My first day in charge of Vitória is going well so far. I’ve spoken to the squad about the way we’ll be setting up on the pitch this season plus I’ve put together a proposed starting 11 from my evaluation of their skills and qualities.
It’s now time to speak to my backroom staff and determine whether firstly, the current staff will be staying and secondly, whether I need to add a few extra bodies to improve the current quality of coaching, scouting and injury treatment and prevention.
I’ve mentioned it a few times that I’m not really a big fan of the medical centre. I feel like I don’t really need to visit that screen to manage the fitness of my players. I am, however, all for getting the best medical staff hired that you possibly can. The quality you’re able to bring in here will help massively in being able to treat injuries players receive, aid their rehab and also work on managing their general level of fitness to keep them able to play matches.
Looking at the staff I’ve inherited, there’s two first team physios, a physio for the u23s and a sports scientist for the first team. The current level in comparison to the rest of the league are 6th for physiotherapy and 5th for sports science. That’s not bad, but there’s hopefully some room for improvement when I have a look for new recruits.
The next place I’ll go is to the boardroom, just to check on what the chairman’s allowing for each role. We’ve room for a head physio, head of sports science, an u23 sports scientist, two u19 physios and a sports scientist for the u19 squad too. It’s important for me to fill these roles so our young players get the best possible conditions too. Now it’s off to the staff search screen to find options to fill these roles.
We’ve been able to move the club up to being ranked 4th for physiotheraphy and 3rd for sports science now.
Peter Friar joins as our new Head Physio after spending the last four years in Hungary with Ferencvaros. The Englishman started his career in 2003, joining Sunderland. He’s got the golden number of 20 for physiotherapy, making him the ideal man to lead our medical team.
25-year-old, Jorge Gomes, becomes our Head of Sports Science. I really like to add young members of staff to my backroom team, allowing us to all grow together, which was also why I snapped up Rui dos Santos Rodriguez (aged 27) and Ricardo de Jesus (aged 28) as our u23 and u19 sports scientists, respectively.
Probably one of the most important things to me as a manager is having a good scouting setup. I love having various scouts scattered across the world reporting back on players we can hopefully sign before anyone else spots them. This is perhaps a step beyond the initial expectation at Vitória, but you need to start somewhere.
At the time of joining, the scouting team consists of Vitória icon, Flávio Meireles, who is the director of football and a solitary data analyst. There’s no scouts at the club, and after confirming with the chairman, there’s room for six plus a chief scout. Alongside that there’s room to bring in a chief data analyst, an additional data analyst plus analysts for the u23 and u19 squads too. I’d better get to work.
Hunting for scouts is usually fairly simple, just bring in the ones with the highest JPA and JPP, right? Not necessarily. I quite like to bring in scouts with the nationality of the country I’m planning to send them to. What this means is occasionally sacrificing some of those attributes for local knowledge. Furthermore, since the scouting change on last year’s game, scouts only watch actual matches that happen within the save now. So if you really want to send a scout to a particular nation, it’s definitely worth loading up that nation’s leagues in your save settings.
Unfortunately I missed out on my key target for chief scout. The lure of working for Benfica was too strong for Toninho Cruz and the ex-Manchester United scout rejected my contract. The next target on the list was someone I’m very familiar with. John Park is well-renowned for being the coach to bring through Hibs’ golden generation and was chief scout at Celtic from 2007-2016, a successful period for them buying and selling players. Unfortunately, he chose to join Spurs as a scout. I think I was being too ambitious in my targets, so I went for a well-known face to the club, Nélson Oliveira.
He served as assistant manager for four seasons then became chief scout for the 2016/17 season before leaving the club at the end of that season. He forms the clubs transfer committee alongside Director of Football, Flávio Meireles, and I, and his opinion will be vital in determining which players join the club in future. For now, he’s been assigned to scout Norway, Sweden and Denmark, three countries where affordable talent can often be found. Former Belgian international, Edwin Vandenbergh, will report back on players from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France. Ex-Vojvodina scout, Mico Vranjes, is scouring Serbia, Croatia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. Africa is a key recruitment area, so Pierre Aubame, who earned 80 caps for Gabon during his career, is looking for talent across the continent in Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Tunisia. I want to offer Brazilian players a gateway to develop their careers in Europe and Luccas Neto will be tasked with identifying those players. He previously scouted for Santos and was a youth coach at Sao Paulo, Atletico Paranaense and Figueirense. Juan Ahuntchaín is a 66-year-old Uruguayan who briefly managed the national team in the mid-nineties and has also worked for Defensor and Penarol. He’ll be reporting back on players in his home nation as well as Argentina. Finally, Portugal will be monitored by Pedro Pinto. All this means we now have the fourth best scouting team in the league. Hopefully it’ll help us beat the big teams to one or two top talents.
Every manager wants their players to be able to reach their maximum potential. To do that, we need to have a setup that they’ll thrive in and a big part of this is ensuring I’ve got the best possible coaches who have the capacity to work with them on a daily basis.
Vítor Severino is the current assistant manager at the club. If he was an expert in at least one area of coaching, he’d be a much better option as a coach than he currently is. I prefer my assistants to excel in a specific coaching area and as well being able to provide me with sound tactical advice when called upon. Severinho brings neither to the table and has been offered a deal to mutually terminate his contract at the club. Vicente Rocha has arrived as my new assistant manager.
I see this as a huge upgrade. He cost just £9k compensation to snap him up from his director of football role at Comercial in the lower leagues of Brazil. He’s on less wages per week and is more than proficient across a number of areas of coaching as well as having very good tactical knowledge.
Alongside the assistant at first team level, there’s a goalkeeping coach, fitness coach, a general coach, plus an u23 assistant and an u23 goalkeeping coach (who train the senior players at the club). The manager of the u23 squad currently doubles up as our head of youth development.
Luís Castro has been with the club in various roles since 2012, with a short spell in 2016 as Debrecen’s head of youth development. I’ll be keeping him on the backroom staff, but plan to transition his role to be solely u23 manager. His personality and preferred formation isn’t quite what I usually look for in a head of youth development. It seems as though he’s currently unavailable to train senior players due to his dual role, so once that transition has occurred he’ll be able to take on some workload, which is currently too tasking across some areas.
With Geraldo coming in I was able to do a bit of a reshuffle which included existing coach, Moreno. Having them both cover the technical and tactical defending areas, left them with average workloads and the quality being four and three and a half stars, respectively. At the current time, it’s the best we can do and it’s the same situation for attacking too. I really struggled to recruit quality coaches to train our players attacking-wise. Both areas sit at three stars, with 60-year-old Arnaldo Carvalho rejoining the club to lead tactical attacking training after his previous stint as assistant in 2009. My new assistant and I lead on possession training, with it being an important aspect of how the team will shape up while there was a new recruit to get the players fit.
Pimentel’s level of motivating might be poor, but he’s probably the best fitness coach we could attract at the current time. Especially as our previous coach only had 9 for coaching fitness, so I’m classing it as an immediate upgrade. Pimentel’s arrival sees us sitting atop the Premeira Liga for fitness coaching.
Luís Castro’s assistant at u23 level was very poor and similar to the previous first team assistant, didn’t excel in any coaching area. He was replaced by ex-Arsenal captain, Tony Adams. Ridiculed for his short spell at Granada, he’s got a surprisingly low motivating attribute, but his good level of defensive coaching sees him able to back up our first team defensive coaches well. We lead the way across the league for defensive and tactical coaching attributes, as well as our man management ability and our ability to deal with players on a mental level.
At youth level, I always feel it’s important to fill out the board approved quota of coaches too. Tozé Mendes is a pretty good option as our u19 manager, he’ll stay and likely be prime for a promotion to the senior coaching staff in the future.
There was room to bring in three additional coaches at u19 level, however with our current reputation being only national, wages proved a stumbling block when we looked to hire in a bit more quality. I went for experience over attributes. Michael Ballack (98 German caps), Oswaldo Sánchez (99 Mexican caps) and Ognjen Vukojevic (55 Croatian caps) all come in to impart their knowledge, experience and personality (all three are perfectionists) onto our young talents. Despite their apparent lack of coaching quality, we still possess one of the best u19 coaching setups in the league.
Three members of staff left the club over the summer, four including the previous manager. All in, I’ve brought in 27 members of staff to completely overhaul the current backroom setup across the club. With this in place, I think we’re all set to reap the benefits and gain a competitive edge on a few of our league rivals.
Next time, I’ll finalise my first day tasks by going through some of the more general aspects of the club, including the facilities our revamped coaching setup will be working in and the finances.
Just a reminder that if you want to join up to #FMSlack to get involved in even more chat about all things FM, here’s the link you need. I usually update my save on there in real time when I’m playing if that’s something you want to follow along with.