Updated: Jun 25, 2019
It’s fair to say that October didn’t end well in my Football Manager challenge with Huddersfield Town. Losing 5-2 at home to Man United in the league and exiting the Carabao Cup on penalties to Derby was a bleak way to end the month.
Fortunately November brought plenty of winnable fixtures starting with a trip to reigning Premier League champions Manchester City…
Manchester City (A): 0-1
I had two options ahead of my trip to the Etihad, either shut up shop and hope for the best or play with a bit of ambition and try to match City all over the park. I went with the latter and tried my best to completely replicate Pep Guardiola’s possession based tactic.
It seemed to work well and whilst we didn’t have too many efforts on goal or forays forward, neither did City. We both seemed to cancel each other out and as the full-time whistle approached I was delighted to be taking a point off Guardiola’s team.
Then the curse of the late goal struck, a powerful effort from Bernardo Silva thundered past Jonas Lossl in the 88th minute. That strike settled the game despite my last ditch attempts to rescue a point in the dying embers.
It was a disappointing way to lose but on reflection it was probably a good result. If luck had have gone our way we could well have stolen a point, but it wasn’t to be and we moved on to the eminently more winnable fixture against West Ham.
West Ham United (H): 1-4
This was our big chance to put our bad form behind us and get back to winning ways. With that in mind I returned to my attacking 4-2-3-1 formation and it seemed to have done the trick in the first half hour.
Steve Mounie struck the opener after 15 minutes and a second goal seemed inevitable as we relentlessly attacked the visitors. Disaster struck 5 minutes before half-time though when Andriy Yarmolenko hit the equaliser well against the run of play.
That goal seemed to have knocked the stuffing out of my players and in a crazy 11 minute spell in the second-half the game was lost. Arnautovic struck a brace and Lucas Perez hit a fine solo strike to seal an impressive and unexpected 4-1 win for West Ham.
There was a lot of introspection at the full-time whistle. The collapse from my players was startling, and what was even more startling was that it wasn’t a one-off, they had collapsed several times already in the fledgling season.
One goal for the opposition always seemed to be followed by another, and it was clear to me that I needed to raise the lads confidence…
Liverpool (A): 0-4
No amount of confidence boosting was likely to help us out on our trip to Anfield where we ended up on the wrong side of a humbling. After just 37 minutes we were 4-0 down and on course for our biggest defeat of the century.
Immediately after Roberto Firmino’s 37th minute goal I switched to what was effectively a 5-5-0 formation. I was intent on cutting our losses and getting out there with what remained of our dignity still intact.
Erik Durm did his best to f*ck things up for me when he received a second yellow at the start of the second-half. Klopp must have felt sorry for me though as he clearly instructed his players to take it easy with the match fizzling out and finishing 4-0.
Liversedge (H): 7-0
Seasoned FM fans will know that there’s only one way to turn around a drastic run of form, and that’s by hammering a bunch of amateurs in a friendly. I was tempted to set up an intra-squad friendly against the under-18s but confidence was so low that I actually feared a defeat for my first-teamers.
Instead we opted for a game against nearby Liversedge and bloody smashed them 7-0 in front of a 7,591 at The John Smith’s Stadium. Sabiri (2), Depoitre (2), Billing, Lowe and Schindler were the scorers for Town.
It was a good way to finish what had been a challenging month, setting us up well for the challenges of December. We were on a run of 7 games without victory in the league and sat precariously in 17th position in the table.
Burnley would be our first opponents of December, check back tomorrow to see how my team got on.
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