I arrive in Bilbao after Marcelo Bielsa quit due to him insisting that Athletic change their recruiting policy of only signing Basque players. I take the job and see that the club as several young talented players and are also due to move into a new stadium in a few years. Will the players take to an unknown Scot who doesn't speak the language? Will I be able to break the stranglehold of the two giants in Spain? Lets hope so....
To find favour amongst the supporters I bring in club icons Joseba Etxeberria, Julen Guerrero and Ismael Urzaiz to help me out. I also bring in Santi Denia to assist me. Player wise I single out Cesar Azpilicueta, Natxo Monreal and Stephane Ruffier as long term transfer targets and am going for youth in this window.
Players In Alvaro Vadillo (£8m from Real Betis)
Benat (£4m from Real Betis)
Saul (£1.4m from Atletico Madrid)
Alex Serrano (£1.3m from Sporting)
Jorge Espericueta (£1.2m from Tigres)
Alejandro Roy (£900k from Zaragoza)
Alberto Ruiz (£900k from Malaga)
The board agreed to give me some extra cash so I was delighted to get Vadillo. I also found a gem in Espericueta who is Mexican but has Basque nationality. Leaving the club was Aiter Ocio and Koikili.
Was going to do a 3 month update but have so many fixtures in October I will do a 2 monthly one for now
A solid start after negotiating my way through a tricky Europa League tie I got rewarded with an easy group. Good to see Llorente scoring. With me playing with just one up front I need him to perform.
Europa League Qualifying Round 1st Leg
Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Sochaux
Europa League Qualifying Round 2nd Leg
Sochaux 1-2 Athletic Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao 3-1 Rayo Vallecano
De Marcos, Llorente, Movilla (og)
Europa League Draw
Player of the Month
September An excellent month with plenty of goals. Fantastic results away to Malaga and Braga and for some reason my centre half Mikel San Jose wants to outshine my lone striker Fernando Llorente (albeit being helped that he is my penalty taker)!
Espanyol 2-2 Athletic Bilbao
De Marcos, Muniain
Europa League Group B
Braga 1-4 Athletic Bilbao
Herrera, Muniain 3
Athletic Bilbao 5-0 Real Betis
Llorente 3(1pen), Susaeta, San Jose
Malaga 1-4 Athletic Bilbao
San Jose 2, De Marcos, Susaeta
Athletic Bilbao 3-0 Villarreal
San Jose 2 (2pens), Llorente
Europa League Group B
Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Karpaty Lviv
Llorente, Vadillo, Benat
Overall a mixed month. Losing the derby to two late goals against Sociedad was tough to take but bounced back with 3 straight league wins including a 4-2 win away to struggling Valencia. An under strength side struggled against lowly Alaves in the cup.
With about a quarter of the season gone Barcelona and Real Madrid have won every game. Real Madrid even won one match 10-0! Sevilla won their first 7 games before getting thrashed 6-0 by Barcelona. Bilbao are 4th and have already opened up a 6pt gap ahead of 5th place side Atletico Madrid.
I don't know what San Jose is on - scoring a hat-trick without any penalties and I don't have a special corner tactic set either!
(Internationally Scotland somehow beat Spain 1-0)
Real Sociedad 3-2 Athletic Bilbao Susaeta, Iturraspe
Athletic Bilbao 5-0 Osasuna Muniain, San Jose 3, Herrera
Europa League Group B
Athletic Bilbao 5-1 BATE Borisov
Llorente, Herrera, Muniain, Toquero, Ekiza
Valencia 2-4 Athletic Bilbao
Muniain 2, Benat, Llorente
Copa Del Rey 4th Round 1st Leg Alaves 1-1 Athletic Bilbao
Sporting Gijon 0-2 Athletic Bilbao
Good month! Comfortable wins in Europe and in the domestic cup plus a game in which we played Barcelona off the park inflicting their first defeat of the season. Unfortunately losing to Sevilla put us further behind them. Indiscipline reigned as we went down to ten men 3 times this month.
Europa League Group B BATE Borisov 1-3 Athletic Bilbao
David Lopez, Ekiza, De Marcos
Athletic Bilbao 3-0 Barcelona
Amorebieta, Herrera, Susaeta
Copa del Rey 4th Round 2nd Leg Athletic Bilbao 4-0 Alaves
Ruiz de Galarreta, Toquero, Gurpegi, Iturraspe
Sevilla 3-1 Athletic Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao 3-0 Atletico Madrid
Susaeta, Ekiza, Llorente (pen)
Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Granada
Susaeta, Llorente, David Lopez
Europa League Group B Athletic Bilbao 2-0 Braga
Don't know! Lol. If it is it is 100% coincidental - not that I would be ashamed of using someone elses tactic! When I first got fm 12 I went my beloved Newcastle and played the same formation but with 2 defensive midfielders (Cabaye/Tiote) and then after a season or two I pushed the CM's further up. I have just stuck with it since as it seems to work.
ABOUT TO START A NIGHTSHIFT AT WORK SO WILL HAVE A BIG UPDATE AFTER THIS ONE
Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona
Barcelona win Club World Cup
Another very good month. Lots of goals scored and the only disappointment being my backup side losing away in the Ukraine. Having topped the group I draw German side Hannover in the next round of the Europa League.
Mallorca 0-4 Athletic Bilbao
Amorebieta, Llorente, Herrera, San Jose (pen)
Athletic Bilbao 4-3 Racing Santander Mainz (og), Llorente, San Jose 2(1pen) Europa League Group B Karpaty Lviv 2-1 Athletic Bilbao Toquero
Athletic Bilbao 3-0 Real Zaragoza Muniain 3(1pen) Copa del Rey 5th Round 1st Leg Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Espanyol Susaeta