Generation Guimaraes – #S2.3 – Natural Progression

It is time one and all, for the season 2 finale for the mighty Vitoria Guimaraes! First of all, my apologies for the delay in getting this post out, I’ve been working on some things in the background but I couldn’t stay away from Portugal for too long.

Last time out we found ourselves second in the Primeira Liga after 14 games, through to the first knockout round of the Europa League and still running in both domestic cups! Moving on to this episode’s topics, the season will be finished covering the league and cup competitions, of course there is the highly anticipated youth intake and the January transfer window.

Being the season finale, it will all be broken down with the end of season review, which will see what players impressed me this most this season.

The Save Aims & Rules

With how I want this save to work, I need to be mindful of the squad season on season. As there is a lot of emphasis on the youth setup as these players will shape the first team in seasons to come. Here are the aims and rules to give some context of what I’m trying to pull off here.

  • Squad average age must be a maximum of 23 every season.
  • Disrupt the Top 3 and become a top team in Portugal (Porto, Benfica, Sporting Lisbon).
  • Win the club’s first league title.
  • Win the club’s first European title.
  • Win a domestic treble (League, Cup, Supercup or League Cup) or a European treble (League, Cup, European Cup)

A lot to aim for but the squad average age must be achieved by the end of the summer transfer window each season – IF THIS IS FAILED, I MUST RESIGN FROM MY ROLE!

January Transfer Window 2022/23

For those hoping for a crazy January of incomings, it’s quite the contrary I’m afraid! I signed one player on loan from Inter Milan – young striker Samuele Mulattieri. I haven’t been impressed with Rodrigo Muniz who is on loan from Fulham in the back up role up top, so I brought in Mulattieri for a bit of a audition as his contract with Inter expires at the end of the season. If he provides what we need, there could be an easy signing there.

ignore the ‘TRN’ icon for now…

In terms of outgoings there was a few, some more deadwood was cleared from the youth squads which was amongst some outgoing development loans. Only first teamer to leave was attacker Lyle Foster to Union Berlin (£500k) as after giving him a few chances, it didn’t look like he’s going to pull up any trees for the club!

Youth Intake 2022/23

It’s absolute dreamland with intakes at this club, a second season in a row and we’ve grabbed an excellent intake.

For me, this seasons’ intake is better than last year and I hope some of these players develop and blow up because one thing this project is lacking, is players coming up to the first team and staying there.

Part of this is due to the sheer amount of players found in the U23s/U19s and I’m still working with the DoF to clear the players who don’t have the potential to make the step up.

Once that is completed (trust me, it’s become some process!) then it will leave easier groups of players to manage and develop.

Let’s check out the players who have been regarded as ‘elite talents’ and there is four of them in this intake!

The potential is insane from these four but I’ll let you make your own judgements on them – I’m looking forward to how striker Marco Alves turns out.

There was also four ‘top talents’ who fill various positions on the pitch, all again with very promising potentials.

Primeira Liga 2022/23

January – March 2023

A nice little unbeaten run building here which is pleasing but the highlight is clearly the four wins & clean sheets in February. But let’s not take away from March, facing the big three all in a row and showing we can hang by not losing against any of them. A stroke of luck with the own goal versus Sporting however, you never know what can happen when you put a dangerous ball into the mixer!

One thing I was mindful of is the lack goals, there was a lot of one or two goal games in terms of scoring but I am still attempting to perfect the 5-2-3 WB wide (3-2-2-3 in my eyes) which is why there is a few switches back to last season’s tactics.

April – May 2023

Into the start of April and the form is still good but the team were riding their luck in the first three games. Scraping past Maritimo (MRT) 1-0, then we held on for dear life for the point against Famalicao (1-1) before a stroke of luck with a late penalty against Belenenses (1-0).

The boys were a lot more convincing versus Moreirense with a big 4-1 win which set up a tense last four games…

Vitoria SC remain in second but it’s a tense battle with Sporting & Benfica. I’ve already faced them both twice this season but they do have to play each other in these remaining matches. However, some bad news arose in training…

Star centre back Abdul Mumin breaks his leg while tackling someone else?! How do you even manage that? A big loss but hopefully it won’t effect us too much.

Well well well, my side definitely turned it on (even without our star CB!) with three very good victories to start off. Clearly the performance against Belenenses (6-1) was simply magic!

Now it was a 1-1 with Boavista (BVT) in the final game of the season but did it hold any problems in terms of the league table?

It was tight but the boys held on via goal difference for a massive second placed finish and more importantly WE’RE OFF TO THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE NEXT SEASON! We’ll have to go through the qualification rounds of course but what an achievement and a massive step forward for the club.

At times I didn’t think we played that well but only two losses, more points than last season and a new club record for their highest ever finish in the top division – previous record was third. So it couldn’t have been that bad but maybe that means there is more to come from the team.

Europa League Knockout Stage 2022/23

After finishing second in our group behind Arsenal, a tough draw was presented to us in the form of Athletic Bilbao. It was a one legged match so it had to be right first time.

And right it was with a 2-0 victory, goals coming from in form striker Oscar Estupinan. A good performance where the lads stayed in control. On to the second knockout round and it was a tough, familiar opponent.

Another go at Arsenal who we couldn’t quite match in the group. It was going to be a tough one, they are one of the favourites for the competition after all.

Unfortunately it was time to pack up and go home after a 3-1 loss. On loan striker Samuele Mulattieri had us going into half time at 1-1 but the pressure became too much in the second half. A good little run in the Europa League but the luck of the draw didn’t go in our favour this season.

Liga de Taça 2022/23

Into the Portuguese League Cup and last time there was a show down with Estoril to see who would top the group and progress to the semi-finals.

A pleasing 3-1 win means my side top the group and progress on to the semi finals. In this competition you must start two U21s Portuguese players and they both end up scoring to put us through!

With four teams left it was always going to be a tough draw as it was a pick of Porto, Sporting or Benfica!

Porto it was but at the same time, the record against them isn’t too bad so there was a bit of optimism with this fixture.

Optimism didn’t pay off however, as it was a disappointing 1-0 loss. It wasn’t a great performance and that means that inaugural Liga de Taça win for the club will have to wait another season at least.

Taça de Portugal 2022/23

This is the last competition to look at and we find ourselves in round 5 after getting through the early rounds in the first half of the season.

Let’s start with the fifth round against Liga 3 side Salgueiros and it was very nearly a scare as they took us to extra time but luckily Samuele Mulattieri saved our blushes, scoring the winner (2-1). Then we were handed Sporting in the sixth round but a late Oscar Estupinan saw the lads make their way to the semi final, winning 2-1.

The cup run was made nowhere near easier as Porto were drawn as our semi-final opponents. Two legs for this stage but it was important to keep the scores close for any chance of a win.

Get in there! On we march to the final after an exciting 4-3 win on aggregate. A busy first leg drawing 2-2 and ultimately keeping ourselves in the tie before an early double in the second leg sees off the Portuguese giants!

More shots on target at least!

Maybe an unlikely final as it was a match with Maritimo with there being high stakes, as both clubs needed the trophy but where did it land?

COME ONNNN! Taça de Portugal champions 2022/23!! After 120 minutes and countless chances, we couldn’t find the net and I thought it wouldn’t be our day. With penalties, it went sudden death with no-one missing before goalkeeper Celton Biai tipped one over the bar. Reliable wing back Falaye Sacko then stepped up to send the fans into pandemonium!

Ex-striker Bruno Duarte banging them in for once!

End of Season Review 2022/23

A historic season for the club, winning a domestic double and it’s a great step forward as well. Including the Champions League qualification, it’s been a very good second season.

Player Review

Let’s take a look at the players who I think have had fantastic seasons and ultimately, why!

We’ll start with striker – Oscar Estupinan. At the end of last season, I considered selling Oscar after an inconsistent first season but he started to prove me wrong as soon as 2022/23 started and it didn’t really stop, bagging an impressive 27 goals!

Next up is my young prodigy, Herculano Nabian. From the start of this project, I chose to try and develop Herculano and after showing glimpses of what was to come last season, he’s taken a step up to the first team and secured the left wing role. 13 goals & 8 assists for the youngster and I can’t wait to see what he can bring in the coming seasons.

Lastly, it is another attacker and it’s in on loan striker – Samuele Mulattieri. It’s hard to find a decent back up striker sometimes and one who can deputise but turn up whenever they get a chance. Mulattieri showed this with 9 goals and 3 assists and to be fair I like my back up striker to get about 10-12 goals a season. Who knows how many that would’ve been if I had him for the full season.

I’ll tell you something for free though…Samuele Mulattieri signed a pre-contract meaning he will join permanently in the summer!

End of Season Finances 2022/23

The bank balance is very healthy following the European football this season and the sale of Rafa Soares earlier in the season (still bitter about this Mr. President!). Finally I get a half decent budget to work with coming in at just under £11 million and there is a good £60-70k spare in the wage budget…it’s going to be an exciting summer!

What’s Next?

Next it will be time to get stuck into season three and start gearing up the squad for another big season where we look to take another step forward. In terms of episodes I may do a pre-season focused instalment depending how busy it gets but either way there will be plenty to see for whatever is included.

While you’re here, DP-FM’s guest blogger @emperor_fm is sticking around for FM22 and will be taking on the challenge of returning Deportivo La Coruna to the big time in Spain. With the current state of Spanish football, could this be Deportivo’s best opportunity yet?

Check out the intro post here –

Latest episode –

What a season we’ve had here and I can’t wait to keep progressing with this team. I hope you’ve all enjoyed the read, as always thank you for checking this out and I’ll be back soon to kick off season three! Take care all.

DP-FM’s Scott

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