This football management lark is easy...
As a follow-up to my Football Manager 2010 review, here's my 2 cents on my FM210 demo experience regarding team selection/management for fellow Spurs fans.
In my most successful demo save-game I had Keane playing up front with Defoe. Keane as the deep lying midfielder and Defoe as an advanced forward (giving him a bit more work to do than the more obvious 'poacher' role). Keane was set to 'support' the midfield and Defoe to simply concentrate on attacking. Just behind them, Modric. Sat in the hole as an advanced playmaker looking to craft chances for others and himself. Niko on the left hand side (Bale very useful there too) as a wide midfielder cutting in. On the other side. Lennon. Simply as a winger although I can't work out his best instruction. Cut in or hug the touchline? Both prove to be successful thanks to his devastating pace.
Build your team around him.
Bang in the middle of the park, who else? General Wilson Palacios. The ball winning defender, but rather than all out defensive I have him in a support role which means instead of looking for the quick pass to a creative player, he drives forward himself. Not always with great success, but he scores the odd goal because of it.
Back four? BAE Bassong King Corluka. Woodgate and Bassong share their centre back position and Naughton is also very decent in the game (not that he hasn't got potential in real life). Bale is also good, especially in a left-midfield position.
Gomes in goal.
So it's a 4-3-1-2 tactic in essence.
Players to get rid of? Spurs get a fairly useless £8M transfer budget, which is only slightly improved if you tell the board you will win the title (crazy talk). So the following are players you can sell for plenty of sterling:
Pav. Bentley. Hutton.
You could (at a push) get £12.5M a piece for Pav and Bentley and I've managed to sell Hutton for £5M to Sunderland (who else?). So that's a potential £38M + any additional reserves you want rid of. Which is far more healthy war chest.
Football Manager 2010. Realistic.
You might even look at Jenas as another potential sale. But he does well covering either Palacios or Modric. No seriously, he does. Gio is worth keeping as he appears to be far more rated than the previous version (and there are no night-clubs in FM). The U18 squad does look quite poor so money needs to be spent there. This is a slight gripe for me. We have a very decent academy so I expected better. Means you will need to invest in the U18 set-up.
Not sure about scrapping the reserves though (which is always an option) as it would mean making sure there are plenty of friendly games and tours set up for the players outside of the first team. If you did want to follow what Spurs have done for real, then you'll be more than busy making sure everyone remains fit and sharp.
Tim Sherwood's stats are crap (true to life innit) so terminate his contract and look to bring in some decent backroom staff. You might prefer to promote one or two from youth coaches to senior coaches or just draft in some new blood altogether. It's a necessity to get the training wise and aim for a decent set of 'stars' in the coaching aspect of the game.
In fact - spend time on this. The perfect scenario would be to have youth coaches who are assigned for youth only and a first team set-up that look after the oldies. That and a decent training strategy will work wonders.
King played fairly successfully for me (although initially injured). I guess the trick here is to keep your fingers crossed. Again, very dependent on training. It’s the one area I don't actually care for too much and tend to base it around other peoples suggestions. Get the wrong balance and you'll be more likely to be susceptible to injuries. You could give King his own schedule though, to protect that knee.
As for signings? Well, van der Vaart is someone you can sign for around £7.5M but make sure the contract is a good one other wise he will reject you and go to somewhere like Lazio on loan. Riquelme is also available if you bid but will have to bid a few times to find the right amount of cash you want to part with. Depends on what formation you're planning to go with really. And back to Ream Madrid, RvN is also a cheap option and one that could be superb as cover. I signed him once in the demo, second time round, he laughed at my contract offer. So could be hit and miss.
Getting rid of Bentley means I need cover for the right side. Beckham is available for just over 600K and worth it for those magical moments off the bench and for resting Lennon.
The young lad at Naopli Marek Hamšík looks great. But may cost you a cool £14M.
The Dream Team.
I'll say this: Don't go too nutty with the transfers out. Just sell the deadwood. I performed admirably in the demo with hardly any major changes to the side. My tactic, although not quite perfect, worked a treat.
Also - make sure you offer your star players new contracts. Moddle is easily distracted by transfer speculation and you might find him wanting to do a Berba very early on.
As ever, patience is a virtue. Takes time for people to find their feet and bed into your way of thinking. Defoe initially was rubbish in front of goal (all his shots seemed to be aimed at the keeper) and although we the best of the chances in games, my forwards would be wasteful more often than not. When he found his form he was constantly on fire.
I'll leave you with some stats, so you can compare with your game. Feel free to share your experience(s).
1st in Prem
(Chelsea and Arsenal are on 45 pts)
Unbeaten at the Lane.
Defoe 16, Keane 15, Modric 9, Palacios 5, Bassong 4
Historically, I always guide Spurs to around 5th or 6th in my first full season then gain CL qualification in season two. Top In Jan in the demo. I’m hoping the game isn’t that easy and this is nothing more than beginners luck. FM has always been a tough nut to crack.