SeasonEight.EpisodeFour | Dernière ligne droite
Welcome back to my Football Manager 2020 blog with Stade Rennais. If you missed by previous post, you can catch up with everything that happened, here:
After the highs of last season, the title run in with Stade Rennais this time around lost its edge.
PSG losing Tuchel, too, meant that we were able to slip up a few times throughout the opening half and maintain our position at the top of the league. It has felt like we’ve had to use brute force to get through the fixtures this season, whereas previously we were winning comfortably.
Here’s how we got on.
February 2027 – May 2027
We were ahead of PSG in the league at the last checkpoint. However, it was just on goal difference. This was a different PSG. One who struggled to finish teams off. They didn’t quite have the curring edge of the Tuchel side, and we were ready to take full advantage of that!
The performances picked up a little after the dreadful league performances in January.
I knew that things needed to change otherwise we’d be drawing our way to a top four finish. I decided to go back to an old version of the 433 that had served us well. I only changed things up through boredom and because I have a habit of tinkering with the system when there’s no need.
We battled through the Coupe de France again and set the record for 27 games without losing!
The Champions League was less impressive, however. Despite being a goal up against Inter Milan, they were too strong for us and managed to come away with the 2-1 win in their own ground. But all to play for, still.
The Champions League exit was a disappointing lowlight in what was an otherwise excellent month.
Back to the domestic games and we have been back on track, but it still feels like we’re grinding out results rather than blowing teams away. I will take it, I’m not complaining but I canfeel cracks appearing. I need to keep an eye on this form to make sure we’re in a strong position come the end of the season.
With some injuries starting to pile up now, the centre of midfield is becoming a little bare. Fortunately, Gélin can play at DM so we’ve had to use him as cover in there.
Inter Milan scored late on in the Champions League to knock us out. We were on top for most of that game but losing Schmitt has hurt us and Ayari just isn’t cutting it in the big games at Stade Rennais, perhaps this is a level above him. I think I might have to let him go in the summer. He has had some interest from China, so if that comes around again and we can get a decent fee, it might be time to move him on and try another player there.
And the cracks continue to show.
Sochaux have been exceeding all expectations this season and are doing excellently under Stéphane Mangone’s stewardship. They were pretty good against us, deploying two defensive midfielders which stifled our wingers. I’m hoping more teams don’t catch on to this tactic. If they do, I might need to think of a plan C.
The rest of the league fixtures were not so troublesome. Clean sheets to follow in all the games before the cup final.
Coupe de France Final
No big fanfare or run through of this match to report on. If you’re interested in seeing how things unfolded (spoiler alert we totally dominated the game but lost) then you can catch up on my twitter thread here
Down to the final four games and this really was heading to the wire.
We had the better goal difference which is worth an extra point to us. PSG have not been great this season with 7 draws already. All we had to do was win out games as the league would be ours again.
Jacky Rault, my best central midfielder injured his ankle and was out for the rest of the season so I promoted young Rutger Klompe to take over the important Advanced Playmaker role in the middle of the pitch. He didn’t disappoint. He bagged two goals against Lens in a 3-0 win.
Toulouse and Bordeaux didn’t offer much in terms of a challenge for us and we were comfortable winners.
The final match of the season against Metz was again as comfortable as the rest of the matches this month. We’ve had a good run in with some kind fixtures. And that was that.
A second title win. It’s never going to be as good a feeling as the first one, but I’m bloody proud we’ve held off PSG for a second season running. I hope they don’t sack this manager, as I quite fancy my chances head to head against him!
What a bloody season! Another great title win. Dissapointed to lose the cup final and to go out of the Champions League when we did, but we will give those cups another bloody good go next season!
Well, another cracking season coming to a close. Another title win for Stade Rennais, too. There are going to be some tough decisions to make this summer as I look to give some of the youth players a chance. The likes of Onguéné and Gélin are hitting the latter end of their peak now so I’ll need to think about dropping their squad status down and giving others a go.
I also have a decision to make in the striker role with Ayari just not cutting it at this level.
Thanks for following along with my save this year!
As always, you can get in touch with me in the comments below, via twitter @fmfutbolmanager, or my slack channel #fmFutbolManager — if you’re not a part of the Football Manager Slack community, then you can join here!
Until next time, à tout à l’heure.