Welcome back. This post will bring the game I have been playing bang up to date. I know i need to work out how I present the save going forward as breaks in media will lead to the one or two readers requiring memory tests to work out where and what is happening in the save. Parts 1, Part 2 and Part 3, and https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js“>Part 4, should update you about the Crespo Project so far.
We have had an interesting run from the last time I updated you.
As you can see below at the halfway stage we had established ourselves in the league. We were 2nd after 18 matches with AlbinoLeffe, AC Reggiana and surprise package of the season US Triestina, who at this stage were top of the league.
The winter break came and went. A full month without fixtures. This meant we were able to hammer home the tactic which I had decided to focus on.
We shifted from the temperamental experiment of replicating the 1946/47 formation which was too unpredictable and somewhat lacking in defensive presence to the tactic that I have dubbed Tightbacks.
Tightbacks is a 41221 formation or 4123. I decided to focus on the strengths of the players I had brought in (mostly experienced on short term contracts and youth on season long loans) rather than pressure the team to play some fantasy football. And focussed on a number of key elements whilst using this formation.
1- To use the formation home and away.
By sticking with the same formation each game allowed our team to establish a strong understanding of how they were to play and develop playing relationships between each other.
2- Stick with a regular starting 11.
I looked at keeping the same players in the team each week. Injuries, suspensions and fatigue did mean we altered and “tinkered” at times. Predominantly we looked to stick with a regular 8 or 9 players in the side to again enhance player understanding of the tactic and improve the playing relationships.
3- Defence, Defence, Defence.
More specific to anything else we looked to play with a regular back 4, 5 if you include the goalkeeper. Again by doing so we established strong playing partnerships. The two centre backs developed an understanding between each other. They we set to play/defend in a simply way CD – Defend. To win the ball and distribute to a team mate.
The fullbacks (The key to our defensive record) were set up as FB -Support with instructions to be more defensive. I have not played with 4 at the back since FM15 so I must confess I did some reading, and took some advice from (https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js“>@TN_TheNorthman )
The advice has brought about a desire to stick with the formation/tactic I have put together rather than shift to a 532 or some description (My usual footprint/tactic), Thank you for an enlightening article of how to use ones fullbacks more effectively.
The other positional key to the defence has been our defensive midfielder. I have used a Half Back. With the plan to hold position and act as a pivot between defending and attacking. Along with having that additional player concentrating on defending and maintaining the team’s defensive shape. (Shown in the picture below). He has also been instructed to be more direct with his passes inorder to act more “quarterback” like when necessary.
The Key players to our keen defence.
We are playing with a traditional Goalkeeper, at this level the ability to find a Sweeper keeper never mind a good one was difficult. We brought two strong goalkeepers for this level, one Marco Ameila who was out of contract and appealed to us as we saw the guys experience would be necessary if we were to bring any youth players through. He has also been the main number 1 for the majority of the season. A broken finger in the middle of March saw Marco miss out of the season run in.
The other first team goalkeeper were brought through was Stefano Tarolli. Who for the bulk of the season was our back up and cup goalkeeper. By paring him with Marco as his tutor Stefano was able to train well whilst acting as back up but also emerge as our potential number 1 when he was called upon during the season run in. He enjoyed 11 competitive clean sheets, for a 20 yr old is not bad. He is one I hope to nurture.
On the left I have the opportunity to develop Michelangelo Albertazzi, initially brought in with the thought of using in the central defence. He came to me during November kicking off for the lack of game time. I sort to use him at left back and the guy never looked back. He took his opportunity and produced some good performances in his favoured position.
Masahudu Alhassan was sitting on the out of contact shelf (Another player found for free) at 25 I thought this guy could either help Modena in their inaugural season or he could be a hindrance. The player is a typical modern day fullback, and we planned to use him as our number left back, he was until a bruised thigh gave Micky the opportunity to show me what he could do, and unfortunately for him he dropped down a peg in the pecking order. His cup appearances, were generally fantastic.
On the right we have had Christian Maggio, a major coup from Napoli, I put in a cheeky enquiry as he was unhappy, they practically gave him to me. His experience has be immense at times he has helped the back line maintain it’s discipline. His understudy at Napoli, Pio Schiavi has been with us too.
Pio was brought in on loan with the plan to play from the off, but after a few shaky friendly appearances we needed to obtain a big gun like Maggio to lead by example. That as side Pio has slowly developed into the right full back I had hoped. Confident with the ball and has developed his defensive duties too. Game time was limited due to Maggio, but Pio had some cracking appearances off the bench to assist with two goals.
The Half Back
Simone Pontisso has been our unsung hero. His ability on the ball, to pick a pass, his mental strength to hold his defensive position and his general whole round game have given the team a solid platform to build from out the back. Add the he has taken corners too. he has been a very influential player on the pitch. We hope to see him improve as we are planned to take him on board next season.
I will wrap this post up there. “You haven’t spoken about the centre backs!”
I am not going to talk about the central pairing in this post. I have a game to play!