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. He settled on U.S Lecce. Welcome to part four of his story.
So getting promoted was great, even if it was expected, but it’s staying up that really counts. The club is in all kinds of financial disarray, we have no transfer budget to speak of and the wage budget isn’t the best. Luckily we have a number of players at the club who are deemed good enough for this level and some who are considered good enough for the level above, namely young keeper Marco Bleve and midfielder Giuseppe De Feudis.
My approach to transfers was the same as last season: create some search filters and invite anyone who caught my eye for a trial. One thing I had to be aware of was that I could only register a maximum of eighteen over-21 players excluding club icon players.
I only brought in three players permanently, I just couldn’t find the right sort of quality and didn’t want to bring in players for the sake of it, also with the clubs financial situation I wanted to keep wages to a minimum.
Canadian international David Edgar was my first signing of the season. He can play in a number of roles, which I mentioned in a previous post is something I look for in a player. He has excellent physical attributes for this level and some decent mental attributes. He is however a bit of a yellow card magnet, which is something we could do without.
Serginho, whilst not the best player, is considered by my assistant manager to be a good player for most Serie B sides and he’s managed to score five goals in the ten league games we’ve played so far.
Marc-Andre Kruska joined us just before the 10th game of the season and had a solid debut in that match. I think he’ll go on to be a very important player for us.
I extended the loans of Balint Vecsei and Ali Sowe and somewhat surprisingly was not asked to pay any of their wages or a loan fee. I also managed to sort out two more loan deals to bolster the playing squad, I would love to make these deals permanent but we’ll have to wait and see about that.
Luca Barlocco was loaned from Juventus to provide cover at left back. He hasn’t played much so far due the form of the excellent Matteo Legittimo.
In previous versions of FM I’ve seen Mario Pugliese develop into a very good player, so I was delighted when Atalanta agreed to loan him to us. He has been excellent since his arrival, playing mainly as a shadow striker, but his versatility will be vital to us as the season progresses.
The board expectation was that we avoid relegation and I thought that was reasonable, I think we have a decent first team, we just lack a bit of depth but I’m working towards addressing that as the season progresses.
We started the season as ever with the TIM Cup in the second qualifying round. We were drawn against SPAL from the Lega Pro. It was a comfortable enough victory in the end, marked by a debut goal for David Edgar and a first goal for the club for academy graduate Loris Ferrara.
The next qualifying round of the cup saw us travel to Cagliari who are also in Serie B and one of the favourites to lift the title. I thought it would be a good yardstick of how we were likely to fare in Serie B. We came flying out of the blocks with Serginho scoring twenty-six seconds into his debut. We managed to keep them at bay for 76 minutes until conceding the inevitable equaliser.
The game went to extra-time but the lads were absolutely shattered. Still, we gave as good as we got until they scored in stoppage time of the first period of extra time. It was heartbreaking. We went in search of the equaliser but just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net and eventually conceded again in injury time at the end of the game, giving the game a slightly flattering scoreline to Cagliari.
We kicked off our Serie B campaign at home to Ascoli Picchio, when they equalised in the 62nd minute I thought we’d blown the chance for all three points, but Andrea Capristo popped up with an 83rd minute winner to ensure a winning start in our return to Serie B.
We went on to win our next two games against Lancino and Novara and I was beginning to think that this league may be easier than I anticipated. We were brought crashing down to earth away to Salernitana. We bossed the game for the most part but a misplaced pass in midfield allowed them to score. Heads dropped a bit after that, our performance levels fell and we conceded a second not long afterwards.
We followed that up with a disappointing draw at home to newly promoted Alessandria, who we had demolished 4-0 in the C Super Cup a few months previous.
There was no time to dwell on that however as up next was our first league meeting against bitter rivals Bari. We met them in the cup last season, with them winning on penalties on that occasion. This time I was determined that our fans would have the bragging rights. The game was an epic encounter, everything a derby should be. By half-time we had stormed into a 2-0 lead. They rallied in the second half pulling one back on 73 minutes. The end of the match was tense as they threw everything they had at us, but we managed to see the game out and claim a memorable victory.
Juan Surraco suffered broken ribs in the Bari match and that coupled with the wretched form of Davide Moscardelli forced us to change formation.
Our first match with the new tactic saw us record a lucky win over Vicenza, who were top of the table at the time. Next we visited Chievo. We were awful in this match, the lads didn’t do themselves justice and it could have been a heavier defeat, Bleve saved a penalty after Salvi was adjudged to have pushed an opponent while a corner was being delivered.
We bounced back with a win over L’Aquila, who came up with us last season and were enjoying their own decent start to the season. After that we travelled to Modena and were terribly unlucky not to come away with all three points, failing to take any of the three clear cut chances we created.
The Modena game sort of summed up our season so far. We’ve been excellent defensively, conceding only six goals so far. At the other end however we seem to be missing some great chances and not scoring enough. I shouldn’t really be complaining though, our performances have seen us up to third in the table, just two points off the leaders. Is it too early to be thinking of promotion? We are well on our way to my pre season target of 50 points.
Well that’s it for now, be sure to join me again soon as I look at how we got on up to the winter break. Thanks for reading and as ever if you have any questions or comments let me know below or on Twitter @edwardbomb.