Find the balance between a large number of matches and training schedules

Having 8 matches in 4 weeks is a big challenge. This is an ideal opportunity to play Football Manager at a higher level, provided ambitious goals are set. I count only “win” as a measure of success! But …

Between the loss of 3 points on the table and the injury of the key player, I always give priority to the first option.

Without the best players in the team, I’ll lose even more points. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to training schedules.

This looks like a nightmare or an exciting adventure if you have a plan and a strategy.

The starting point is a rotation system! It means I have to have 22 players available that will find a place in the A or B team.

Of course, I don’t exclude the possibility of a combined line-up because it all depends on the situation on the pitch (injuries).

Setting priorities

PAOK leads battles on three fronts: Super League 1, Uefa Europe League and Greek Cup.

I managed to establish my system for a very short time although I’m not a favorite person in the dressing room.

Nobody likes a person, who, often using fine 1 or 2 weeks wage.

Priority is the league but I don’t see a serious competitor in the fight for first place.

Olympiacos has my respect, but I don’t think it can become a champion of Greece.

On the other hand, it is uncertain in group B of the Europa League because SK Rapid Wien and FC Basel want to see PAOK in third place.

We lost against SK Rapid Wien 2-3 (A) and played draw with FC Basel 0-0 (H). It’s time for sweet revenge.

Training Schedules and Matches

As I said, I’ll form A and B team and I think that’s the best solution.

Someone will be in charge of tough matches, but someone will have the opportunity to show off his talents.

Training workload must be MEDIUM because each player has an additional hobby (player preferred moves).

Everything is ready for action! I really believe that PAOK will deliver fantastic results in the weeks ahead.

There are no easy matches, that’s for sure. Every opponent will be carefully scouted.

PAOK vs Xanthi (1st week)

I expected to win Xanthi without major problems. I decided for B team because the opposing team’s oldest player is 21 years old.

However, we won 1-0 (H), and it’s not a result that will cause a smile on my face.

I realized that I had to change something if I wanted to continue the winning streak.

SK Rapid Wien and PAS Giannina (2nd Week)

The first obstacle on the road was a well-known club from Austria. Deni Alar and the company came with the intention to secure 1st place in group B Europa League.

I can freely say that this was the most exciting match since the beginning of the season.

We managed to reverse the result (0-1) and win 2-1 (H). Aleksandar Prijovic is a fantastic striker!

The match against PAS Giannina was a big test for me. I had a dilemma about the formation.

I thought that the 3-4-3 was a far better choice but I chose the 4-3-1-2. It was the wrong move! In the end, everything ended well because PAS Giannina had no response to my tactical surprise (3-4-3).

Greek Cup and Asteras Tripolis (3rd week)

Maybe I forgot to say that the Greek Cup is not on the list of my goals this season. Simply, I think PAOK will win this trophy without any problems.

But what is interesting is that the first opponent of PAS Giannina. The same pitch, same team, a similar result. We won 2-0 (A).

Asteras Tripolis felt the power of A team (4-0). I don’t know how smart it is to send the kids to the pitch and try something against one of the best teams in Greece.

It is obvious that their manager wanted to rest key players …

Final Test – Doxa Dramas, FC Basel and Larisa (4th week)

I was sure I would score 3/3! But … Someone managed to steal 3 points. FC Basel beat PAOK 0-1 (A), and I couldn’t believe what happened in the 38th minute.

Pontus Wernbloom, the best player and team captain, was given a red card.

A foul is made in the middle of the pitch, but there was no danger. However, I am the main culprit!

I allowed a more “aggressive game” during a tactical briefing, and some players took my message seriously.

Next time, I’ll pay attention to some small things.

That’s it. The hellish weeks are behind me, and I have achieved fantastic results (7 wins and 1 loss).

Maybe you think this is easy to achieve considering that PAOK one of the best teams in Greece? My answer would be – try it!

I also apply the same system when I run a club that fights for survival in the league. But … The goals are different and there is certainly no Europa League.

Thank you for your attention and time.

Author: Alen Stefanovic     Game: Football Manager 2018