So we rejoin the mighty tractor boys in their debut season back in the premier league, our fantastic first season saw us gain promotion though the play offs and an unprecedented win the the FA Cup. I wanted to take some time to write this update as I feel it covers some really important information for players, and it is key things that if done incorrectly could lead to either getting the sack or falling out of love with a save. Now I am by no means saying that my way of thinking is perfect, or the only way, but if writing this helps one person then I’ll be happy.
So the first thing I looked at is my squad, we need to find where we can improve the squad to take it to the required level of the Premiership, without bankrupting the team. So here is my favoured 11 from last season
GK Bart / Gerken
DR Chambers / Emmanuel
DC Berra / Malarczyk
DL Knudsen / Kenlock
DM Rossiter / Skuse
MR Sears / Toure
MC Maitland-Niles / Carroll
MC Bru / Bishop
ML Correa / Fraser
ST McGoldrick / Murphy
Italic players are ones we had on loan thus will be leaving, those in bold are not seen as being the required quality to survive the promotion…
As you can see this leaves me in a bit of a dilemma, as it leaves me with 4 midfielders for 5 positions and back up, and very little cover elsewhere, now I don’t like to make any more than 3 changes to a first team in the off-season to retain continuity, and I have 3 first teamers on loan, this realistically leaves me no room whatsoever to actually improve the squad, this in my mind creates a massive issue (you see why this update took so long…).
I came up with a solution….
Returning to us on loan again is Maitland-Niles of Arsenal, this means we bring in a player good enough to make our first team without having to disrupt the rhythm of last season as Ainsley was here then as well. He can play through the middle or wide right so his versatility will be essential to us this season. Just a shame it could cost us 30 mil to bring him in full time, we can dream though.
Again returning on to us after spending last season on loan is Tom Carroll, Tom was brought in full time for 300k, and as you can see this really is good business for us as his value is instantly 3.6M Tom will provide much needed cover in the centre of the park, again with the added bonus of already knowing how we operate.
Second and final loan for us this season was spent on bringing back Rossiter from Liverpool, he was solid for us last year at DM so deserves a chance in the big league with us, has the quality to be solid for us at this level too. Again added bonus is he will not disrupt our teams flow.
Essentially I’ve filled up 3 positions there without effecting my rule of bringing in no more than 3 first team players there, which I feel was great business for the club. Now down to further business…
Andre was brought in as a Bosman transfer so probably signing of the season for us, he will play the supporting role in the middle of the park, his stats are solid and he should prove to be an amazing signing for us this year, he in keeps with our philosophy as he is technically sound and knows how to play a pass.
Bahoui has been brought in to play on the left hand side of midfield, we had two loan players there last season so need a first teamer and a back up, Nabil fits the bill I was looking for, again he is technically sound, passing needs a bit of work but makes up for it with what he can do with the ball at his feet, his trickery could win us games this season.
Araujo is my ‘take a punt’ signing of the season, he doesn’t speak English, hasn’t played outside of Spain and cost more than most other signings, but he is the real deal. His skill set is exactly what I was after, he likes to run with the ball and knows where the net is, will have to nurse him in though due to lack of communication skills.
Schmitz has been brought in as cover at the back, he can play either side, he can cross a ball and knows how to tackle, stamina levels are high so he should be able to fit in when called upon to do so.
Connolly comes in to give us some extra quality back up at centre back, I was fearful of anyone back there getting injured so felt we could add something else to cover us for the long season ahead, Connolly like the ball at his feet too and is closer to what my centre backs of the future should be looking like.
James comes in to provide us with some back up on the wings, not got the skill of our other options but knows how the division works and can put the ball in the box easy enough, should help over the course of the season.
Finally as we lacked in a young strike force coming through we signed Hazeldine for 33k lad could turn into a real quality signing in a few seasons time, shouldn’t be long before you hear about his success
As you can see we didn’t spend a vast amount of money, my reasoning is basically I’m keeping an eye on the clubs finances, if we don’t manage to stay up I don’t want to bankrupt the club, you’ll also notice no signed player is on more than 20k wages, this is the same for the remaining team, we want a wage structure that is sustainable in the prem and the championship again to safeguard the clubs future.
Pre-Season ended being an interesting affair, I lined up some big name fixture to test out my tactic, but also scheduled some small team games so the boys could keep there confidence on the high, I learnt a lot during these games and it has lead to me developing a tactical change to push the wingers higher up, we’ll see if I implement it during the season as its a work in progress right now.
So the community shield beckons…
We held the ball well but couldn’t penetrate the City back line, I’m starting to think our inability to score goals is a tactical issue and not a striker issue. I’ll be bringing in the new tactic a lot sooner than expected if this continues.
Capital One Cup we won’t even talk about…
Conceding 10 in our first 3 games and scoring 0 made me swap my winger into a more advanced position a lot sooner than I was going too, results improved a lot after that point, we seemed to have more about us as we came forwards, this point of the season we now sit mid-table on 25 points, 15 away from apparent safety which if I’m honest is the only goal, the win over a 10 man Arsenal probably goes down as my highlight of the season so far. Still seem to lose big when we do lose, I think the defence will be addressed in January and the summer.
Europa League Results
I felt sure we would get dominated in Europe, well first 2 games we did get dominated, the rest of the campaign was a dream, when you see the table you will probably feel my pain as a single goal against Levante and it could have all been so different
So I want to show you my tactic now and when I first started out, this wasn’t a straight swap, and all adjustments were made over time
All differences were made from little tweaks throughout both seasons so far, I looked at where we are failing and counteract it with a small tactical change.
Then finally lets have a look to see if we are staying true to my wishes of possession and passing football even in the Prem
As you can see, even with all our tactical changes we still stay true to our ambition of dominating possesion to achieve our goals, this should only increase as the quality of our team improves.
So join me again next time to see how the season ends and if we can retain out FA Cup and Prem status