So that’s the end of my first season in charge of Vitória on FM19. I can’t complain at all, my aim of qualifying for the Europa League was achieved as we finished 3rd in the Premeira Liga behind champions Porto and runners up Benfica.
Here’s how the season stacked up stats-wise and generally how the club has progressed so far.
As I mentioned at the end of the last post, we were 3rd top scorers in the league and had the 3rd best defensive record too. Here’s a few other team stats from across the league season.
|Vitória Team Stats||Figure||Position|
|Pass Completions %||75%||4th|
|Tackles Won %||91%||4th|
|Cross Completion %||16%||11th|
|Shots on Target %||45%||2nd|
|Conversion Rate %||12%||1st|
Our approach isn’t specifically set out to control possession, but if we’ve got the ball our opponents don’t. Simples. I am pleased to see us high up the table on completing passes though.
I love the fact we’re 17th in fouls conceded but 4th in the percentage of tackles won, more on that further down.
With both wing backs bombing on and firing balls into the box, I’m a bit disappointed to see us 11th for our cross completion ratio. With a planned full season playing two strikers next season, it’ll be interesting to see how this stat changes with another option in the box. Could it also come down to Welthon (5′ 11″ with 11 jumping reach), who was our main striker for the majority of this season, not really being suited to winning the ball in the air?
An area we really excelled in was our shooting and conversion rate, sitting 2nd for shots on target and top of the table for our conversion rate. The positive thing is I think there’s still improvements to be made here, which will stand us in even better stead if that happens.
I’ll start from the back and move forward.
Douglas played every available minute of competitive football this season, 3,870. He more than deserved his new contract in the end and the incoming Jori has a tough task on to try and oust him from the number one jersey. He kept 20 clean sheets across the season too, 14 in the league, and made 170 saves, around 100 more than the best keeper in the league, Iker Casillas.
Frederico Venâncio, Pedro Henrique and Porto loanee, Yordan Osorio, formed a formidable trio in our three central defender slots, each of them playing over 3,000 minutes across the season and starting 35 matches or more. Venâncio led the way in the ratio of headers won in the league, 88%, with Osorio in 16th, winning 81% of his aerial duels.
Osorio, mainly playing in the central cover role, made the most blocks out of the three and joint 8th overall in the league with 17. Venâncio and Henrique weren’t far behind at all on 16 and 15, respectively. In comparison, ex-Rangers player, Fábio Cardoso, blocked 26 shots for relegated Santa Clara. Cardoso also led the way for most interceptions, 119, with Venâncio in 16th making 84 over the 34 league matches. Venâncio also made the most mistakes out of the three, 60 (joint 15th overall) so that’s an area to keep an eye on next season.
Set pieces have been much talked about so far, and Henrique popped up with five goals, Osorio two and Venâncio one. We scored 10 from corners (Porto scored 16) and seven from indirect free kicks this season (Tondela scored nine).
Young Edmond Tapsoba was the main back up for the three over the season, getting 1,264 minutes of match action. He’ll be in and around the first team again next season.
The stars of the team this season, in my opinion. Rafa Soares was undoubtedly our player of the year. Alongside scoring seven and laying on 14 assists he covered the most distance per 90 minutes (13.65km) and made the 6th most tackles per game in the league too (6.57). He was 3rd in the dribbles per game table (2.52) and 13 of his 14 assists came in the league, 2nd overall behind Jesús Corona’s 17 for Porto.
Dodô, on loan from Shakhtar, fully capitalised on original first choice right wing back, Víctor García, getting injured, to go on to make 28 starts and play 2,468 minutes. He scored four and created eight goals. He led the league in chances created (17) and was a close 2nd to Soares in distance covered per 90 minutes (13.62km). García still managed to assist five goals and score two himself, while Pará scored four and assisted one in his 652 minutes of match action since being signed in January.
Wakaso was our main carrilero for the season, while André André played the deep lying playmaker role. Both players started 31 matches and made four substitute appearances, and played over 2,600 minutes of football. In top level stats, Wakaso scored four and created seven, while André André scored one and assisted four. Both players were in the top 20 in the league for distance covered per 90, while André André was 12th in the league for key passes (38).
I’ve got some tinkering still to do with these roles. The carrilero was fine, but I’m worried I’m potentially missing out on something with each of them, especially the DLP on the right hand side of the two. Some testing required in preseason.
I struggled to settle on who my best option was in this position over the course of the season, especially when we switched from two to one. Sporting loanee, Mattheus Oliveira was probably the pick of the bunch, scoring nine and setting up eight in 2,386 minutes. He played 32 key passes over the course of the league season with an overall pass completion percentage of 74% and created a chance 0.37 times per 90, some way behind Dodô’s figure of 0.75. Tozé scored seven but only assisted once while Davidson struggled for fitness and only managed 1,100 minutes of match action. He did score four and assist three though in that time.
Testing this role out, and trying out different options in the role, will be something else I’ll be doing in preseason ahead of season two.
Welthon was our main striker for the season. He only managed 12 goals in the league from 32 appearances, 16 in all competitions. The goals were shared across the side, and the stat of him being 2nd in the league behind Dodô for chances created hits that fact home. So often he was almost the decoy, vacating space for others to run into, occupying defenders. He was 4th in the league for shots on target (48) and 8th for shots taken (78) so I’m expecting a few more goals from him next season. Maybe he can strike up a potent partnership with the incoming Luiz Phellype.
First off, I’ll deal with a personal award nomination. I was announced as one of the three candidates for Portuguese Primeira Liga Manager of the Year. I can’t vote for myself, so my top vote went to Porto’s Sergio Conceicao, while Portimonense’s Antonio Folha got my second choice. I didn’t need to vote for myself because my peers did. Delighted to be named Manager of the Year in my first season in charge!
Taking the number of tackles won and fouls conceded into account from the team stats table above, I was pretty pleased to see the club awarded the Primeira Liga Fair Play award. This is given to the club with the least yellow and red cards, with red cards being the equivalent of three yellows. Our 28 yellows saw us bottom of the league in that regard, but we did get three reds over the course of the season, joint 3rd with four other clubs.
My pick for player of the season, Rafa Soares takes home the Fans Player of the Year award as well as winning the Primeira Liga Young Player of the Year award. He and Dodô were named in the Team of the Year. Jesús Corona and Iker Casillas round off the league awards, winning Player and Goalkeeper of the Year.
The individual TV deal plus some shrewd savings and player sales sees the club end the season with almost £10m in the bank. With Europa League football to come next season, I can only see our balance continuing to rise. I won’t be spending wildly to spiral the club into financial trouble by any stretch.
The fans continued to come and support the club, putting us 4th in the average attendance table behind Os Três Grandes with 20,048. That’s 66% of our capacity so there’s still some room for that to improve in the coming seasons.
We’ve seen our reputation increase, but not by enough to overhaul Braga as the 4th most reputable side in the country.
The end of the season, especially after a bit of success, is always a good time to approach the board about some improvements. Our facilities are all still at a good level, but I’ve agreed for a data analysis facilities upgrade which will improve our level from poor. I’ve also got the board to allow me to hire an extra coach and an extra scout.
Pleasingly, the B team managed to stay up after a definite new manager bounce. Six wins in their last eight matches catapulted them up the table to eventually finish mid-table in 11th.
So there it is, my first season in charge of Vitória is done. Let’s get season two started shall we?
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