01|03 PRESEASON: MEET THE PLAYERS

seasonOne.episodeThree | Preseason

The best part of getting a new job is when you get to sit down with your Assistant Manager and go through the team reports. Having just done this, it is evident that we have a relatively decent squad, albeit one lacking in defensive cover.

I seldom make new signings when I first arrive at a club so I will be taking a look at the youth teams to see if we can bring anyone into the first team to offer some cover. I like to work with what I have, and where required I will retrain the players to suit the system.

In terms of squad strengths, on the face of it, things are looking quite good.

TEAM REPORTS

So the first thing that struck me when reviewing the team reports is all the green (in comparison to the red).

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Taking a closer look (you can click to enlarge), this pretty much picks my first 11 for me. So what can we do? Well, the reports suggest the standard of passing quality is impressive, which suits my style perfectly. However, you’ll notice our weaknesses include poor first touch. So we can get the ball to its destination, but from then on it’s down to luck as to whether it stays there or bounces off its target.

We are strong, aggressive, and committed. We are full of leaders. This will help me implement a good pressing game. Finally, we have high levels of individual and collective teamwork. I’m not sure what individual teamwork is exactly, but it’s in green so must be good.

As for the weaknesses, well I already mentioned that we have a poor first touch across the squad. This doesn’t help when I want to implement a short passing game, into feet. If we’re playing around with the ball in the middle of the park and we have no one who can control the thing, we’re just going to give it right back to the opposition. I might have to look to make a few tweaks to my usual system until I can get some players in with sufficient quality.

So, looking at the coverage for positions, it doesn’t look too bad. We are spoilt for players available in the attacking third. I will indeed be reviewing these players over the next couple of training sessions to see if we need them all. With money being tight at Parma, I’m keen to ensure we don’t end up in another financial mess.

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Playing my normal 4-2-3-1 system–or at least intending to at this stage–it is clear that we have all of the positions covered with good options. For our positions on the field, five of those are covered by great options. otherwise the rest of the positions we can cover with good options. I would like better options in defence, but this first season will be about consolidating our position in the league and getting a system in place that the team and the fans can buy into.

POTENTIAL KEY PLAYERS

First up, I believe these two will be key in the engine room. They need to get up and down the pitch to support our attacks and break up opposition attacks. They have good stamina between them which is good.

Matteo Scozzarella, Central Midfielder – it is likely at first I will try Matteo as a defensive Central Midfielder at first. He has some good attributes for this role, however, his bravery is a little lower than I would like. At this level, it might be alright. I will need to make sure he’s doing everything I need for the role (will be explained in later tactical posts)

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Jacopo Dezi, Deep Lying Playmaker – probably one of the better players at the club. Unfortunately, he is just on loan for the season. I will likely play him as a Deep Lying Playmaker with either the Defend or Support duty. I will need to see how we look structurally before solidifying this role.

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Next up, my two wide players. If we are going to have any success I need these players to be on point. I need them to be direct in their approach, and creative. They will need to take risks in opening up the opposition.

Luca Siligardi, Raumdeuter – in terms of his attributes he has a good distribution of strengths. He is relatively quick and is good with the ball at his feet. He will be one of the few players permitted to run with the ball. He has a powerful shot him so I will allow him to take advantage of this. He will be utilised as my second striker coming in from the wings.

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Antonio Di Gaudio, Inside Forward – on the opposite flank to Siligardi, Antonio is equally equipped to perform a similar role. Tasked with driving at the defence and carving out opportunities for others.

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Finally, my striker. I have only included Fabio in this review, as he will likely–subject to injuries–be my main man. Our hopes will be on him for the majority of the goals.

Fabio Ceravolo, Deep Lying Forward – while Fabio is entering his twilight years, he is still an outstanding player for this level. I may swap his role during the season, since I will be playing with an attacking midfielder, I might ask Fabio to pin the defence back more as an Advanced Forward, however, initially, he will need to be both the focal point of attacks, but equally he will be required to open space for the wingers to move into. If he becomes too isolated I also have the opportunity to play him as a False 9 to help create disruption and space in and around the opposition defence.

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TEAM COMPARISON

So this is a quick look around the squad I have taken over, and a closer review of the key players. In comparison to the rest of the league, we should be aiming for slightly higher than the top half of the table. We’re not as physically competitive as our peers, however, we have the mental and technical attributes to match most teams.

Physically, we’re really lacking in this department. So we might need to look to stand off the opposition and zonally mark the spaces, nipping in with tackles and interceptions to win the ball back. Our jumping worries me, too.

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Mentally, we’re as strong as anyone. We are full of creativity and flair. However, this is only in comparison with the league and with our comparatively low level of decision making, it is unlikely that I will want to allow much creative freedom. This will dictate that we probably start with a structured shape. What also worries me is the low levels of determination and work rate. This is something I will need to address with new player acquisitions as we’re likely to be under the cosh in a lot of games and need the drive to stay in the match for a full 90 minutes.

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Technically, our dribbling, crossing and finishing attributes are the best in the league. Since I possess a side who cannot jump, we’ll be running at the opposition and firing in low crosses.

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THE REST OF THE SQUAD

So to round things off, this is the full squad I have available to me. Either side of player happiness, I have what I deem to be the key mental attributes and key technical attributes. I sort my squad by best position first and then my assistant managers opinion of the player’s current ability to give me a clear view of the player’s ability in order of their positions.

It is clear using this view that I have about three too many central midfielders. I can see the three that probably won’t make the cut this season are Corapi, Munari, and Giorgino. However, given Corapi’s social standing at the club, I may not take the risk of upsetting the team just yet. I will at least be asking my Director of Football to find the latter two players new clubs.

Nocciolini is a right-footed winger, so he doesn’t fit my plans so he will likely be leaving alongside another right-winger Frediani, unless I can convert him to an Inside Forward.

Finally, we are short in the in the central attacking midfield role. I will look to see if we can bring in a free transfer, although Dezi is adept at playing this role, so we shall see who is available.

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tip: hold shift and select as many columns to sort on as you wish. In my case, I hold shift and select ‘best position’ and then ‘ability’.

Next, it’s time to take a look at scouting and the tactics I will be employing at Parma. I will draw these up before the squad returns from their holidays and present how I expect the team to be playing next season. This will likely change as we go through pre-season and refine our style.

Until next time, arrivederci.

O.Jensen

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