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Welcome back to ‘The Nantes Way’, in todays update I will provide you the outcome of both October, and November, before delving into a few other aspects of the save which I feel are worthwhile documenting.

 

OCTOBER 2024

 

The end of Autumn for me is always a good point in your save to reflect on the league performance, by this point you would have played enough games to ensure your review is worthwhile.

 

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As you can see from the above results we managed to navigate October with only the single defeat, this came against Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League.

 

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Our performances across this period saw a continuation of our declining expected goals for metric (excluding the game against Lens). Fortunately, we are still showing a defensive robustness, which has ensured we closed the month continuing our domestic unbeaten streak. I took a deep sigh of relief against RC Strasbourg Alsace when Mostafa Mohamed ended his goal drought scoring a tap in from a few yards, the shot had an xG value of 0.9, he couldn’t miss!

 

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We posted our highest xG of the season (4.55) in Ligue 1 against FC Metz, whilst the sending off of Matthieu Udol in the 49th minute for a second bookable offence, helped our cause, we had already amassed 13 of the 30 shots taken by this point.

 

THE JOKER

 

The French Football Federation grants clubs in Ligue 1, and Ligue 2 the chance to use a ‘joker’ and sign a player outside of the transfer window. A club in Ligue 1 or Ligue 2 can use a ‘joker’ from the day after the summer window until the day before the winter window.

 

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With the board increasing my transfer budget, I may have found the new £18.5 million budget, burning a hole in my pocket. Yes, I triggered the ‘Joker’ card, and made a signing outside of the usual recruitment window.

 

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Tiago Santos – At 22 the Portuguese U21 player has the ability to come into the side as a starter. You can see from the below, he can operate anywhere down the right-flank. However, he has been purchased to boost the impact of our right-sided full back (IWB). The structure of the deal was £4 million upfront, with £3m in October 2025, £2.5m in November 2026, and £2.5m in November 2027.

 

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His effectiveness in both the attacking, and possession phases of play are clear to see from the above visual. Whilst, when comparing his outputs to other full backs (Tiago is playing as an IWB) his outputs for someone only 22 are phenomenal, he has took to Nantes like a duck to water.

 

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Lamine Camara – At 20 Lamine already resembles a player with limited flaws to his attribute structure, considering his age, he is exceptionally well rounded. For those of you who followed my Wolves thread over in the Tactics, Training and Strategies page, you’ll know how effective he can be at the top level. The structure of the deal was £3 million upfront, with £4.1m in October 2025, £2.5m in November 2026, and £2.5m in November 2027.

 

*Bug – much to my surprise the transfer of Lamine Camara also was pushed through immediately, we played another ‘Joker’ card. After the transaction was agreed, I frantically googled the rules to see if our card from last campaign could be carried over, I found no legislation to state the case. We gained a player a few month early, due to what I can see is only a bug with regards to the implications of the rule in game.

 

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The above visual helps me to visualise the profiles of my midfield, I have grouped attributes under different types of midfielder to help me to see the diversity within the group.

 

Whilst the acquisition of Lamine now means we have six players which can operate from the DM strata, we now have more diversity, providing breadth, and depth.

 

  • Destroyers – Augusto, and Moutoussamay
  • Dynamism – Camara, and Augusto
  • Engine Room – Moutoussamy, and Munetsi
  • Ball Players – Achi, and Chirivella

 

This information is used to aid squad selection, and substitutions, knowing what each player brings to the system, despite selection of role.

 

NOVEMBER 2024

 

Our form picked up significantly across November, extending our undefeated run, and scoring freely in three of the five fixtures. Unfortunately, there was no repeat of the drubbing of rivals Rennes. However, if your memory is a good one, you’ll remember we lost this fixture last year 0-1, the late goal from Tiago Santos securing the draw.

 

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The below is the match momentum against Benfica, showing you that these UEFA Champions League fixtures are panning out to be not as tough as expected. (more on that later).

 

FYI I am playing a heavily rotated side in the game prior to these fixtures, helping us to achieve our goal, draw down as much additional income as physically possible.

 

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Closing in on the mid-point of Ligue 1, we find ourselves in third place. Other teams impressing, other than PSG are OGC Nice, Marseille, and Brest. Lens and Lyon appear to be struggling to get out of first gear, with both sides already suffering five or more defeats.

 

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A FOCUS ON MOHAMED

 

Ok so our Egyptian striker has returned to his goalscoring form, scoring seven goals in his last eight games, five in two in the UEFA Champions League.

 

A massive relief for the club, as without an in form Mohamed spearheading the attack, we don’t look the same side. Like Ignatius Ganago before him, Ayoub El Kaabi has struggled to perform when presented with opportunities, placing a greater emphasis on our need for Mohamed to perform.

 

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Compared to his outputs in the last update, he has a better goals per game 0.88 value, compared to 0.5.

 

I know what you are thinking, what tweaks have been applied to drive this return to form, and improved outputs. The answer, nothing! Sometimes on Football Manager you simply need to trust the process, making tactical tweaks all the time can often be counter productive.

 

I had faith in our ability to continue to find our lone striker in the box, knowing that him receiving the ball in the box more often than not would result in the desired outcome.

 


 

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

 

Considering initially I thought we would struggle on the continent, we have in fact surpassed my expectations. We currently find ourselves in the top six positions, which would secure us direct passage to the Round of 16 (don’t speak too soon) and have played some of our best football in our return to Europe’s top table of club football.

 

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Below I have highlighted some of the stats where we are performing in the top 20. My line of thinking surrounding highlighting these outputs to you are that we know the top 24 sides progress to the next stage (Knock out play off round), therefore providing a nice baseline for comparison.

 

Attacking stats to note

 

  • Goals 8 (20th)
  • Goals per game 1.6 (15th)
  • Expected goals for 7.86 (19th)
  • Chances created 17 (18th)
  • Shots on target 28 (16th)
  • Shots on target ratio 48% (15th)

 

We are doing well in terms of our attacking side of the game, the outputs in my opinion prove that we deserve our place in the top 24. However, possibly should find ourselves a little lower in the rankings.

 

Defensive stats to note

 

  • Opposition PPDA 3.81 (1st)
  • Final third passes against 49 (8th)
  • Fouls made 80 (8th)
  • Tackles won 116 (16th)
  • Clearances 85 (19th)

 

However, it is without the ball where we are excelling. I am proud to see that we hold the best opposition passes per defensive action, not allowing opponents to settle on the ball, scuppering their chances to enter our defensive third.

 

We have achieved all of the above with an average possession of 46%. Simply averaging those ranking positions (not exactly a great measure) shows that our average position against all within the top 20 is 14.

 

I will go on paper to say that failure to qualify for the next stage, based on todays positioning would now be seen as a failure.

 


 

FORWARD LOOK

 

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The final five games prior to the winter break, time to go and play some more FM

Author

  • SteinkelssonFM

    SteinkelssonFM is a distinguished tactician in the Football Manager community, celebrated for bridging the virtual and real football worlds through meticulous analysis. His knack for recreating iconic real-world tactics in-game, like Mário Zagallo’s 1970 Seleção strategy, offers a nostalgic yet innovative gameplay experience. An active blogger on Medium and WordPress, SteinkelssonFM shares his football philosophies and FM adventures, enriching the community with guides on youth development and tactical masterclasses. His contributions extend to the official Football Manager website, affirming his position as a reliable mentor for aspiring virtual football managers. Through his content, SteinkelssonFM continues to blend historical football charm with modern-day FM gameplay.

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