In Part 1 of the 2022/2023 season, I went over summer transfers and how the season was going until our two-month break due to the 2022 World Cup.
Ternana had a surprising start to their first season back in Serie A. Could we maintain our form and earn a European spot? Let’s take a look.
January Transfer Window
Anthony Partipilo kept moaning about his playing time and the fact that he was not a natural midfielder made it an easy decision when Torino approached us with a £1.2M offer.
Afeez Aremu (£350k, St. Pauli) & Daniel Gutíerrez (£650k, Colo Colo)
Aremu and Gutíerrez were signed to replace Chilean DM Tomás Alarcón, who suffered a long-term injury back in November. I forgot that Ben Brereten Díaz counted as a Non-EU player due to Brexit. Having only one spot left, I decided to register Aremu as he’s a natural DM. Gutíerrez will now be retrained into a DM.
I forgot to talk about the Coppa Italia in the last post. We beat Frosinone (3-1) in the First Round. In the Second Round, we faced Hellas Verona, a 90+3 minute penally goal by Alfredo Donnarumma took us to the next round. Roma would then kick our asses (3-1) in the Third Round. Let’s hope we can go a bit further next season.
Before we get on with the league, let’s take a short break to talk about tactics.
During the two-month World Cup break, I decided to tweak the tactic a bit as I noticed that we were not balanced when in the defensive phase. Our left-side midfielder and central midfielder were roots of the problem.
After playing some friendly matches and poking around the DataHub, I found that most of the opposition entries were coming from our left-hand side. We kept getting overran on the lefthand side as our CM(A) was not tracking back enough and left a lot of space for CWB(S) to cover.
Another issue was the position of our central midfielder. For the last two seasons, I’ve switched his role three times – RPM, AP, and DLP. Regardless of the role or PIs, he continues to stay quite deep and too close to our HB.
1. The CM(A) is now a CM(S) with PIs to dribble more, run wide with the ball, and take more risks. He will only push up when he has the ball otherwise he will support our left CWB(S) while in the defensive phase.
2. The central midfielder has now become the CM(A) and has the freedom to push as high, he could be thought of as a makeshift Shadow-Striker when attacking. This will naturally have him further up the field in both the defensive and attacking phase.
Here’s what the updated tactic looks like:
Last time around, Ternana sat in 5th place after 14 matches. With no Coppa Italia or European competition to worry about, all of our focus was now on the league. January would turn out be a month packed full of action were we would face four of the top six sides in the league table.
The tactical tweaks proved have worked as we began the month with three consecutive wins – Udinese (5-1), Genoa (4-0) and Lazio (1-4). Inter brought us back to reality (2-1) and reminded us that we were nowhere close to them. Juventus traveled to Terni and left with 0 points after a (3-0) win to Ternana, our goalkeeper Krapikas was the star of the show and helped us get a clean sheet with 8 saves. Five days later, Lorenzo Insigne would be the better goalscorer that day as he netted a hat-trick to help Napoli beat us (3-2).
We hosted Bologna in the first match of February, the (2-2) draw would end up being the funnest match of the season with both teams have the same amount of possession (50/50), shots (24) and shots on goal (19). It often seemed as if we were both playing defenderless. Three more wins against Sassuolo (0-5), Benevento (3-1) and Spezia (0-2) helped us get into the top 4.
Roma paid us a visit in the last match of February, this would be the most important match of the season. Roma pulled us apart, the final score of (0-2) didn’t do justice to them, they embarrassed us. That’s three wins against us this season. This called for some good kick in ass, so I found inspiration from Oaky-FM and fined half the starting lineup for such a miserable display. What happened next was more than what I was expecting, this loss would end up being the last one of the season.
From the thirteen matches between March and May, Ternana would go on to tie once and win the remaining twelve. Our defensive problems seemed to have disappeared, the team helped our GK, Titas Krapikas, keep 9 cleansheets and only allowing four teams to score against us – Sampdoria (1-3), Milan (3-1), Udinese (1-3) and Atalanta (2-1). Four of those nine cleansheets came in the last four matches of the season, against Lazio (2-0), a hard fought battle against Inter (1-0), Genoa (0-1) and Juventus (0-2).
The current form wasn’t just about how well we were playing, we also had a lot of help from other teams around the league. Juventus had a horrible time after the WC break, they would only win 8 from 24 matches. Torino and Roma also had their ups-and-downs. Atalanta, Milan and Napoli turned their seasons around to qualify for Europe. In the end, the unbeaten match streak would help us secure not just Champions League football but our highest finish in the Serie A.
Player of the Year
What else can I say about this man that I haven’t said before the guy just can’t stop scoring.
Alfredo continued last year’s superb goalscoring form into the 22/23 season. The former Brescia man finished with 46 goals and 6 assists in 39 matches with a 7.75 average rating in all competitions.
He won the European Golden Boot, beating the Haaland, Mbappe, and Ronaldo. He also won Signing of the Year, Serie A Forward of the Year and Serie A Player of the Year.
All the man is missing is an international call up. Maybe we can help him next season.
Aside from our superstar striker, Alfredo Donnarumma, Ternana featured three more players in the Serie A – Team of the Year. Rightback Luca Ghiringhelli, utility-man Park Yi-Young and homegrown-talent Antonio Palumbo.
Luca Ghiringhelli finished the season as our highest goal provider with 13 assists in 23 (2) matches, averaging a 7.27 rating. He would of had higher numbers if I hadn’t rotated him so much. Park Yi-Young scored 1 goal and assisted 5 more in 28 (3) matches, he average a 7.05 rating. Antonio Palumbo was ever-present this season, he played in allover the midfield, sometimes as a DM. He finished the season with 6 goals and 5 assists in 34 (1) matches, with an average rating of 7.18.
There were a lot more players that stood-out this season, but here are three that were exceptionally great. Starting with Titas Krapikas, who won Goalkeeper of the Year after only conceding 36 goals in 37 matches, along with 16 clean-sheets to finish the season with a 7.14 average rating. Ivan Kontek won Defender of the Year, the Croatian scored 3 goals in 25 matches with an average rating of 7.41. His defending numbers were also great with a 83% headers won ratio (313 headers won), 80% tackles won and 220 clearances. Lastly, loanee Ilias Koutsoupias won Young Player of the Year. His stats will be highlighted later on.
Our Bosnian Head of Youth Development, Boro Primorac, made a bit difference this season. Although it wasn’t a “golden generation,” he was able to bring through five top talents, including a Croatian player (Primorac spent two years as Hajduk Split’s HYD), as well as four other top talents young Italian talents. I will take over their individual training while they’re in the youth setup.
Sadly, Boro Primorac decided to retire at the end of the season. I’ve already identified his replacement, young Chilean HoYD Esteban Diaz from Chilean Club Santiago Wanderers. I will share his screenshot after I’ve secured his contract.
Throughout the season I promoted Francesco Toffanin and Gioacchino Niosi from the U20 team. Although they didn’t play much, it was great to have a bit of depth in the team. “Youth players” are first team players that are 23 y/o and under.
U18s & U20s
Our youth setup once again had an amazing season. The U18s won both of their tournaments, the league and super coppa. The U20s finished 3rd in the Primavera 1 division. Because of their good form, a few players made their debuts with the first team and others continued their progress from last season.
Finances & Infrastructure
Finances – We finished the season with £25.3m in the bank. As you can see above, broadcast revenues were important to keep us in the positive. The additions of the Champions League money will be important for the future of the club as I’m pushing to max out our facilities as soon as possible. We also had the lowest wage budget at £350k p/w.
Affiliates – We’ve signed two new affiliates, Slovakian top tier club – Žilina and Spanish club – Rayo Vallecano. They will serve as great clubs to send players out on loan, especially Rayo so that our young Chileans can gain their EU passports asap.
Facilities – We invested £4m into the youth facilities and £1.8m into the club facilities. We’ve also move from “adequate youth coaching” to “excellent youth coaching.” Our youth recruitment has also had a huge upgrade from “adequate” to “good.”
If you read my SC Verl, you’d know that I never got build a new stadium in the 7 years that I was at the club. I won’t have to wait too long this time around as I’ve persuaded the chairperson to start working on a new stadium. No plans have been set but the fact that they’re working on it, makes me excited to keep the save going.
Thanks for making it all the way down here. That’s a lot of f-ing words there. Hope I didn’t lose you. That’s all for the 2022/2023 season. All in all, it was an unexpected season.
In the next post, I’ll be discussing the 2023/2024 Season from the summer transfer window until the winter break. The plan is to offload some players in the summer to try and find the right balance for team, present and future.
Feel free to reach me on twitter or slack.