Hello and welcome to a new feature here at Tactical Calcio. We asked Edward Bomb to write about his experiences in Football Manager as part of an addition to our analysis, with the only stipulation being that he managed somewhere in Italy. And, after a period of searching, he settled on U.S Lecce. (As you may have guessed from the title.)
The rest of this article, and series, will be written from the author’s perspective.
Unione Sportive Lecce or simply Lecce are based in the Salento region of Italy which forms the heel of the Italian peninsula. They are known as Salentini (Salentians, a reference to their geographical location), Giallorossi (Yellow-Reds) or Lupi (Wolves). Their most fierce rivals are Bari, with whom they contest the di Pugilla derby. They play their home matches in the 33,876 seater Stadio Via del Mare.
They are an old club, having been formed in 1908 but have spent most of their recent history bouncing between Italy’s top two divisions. They were however relegated to the fourth tier in August 2012 due to the match fixing scandal that rocked Italian football. For the last few seasons they have played in the third tier of Italian football, the Lega Pro.
It will be my job to take them back to Serie A and in the long term lead them to their first Scudetto and past that champions of Europe, well that’s the plan anyway. It will be a hard slog I imagine but hey, that’s all part of the fun.
I was appointed manger on 11 July 2015 on a one-year contract. The board expectation was that I make the promotion playoffs – I think this is very achievable, we have one of the better squads in our division and excellent facilities for this level. Besides the fairly large stadium we have impressive training facilities, good youth facilities and above average youth recruitment.
One of the things I enjoy about FM is creating kits for my teams, changing them every season and adding new sponsor logos when we sign new deals in the game. I try to keep them as realistic as possible, starting with lowly kit manufacturers and small sponsors, with them hopefully getting better as the save progresses.
The first thing I do when taking over a new side (besides making some kits) is set up the tactical plan for the season ahead.
Normally I tend to shy away from standard formations, preferring something a little more esoteric, but this time I have decided to start with something fairly straight forward and build towards something different down the line. I’ve gone for a 4-1-2-3 with a few tweaks.
The formation is set up to create space for the right wing-back to run into and provide crosses for the inside forward who should be attacking the back post. I imagine the inside forward will be our main source of goals. We will generate this space with the advanced playmaker coming off his wing and dragging his opposing full-back with him, theoretically leaving acres of space for our right-back to exploit.
The team instructions are fairly simple. I want to control the games both with and without the ball. With the ball this is achieved through shorter passing and playing out of defence. Without the ball I’m looking for the team to win the ball back quickly and launch our own counter-attacks. This is where the use of ‘tighter marking’ (I want my players to be in the face of their opposite numbers), ‘close down much more’ (heavy pressing) and ‘slightly higher line’ (to reduce the amount of space the opposition have to play in) instructions come into play.
There are also a few important player instructions to be aware of.
The advanced playmaker has been asked to sit narrower. I’ve asked the right wing-back to stay wider and aim for the far post with crosses. I want his opposite number on the left to sit narrower and cut inside with the ball, hoping that this will cause overloads in the left half-space. Finally I’ve asked the deep-lying forward to roam from position to try and create a more mobile target man.
Join Edward next time as he takes a look at the players he’s brought in, changes to the backroom staff and how he goes about setting up a scouting network, both for the short and long term. Also we’ll take a look at how his Lecce got on in the pre-season friendlies.