FK Mačva Šabac: 2019/20: Part One

Welcome to Serbia! So begins another year of FM proper, and a completely new test for me, a smallish club in a lesser reputation league. It’s a bit of an unknown for me, and I’m looking forward to a different challenge.

After last week’s intro, it’s time to get stuck in, and I’ll be covering the first half of the season today, up until the winter break begins. But first up I’ll detail some of the staff changes and a few more details on our starting tactic…


Tactics:

I showed you the initial plan in the previous post, but I didn’t give many of the thoughts behind it. Here it is again, with the all-important improved squad numbers:

I’ve tried to keep things fairly simple to start with. There’s not a lot of pace or creativity to wield, hence the selection of pretty standard roles and an attempt to maintain discipline. The hope I have is fairly reminiscent of some of my previous FM exploits, by keeping things simple and limiting our own errors, we can stay in games and be competitive.

Milos Adamovic is our most creative player, and hopefully will lead our offense from his position in central midfield. We have a bevy of wingers, all of whom look OK, but none stand out. Hopefully someone will step up and prove me wrong quickly.

My experiences in the beta have coloured a couple of choices. My full backs in particular, as I became convinced the wing back role was less liable to give the ball away cheaply than full backs. I’ve gone with wingers in order to try and get a bit more wide play going on, as anyone out there seems eager to cut inside on the match engine at the moment.

Staffing:

As I alluded to before, there are a number of staff roles that need filling:

The coaching staff is over-stocked, however I’m going to stick with them for the season, as a) I can’t be wasting money on sacking anybody, and b) I think we need four coaches for the workload:

We’ll re-visit the coaches at the end of the season, but for now I’ve brought in what I think is the bare minimum we need in terms of numbers elsewhere:

I am getting behind “Project Vincent”. I’ll be using him as a case study to see how much young staff can improve, as it’s not something I’ve ever tracked before, and as we will likely have trouble attracting top talent, perhaps signing younger staff members and allowing them to develop like a young player would be a sensible option for us.

July – September:

We’ve had a banging start to the season:

The fixture computer has been relatively kind, and we’ve more than matched the teams expected to finish outside of the top two. The defeat to Red Star could’ve been much worse, but as you would expect, they’re a few cuts above us.

Though the football hasn’t been thrilling, the board are not only happy with our results, but they’re also pleased with our defensive record and success at set pieces, with Nikola Kovacevic’s three goals all coming from corners.

Fifth place! Surely this can’t continue…

October – December:

A real mixture of results and performances followed:

We were superb for much of November, with our short passing, possession football giving us really nice looking periods of play, but also with a killer edge.

For much of the rest of the time however, we looked slow and toothless. We’ve largely kept things tight, which is pleasing (the Partizan game being an aberration as they are the best team in the league, and we were down to ten men after just twenty minutes), but we have lacked much in the way of thrust and urgency. In particular, our striking options have been largely anonymous, whilst only Predrag Jeremic has offered any threat from out wide.

Some of this is certainly down to the relatively cautious nature of the tactics we’re using, though November shows it’s not always thus.

Something else that sticks out after this period, is a very definite home/away split in our results:

Still fifth though! And totally unbeaten at home. I’m not hitting the panic button over our away form just yet, as it features the games against the top two, and a pair of draws in which we rested players for the midweek cup games. But it’s something to keep an eye on.

The game in hand is due to our very last game before the winter break, at home to Red Star, being postponed due to heavy snow. With our most recent results, this is a blessing for sure.

Results have been good, but it’s still a “C” from the board for tactics:

We have been frustratingly dull at times, especially recently, as I believe teams are playing a little more cautiously against us now that we’re not relegation fodder. I think the winter break is a good time for a little tactical tweaking, to provide a bit more entertainment, and perhaps a few more goals would be nice. They can stick the pressing though. I think we’re better off preserving what limited fitness our old players have! More on tactics next time.

Behind The Scenes:

A quick note on the release day attribute hotfix. As a result of it, most of my young players have seen their determination increased, including the player I highlighted previously, Filip Cermelj, who now boasts determination 19.

December saw an extended contract for me, one more year on the same wage:

And a little glance at our future youth intake:

As you would imagine, not an intake to shout from the rooftops about. However, the prospects it highlights are for positions we’re a little short in, so with a little luck, perhaps we’ll find a solution or two…


Things have started in a very promising fashion, and relegation fears are already behind us. During the long winter break, the transfer window will open, and we will look to improve in a couple of areas. We need a better striking option, and a second decent centre-back would be most welcome. We don’t have money to spend, but space will be opened up in the wage budget by sending on-loan full-back Nikola Dukic back to Chievo, as he’s on a whopping £1.2k a week, more than three times the wage of anyone else.

We’ll also look to loan out a few of the squad players, and take a look at the tactics for the remainder of the season, before ploughing through the rest of season one. With the best will in the world, it’s difficult to slow my play down much when a) I’ve only got 29 players to mess about with, and b) I’m having such a good time playing!

As ever, thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll join me next time.

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