Welcome to the final part of season one of the Salernitana Story. Previously, we saw our plucky Italian side take the second tier by storm before injuries, suspensions and a lack of form had very real fears of an Osasuna style slump arising. Could we arrest the slide? Sort of…
I’m enjoying this save immensely. In many ways it’s very similar to the Osasuna save I harp on about throughout this. A distinctly average team doing pretty well for a patch before it falls to pieces then picks up again. Fortunately, the slump is actually not that bad here…
We left off after the 1-0 defeat to Benevento which we beautifully followed up with another defeat to a resurgent Bari. Fortunately, we went on one of a few little resurgences to keep us in mid-table right after with consecutive draws including a pretty disappointing one with Brescia. Big wins over rivals Avellino and recently relegated Carpi got our tails up but we met a Spal side that were slowly creeping up the table.
Frustration was the order of the day as we drew with bottom side Vicenza at home before two late goals saw us leave the league leaders Novara with a defeat. Pisa, whom I have classed as my most hated side, scored a screamer and then the most awful own goal from Francesco Della Rocca (he slide tackled it into the bottom corner from 20 yards out) managed to give them a huge win in the relegation fight.
A last gasp draw with Ascoli thanks to right back Lorenzo Laverone was wholly undeserved but precious before we were unlucky not win against promotion hunting Frosinone. A thoroughly professional performance and a rare Luigi Vitale goal stole us a win against another promotion chaser in Latina before another disappointing draw to a relegation battler in Pro Vercelli.
Laverone would then get himself sent off to hand Perugia a convincing looking 3-0 win before his replacement Gabriele Perico handed Cesena a draw by giving away a horrendous penalty. However, the final two games of the season saw huge positives as, after another Moses Odjer red card, we dug out a very Italian 1-0 win over Entella before Joao Silva destroyed already promoted Trapani in the final game of the season with a brace.
So where did this mixed bag leave us?
Ah the wacky world of Serie B. We managed to finish 11th which is slap bang in the middle of the table. Remarkably, Spal got themselves consecutive promotions through the weird playoff system Serie B has while Pro Vercelli managed to get relegated by Pisa in a separate playoff. And, if we’d turned a couple of those shoddy draws into wins, we’d have been in and around the playoffs come the end of the season which is a little annoying.
Fortunately though, the board were happy enough to give me a new deal before the end of the season so I’m locked up in Italy until 2019 despite rumblings of Middlesbrough being interested (spoiler: they appointed Russell Slade).
So, player performance on the whole was OK. We lacked strength in depth at times and our strikers were prone to not being very good sometimes. And Moses Odjer picked up the worst disciplinary record I may have ever seen in my Football Manager playing days.
Moses Odjer – 35 appearances, 2 goals, 7.13
Barring his shoddy discipline, Moses has developed into our best player this season. A combination of energy, aggression and technique, he wins the ball like no player I’ve seen in FM and can pick out a cracking shot or two as well. Voted Fans’ Player of the Year as well and deservedly so.
Luigi Vitale – 33 appearances, 1 goal, 7.07
The ever excellent left wing back had an exemplary season. Creatively very good and solid enough defensively to patrol the left flank with confidence.
Alessandro Bernardini – 35 appearances, 3 goals, 7.05
Developed from nothing more than a squad player to being the integral rock of my defence. Experienced leader and all-round quality Serie B defender.
Gabriele Perico – 15 appearances, 6.78
The back up right back played about two games since January and was terrible in both. At 33 and on a huge wage packet, I’m kind of glad he wants to leave to play elsewhere.
Alfredo Donnarumma – 34 appearances, 5 goals, 6.73
All of my strikers were not amazingly good this season but five goals is an unacceptable amount to score. Frequently offers little and will probably be the first to be shifted on if I can find a better replacement.
How did my transfers this season perform? Let’s find out:
Alberto Barison – 31 appearances, 4 goals, 7.01
Started shakily after an initial injury but once he got used to the level, Barison turned out to be an excellent defender. Reads the game quite well and more than capable of popping up with a goal from a set piece. 7/10
Mattia Proietti – 20 appearances, 2 goals, 6.98
The board hate Mattia Proietti because he broke his foot and cost about half our wage budget. However, once he came back in January, he was irreplacable. Anchors the midfield well but he really flourished when I took the shackles off of him and he responded with brilliant performances. 7/10
Cristiano Lombardi – 20 appearances, 6.66
Jack of all trades, awful at all of them. Lombardi came with high hopes and just did not perform, even when we were flying at the start of the season. Warmed the bench and the only positive is that he cost us nothing. 2/10
Joseph Minala – 37 appearances, 3 goals, 6.89
Quietly went about his business in the middle of the park and kept the ball moving for us. Excellent considering we paid nothing for him all season. 6/10
Adrian Cerda – 10 appearances, 6.63
Clearly way out of his depth in the first team but still contribute little to nothing even in the youth teams. A loan spell could be in his future to build his comfidence. 4/10
Nicola Casini – n/a
Quietly improving in the youth teams despite a nasty injury sidelining him for a couple of months mid-season. 6/10
Riccardo Franchini – 2 appearances, 6.65
A couple of cameos in January then quietly sitting in the youth teams. Another looking for a loan this summer. 5/10
Shaqir Tafa – 12 appearances, 6.89
Very quietly helped solidify the backline and kept the returning Raffaele Schiavi out of the team in the run-in. 6/10
Our youth intake was fairly decent this year with a number of interesting players joining our youth team. The main man though was defensive midfielder Giuseppe Troiano who would actually feature in the final two games of the season as we switched our system up with excellent results. The future is looking brighter for Salernitana.
Well, this summer I’m looking to strengthen and retain. A playoff push may just be possible if we can keep some form of consistency. We’re losing only one big play in Alessandro Rosina this summer but he no longer fits into the system we’re playing. Furthermore, I’m looking to play Troiano a lot in the upcoming season with our new super Italian counter tactic.
So that is it for season one. If you enjoyed it let me know in the comments or on Twitter and let me know who your favourites are so far in this save.