seasonFour.episodeTwo | Andata
What a twist of emotions. We’ve gone from 2nd in Serie B to 16th in Serie A, and then to 9th in my third season in charge. The progress we’ve made is faster than I thought possible. Spoiler alert, we’re currently sat in 9th which seems to be about our level right now.
We started magnificently. It got me excited for the season ahead. Iemmello was one of the favourites for top scorer this season and he staked a claim for why he should have been considered. He notched 8 goals in 9 games. It did highlight our reliance on him, and considering we don’t have another recognised striker at the club, it’s a single point of failure should anything happen to him.
We started the season with our 4-2-3-1 defensive system but with two central midfielders rather than the deep defensive midfielders and it was paying off. We struggled against some of the lesser sides, but victories over AC Milan and Napoli in the early few fixtures gave us a huge boost.
Two wins in the following 6 games took the wind out of our sails somewhat and we dropped out of the European places and back into the chasing pack.
When Iemmello hit a bad patch of form, so did we. If we could just keep him fit, or get in a suitable backup we would be in a much better position. However, avoid relegation is the target again and it looks like we should do that if we can turn this patch of form around. I didn’t change anything with the system, it was our form letting us down.
A win over Brescia in the cup would see us move into the Quarter Final draw, where we will play Fiorentina in the second half of the season. That game sandwiched between games against Bologna and Atalanta. We’re going to give the cup a run this year so it could see us drop some valuable league points. However, Iemmello found his shooting boots in the matches the followed Brescia and so did young Alagna, who staked a claim for the reserve to Iemmello.
We finished Andata with a nice 2-1 victory over Sassuolo, who are among the chasing pack. In terms of the table, we’re in the same position as we finished last season and we have 3 more points than we had at this stage last year. If we can keep everyone fit and fighting then we have a good chance to better 9th.
THE PLAYER STATS
As alluded to earlier, if Iemmello is in form then we are in form. He has 12 in 18. Assists are fairly well distributed but it’s clear Di Gaudio is providing most of them from the left-hand side, despite not being a natural winger.
Cash in the bank continues to increase, up from €14.5m at the end of the season. A lack of player acquisitions and a keen eye on the wage structure is keeping our balance healthy. My fear, should I ever leave Parma, is that the next manager will just come in and spend everything I’ve worked hard to save.
I’ve managed to put some of this into upgrading the youth facilities again which will only help us, in the long run, to pump out more quality youth prospects and to remove reliance on the inflated transfer market.
We have a tough season ahead, more consolidation of finances and a push to keep up our position in the table and perhaps go one or two places better.
Youth development will continue and come next season, I should be able to introduce a few of my youth products into the first team. We’ve made two signings this window, Khama Billiat joins on a free to help Lazzerini in the attacking midfield. He’s a little older than the players I would like to sign, but we have an immediate need here and he will be a good servant for a couple of seasons.
Also joining is a player we agreed to sign a few months back from FFA COE. Dallibor Komes joins us on a free and is highly rated by my scouts. He is one to keep an eye on in the future.
The second half of the season promises to be a good one.
Until next time, arrivederci.