Tuesday, 16 September 2014

First experience as AZ head coach

Dear blog readers,

Hello and welcome back again. As you know I changed the job: Dresden story got transformed into AZ story. Today I am ready to account for the first matches and new tactics chosen for AZ. Let’s start with the tactics.

AZ tactics



At this point I decided to use only one formation that suits current AZ squad very well. That’s why there on the screen shot you don’t see any flank attackers. Also just a single forward was selected because of poor forward choice in AZ.

Want you to pay attention that roles are very adapted to current AZ squad.

Team instructions were tuned to receive more ball possession and accurate drill crosses. With exception of Tira, I have no forwards who would be good in air. Moreover, Tira is very uncertain guy as the first matches showed.


Few reasons why I opted this tactics:

  1. It’s necessary to beat a narrow diamond 4-1-2-1-2 frequently used in Eredivisie.
  2. Try something new. This tactical scheme was never used by me in previous FM stories.
  3. The tactic had to be based on ball possession. Direct passing football is risky, and I have no players in my disposal to arrange such kind of play.

Player instructions

Some positions are very much tuned to concrete players. For instance, when Tira plays as Target Man, and Bozovic always appears as Poacher in the starting eleven.

Some special tunings were also made for other positions. I have two Rutten and Schenkeveld. Both can play quite good as right backs while they don’t join attacks and safely pass ball. That’s you can see two these instructions activate for Schenkeveld as well as Rutten:


First results

Played matches

7 matches: 3 wins, 2 draws, 2 losses

Well that’s a pretty good beginning for me with AZ. My tactical scheme began to work fine without problems. Some slight changes in players instructions were needed but not more.

Even not being familiar with the tactics, AZ players managed to win all home matches grabbing two draws against Utrecht and Heerenveen. We have should won against the last opponents by the way. See the stats:


After all AZ improved league position leaving the relegation zone. I look optimistic into the future and hope to see my new club in the middle onwards.


AZ players


What I can say now is that in total I like the players. Each of them have pros and cons, some of them doesn’t correspond my expectations. But anyway I feel it’s a nice team.

A skeleton of starting eleven is formed by:

  • GK Hobie Verhulst. I am lucky to have such a nice goalie in the squad.
  • DC Mitchel Diijks. Simply the best player I have.
  • MC Ruud Vormer. Excellent mentality and stability.
  • AMC Quincy Promes. The most smart attacking player in my disposal.

Squad is more or less fluent but surely needs upgrade in future. There’s one serious weakness and it’s about strikers. Nobody but loaned Gebhart is able to score goals. Just look at Catalin Tira’s stats.

Catalin Tira. Too many shots off target

TiraTira matches

Closest future

Next matches

Eredivisie will continue in the end of January during winter transfer window. That’s a big question what I will do with transfers which is caused by poor financial situation in AZ. Currently we have a balance debt around $5.5M and lack of salary budget: almost $50K per week. May be I will sell some players and then will be able to sign somebody. We’ll see.

Excited to blog for you,

Vitaliy Mokosiy

Author: Vitaliy

Playing Football Manager since 1996. Blogging about it since 2007.