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Feb 14, 13 at 3:09am ^Reading
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Reading are a club that are renowned for there ability to play football in blue and white stripes, along with there loathing of screenshots in opening post.
This is the first thing I look at when setting up. Everyone has a preferred way of playing and clearly not all of your inherited squad will fit into your formation/s. I look to play a 4-5-1 with two CMs, an APM and two Wingers. With a slightly more defensive setup for tougher games.
By focusing on your tactics from day one you're killing two birds with one stone. Firstly you can identify what positions need strengthening. This means instead of buying your favourite players and trying to fit them in, you can look for players who will fit into the team already. It also highlights those players who don't fit into your system and you can sell the wage grabbing freeloaders (I'm looking at you Mr Jason Roberts!).
Second, you are giving your players the maximum amount of time to learn and perfect your system.
Sort this out on day one as well. Keep the ones who are 3* or more and sack the rest. Then go out and get your filthy little mitts or some quality coaches try and make sure each area is at least 3* preferably 4*. Also make good use of reverse manages etc and don't have too many youth coaches, one at the most.
**Disclaimer 2/2 - events may not have transpired in the exact order in which is the following text alludes to**
The lovely board members at Reading see to it that you start off with a very healthy £10mil to shape the squad how you see fit. I found there are two main problems with the squad, well three but I chose to ignore the third and opted to strengthen other areas due to lack of affordable options. First and most obvious to myself was the lack of any real creativity though the middle. The team has two poachers, in Pogrebnyak and Le Fondre, who with the right service will bang the goals in. Unfortunately that lack if creativity reduces the amount of chances made for them. You do have a bit of flair on the wings, mainly from Kebe and McAnuff however I found these to be two of the more sellable assets. They are also very easily replaced with players such as Wellington Nem (£3.2mil) and Drage(£900k) from Fluminese and Tromso respectively, so out they went.returning to my original point I went back to Tromso for my creative spark and returned with Yttergard Jenssen (£2.9mil) and headed again to Brazil for his backup Adryan (£825k).
With creativity in abundance I looked to tackle the second major flaw. At the back I look to play with one covering centre back and one stopper. Unfortunately all Readings centre backs are stoppers. For those who don't know, a stopper has higher bravery and aggression attributes alá Terry/Vidic. Whereas a covering centre back has higher anticipation and acceleration, think Carvalho/Ferdinand. In the end I opted for Tomkins (£3.4mil) from West Ham, granted not quite Carvalho in his prime but I'm Reading so give me a break. I then did what all great mangers would do, I sold our best CB Gorkess. There was some method in my madness though, he doesn't have long left on his contact and is already one of the clubs highest earners. So you have three choices, tie him down to an even bigger contact and use him long term, use him short term and lose him for nothing or sell him whilst he is still worth something and invest else where. As I was needing to off load a CB anyway (cos I'd also brought in Okore for £1.2mil) so I sold him.
Speaking of Okore, if you do plan to sign him put him on an individual training regime for heading as its his weakest area by far.
The third piece of the jigsaw is at left back as Shorey and Hart just aren't up to it anymore. Lucky you have Gunter who can play there whilst Mariappa holds down Rb. If you do choose to ignore it like I did just hope and pray you don't get too many injuries as they get skinned all the time. Both are out of contract at the end of the season and can be replaced sometime between now and the start of next season.
Having seen to the areas highlighted as major problems I looked to strengthen the squad further. As I mentioned earlier you have two quality strikers in your squad however you also have umpteen shite ones too. So my advice is sell the other ones for whatever you can get and bring in another as third choice backup. I went for the completely original and never before bought by anyone Ademilson (£5.25m). It was between him and Helenius for about half the price. I ended up choosing the Brazilian as in three years he will qualify as homegrown.
Last* and quite literally least I brought in Papa Diop on a free transfer for backup to Leighertwood. He came in and replaced Jay Tabb who was sold.
*pretty sure he was my first acquisition
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