a tendency to punch rated at 12 i decided against it. Butland from championship side Stoke was another dream option, but pricey. I decided in the end to go with norwegian Sondre Rossbach from Odd, bought for the hefty sum of 275K. Still young at 23, and with a perfectionist personality, he can be a valuable backup to Peacock-Farrell who i still see as the number 1.
In defense, Kristensen is still on loan for the first half of the season from Ajax, and i will count on him for RB. Ayling has been a great disappointment off the field, complaining a lot and expressing his desire to leave. He was transfer listed for the whole transfer window and i was hoping to get a good price for him and buy Sam Byram instead, also transfer listed and contract expiring at the end of the season. Unfortunately, all the offers that came for Ayling were laughable, to say the least, so i blocked his transfer and gave up on Byram, This decision sparkled a lot of unrest in the squad but money just weren't right. Coyle left on loan to PNE to get more experience and hopefully come back next season as a strong option for RB. Central defense is built around Pontus Jansson. But i need a valuable partner for him and Cooper and Barbet do not fit that bill. I took advantage of Nice getting relegated from Ligue 1 and went for Malang Sarr. After a long and exhausting battle i got him for 10M ( I tried to get Maolida too, but could not afford him ). Very young and talented, I hope i can develop the young frenchman in the shadow of Jansson. For the LB i went for Charlie Taylor. I got him in a player swap, as i let Bamford go the other way. Home grown and looking good while still improving, i have high hopes for him. Douglas asked to leave as he wants a new deal. At 29, and with Taylor and Pearce as options on the left, i think it would have been a good decision to move him. Like Ayling, he did not get to move because the finances were not right for Player of the Year last season in the Championship.
For midfield I picked Ross Barkley from Chelsea for 13M. He was transfer listed and i looked at him last transfer window but he was unwilling to step down a division. Loftus-Cheek was also on the transfer list but he plays mainly as a shadow striker, a position i do not use often. So i decided against making an offer, as the price was hefty and i could not guarantee a starting spot for him. Carles Alena came back for a second season, on loan from Barcelona. I still have Florentino Luis, Jota, and Ibai Gomez on loan for the 1st half of the season, but i do not have any real option on the left wing. My choice was Boschilia from Monaco for 15M with add ons. The Brazilian, holding an Italian passport, can be the missing link. Very good technically, he also has high ratings for set pieces. The problem is i got him late in the transfer window and was not fit which made the adaptation period a bit longer than i would have liked.
For the attack, i brought on loan for the season Tammy Abraham from Chelsea. With Bamford moving on the Burnley, last season goalscorer Kemar Roofe is the only experienced striker. Tyler Roberts, Jack Clarke, Jay-Roy Grot, Mallik Wilks, Kun Temenuzhkov are all young strikers with potential but inexperienced and most likely cannot sustain a lot of consistency in their performance.
Outgoing, the biggest transfer was Alioski. He was sold to Boro for 20M. Glad to get rid of him. Do not like him too much. Offensively he is not clinical enough. I used him towards the end of the season as a LB and did ok. But he was causing unrest in the squad because he also asked to leave. So the offer from Middlesbrough was welcomed and i think also a fair one. Samu Saiz was another player i could not wait to get rid off. Not consistent enough and also hard to use him in his natural position as i do not use the AM in my tactic. Wolves paid 7.5M for him. From the on loan players from last year i managed to sell Ideguchi to West Brom for 4M, Anita to Sheff Utd for 2.9M, De Bock and Cibicki left for Bristol for a combined 2.87M. I am still stuck with Forshaw, Sacko, Ekuban and Denton who are all not needed but overall i am pleased with my dealings for this transfer window.
https://i.imgur.com/qS4rMp9.jpg
Marching on Together!
Besides working on bringing new players, i also added some new faces in my staff.
Carlos Corberan leaving for Stoke left a hole and i decided to bring Jaap Stam to replace him. I think no introduction are necessaries or explaining why i chose him. Former manager, he has the reputation and the numbers to be a very good defense coach. I also brought Chris Neville as a fitness coach. For the U23, i hired a familiar face for manager: Neil Redfearn. Garry Bowyer as Assistant manager, the newly retired Ben Foster as a GK coach, Tony Colbert as a fitness coach and Mike Garrity as a coach. For the U18, i brought Henrik Larsson as a coach, the swedish goal machine which i am a big fan of.
I am going to go a bit faster(more like lighting bullet) through this season. This is our situation at the end of December:
https://i.imgur.com/GvCkoxD.jpg
Things are going great, 4th place, in front of teams like Man City, Liverpool and Arsenal. Europe has been a delightful experience. After making in the group stage, we ended up against Zenit, Sparta Prague and Sion. We made it out of the groups with a bang, the young guys really excelling in Europe.
https://i.imgur.com/pmfaZXZ.jpg
Next opponent in Europe is Augsburg.
This brings back to the transfer period, in January.
I activated the 5.5 M transfer clause for Kristensen and signed him permanently. I brought Joel Matip, who is transfer listed by Liverpool, on loan until the end of the season. I want more from my central defenders. Jansson is always the rock there, but the other guys are not really stepping up on a consistent basis. Sarr is still too young to be consistent. Because i lost Douglas, the left back, early in the season for a few months, i used him more on the left, as cover for Charlie Taylor, which gave him more playing time, but still he has a lot of work to do in order to become a regular there. Cooper and Barbet, i have to get rid of, as i do not think they are strong enough options.
In midfield, i lost Florentino Luis and Jota, who went back to SLB when their loan expired. Benfica was not willing to send them on loan again. I also decided against making the move for Ibai Gomez permanent. Not enough consistency with him. For a player who is almost 30 years old i am expecting more. I finally managed to move Forshaw out of the club. He was froze up by his big contract, after promotion. His return was not even close enough to what he was showing on the field. He left on a 5M deal to Jeonbuk. Klich was another midfielder who left, with his contract up at the end of the season and no intention of signing a new one. 2M deal to Bournemouth.
On the ins, i brought Federico Valverde, on loan for 12 month from Real Madrid. No transfer clause inserted. Also on loan, Fabien Delph, whose contract with City is up at the end of the season, and Ruben Pardo, same situation as Delph from Sociedad, were brought. If they confirm, i will move for them on a free at the end of the season.
Loosing Jota and Ibai, i was open on the wings so i moved for Alex Oxlade-Clamberlain(17M going up to 27M), transfer listed by Liverpool and Ricardo Orsolini from Juventus(13M going up to 21M). Both or them should be strong candidates for claiming a starter position, both still young and both able to cover more than 1 position, i hope they can make an instant impact.
Up front was the big move, as i transfer listed Kemar Roofe and moved him on to Burnley for only 11M. The truth is when he has a good day he can be unstoppable but when he is not he is just useless. And i got tired of his form swings and decided to give the young guys a chance. Jack Clarke and Malik Wilks are options as good as Roofe, but much younger and Leeds academy graduates. Just in case i brought another striker, transfer listed by Schalke, Breel Embolo. The swiss was considered a player with a lot of potential a few years back. Still young at 23, the only thing i dislike about him are his rating for concentration and decision, both at 9. But i think i can still get something out of him.
https://i.imgur.com/sUfGk3i.jpg
I will try to come up with the rest of the season as soon as i can.
Marching on Together!
2nd season is over. And what a season it was. We managed to finish 3rd place in the Premier League
https://i.imgur.com/fi1wvZt.jpg
Maybe we could have done even better, but towards the end of the season, the schedule was so hectic and we lost a lot of players to injuries. To be honest, it seemed most of the 7 placed teams were struggling with the same issues as us.
March, especially was my favorite month
https://i.imgur.com/iaQMe66.jpg
In the Carabao Cup we lost on the 4th round against Brighton. Henriksen was sent off on the 45 min and although we did manage to get the game to penalties, it was too much with Clarke, Gomez and Sarr missing the target.
The FA Cup run was stooped by Spurs in the Semi Final. The game was just after March and we did not had enough left to compete.
Now, Europa League was another matter all together. After making it out of the group with a perfect record, we run into Augsburg. They did not have a great season, ended getting relegated from Bundesliga. After a 1-0 away and 2-0 home(both wins) we got paired with Milan. Both games were in the middle of what i can describe as exhausting month of March. First leg was won at Elland Road 1-0 (just like the 2000 UCL one) with a goal from Jack Clarke. We won the 2nd leg too, after a 90 min goal from Kristensen. RB Leipzig was next. 1st leg was away and we got beaten 2-0, goals from Szymansky and Dolberg. The 2nd leg was dramatic. 2-0 after normal time, goals from Boschilia and Alena and the game went to penalties. Boschilia missed, but so did Bruma and Dolberg giving Grot the chance to be the hero.
https://i.imgur.com/1lvJpki.jpg
The Semi Finals was an english affair against Spurs. There was a lot of Spurs towards the end of the season. After loosing in the FA Cup Semi Final, we played again just 3 days before the Europa League in the Premier League. We came with a 2-0 win(2 goals from Orsolini) from the Prem match but neither me nor Zidane did not use the 1st teams. And the history repeated 3 days later in Europe, with goals from Jansson and Boschilia putting us on the driver seat of this Semi Final. The 2nd leg did not lack the drama though. First, Harry Kane misses a penalty in the 10 min. Than Sarr opens the score in the 34 min and things seems settled. But Barkley gets himself sent off after 2 yellow cards in the 44 min. After the break Eriksen does the same in the 54 min. Now we are playing 10 vs 10. Moura draws level on the 74 min. But drama is not over as Kristensen is sent off for his 2nd yellow card on the 87 min.The game is over and we are in the Final, but we paid a big price for it.
https://i.imgur.com/2afDDAI.jpg
By the time we get to play the final, my team is decimated.
https://i.imgur.com/vt0EEBr.jpg
In the final, you are allowed to pick 12 substitution. Mine were mostly youth or reserve players, with 5 of them not even making a debut.
Just to make the matter worst, 3 minutes into the final and Ayling get an injury, broken foot and he is out. As Kristenten is suspended for this match and i do not have any right back on the bench i pick Jamie Shackleton to go and cover that position. He his not even in full condition as he was playing a reserve match the day before. But he ends up having a great game and thanks to a goal from Oxlade-Chamberlain we win the Final
https://i.imgur.com/nB0NopP.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/c6MQ3h2.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/gcVrYsC.jpg
Total bliss.
I am currently preparing my 3rd season. Trying to work on my squad, staff and also preparing for the Olympics.
Marching on Together!
3rd season is ready to unfold. It's been quite a ride to prepare it, working on the Olympics, getting the squad ready for the new season and also make additions to the stuff.
Part 1 of this next posts is about the Olympic Tournament.

1st let's tackle the Olympics. Not sure how many of you are interested in or had the chance to play the Olympics, but i usually keep an eye open for it because it is always fun to win it and not so easy to do it. Picking the squad is a challenge because to get in the final you have 5 games in less then 2 weeks with 18 players to pick. And of course you still have the final to play.
In previous edition of FM i won it with Argentina but this time they already had a coach. So i went to the european teams France,Spain and Germany and applied for the job. France was the 1st one to offered so i accepted without hesitation. I was surprised to find put i cannot pick in the squad any player that played in the final tournament for France, but as i said, i usually play with Argentina so i have no idea if the rule is new or not. For the squad i picked Lafont and Zidane as Goalkeepers. A no brainer, as they were the best solutions. For defense i picked Mukiele (RB), Upamecano (CD), Issa Diop (CD) Theo Hernandez (LB) with Alakouch able to play both wings and Sarr to cover CD and LB. Midfielders i picked Pogba (he had a long term injury which prevented him to participate at the European Final Tournament), Ndombele (CM), Aouar (CM), Rabiot (CM), Guendouzi (CM), Maolida (Winger), Terrier (Winger), Reine-Adelaide(Winger) and in attack i went with Edouard and Geubbels (he can also play on the wings).
https://i.imgur.com/qpJzpD0.jpg
The friendly fixtures were a hoax as you can only play with under 21 players which made almost half of the team i picked ineligible. I picked to play my 4-1-4-1 DM wide and it worked smoothly. 3 victories in the group stage and the hard work was only beginning. Spain was next and it took a penalty from Edouard to make the difference. Germany was next and it is never easy to play against them. The final score is a bit harsh on them but i think the fitness part play a strong part in here, the difference being made towards the end.
Final was against Argentina. Did not start well, with Messi missing a penalty kick in the 18 min but pouncing on the rebound. They were looking better than my squad from a fitness point of view which was frustrating as i played the whole tournament with this in mind, Always making changes and making sure nobody get exhausted. I did had issues with injuries which made it hard sometimes to juggle with my changes. It took 4 minutes to changes the course of the game, Terrier(60) and Aouar (64) getting the France team ahead. Kept the game under control to the finish with a 63% possession and France is the new Olympic Champion 2020. Of course Messi was voted best player, while Leroy Sane got the Golden Boot.
https://i.imgur.com/wceCLtm.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/Tc85Kem.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/dEyvoFd.jpg
During the Olympics i also got approached by the France Football Association to become France manager. They had a terrible run during the European Tournament, not being able to push through the groups. So now i also manage the France national team
https://i.imgur.com/k1zvCUq.jpg
Italia is the new European Champions, beating England in the Final, with Ross Barkley being named Best Player
https://i.imgur.com/sTOVcIz.jpg

2nd part is more about the staff.
The numbers of staff allowed was increased to 12. Also most of the hired staff had their contracts up so i took the time to make a lot of additions.Not always inspired, but is looking better.
There is a new Head of Youth Development in the person of Bernhard Peters. Angel Ferez is the new GK coach, Jesus Perez took over as Fitness coach, with Steve Bould, Mark Bowen, Boro Primorac and Cristian Chivu all new additions for the senior squad. Paul Robinson and Sergiy Rebrov for the under23 while Darren Moore was hired as the new manager of the under18 squad, with Alan Irvine (assistant manager), Jan Wouters, Zeljko Petrovic and Jens Lehman completing the coaches staff for the under18.
New additions were made to the medical staff too, with Andy Renshaw named as Head of Sports Science, Gary Lewin and Dave Galley new physios for the senior team, Michael McBride and Ruben Pons for the U23 and Cesar Quesada, Dave Hunt, Antonio Fernandez Gere for U18. Gary Capes was named Sport Scientist for the U18.
The Scouting Department was also revamped. Jose Boto is the new Chief scout. Ryan Needs was named as Chief Data Analyst, Armand Benneker, Toninho Cruz, Luciano Canepa, Juan Mauricio Echeverria were brought to expand scouting area.
So this is how is looks at the moment for the senior team:
https://i.imgur.com/QfAqPR1.jpg
This is for the U23:
https://i.imgur.com/QfTpLjp.jpg
And this is for the U18:
https://i.imgur.com/4B1KQJm.jpg

Next part is about the transfer window.
3rd and last part about this preseason is our favorite part as managers. The wheeling and dealings.
This part can be very tricky, as i have to get rid of the quantity before being able to bring in the quality.
As Goalkeepers go, i had brought Andre Moreira from Atletico on a free transfer. With Peacock-Farrell and Rossbach, the GK department is full. Or at least, that was what i was thinking at the time. Than i saw an offer made for Predrag Rajkovic from Macabbi, somewhere in the region of 2M. And i said to myself i cannot pass such an opportunity so now i have 4 GK.
As defenders go, on the right i decided to continue with Kristensen and Ayling. I signed Lewie Coyle on a new contract and at some point i hope he can take Ayling's place, but will see.
On the left, i acquired a very promising dutch talent Kik Pierie (paid his release clause 6.25M). Tall, very good attributes on all accounts and versatile, he can be the next superstar defender.
https://i.imgur.com/dvKe6b3.jpg
My quest to find a good partner for Pontus Jansson in Central defense is still ongoing. Sarr is going to get a lot more matches this year. He has to move from being a promising youngster to being a rock in the defense. I also decided to loan Matip from Liverpool for another year. He has experience on his side and did an ok job for me last season. Another player bought to complete the 4 CD was Boubacar Kamara from Marseille. Another young player, as Sarr, got plenty of potential, good attributes all around, should be a good addition for the future.
https://i.imgur.com/HSUyAWq.jpg
For the defensive midfielder position i loaned Douglas Luiz from Man City for the season. He looks very good and i cannot afford to buy such a player at the moment. I also have Valverde from Real Madrid, still on loan for the 1st half of the season. Barkley had an amazing European Tournament, and he is the best midfielder i got. So, like in defense with Jansson, i will build my midfield around him. Carles Alena was loaned for a 3rd consecutive year from Barcelona. His contract with Barca is up in 2022 so maybe i will get him for free than. Alvaro Medran came in on a free transfer from Valencia. Technically looks good, does not have any aerial ability or strength but should come handy for the creative part of the game.
https://i.imgur.com/CHVahne.jpg
The big signing of this transfer window is our own Leeds grown Lewis Cook. Paid 37M for him, but in fairness i think about 5M came back to Leeds as we still owned some percents on his transfer. To tell you the truth my main goal of this transfer window was the transfer listed Gedson Fernandes from SLB. His price was set to 46M which i could afford at the time and willingly paid but he rejected the idea of a transfer. Later he joined Liverpool for 56M,
On the wings, another young dutch talent was brought. Calvin Stengs (paid release clause 14M). He is going to compete for a starting place with Oxlade-Chamberlain, Orsolini and Boschilia.
https://i.imgur.com/2FR1dW0.jpg
Up front i got Luka Jovic from SLB on the cheap side 7.75 M with add-ons clauses because he was in his last year. Unfortunately he did not get a permit so i had to send him on loan to Lokomotiv. I hope i can get a work permit for him in the winter transfer window.

There were players who left. The 2 CD Cooper and Barbet left to make room for what i hope will be an upgrade. Barry Douglas had a terrible season because his long time injury, and with Pierie and Taylor on the left i decided the best thing is to move him. Markus Henriksen was another victim of the upgrades. Not a bad player just no more room for him and with his contract up at the end of the season he was sold to Boro. Grot was a victim of himself. Unhappy most of last season for multiple reasons (at first because he wanted a new contract, after because i fined him for poor performances), decided it is better to sell him. I lost Kun Temenuzhkov to PSG on a free transfer. Although he looks promising, his small stature made me skeptic about him and when PSG came knocking it was too late to change anything. Also some young players were send on loan, hopefully to get more experience and impress enough to come back fighting for a spot.
https://i.imgur.com/5wYPQeC.jpg

For those of you interested in context i put together some random information
https://i.imgur.com/pfrLa73.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/WfU06n3.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/ndQkHZ4.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/6FihlPb.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/E4AUH19.jpg

Now that the preseason is done, it is time to get back to playing.
Marching on Together!
The preseason friendlies were a bit much to handle as i was still juggling the France Olympic team, staff searching for both Leeds and France and the transfers.
Overall i was pleased with the results
https://i.imgur.com/StShYIr.jpg
The season started with an emphatic win against Watford, Embolo scoring a hattrick. Last season champions Chelsea were next on Stamford Bridge. After the Tammy Abraham affair from last season, me and Sarri have a distant relation to say the least. The game started brightly, Lewis Cook scoring inside the first 2 minutes. Unfortunately Fekir equalized 5 min later. The same Fekir made 2-1 in the 31 min but the same Cook leveled after 61 min. It ended a draw and i cannot seem to find a solution to Chelsea's game plan. West Ham and Huddersfield were the next victims and we are riding the high wave. The Stoke game started with the same enthusiasm and after 25 min the game seemed over. Unfortunately, after a late charge, we lost 2 points with Stoke leveling the score on the 88 min.
Estadio do Dragao hosted the Euro Super Cup. After a close and hard fought battle we managed to win it on penalties. Disappointed to see Chelsea, playing most of the game in 10 man after Azpilicueta was sent off in the 27 min, getting the better of us. But Wilks, who came from the bench, was on fire and got us to penalties. He also scored the decisive one.
https://i.imgur.com/d8yt956.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/YYEe17f.jpg
Finished the month with a defeat at Spurs.
https://i.imgur.com/RuumuDO.jpg

Liverpool, now managed by Pep Guardiola came to visit but Embolo's strike send them back without any point to show for.
This season Champions League is back to Elland Road this season. Challenging draw with Valencia, Porto and Bayer Leverkusen as opponents. The home debut was against Bayer04 but it seems European football suits Leeds perfectly as we managed a 3-1 victory. Wilks is on fire. Leicester, Stoke (Carabao Cup) and Cardiff were the next victims, ending the month with a defeat to Valencia (not again).

October started with a draw at Southampton before the Roses derby again Man Utd. I will have a special post about this one.
Europe is still treating us great, making lots of happy memories on Estadio do Dragao with a win against Porto. Barkley was untouchable against Burnley but we had to say goodbye to Carabao Cup after a defeat on penalties against Watford.
Man City are not having a great season under Spaletti but City is City. They started better and Stones made it 1-0. I used the hair dryer treatment at half time and although none of the players reacted well to it it paid off in the 2nd half. Cook pulled one back in the 56 min. The game was going towards a draw but on the 88 min Boschilia scored a great free kick and Wilks put the result beyond any doubt in 90+1. Not easy to overturn a result against City and i am proud of the comeback.
https://i.imgur.com/mAA3EiB.jpg
This is how it looks at the end of October
https://i.imgur.com/LxQP4iK.jpg
And an award for me, after a great month
https://i.imgur.com/I9OvGid.jpg

Next stop i want to focus on the Man Utd game.
Marching on Together!
The Roses Derby against our bitter enemy Man Utd led by Jose Mourinho
https://i.imgur.com/pkNUyaw.jpg

The match was played just after the international break so a lot of players were not in optimal physical conditions.
My FM19 experience with Man Utd under Mourinho shows that they play a very direct game. Any loose possession in their half of the field turns into a long ball towards Lukaku who is fast, strong and very hard to deal with. They have a very strong physical midfield with Ndombele, Pogba and Milinkovic-Savic, speedy wingers like Martial and Gelson Fernandes. They are constantly aided by the full backs Mbabu and Shaw.
With this in mind i set my team to play like this:
https://i.imgur.com/6dppHlT.jpg
Very strange to see Dybala playing as a CM but i know for a fact Pogba was exhausted after the international break.
https://i.imgur.com/ePwFYX8.jpg
We started the game strong and Boschilia opened the score inside 4 min after pouncing in a rebound after Barkley's shot. I encouraged my team and let the game continued. It was a good rhythm first half, played in a very direct style, with some good opportunities missed on both sides.
On my side Charlie Taylor was having a bad game on the left. I moved the time wasting line to sometimes, gave an encouraging team talk and send the team back on the field.
Mourinho moved first, Rashford coming in for Martial. I decided enough is enough and withdraw the weakest link Charlie Taylor. Sarr was sent to cover. Embolo was giving me heart palpitations with his misses so i send Wilks instead. He is on fire playing as an advanced striker. According to my staff pregame reports Man Utd are most vulnerable playing against a 4-2-3-1. So i changed to this:
https://i.imgur.com/eiFpc4i.jpg
Stengs replaced the exhausted Barkley on the 76 min which led to other changes. Chamberlain was sent in CM in place of Barkley while Stengs took his place on the right wing.
There was a bit of experimenting going on with Man Utd as Ndombele played a few minutes as striker after Lukaku's substitution, while Dybala was still playing CM. Soon Dybala went upfront but it was too late as Stengs closed the match on the 90+3 minute.
Excellent team effort, too bad Embolo keeps missing such good opportunities.
https://i.imgur.com/wvwhMeg.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/ZJIZE2g.jpg

Marching on Together!
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