In the last post we discussed the Canary Islands Derby against UD Las Palmas. The history books state that Las Palmas have historically been the more successful team in this fixture winning 29 out of 64 games played versus our measly 14, so the plan was to gain revenge and defend our legacy in this epic clash.
Both teams come in to the game in polar opposite form – Tenerife arrive in Gran Canaria following back to back victories against Rayo Majadhondra and Albacete, while Las Palmas have lost their last 3 league games to Cadiz, Real Zaragoza and Deportivo La Coruna. Despite being away from home and without the injured Mauro Dos Santos and Borja Lasso, Tenerife are considered favourites for what will hopefully be an epic clash at Estadio de Gran Canaria.
Sadly – epic the clash was not! Despite making what I considered to be an inspirational team talk to the lads coupled with what I hoped would be an effective tactic away from home (more to follow) – we absolutely bottled it on the day and despite having far more shots on target and slightly more possession throughout the game, we failed to make our chances count and David Timor’s 67th minute goal condemned us to a 1-0 defeat in our first ever Canary Islands Derby. Disaster!!
Sadly our first Canary Islands Derby ends in defeat and Las Palmas take home the bragging rights as we depart for our return flight to Tenerife – we welcome them back to Estadio Heliodoro Rodríguez López in the final game of the season on 9th June 2019 where hopefully we can put things right and restore ourselves as the pride of the Islas Canarias.
A few people had asked me about training and I have read a lot of blogs / articles about different approaches and training methods. Training is something which I have traditionally left to the Assistant Manager however with the changes to Training in FM19 I have tried to be more hands on with training schedules as well as with Individual Training and Mentoring.
With regard to training schedules – I have tried to keep this relatively simple and focus on the type of football we wish to play this season. I broke this up mainly in terms of assigning a schedule depending on who we are playing each week, and then dividing the week up in to specific units to cover tactics, technical skills, defending, transition, attacking etc. @FMSamo‘s training article was an excellent analysis of how you can adopt a similar type of approach, whereby training is broken down in to units and cycles (check out his article here) – our training schedule is something akin to this but instead of fortnightly cycles, it changes depending on whether we are Home or Away and/or due to face weaker or stronger opposition. We usually adopt a more forceful Gegenpress style in games where I feel we are the favourite, and a quicker Direct Counter Attack style away from home where we expect a tougher challenge (which they all are at this level):
Most people will have also read @Cleon‘s excellent piece about the new Training feature in FM19 – what I really like about this is that it talks about tactical familiarity and dynamic match preparation, which is basically what we are trying to achieve at Tenerife by building training schedules based on the tactics we employ, and then adapting the training units depending on who our opponents are each week. Again, it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of these (and I am certainly no expert!), but as this article eludes to – there isn’t really a right or wrong approach to training, and it’s all down to what suits you and how you want your team to play. I definitely recommending reading the full article which you can find here.
What’s also interesting about the new FM19 training feature is training ratings – it is evidently clear that some players seem to excel in training over others, and the challenge (in my opinion) is to try and target players in order to boost their training ratings. This for me is probably the best way to measure training effectiveness – what’s interesting about this save is that it has constantly been our new signings that have trained consistently at the higher levels; whether that is down to the fact that I have signed them, their age or that I have really focused on integrating them in to the squad through mentoring is still unclear, but nevertheless the results are there and now the challenge is to try and have the same impact on the rest of the squad.
Transfer Window Shenanigans
The fixture against UD Las Palmas also coincided with the reopening of the January Transfer Window in Spain which finally saw 22 year old Norwegian Goalkeeper Sondre Rossbach complete his much anticipated move from Odds Ballklubb for a fee of €1.1m (€650k up front), after being recommended by @daveazzopardi on the 5 Star Potential podcast. He looks like a really decent keeper all round, still only 22 and hopefully he can develop and live up to his 4 star potential here at Los Chicharreros.
This move comes at a good time for two reasons, both of which are our current Goalkeeper Dani Hernandez who is a 33 year old Venezuela International. Hernandez showed himself to be quite competent in the first half of the season, however recently and in true FM fashion he has made quite a few costly errors that have cost us games and more importantly points in our quest to return to La Liga:
To add fuel to the fire, Hernandez has also been linked with a move to promotion chasing rivals Real Zaragoza, who we initially didn’t consider as a title contender however their recent form has pushed them up in to the Top 4. Whether he goes or not remains to be seen however we expect that Rossbach will be an extremely efficient replacement if called upon.
Unfortunately we have no transfer budget to work with during this window after the arrival of Rossbach, which means our main goal for the month is to try and hold on to all our players if we are to have a realistic chance of getting promoted this season. The most challenging part of this is that all player contracts in Spanish football must legally have a Minimum Fee Release Clause (Buy Out Clause), which is fine if you can set it at €500m as Real Madrid did with Gareth Bale (see here for some interesting reading) however here in Secunda Division 2, clauses are much more reasonable meaning there is a constant fear that your best players can be snapped up without the manager having any say in the matter. This combined with the fact that our board now only give us 50% of all incoming transfer revenue will make it a nervous few weeks for the rest of January.
In other news – while all is quiet on the transfer window front in SD2, the same cannot be said with regards to Manager Movements in this league where a number of high profile appointments have been made for this level. January saw Las Palmas replace Paco Herrera with former Sevilla, Tottenham and R. Madrid boss Juande Ramos; Granada replaced Diego Martinez with previously mentioned former Tenerife manager Pepe Mel and Sporting Gijon sacked Gregorio Manzano in favour of former Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest afficionado Aitor Karanka.
The defeat at Las Palmas led to mixed form for Los Chicharreros for the rest of January, with Tenerife needing an own goal to beat Elche CF away before being held to a scoreless draw at home to Gimnastic de Tarragona meaning they took 4 points from us this year! This rollercoaster of form means that we sit in 2nd place in the third week of January, level on points with top of the table (and surprise package) Real Zaragoza – an interesting point to note here (and something I fondly remember debating with @FM_Guru88 in an online league previously) is that Goal Difference is not the determining factor if teams are level on points, but rather it is based on Head to Head form. Zaragoza’s 2-0 home win over us back in October means that they pip us for 1st place despite our slightly superior goal difference – definitely a change to what we are used to in the EPL and good to know going forward!
The one piece of positive news to come the end of the month was that both Dani Hernandez and Mauro Dos Santos decided to stay at Tenerife at least until the end of the season….oh, and this:
GOAL OF THE SEASON CONTENDER
Having gone a goal down on the brink of half time, Tenerife had to dig deep in order to get back in to the game against a strong Albacete side who have been performing far above their original media prediction of 18th and are currently sitting comfortably in the playoff zone. Carlos Alena equalised for Los Chicherroros with a calmly taken penalty on 71 minutes, before Right Back Luis Perez wins the game for Tenerife with a glorious perfectly taken strike from 30 yards out:
🌍⚽ Around the World⚽🌍
At this point, lets have a quick look at what is happening around the other main European leagues now that the transfer window has closed and we approach the business end of the season.
Tottenham sit at the top of the English Premier League after 24 games, just 2 points ahead of London neighbours Chelsea – it looks like a standard season of FM disappointment for some of the more high profile strikers in the PL, with Aubameyang leading the goalscoring charts on 15 goals ahead of Chris Wood and Callum WIlson on 14 and 12 respectively.
Keeping an eye on my own team Newcastle – not only are they echoing real life performances and sitting in 14th place at the end of January, they also look to have secured the signing of the transfer window in Nicolo Zaniolo from Fiorentina for what could be a bargain transfer fee of €5.5 million.
Also echoing real life are the number of manager departures in the Premier League with 4 dismissals having already occurred at the time of writing – most interestingly the arrivals of Marcelo Bielsa at West Ham and AVB at Wolves.
Real Madrid currently occupy top spot in La Liga on 45 points, level with arch-rivals Atletico Madrid and only 1 point ahead of Catalan giants Barcelona.
Thanks for reading so far! Before we finish, it is worth mentioning that we just had our first intake of youth players in the squad which means our first batch of newgens here at Los Chicharreros. We haven’t yet made a huge impact on youth training, recruitment and facilities at the club apart from hiring a new Head of Youth Recruitment (Domingo Grau) and boosting our Youth Coaching team by adding former World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu and former Celtic, Barcelona and Man Utd Striker Henrik Larsson to the coaching ranks (focusing on Spanish speaking former players where possible as per our objectives) – however I was hopeful that we might be able to unearth one or two youngsters whom we could start to try and develop right away as we build our Roy De Los Rovers project.
The reality was that overall the intake was fairly average, however one player in particular stood out in the form of Yeray Padrón who at age 15 has decent attributes for a DMC (looking at Positioning, Agression, Tackling and Bravery) and hopefully is someone we can push on and develop in the coming months and years.
I think that is more than enough for one blog post!! Thanks for reading and hopefully enjoying the journey so far, Roy De Los Rovers is certainly underway and hopefully we can continue to build and push for an unexpected early promotion to La Liga in Season 1. Please feel free to like, retweet and comment below – all appreciated! Cheers, MaddFM.