Toulouse FC: 2017/18

It’s been a while, but I’ve reached the end of my first full season at Toulouse. In previous posts I outlined the system I was going to try and employ, and the team I’d built over the summer. The board expected me to avoid relegation, but I harboured bigger ambitions than that. Here’s how things went.

Competitions

French Cup

french cup

The board wanted me to reach the 11th round of the French Cup, but were understanding about my defeat to Marseille. While a cup run is enjoyable, I wasn’t too disappointed as I was just using cup games for rotation.

Coupe de la Ligue

coupe de la ligue.png

I met the board’s target of reaching the 4th round, but they were disappointed about losing to lowly Troyes. In truth I was too, but as this post shows so far, we weren’t great in the cups when the squad was rotated.

Ligue 1

The league was my main focus. As I’ve mentioned, the board only wanted me to avoid relegation, and the media were predicting a 13th placed finish. Expectations were low, but I thought the squad I’d assembled had enough quality to exceed these expectations.

league table

The 8th placed finish did exceed all expectations. But in all honesty, I was a little disappointed as things could have been even better. Performances in the last 10(ish) games were mixed, and if we could have found a bit more consistency a top 6 finish would have been achievable.

league results 1league results 2

The results were as you’d expect from an upper mid-table side. The consistency wasn’t there, which I put down to the quality of players and a little bit to tactical laziness. Our longest winning run was 3 games. We had good wins against big teams, including PSG, Monaco, Lyon, and the double over Marseille. That proves to me the quality we have, but there were too many games where we should have won but ended up drawing or losing to weaker teams.

It was also nice to see our performances got me a nomination for Manager of the Season.

manager of yr

season review

Players

Throughout the season I always had a steady backlog of about 3 or 4 players injured/suspended. Luckily my squad has a number of versatile players and is a decent size. When it came to players only the following few really held places in the team consistently with high quality performances.

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traore

Adam joined in August, after I’d posted my preseason update. He was available for €4 million from Monaco, which now seems to have been a bargain. He ran our team as a roaming playmaker. He’s one of the really high quality players in our side.

gedoz

Gedoz was a  bright spark at the end of last season when I first joined. He surpassed all my expectations of him this year. Playing as an advanced playmaker on the left he was a constant threat to every defence we faced. Unfortunately he broke his foot in February, and the whole team never really adapted without his creative spark. His performances were also recognised at the end of the year, despite spending the last 3 months out.

star of season gedoz

I’d also like to give a special mention to one of the most versatile players I’ve ever had on Football Manager. Mario Lemina joined from Marseille and he’s been a vital part of the squad. The screenshot below shows the scale of his versatility.

lemina position

Looking Forward

The first season can be declared a success. To move up the league I’m going to need to improve the player quality available to me, and continue to tweak the tactic to be as successful as possible. There’s a problem with the first part of that though; this is my initial budgets:

initial budgets.png

That means about €60k in the wage budget, and only €1 million for transfers. I’m going to either have to sell and raise funds, or use the loan/free market. I don’t really want to sell anyone unless it’s for huge money that would improve the squad. On a personal level, I’m in the last year of my contract and at the moment I think I’ll leave when it expires. The target for this year though will be to improve my position and points tally in the league.

Thanks for reading this update, hopefully see you next time.

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