Welcome back, I have completed my first season as PAS LAMIA 1964 manager in Greece and this post today is a round up of how the season went and the team going forward.
We went into our pre season looking to implement our 352/532 raising the teams tactical awareness and as always building morale through wins.
5 wins and a draw scoring 33 goals and conceding 1 is a great start to the save, we managed plenty of rotation and increased the tactical familiarity of the squad along with match sharpness.
We started off the season with a 2-1 loss away to Panathinaikos, Nunez equalised in the 84th minute and I thought we had done well to get a draw but we conceded in the 93rd minute. But considering the opposition I wasn’t too disheartened. We followed this us with a 0-0 draw at home vs Atromitos before picking up our first 3 points away at PAOK with a 2-0 win following early goals from Nunez and Manousos.
We then rounded up the month with a thumping 4-0 victory over Apollon Smyrnis with goals from Karamanos, Bejarano, Eleftheriadias and an own goal.
7 points 3 clean sheets and an expected defeat, I’m happy with how the first month of the season has gone.
October started with a 3-1 away win at Asteras Tripolis with Eleftheriadis getting his second in back to back weeks and main striker Arabuli finally getting up and running with a brace.
Our cup run got going with a 1-0 win vs Ionikos with Arabuli scoring again.
That was followed by back to back draws vs Panetolikos (1-1 Eleftheriadis) and PAS Giannina (0-0). We then bounced back with a restounding 3-0 cup win vs Panetolikos with goals fron Karamanos, Arabuli and Manousos.
We finished the month with another 0-0 draw at home vs the mighty Olympiakos.
6 points from 4 games and 2 cup wins makes it two good months in a row to start my tenure at Lamia.
Just the three games in November, we started the month with a well earnt draw away to Aris with Karamanos getting the goal which we then followed up with a 2-0 home win vs Volos thanks to goals from Tzandaris and Manousos. The month was concluded with our second loss of the season away to Ionikos.
4 points from a possible 9 isn’t the end of the world.
December started with a 2-0 loss away to AEK to make it to losses in a row we followed this up with a 1-1 draw at home vs OFI thanks to a Romanic goal from the spot. We then made it 4 games without a win after a second loss to Panathinakos this season, but at least we grabbed a win before the winter break with a 1-0 away victory over Atromitos thanks to a Saramantas goal.
We started January off by holding PAOK to a 2-2 draw at home thanks to a Karamanos brace we followed this up with a 4-3 win over Apollon Smyrnis with goals from Nunez, Arabuli and a Manousos brace.
Back to back wins for us following a 1-0 win over Asteras Tripolis with a late winner from Arabuli.
Next up Panetolikos held us to a 0-0 draw before Rodos from the league below shocked us with a 2-1 loss with Arabuli on the score sheet. A loss at home vs PAS Giannina which was sandwiched between the cup games was a dark day at the club. Luckily Karamanos grabbed the goal we need in the cup to see us make the Semi FInals with an away goal win. Olympiakos beat us 1-0 to end the month.
Winter transfer window
4 Players left the club this window. Margaritis, Nikolopoulos and Vlachmitros were never going to make the grade so I said they could leave now for a free saving their wages for the rest of the season. Saranov asked to leave as he was my back up Goalkeeper and he wanted first team football. We managed to get €52.000 rising to €100,000 for him which is much needed.
As for the Ins we signed no one for the first team but the Director of Football managed to tie up a free signing for 19 year old Italian striker Alberto Cristiano.
We have sent him out on loan for some first team football and will see how he develops. With it being an 18 month deal there is no real risk for us.
February started with a 0-0 home draw vs Aris and a Semi final first leg away loss 3-2 vs Panathinaikos with goals from Karamanos and Bejarano keeping us in the tie still. Cup hangover effect again? We lost 1-0 to Volos but bounced back with a 3-0 win at home to Ionikos with goals from Romanic, Provydakis and Eleftheriadis. We rounded out the month with a solid 0-0 draw at home vs AEK.
Another 3-2 loss vs Panathinaikos saw us lose 6-4 in the semis missing out on a cup final in my first season but a great run no less, we followed this up with a 2-0 away with at OFI with goals from Tsoukalos and Bejarano. March is the month where the Greek Super League splits into championship and relegation groups as you can see we missed out on the Championship playoffs despite having the same points as PAS Giannina and Aris due to the league deciding on results vs each other not goal difference.
Overall a great start to my career at Lamia, we we predicted to be battling relegation but in all honesty we aren’t in any danger, it is gutting to miss out on the Championship group and that 3-1 loss to PAS Giannina stands out as pivotal. But now we have to aim to finish 7th overall.
We started the relegation playoffs with a 2-0 win over 8th place Volos thanks to two goals from Karamanos.
April & May 2022
The relegation playoffs were a breeze we followed up the win over Volos with a 2-1 win over OFI with Eleftheriadis and Romanic on the scoresheet. Asteras Tripolis were brushed aside in a 2-0 win with goals from Gentzoglou and Bejarano. Apollon Smyrnis held us to a 1-1 draw with Romanic getting a 91st minute equaliser for us, we then beat Panetolikis 1-0 with Manousos grabbing the only goal. Atromitos then held us to a 1-1 draw with Romanic again on the scoresheet before we finished the season with a 2-1 win over Ionikos thanks to new boy Alberto Cristiano getting his first for the club and midfielder Tyronne getting his only goal of the season.
Olympiakos won the title for the third time in a row with AEK, Panathinaikos and PAOK getting the other 3 european spots.
We secured 7th (1st in relegation group) our final tally of 54 is brilliant for our first season. Apollon Smyrnis were relegated and will be replaced next season by PAE Panserraikos. Panetolikos managed to beat Levadiakos to ensure survival in the playoffs.
Our main 11 was pretty much expected with Provydakis ending up outperforming Skondras at RWB and Eleftheriadis performing better than Nunez at LCM.
Garavelis won best Goalkeeper in the league with 16 clean sheets and only conceding 23 goals he is now known as The Wall.
As you can see from this page we had the joint 2nd best defence in the league which is a main reason for us never really being in the relegation picture.
I thought a big issue for us was the lack of goals scored with just 40 but that was 5th best in the league which is about right for where we finished, It also gives us a clear indication on where we need to improve going forward to close the gap on the top 4. Keep solid at the back but find another 10-40 goals a season.
Having the highest average possession % in the league could be hindering and harming us. By keeping the ball we are stopping the opposition from scoring but are we also not having enough effective possession where we actually damage the opposition when we have the ball.
I finished runner up to Iraklis Metaxas in the Manager of the year awards. A great testament to my first season in charge.
He won Goalkeeper of the year and he followed this up with finishing 3rd best Greek player of the year. A new contract follows.
Garavelis and Golemic were second and third best signings of the season (pre my appointment)
At the end of the season the data is gathered and we are sent a report. I’ve picked out a few things that have stood out to me.
According to this we are very good at heading but we are hardly heading, This is something we need to look at for next season. Do we need to cross it more to take advantage of this?
We are having lots of passes and they’re accurate, we are a outlier in comparison to the rest of the league, do we need to be more risky with our passing potentially increasing the risk/reward?
This one stood out as it left me questioning a few things, When we lose possession which is a low % we are barely winning it back, where as the top 3 teams in the league are winning the ball back by far the most and also losing it a lot more.
I think its clear we aren’t scoring enough with just 40 goals scored and Karamanos scoring a quarter of them himself. Next season I want to aim for at least 60 goals.
A decent intake with 3 top to elite talents coming through.
I’m going to have to work on developing these to be first teamers and sellable assets going forward.
Summer Transfer Window
Only one player leaves this summer, 41 year old Loukas Vyntra, our No Nonsense CB so I will be looking to replace him.
5 players in this summer, 4 for the Under 19s all prospects for the future and 1 for the first team.
These are our 4 players for the future. First up is Spyros Troboukis, a Striker from Panetolikos with my front line ageing and have 2-3 seasons left so when my scout recommended then 18 year old striker at the end of his contract I asked the DOF to try and secure him on a free with a two year no risk contract we will see how he develops.
Next up is Giannis Sorovos also from Panetolikos on a two year deal. He will come in and we will look to develop him into a squad player for the first team.
Third player in and probably the closest one to breaking into the first team is Serbian Right back Dragan Bojat. On a two year deal and nearly as good as my two current options at right wing back I will look at developing him quickly as they’re both out of contract next summer so he could be a option to promote and release one of them.
4th and by no means last is 16 year old Croatian attacking midfielder Silvio Briek, He already looks a strong prospect and has 4 plus years on his side to develop into a first team player hopefully.
All 4 will spend the season in the Under 19’s and we will monitor their development.
First team transfer
22 year old (at time of signing) Greek centre back Gerasimos Mitoglou signs on a free from AEK on a 3 year deal replacing out going Loukas Vyntra at the heart of our defence.
When I knew Vyntra would be leaving I set the short term scouting focus to find a replacement and the scouts returned Mitoglou as a prime target. He fitted the bill, at 22 he bought the average age of the starting 11 down a bit he has potential resell value, being Greek he should have no trouble fitting in, he averaged a 7.28 last season for AEK “B” team in the division below so I instructed the DOF to try and do the deal.
I was happy when he got it done.
New Starting 11
Just the one external addition but Provydakis steps up at RWB and Romanic will attempt to make the AF spot his due to the poor return from our strikers last year.
Overall a good to great start at PAS Lamia, We were never in any danger of relegation but we need to push forward this season and make the Championship group but I’d like to try and push for 4th if possible and get us into Europe.
We will review the data and see if we can tweak the tactic to try and get closer to the goals scored by the top 4 whilst keeping tight at the back.
Thanks to all for reading and as always any questions you can find me on twitter @DGear86 or on FMSlack