It’s the end of the opening season in our little sojourn over in sunny Spain with Osasuna so just how did everything turn out? Well, when there’s a mention of John Carver in the title, something bad is usually around…
I hate this game. And if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know this already. There’s a very, very good reason for my hatred.
You see, when I left off, Osasuna under my guidance were comfortably mid-table. Too good to drop down but not quite good enough to kick on for promotion. Or so it seemed as, alas, FM had other ideas.
January was a good month. We were comfortable, everything working nicely with wins and draws against good sides. Sure goals were an issue but Adrian Colunga had hit the ground running with two in two so that was exciting. There was a couple of concerns – we managed to throw away a two goal lead again this time against Oviedo (whom I really have come to despise) and a 0-0 draw with Mirandes were annoying – but overall we looked set to be in for a solid mid-table season.
Then I turned into John Carver. Wins just stopped coming. Defeats against Almeria and Leganes were eased with a derby win over Zaragoza but we never won consecutive games for the rest of the season. We lost to teams in and around us and when we didn’t lose, we usually drew. Draws with the likes of relegated Numancia drew us closer and closer to the relegation zone. A win over champions Real Valladolid actually saved my job and even that was a come from behind 3-2 nervy affair. The final straw was our 2-0 defeat at Bilbao’s B team (who also went down) which left us just three points off relegation.
So, drastic measures were called for and I decided that I needed to reshape my entire tactical set-up. In came a 4-1-4-1, with full backs and wide men pinned to the touchline, central midfielders who bombed forward and a holding midfielder that stayed and kept the play moving. It actually worked reasonably well too. Our final four games saw three frustrating draws and a very comfortable win over bottom side Gimnastic to see us finish 16th in the end, a massive underachievement according to the game.
Not to me though. This was an Osasuna side that, in game at least, lacked depth and quality in key areas. Up front was painfully poor and the depth out wide was virtually non-existent. Two of our best players were the full backs, Javi Flano and Luis Martins (who was a loanee) while only two or three broke 7 for average ratings over the season. This was a solid side if a bit poor in quality terms and creatively we need to sort some things out. Our top scorer was Alex Sanchez with 8 goals which is a terrible record with our top striker being Kenan Kodro who got 4. The veteran Nino never played after February and got no goals as he has moved into the backroom staff now. Colunga ended up with three in total while my other January buy Juan Carlos Menudo struggled mostly and only scored three (although he did score our goal of the season according to the fans so there is that).
It wasn’t all completely terrible however. Summer buy Jurgen Mossmer averaged 6.95 and proved to be an excellent addition in midfield and as the season developed, he began to blossom with some quite wonderful performances. A snip at just £200,000. Matej Pucko was another who had a very solid season and averaged just below 7. He also had the most assists for us as well with a measly 3 which sums up our creative problems as well. Javi Flano ended up with Fans Player of the Year and I think I would agree with mostly with special mention to Mossmer and Martins.
So, disappointment. And my contract wasn’t renewed. But I still have a job. Confusing, huh? Yeah it’s one of those FM things, the month-to-month contract thing when they can’t be bothered to find a new boss. I’ve thought about moving on and getting a new job. I’ve certainly been linked to a few (I might have put my reputation and badges way up) but I made plans during the last few months to get in new faces and revamp this side so I ain’t going anywhere just yet.
That means I have some juicy extra details for you as I’ve gone a few days into the transfer window and already done some business. We released about 95% of the B team, none of whom were any good anyway with the most notable free transfer out being backup keeper Nauzet who played all of 55 minutes because I might have been annoyed by the goal he conceded and substituted him. It didn’t go down well. Anyway, there have been the usual loans as well, mostly regens from my youth intake. Many of whom are actually pretty good, all of whom look like they will hurt you if you look at them funny. We’ve also sold Kodro (our highest scoring striker) to German side Dynamo Dresden for £135,000. He was rubbish anyway. I’m also working on getting rid of backup defender Tano because he’s just awful and looks like he could be going to the Portuguese top flight. He played four times for me. Work that one for yourselves.
Coming in, as previously mentioned, is Brazilian winger Elton Martins from Merida on a free and he was joined by former Barcelona and Real Madrid youngster Keko from Eibar and German playmaker Florian Trinks from Greuther Furth. Three creative players that can all fill a number of different roles in the team and are a massive upgrade on what we had/have. They were joined by Ipswich’s Jonathan Parr on a free as I needed a new left back with Luis Martins now gone [insert crying emoji]. Another quality piece of business for nothing. I’ve also added a backup keeper in the form of 22 year old Macedonian Dejan Stojanovic while my Head of Youth Development decided to bring former Man City midfielder Yaw Yeaboah on a free. Great name, could be a decent player.
So, that’s us all up to date in Osasuna. Come back for more next time where things might work, we might score goals and I might have a contract. Or it could still be an entertaining mess. Your guess is as good as mine. Until next time…