US Triestina – Welcome to Serie C

Around every October, FM fanatics turn their thoughts to their next FM save, with the new game just around the corner. I had always fancied the idea of turning a minnow into a European superpower; on previous versions I had a very enjoyable save in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen and in the UK, with Oxford United. I gave some thought to managing overseas and settled for a career in lowly Serie C in Italy. I prefer to begin as an unknown manager in the lower leagues, working my way up and building a reputation.

Club Overview

I opted for little-known US Triestina in the north-eastern tip of Italy having visited there earlier this year. Quite a quirky place with a border to Slovenia nearby – like any good tourist I wondered what their football team would be like on Football Manager. There we are, the choice was made. I also received the notification that 2018 is their 100th anniversary, so what better opportunity to crown that with a tilt at promotion?!
The club operates in Serie C (B). Serie C has three components (A/B/C) which are determined by geography. The winner of each league goes into Serie B, with a number of teams below top spot in each league competing in playoffs for two more promotion spots in total to Serie B.
I won’t dwell too much on the club’s infrastructure, but I was impressed by a 28,565 capacity stadium which bodes well for future development. Finances as expected in Serie C are poor, so it would be a case of wheeler dealing to get the squad into shape.

Squad

The squad wasn’t terrible by Serie C standards, but clearly lots of work to be done.
So the basics were in place as long as I could bring in the type of players I want on loan. I’m looking to build a team with pace, one that dominates possession and is defensively solid at the back. Clearly I’m not going to be able to build a side that plays total football that builds from the back, but with some quality additions in midfield I’d be able to build a technically proficient side.
I like to recruit good technical players but I put huge stock behind players with determination, bravery and team work. Players that won’t accept defeat and will not wilt in the face of adversity but can still get their foot in and play. I like the 4-1-4-1 system with an anchorman in midfield, two good technical CMs, and pacey wide players with a strong target man up front.
This would be the template that I would use to hire players.

Backroom Staff

As ever with FM, I’m always baffled by the terrible standard of backroom staff when joining a club; physios with 1 or 2 physiotherapy skill, U20 Managers with 4 or 5 for ‘working with youngsters’ and so on. The first stage of overhauling Trieste was to hire and fire around 40 members of staff right through first team to U20 and U18’s.
Not to dwell on this too much longer but I spent significant amounts of time hiring coaches with the necessary coaching skills and specialisms, a data scientist, DoF and a new scouting team.
I wanted to give training responsibilities to my assistant until I became familiar with the new system, as well as player development. I think that a club like Trieste needs to breed good players with a view to selling, so this is one area I will also need to dive into throughout the save. However, at least I was able to bring in some good staff in to get things started.

Transfers

I’ll round off this introductory post by highlighting some key signings that I made to fit into the style that I wanted to play. I didn’t have a fixed formation in mind but wanted to bring in players that could be adaptable and work in both a 2 or 3 man midfield. Pace and acceleration are also important as I believe that the low standard of defending will be very susceptible to pace and something that we can look to exploit.
I was also nervous about the cover at CB so a loanee was also a priority. Finances are very poor so it could only be a case of raiding the upper leagues for promising youngsters.
Upfront and in the goalkeeper category I’m relatively satisfied with, so I’ll start by area of priority looking at midfielders and wingers:

Rabbas

Good technical skills, pace and a good engine. Technique and stamina are very important for this team, and will be an excellent foil for Di Paola. The creative heartbeat of the team.
He has performed superbly well and often gets a 9 or 10 in training – with his contract expiring next year and if I could secure promotion, then he would be a fantastic Bosman signing.
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Di Paola

Good technical ability and a decent all-round midfielder for this level. Will lend support to Rabbas in midfield and has been working well as a Carrilero using his technical ability. Again, a fantastic performer this season and a wonderful foil for Rabbas.
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Accardi

A solid CB with plenty of pace to give us additional depth/cover at RB. Again, good pace is something that I look for and he is definitely a class above serie C, something that I wanted to look for in my loan signings.
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Cortinovis

Technique, good mental skills and gives us options at AM. He also works well as AMR and gives us another excellent option with the 4-1-4-1. Good dribbling, first touch and technique will ensure that Serie C defenders will struggle to cope with him.
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Pontisso

A good DM and will cover these duties along with Coulibaly. I’ll use anchorman and DM at various times through the season, so wanted to have cover here.
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Coulibaly

I like my DMs to be brave and aggressive; Coulibaly has certainly collected his fair share of bookings this season but provides excellent cover for Pontisso. Superb work rate and teamwork skills are vital for players in the engine room; as with my other signings he would be an excellent Bosman signing if given the opportunity.

image (7)

Jaadi

Pace from wide areas to threaten ponderous Serie C defences. Not the best in terms of mental capacity but worth a gamble. He has performed superbly and is almost in double figures for goals. Ideally I would prefer someone with better stamina but he is still an excellent performer at this level.
image (6)

Fabiano

Back-up free agent to give us some depth and experience in wide positions.
image (1)
With a few solid but unspectacular players already in the squad, I felt that these recruits would give us a solid basis to attack the league.

In the second post, I will provide updates on how the team has performed and how the systems have evolved.

 

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