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Darren – Ultimate European Challenge, AC Milan’s month of finals 13/14

Hi guys and welcome back to my journey across Europe. I have enjoyed some great success so far, but this post is by far my most important. Last time we saw AC Milan close in on the treble from December to April. With the league title all but won, I needed to turn my attentions to the Italian Cup and Champions League. Today we will pick up the story in mid April with some vital games to go.

Serie A results – end of season

Milan only required one point to secure the title during April and found three during the first game against Napoli. With Serie A wrapped up I decided to rest my entire squad if a Cup competition was one or two games away. This was to avoid any unwanted injuries. We sacrificed two points to both Torino and Catania as well as all three points against Chievo. This didn’t damage my sides morale though as I think they shared the bigger picture with me. Pato managed to up his goal tally and Kadlec proved himself a worthy understudy yet again.

Winning the league by an impressive 19 points made the job look much easier than it was. The likes of Juventus and Fiorentina couldn’t handle the pace and seemed to almost surrender their title hopes. I was delighted with my second consecutive title in Serie A.

After checking the clubs information I can confirm that I have not even made the favoured personnel list. However, I was happy to see the fans tribute to my success so far. For me this was all a warm up to the bigger picture. Next up the Italian Cup and an attempt to gain the domestic double for a second consecutive season.

Italian Cup final – AC Milan vs Lazio

This match was fairly tight during the first half as both sides seemed nervous. Milan opened the scoring early on, but this was the only chance we could muster. Lazio still struggled to hit their tempo in the second half as my boys took control. The result was confirmed after Vella got brought down inside the box during injury time. Silva converted the penalty and we deserved the victory.

This fixture featured my 4-5-1 with a very deep defensive line, very narrow width and very slow tempo. I think my tactics were what won the trophy as Lazio were stopped from the source and couldn’t handle my sides pace on the counter.

My second consecutive double was secured and now all the clubs focus was needed in Europe. After beating Bayern away from home 3-1 in the semi-final 1st leg of the Champions League. I needed to finish the job and try to reach the final.

Champions League semi-final 2nd leg – AC Milan vs Bayern

I swapped my usual 4-4-2 against Bayern for a 4-5-1 during the 1st leg. This worked wonders so I decided to stick with the same starting XI and formation. This time I used a defensive strategy as I knew the Germans would throw everything at me. The deep defensive line seemed to frustrate them and despite lots of openings they couldn’t create a goal. Sanchez made a nice run and then unleashed a beautiful shot from more than 30 yards. One of the best goals I’ve seen and worthy of guaranteeing our place in the final.

In the other semi-final I think the writing was on the wall. Monaco had somehow come so far and were faced with an extremely strong Manchester City. Of course the English side thrashed Monaco and were to be my opponents in the final. With players like Tevez and Babacar, I had a lot to think about.

I settled on using my 4-5-1 with a slightly high defensive line, slightly narrow width and slightly slow tempo. I also wanted to go for this game and used a standard strategy. Well lets see if my side could complete a famous treble and if I could say goodbye to Italy in style. This was my last game with AC Milan and the nerves were starting to surface.

Champions League final – AC Milan vs Manchester City, come on!!!

This match was probably the most even contest I have played on FM. City would attack, then Milan would have a go…I honestly had no idea which way the final would go. With the first half drawing to a close my worst fears had emerged. Gervinho made a darting run and cross from the right. Some terrible defending saw the ball drop to Tevez who needed no invitation to score. However, this was just the wake up call Milan needed. We struck back straight away through a great Pato goal. The scores were level at half-time but my boys held the momentum. We made it count in the second half with a very quick goal. Pato slotted Sanchez through who found the top corner. Now fully in control, I only had a few more scares in injury time. We defended well and walked off the pitch victorious.

This final was simply fantastic and showed that Real Madrid and Barcelona are not needed to make a great spectacle. I was delighted to come out on top and my players were brilliant. Sanchez and Pato were the reason for this seasons success, both players are simply world class.

The board were very happy with me for bringing home the Champions League. This capped off a great season and the treble was well deserved. After so much success, lets see the players who made it all possible.

Squad stats

Pato’s 30 goals were vital and he had a knack of making the difference during tough games. My other favourite player was Sanchez who scored 18 goals and assisted 15 during his first season. I’d love to take him with me along with Vella who scored 9 and assisted 9. Now its time for me to share four pieces of very important news.

Smith does a U-turn on Valencia

Although I do want to move to Spain. I am not sure if Valencia are the right team for me, they still seem to have financial trouble and were offering me £0 for transfers. Now it wasn’t time for the new seasons expectations so I could have received a decent budget but decided not to risk it.

Smith leaves AC Milan to find a new home

I have enjoyed great success in Italy and did enjoy my stay, but I am not so keen on their style of football. I don’t like defending deep and to win this was necessary. With the Italian job complete I decided to move on and wait for a job offer, I was only waiting until just before the 2014/15 pre-season. However, it was not a club that came calling. :)

England job offer

It is every lads dream to manage his country and I have been handed this great opportunity. I am definitely going into international management. After seeing this offer I immediately checked the team and U21’s. To be honest England have an ageing side with very little prospects coming through. The future looks a little bleak and their recent World Cup elimination during the group stages does nothing to install confidence. However, this was not the only job I needed to consider. After inspecting my full inbox I noticed another job offer during the same day.

Job offer from the best country in the world – ARGENTINA

The title may seem a little dramatic, but believe me it isn’t. Argentina are incredible, besides Messi, Tevez, Mascherano, Pastore and Aguero. They now have about 6 regens who are just as good. No joke…they have two left wingers, a right winger, central midfielder and defender who are simply brilliant. I have also inspected their U21’s and must say the future is very bright. My problem is weighing up a hugely successful side over commitment to my country. Do I go to try and turn England’s fortunes around, or take control of what I think could be the best side of all time! I have made my decision…but will leave you in suspense till next time. What do you think? Who should I have chosen?

Well that concludes today’s post, thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed the read. I look forward to your comments and hope you’ll come back to find out which nation gets my signature.

If you want to join us all in the Ultimate European Challenge, please follow the link and read the rules. Its very simple and should get us all into different cultures and styles of Football.

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Sears
10 years ago

First of all terrific season mate. You’ll have no trouble completing this challenge :-p Anyway I think u should go for Argentina. They always produce amazing regens and England never have a good team. Good luck!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Sears

Thanks Sears, I’m enjoying the challenge so far but theres a little way to go yet. We’ll see about the Argentina England decision soon but I was just flattered to get offered such great jobs.

MRDNRA
MRDNRA
10 years ago

I think you should go for Argentina. I’d love to see the attributes of all their top players. ;-)

Anyway, excellent job at A.C Milan. Hopefully you’ll get another club come calling soon as well.

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  MRDNRA

Thanks MRDNRA, Argentina have an incredible squad and one that would be great to manage. However, I would feel bad about turning down England so we’ll see. I can also confirm I have joined a new club as well…a very promising one too. :)

plobdork
plobdork
10 years ago

come on england i just know uv picked them the challenge is just right :)

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  plobdork

lol, all will be revieled soon Plobdork. Its guilty pleasure against national pride. :)

Wazz
Wazz
10 years ago

Amazing season Darren! you started this challenge and no doubt you’ll be the first one to finish it. Right? :D I would go for England ’cause well, I’m sure you can revive them and win the World Cup or the European Championship. Correct me if I’m wrong, did you win the World Cup with England in FM10?
Congratulations again for a terrific season! Looking forward for your next post.

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Wazz

Thanks Wazz, I’m certainly looking hot fav to finish the challenge first. I guess it depends on whether I get comfortable with one club or not. England would certainly need some fixing as their squad is pretty crap compared to the start of the game. Whereas Argentina are simply perfection.

You’re right I did win the World Cup on FM10 with England…well remembered mate. It was damn difficult though. :)

Sears
10 years ago

Wazz – yeah he did win the WC on FM10 :-) Whatta legend :-p

Wazz
Wazz
10 years ago
Reply to  Sears

I know right. hahaha

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Sears

lol :) :) Thanks Sears!

Lye
Lye
10 years ago

Hi Darren,

Great season and congratulations on the treble. Three more leagues to go. I would definitely love you to manage Argentina, they got a lot of superstars. Don’t keep us waiting for too long.

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Lye

Thanks Lye, it was great to win the treble and unlike my Newcastle game we really do have the best team in the world bar Barcelona who I thankfully missed in the Champions League. I’ll try and do my Argentina or England? post soon but it may take a few days…I like to make you sweat! ;)

Sayam Khan
Sayam Khan
10 years ago

Hey Darren,
brilliant season there! A treble! You made the job easier for the next manager ;-) Also i think you should go for England. they can’t be that bad, rooney, wilshere, carroll, milner, walcott, cole, johnson, all pretty good players. And ofcourse a few regens!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Sayam Khan

Thanks Sayam, it was a very enjoyable season but Italy is a lot tougher than it looks…mainly because the style of play is boring.

Problem with England on my game is its the year 2015 and all the huge players are gone. Rooney is the only Worldclass player left. Wilshere, Carroll, Milner and Walcott have all been disappointing and not developed whereas Cole is too hold along with Johnson. We’ll see though mate.

Laxeyman
Laxeyman
10 years ago

Great season Darren, you did a great job at A.C Milan, so well done. Personally I would take the England job, surely it would be much more satisfying to take them to glory than an Argentina side who are already the best in the world. Are you going to look for a club job as well as whichever national side you choose? Good luck with whoever you go for :)

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Laxeyman

Thanks Laxeyman, the Italian part of my Challenge was great but I’m glad to move on. I agree with the satisfaction of taking England to glory, although I can’t take my eyes off the Argentina regens . All will be reveiled in the next post and I can confirm I have moved to a new club as well so theres lots to talk about. :)

Johnny Karp
10 years ago

Congrats on the Champions League mate, great win and a great goal from Sanchez! The situation is quite ironic with you having to chose between England and fierce rivals Argentina, tough choice. I don’t know which you should have picked but if I had offers from Romania and Brazil I would have chosen Romania :)

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

Cheers Johnny, it was a great victory and the only competition I had questions over so I’m happy :) My wife would admire your commitment to Romania Johnny!! :) Argentina are my guilty plessure but we’ll see if the nations pride lures me in. :)

warren
10 years ago

Well done Darren

A very successful season and now that you have done whats required in Italy where will you go from here. I think that the Argentina job will be perfect and it will be exciting to see the regens progress into the national squad.

good luck and I hope you able to find a new and exciting team to manage

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  warren

Thanks Warren, it was a great season and I can’t wait to start international football too. My next club has been decided and they are the third best in their country (in my opinion.) I’ll share all within the next few days but its getting quite exciting I think.

kevin
kevin
10 years ago

Hi Darren
Congratulations on an amazing treble. You must pick England simply because it’s the biggest challenge of all :)

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  kevin

Thanks Kevin, I really enjoyed Italy and my international career will take off soon too. My next post will be about the big decision and my new club. :)

ps Did you recieve my email a few days ago?

junior
junior
10 years ago

hey darren!!one great season there!!congratz and goodluck wt valencia and wow what a dilema for u england or argentina hehee!!

d u ever have CRASH DUMPS ON FM2011..i get them quite often and they are reeeeally annoying..d u knw how i can stop them!!
tnx

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  junior

Hi Junior, it has been a great season and I’m looking forward to an international career…I have also accepted a good club offer but we’ll see who in the next post.

If by ‘crash dumps’ you mean the game freezing and losing your game then I have in the past. It was due to a rubbish computer but now my new laptop doesn’t have them at all. Not sure how to avoid them really. If I’ve misunderstood please correct me. Thanks mate.

Davewig1980
Davewig1980
10 years ago

I thought I put a comment on here last night but can’t see it now!

Congrats on the treble (begrudgingly!). I was hoping Fiorentina pipped you to the league in the end but coming 2nd to a very good Milan side is no mean feat! Looking forward to your next destination!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Davewig1980

Thanks Dave, the treble was a great achievement and we really deserved it. I felt now was the time to move and my international duty has come calling. Should be an interesting career.

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