Season has started! First few games are behind us and engine is running smoothly but before I say too much too soon let´s talk a bit about pre-season and my take on lower league pre-season antics. I am sure that most of you have browsed through internet at some point of your career and looked how other people conduct their pre-season training and such. There are guides, posts, podcasts and other stuff covering this portion(a very important portion) of a season in detail but still I feel that these are merely guidelines not guides since every team is different and players and facilities, staff and needs are different, so you should be considerate with the information and emulate that to suit the needs of your team and the style you want to implement.
Mine was easy one this time since everything is pretty much pedestrian in every sense of the word so I was spared the consideration part pretty much. But for the sake of argument let´s have a look at the contestants for this derby.
Here´s my staff´s coaching attributes in all of it´s glory.
It´s me at the top, my assistant the second, HOYD 3rd and my sole coach on the bottom. Not the Nobel´s I know. But we can also feast with the mental side of things in precisely same order of appearance.
Uuuh, well at least we can make sure they wont be slacking the whole time.
I already told you that my players are quite grossière for the lack of a better word here(I actually picked few new players by the shopping mall parking lot the other day) so the staff kind of fits the bill nicely here.
About the facilities.. they are in the range of Basic-Average which at this point is really good(remember we are playing on Veikkausliiga stadium) for us and we have time to consider improvements in the future.
Junior coaching and recruitment is something I will start to address after this season or even further in the future.
Ah, about that pre-season training then…
As I am not able to effect training scheduling in any way I could leave it as it were, greyed out. If it would be possible as it usually is I would put it all the way to the left and give absolutely no rest to anyone whatsoever during the most part of the pre season. General training is always on team cohesion for most part of the pre season. There might be some fitness training for the first week if there´s no friendlies scheduled. I use a ton on friendlies so….
Match training is on tactics for a very long period of time and I start to mix it up during the season at some point.
As individual stuff I try to address the team DNA aka vision in general but pre season is also good time to have some physical training according to needs.
I think that covers that bit for now.
Like I mentioned I play a ton of friendlies because along with initial fitness and team building I want to have different looks on different players and situations I am bound to face during the season. So there´s a lot of comprehensive highlights and fiddling with tactics and personnel. With this team I was not so careful to play 1st team for 45 mins since you could pick up replacements from the town market all day long. Having lower league status I try to attract bigger clubs to play with us for the extra cash and I was able to have few of those during our pre season. In total I had 12 pre season games to get me ready and match fit with my team. And we did, yes we did.
Disclaimer: I ask everyone to keep in mind for the remainder of this season that we were bound to relegate according to the media(the experts of football).
First game was away against highly regarded (Predicted 2nd) Gnistan from Helsinki.
We whipped everybody. Controlling the play and the ball, a 1-1 draw was actually a flattering result for Gnistan. Obviously I told the boys that they did great since we were presumed to be ripped by Oulunkylä team.
First home bout was against PEPO from Lappeenranta. Almost indescribable way we trashed our visitors from the Southern Karelia with very commanding 4-1 victory. Cream of the crop was my right back Ilkka Ilvonen who was ever present the whole game with whopping 8.2 avg rating and assist to compliment the goal with. I needed to resort to passionate vocals after that display.
Next we faced Kultsu form Joutseno. We had them chase the ball for the whole surprisingly close 2-1 away win. I say surprisingly since even with our possession (59%) they still managed to get even in clear cut changes with their efficient and straightforward play. The team formerly know as Joutsenon Kullervo fought to the very end and eventually a very flukey strike from Al Musawi sealed the deal. Obviously after away win, complementaries were in order for the team.
FCV from Vaajakoski was deemed to be a snack to everyone, which it proves out to be with a convinving 3-1 home win. 169 viewers that made to the 4500 seated stadium saw a very comfortable and balanced effort to secure the points.
FC Lahti academy is one of the teams predicted for battling promotion to Ykkönen this season. So initial thought was that it was going to be a tough outing in the Kisapuisto. Again, stats considered we took command from very early on but Lahti kept us away from the score board with very rigid play and excellent display from there future star GK Joonas Meronen. What we also had to keep in check was the former Veikkausliiga top scorer award winner Rafael who at the tender age of 37 is still a weapon of mass destruction on this level. So Tight marking, closing down and going for the socks was the treatment we gave him. Due to our high possession and control of the game on the 70th minute we brought in Rami Ahonen a towering target man and switch to more traditional 4-4-2 and started to pump the ball in the box with one route. Luckily on the 85th it worked out and we ripped the points from Lahti eventually.
So 5 games, no losses and that table looks like this now.
I knew that we were not going to battle relegation but the start has been surprisingly good for us. We have to keep in mind however that it is only five games to the season and teams are still looking their final forms as are we too so this is something we must look at with little expectations towards the end of season.
Tactically our base form is still 4-3-3 which morphs accordingly.(Yes it is the same Jellyfish I´ve been using that has been ported to FM17) I am still on the fence about discussing or writing about tactics since I feel every team has it´s tactic, it just needs to be found. Obviously you have some prefenrences and base structures you lean on as a manager but that´s something everyone knows already.
I think I have rambled enough for today and it is time to get back to work on the pitch.
On the next post I will cover my players and starting 11 in more detail with the report from the games so far.
With frozen n***les