Good morning and welcome back to the latest update in my attempt to complete the Pentagon Challenge.
If you read my last post you will know that I am currently with Manchester City. The previous season had gone pretty well and I had turned them from relegation candidates back to title challengers. We had ended 3rd in the League which gave us an automatic spot in the Champions League Group Stage, we had also won the Capital One Cup and were Runners-up in the FA Cup.
The boards expectations for the coming season were pretty good, I was confused with the Capital One Cup expectations of Semi-Final, usually on FM when you are Europe they say that competition isn’t Important so it slightly confused me
I thought the rest of the expectations were fair, we were seeded 4th in the Champions League but I did feel we could get out the group. My own expectations for the Premier League was to challenge for the title, I also wanted to win a trophy so the FA Cup was at the top of my list. The Capital One Cup to me wasn’t important and I would play some of reserves to keep 1st teamers fit
The board had only given us £8.8m in transfer budget, which I managed to increase to £14m with a bit of budget adjustment and also removing one of two players. To me a felt this was harsh but I didn’t really need to sign many players so I wasn’t bothered by how small it was
With regards to transfers out I sold Centre Back Tutinho to Portland for £2.5m, he was my 4th choice Centre Back and was getting increasingly annoyed with the lack of 1st team opportunities. I also sold David Barbona in the January Transfer window, this was for the same reasons as Tutinho, he was sold for £1.5m to Lanus (a large loss from when I signed him 18 months ago). A few other youth/reserves were given frees to get rid of some of the wage budget.
So with £14m to play with I went about trying to bolster my squad, I really didn’t need many players. A CB or 2 was imperative, also a CM was needed, one who could play both CM and AM.
I made 2 signings in the Pre-Season and 1 Loan, in the January transfer window I also bought 1 player and got 1 more player on loan, this was due to me loaning out a few 1st teamers as they were complaining about lack of first team football
So here are all my signings:
Signing 1 – What a find, this guy was transfer listed by Barcelona and for £8m was an absolute steal. He fitted the bill perfectly for the type of CM/AM I needed
Signing 2 – What a name! (My name is also Steve by the way!) and he looks a really solid centre back, he ended up costing me £7.25m from Corinthians. Steve was on my radar last season but they wanted nearly double what I paid for him this time around so I was really pleased with the deal
Signing 3 – I signed this guy on a season long loan from Barcelona, last season I managed to only need 3 CBs but with increased competitions I needed to have at least 4, he would be my 4th choice
And now to my January Signings:
January Signing 1 – Another loan for the rest of the season. He was just there so I snapped him up from Juventus, no real reason In getting him apart from bolstering the defence
January Signing 2 – This guy has been transfer listed by Real Madrid and for £6m was an absolute steal. I had decided to try and sell 2 of my 4 strikers due to there constant complaints about lack of football. In the end no one wanted them but I loaned them both out (If you saw my last seasons squad picture these were Zuniga and Bourdin). So Deniz would challenge my remaining 2 strikers for that lone striker role.
So here is my overall squad, this picture was taken at the end of the season so includes both August and January Window signings. There are also a couple of Youth team promotions in there as well. Carl Rowland will be my 2nd choice LB, he came through the youth ranks in 2026 and Lee Nelson will be one of my back-up AMs, he also came through in 2026
The squad is getting better but still needs a lot of improvement to make it a force in Europe but I’m confident of a good season domestically and hopefully with a bit of luck we can have a good season continentally
The League Season
The season started slowly, in our 2nd game we were demolished by Liverpool 3-0, after 11 games we had steadied the ship and found ourselves 5th with 21 points. Man Utd and Chelsea once again were running away with it at the top and were both unbeaten.
After the first half of the season we were doing fantastic, we were 3rd and had 38 points. We had also managed to play all the “bigger” teams away from home and had only lost to Liverpool and Southampton (both away). So in the 2nd half we had to play all of the big teams at Home, this gave me confidence, but we were already 9 points behind Man Utd who were still unbeaten
As the 2nd half went on we never really caught Man Utd but kept up with Chelsea in 2nd, we only lost 1 game in the whole 2nd half of the season which stupidly was at home to Southampton. After this game we won 9 and drew 1 of our final 10 games, this was enough to overtake Chelsea with 2 games to go but not enough to catch Man Utd who won the league by 7 points. They had one hell of a season!
So a 2nd place finish which was an improvement on last season and also an improvement in points. But in the end Man Utd were just too good. My most pleasing thing was our results against the top teams. Against Man Utd we drew them 1-1 away and won 1-0 at home, against Chelsea we drew 1-1 away and beat them 3-1 at home. This was a vast improvement on last season where we lost all 4. So a great finish and another Champions League qualification, but I still wanted a trophy to cap the season off!
Capital One Cup
As mentioned earlier the board somehow wanted us to get to the Semi-Finals, I didn’t agree with this and risked the wrath of the board by fielding weakened sides. In the end it was my downfall and we were knocked out in the 4th round to Burnley. The board were disappointed but not as bothered as I expected
We had a much better campaign in the FA Cup, the only slip up was needing a replay in the 4th round v’s Everton, we were lucky with the teams we drew and in the end easily got into the Semi Final
Where we played Chelsea. I was really determined to get past them after they beat us in the final last season and we did just that. A fantastic 3-1 win which set up a mouth-watering final!
Yes we play Man Utd, they were on for the double and I really wanted to ruin their party. In the end it was just a step too far, we play terribly and 1 goal was enough for Man U to dent my dream of another domestic trophy.
So to the Champions League, I mentioned earlier we were to be seeded 4th in the draw and I hoped for an easy draw. My wish wasn’t granted as we managed to draw 2 of Europe’s powerhouses
Juventus were ranked 4th in the World and PSG were ranked 8th. It was going to be tough but I felt we could give it a go and knew if we fell short we could manage a 3rd place finish.
The group started awfully as we lost to Juve at home 1-0, and it went from there, in the end we lost to Juve twice, drew PSG twice and beat Anderlecht..twice! And 8 points from 6 games wasn’t enough (just!)
Due to our 2-2 draw against PSG being at Home they went through In 2nd place as their head-to-head was classed as better against us. We had to settle for 3rd place. I was gutted but heartened by our performance. Juve had demolished us but we more than held our own against PSG. I now had the Europa League Knockouts to contend with, my expectation? To win it!!
It started really well, in the 1st Knockout Round where we had 2 easy wins against Greek team Olympiakos, in the 2nd Knockout Round we played Southampton and we ended up scraping though 5-4 on aggregate. I did field a weakened team in the 2nd leg due to FA Cup commitments but with a 4-2 lead from the 1st leg we weren’t really troubled.
Then into the Quarters finals we played another English team in Everton, we breezed past them winning both legs and progressing 6-3 on aggregate. The semi-final looked on paper a lot tougher where we met Gelsenkirchen or Schalke 04 as you will know them. We played amazingly to win the 1st leg Away 2-1 and with a 2-0 win in the 2nd leg we were into the final! Who would we get? It was either Arsenal or Sporting Lisbon, we ended up getting Sporting
And what a final it was! We had done it! An amazing performance and a fantastic way to end the season. Centre Back Carlos Roberto scoring 2 in a 4-1 win. My 2nd trophy with the club and a great stepping stone for next season
End of Season Awards
We ended up winning no awards but did get a few players in the Team of the Year. It was nice to see new signing Steve in it as well!
So another season down and it ended really well. Another qualification for the Champions League and another trophy, hopefully next season we can push on try and overthrow Man Utd for that elusive Premier League title, and hopefully we can progress further in the Champions League. To that we need funds to strengthen and the board gave me more than last season, not sure if this is enough to strengthen massively but ill give it my best shot!
Thanks for reading everyone!