FC TWENTE: ROAD TO THE TOP

  1. FC TWENTE: ROAD TO THE TOP

    CHAPTER ONE

    I always had a love for football. It had become prominent when I was 10 and I was picked by one of the biggest clubs in Northern Ireland, Linfield. I spent three years there before embarking on a journeyman career leading me through seventeen clubs in seventeen different countries.

    Throughout the early stages of my career, I toured western Europe playing for teams such as Gent in Belgium, Guingamp in France and Boavista in Portugal. My most prominent club was Sampdoria in Italy, at a time when the Serie A was considered by many as the strongest league in the world, due to the success of the two Milan clubs, AC and Inter and Juventus.

    However, as time passed by and I entered into my 30s, I travelled to much more exotic destinations to continue my dream, playing in Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand before ending my career in the United States with the Colorado Rapids.

    After I had retired aged 36 in 2007, I applied for my FA coaching badges in Scotland. After securing my basic qualifications, I was hired as the manager of League of Ireland side Dundalk, leading them to fifth in the table. I was sacked mid-season the following year, at the foot of the table.

    My next job, as interim manager of Scottish club Dunfermline saw me win seven of my ten games in charge. This gave me much-needed confidence to manage in a different league. I was hired as manager of Belgian side Lokeren, but was sacked three months in when the club had only once in their last ten games.

    After that latest debacle, I joined the coaching staff under Steve McClaren at Dutch club Twente, where the club won its first Dutch league title in its history. I left with McCaren to Wolfsburg, but quit three months in the role as assistant coach, and took a two-and-a-half year break from coaching, as I invested my money and my time to securing my advanced coaching badge.

    I travelled to some of the best footballing cities in the world to study new tactics and how to find the best way to develop my new one. By December 2013, I was ready to return to management. Within months, I had received a call from the sporting director of my old club, Twente who wanted to talk to me about their latest job vacancy.

    I agreed a four-year contract starting from July 2014, with an interim manager in place until the end of that current Eredivisie season. My first few months at the club was mainly to improve our team and to play the pre-season friendlies, in preparation for the new season.

    I made four signings for the new season.

    IVAN SANTINI: £3 MILLION FROM KORTRIJK (3.5 MILLION EUROS)

    A Croatian striker with lethal finishing, great movement and immense strength, this player is a perfect player that fits my playing style that I want to implement into the squad

    THOMAS PHIBEL: FREE AGENT (COULD RISE TO 375,000 EUROS)

    French centre-back signed on a free. Played for Antwerp in Belgium and Widzew Lodz in Poland, before signing for us in the summer. Fee could rise to 375,000 euros.

    CESAR PEIXOTO: FREE AGENT

    Veteran Portuguese left-back, played for Braga, Benfica, and Porto. Great back-up for Dico Koppers, a young fledgling full-back. Nice all-round stats.

    HANY MUKTHAR: LOAN FROM BAYERN MUNCHEN

    Posses great dribbling, passing and technique and has all the markings to become a quality playmaker, but his brilliant creativity could be wasted if he is not given enough time at Bayern.





    The four signings provided us with a strong squad, heading into our first Eredivisie match against Willem II on
    the 10th of August 2014.

    Pre-season friendlies were fantastic, the team scored eleven goals in three matches and won all pre-season friendlies, with Torgeir Borven scoring six goals in those three games.

    To be honest, though, the three pre-season friendlies were against mediocre opposition (FC Emmen, FC Eindhoven and JVC, to be precise!). We needed a strong test to find out the full potential of our squad.

  2. 2014-15: AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER

    Won 4-3 against Willem II (home) Eredivisie Mukthar 5, Bjelland 31, Ziyech 39, Gutierrez 41
    Lost 3-2 against Excelsior (away) Eredivisie Santini 12, Borven 33
    Won 4-1 against Split (home) Europa League Play-off 1st Leg Gutierrez 5, Santini 10, 17, Borven 38
    Lost 2-1 against AZ Alkmaar (home) Eredivisie Zschusschen 17
    Lost 2-0 against Split (away) Europa League Play-off 2nd leg N/A
    Won 2-1 against PSV (away) Eredivisie Santini 58, 77
    Won 3-1 against Heerenveen (home) Eredivisie Santini 4, Borven 46, Phibel 56
    Won 3-1 against RoPS (home) Europa League Group Stage Borven 30, Santini 69, Mukthar 80
    Lost 2-0 against Groningen (away) Eredivisie N/A
    Won 1-1 (aet) on penalties against VVV-Venlo (away) Dutch Cup Santini 48
    Drew 2-2 against Heracles (home) Eredivisie Borven 49, Santini 51

    Eredivisie: 10 points from seven games
    Dutch Cup: Third Round
    Europa League: Group Stage: three points from one game

    My reflection of the first two months of my Twente managerial reign was disappointing, having dropped eleven points in the league, narrowly making it through to the third round of the Dutch Cup and scraping through a tense Europa League play-off against Split, which realistically we should have comfortably left behind in a trail of dust.

    My overview is that we create chances well, but fail to take them and we leave ourselves open to counter-attacks, due to poor defensive organisation and the inability to retain possession. One of the few positives to take is that Ivan Santini, my big-money signing for 3.5 million euros was adapting well to the Eredivisie, having played for Kortrijk in neighbouring Belgium, netting 15 goals in 34 games last season for the Pro League outfit.

    He had scored nine goals in the eleven games we played through August and September, and had formed a formidable partnership with Norwegian poacher Torgeir Borven.

    We had also made a winning start to our Europa League group stage, in a group containing former French champions Lyon, Austrian outfit Rapid Vienna and Finnish minnows RoPS.

    Out of the eleven games we played, we won six, lost four and drew one. Three of the six wins were in the league, two in the Europa League and one in the Dutch Cup. Three of the four losses occurred in the league, one occurred in the Europa League, whereas the only drew we had was in the league.

  3. 2014-15: OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER

    Won 2-1 against Rapid Vienna (away) David 37, Santini 51
    Lost 3-2 against Vitesse (away) Castaignos 18, 27
    Won 5-2 against GA Eagles (away) Santini 5, 21 Borven 16 Castaignos 73 Shadrach 81
    Drew 0-0 against Lyon (away)
    Lost 1-0 against Dordrecht (away)
    Lost 1-0 against ADO Den Haag (away)
    Won 1-0 against NAC Breda (home) Santini 89
    Won 3-2 against RoPS (away) Borven 29 Castaignos 33, 53
    Lost 2-1 against Cambuur (away) Zschusschen 28
    Won 2-1 against Feyenoord (home) Borven 84 Zschusschen 86
    Drew 2-2 against ADO Den Haag (home) Borven 65, Ziyech 73
    Lost 2-0 against Zwolle (away)
    Drew 0-0 against Utrecht (home)

    Eredivisie: 21 points from sixteen matches
    Dutch Cup: Knocked out of Third Round by ADO Den Haag
    Europa League: Ten points from four games

    A very disappointing and torrid few months, suffering terribly in the league and being dumped out of the Dutch Cup. However, our team's success in the Europa League brings hope to a diminishing season. One of our low points was losing 1-0 to Dordrecht, minnows in the Dutch league.

    However, we did steal three late points against Feyenoord with two late goals in the last ten minutes, and our attacking trio: Luc Castaignos, Ivan Santini and Torgeir Borven was banging in the goals.

  4. 2014-15: DECEMBER AND JANUARY

    I have decided to analyze this differently from the previous two reviews, you'll probably see the difference anyway!

    Our first match of December was a Europa League tie against Rapid Vienna. We had been doing well in the Europa League and had high spirits, which continued as we won 3-2 against Vienna in an edgy tie at home, Ivan Santini scoring twice and Hakim Ziyech bagging one.

    Then, we managed to hold Ajax to a draw at the Amsterdam Arena, despite being battered for the entire game. We were lucky when Felicitano Zschusschen, a fledgling youth player scored to give us a short-lived lead, which expired seven minutes later when Nicolai Boilesen equalized.

    Our spirits seemed to change in the league as we trumped Willem II 4-0 away from home with a dominating performance. Gutierrez, Bjelland, Santini and Borven were the goalscorers. Our Europa League campaign ended with an unfortunate 2-1 loss to Lyon, as Borven missed a penalty and a late equalizer from Santini was disallowed. Benzia had given Lyon the lead, before Santini equalized before Umtiti headed home 12 minutes from time.

    Our disappointment in the league returned when two late goals from Excelsior blew away a 2-1 lead, and we dropped three points. Ziyech had given us the lead, before Stolte equalized just before half-time. Our lead was restored when Gutierrez scored soon after kick-off, but a brace from Luigi Bruins in the last twenty minutes condemned us to yet another defeat.

    However, it seemed our season might be have been slightly revived when we took a precious away win at AZ Alkmaar, with Borven and Santini scoring for us to secure a 2-0 lead.

    However, we lost at home to leaders PSV from a Virgil Misidjan strike. Although PSV were reduced to 10 men eight minutes from time, it was too little, too late as speculation over my future continued.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Eredivisie: 28 points from 21 games
    Europa League: Qualified to Second Round vs. Galatasaray
    Best player: Ivan Santini
    Manager Status: Very Mad Could be Sacked!!!!!

  5. I was angry, frustrated, the team had let me down once again. We had been held 0-0 by Heerenveen away from home. It was a nightmare. As I lumbered to my post-match press-conference, I was trembling with anger. We had played poorly and it was thanks to our goalkeeper, that we managed to keep a clean sheet.

    Our midfield lacked steel, failed to retain possession, there was a lack of forward runs and moves broke down in the final third far too often. It was a poor performance and one that I would not let off lightly.

    "So, Dylan, a goalless draw against Heerenveen. What are your thoughts of the match?"

    "Disappointing. Disappointing. I expect more from this team. What angered me was the way the midfield played. They were actual sh*t, actual sh*t. I don't care if I'm swearing, that's what happens if you have eleven arseholes in your team, who don't give a flying f**k any more. If I get fired, then so be it. But those imbeciles that call themselves "professional footballers" are a f**king joke. Should be ashamed of themselves. Ashamed."

    At that moment, I stormed out of the press conference. I was so angry I didn't reflect on my words until I returned to my home, when I realized I had gone too far. Immediately, I phoned the Twente sporting director and apologized for my actions. However, he had asked me to attend a meeting with the board.

    This was it. This was the dream over. I had spent years devoting my time to this and now it had all gone to sh*t. First thing in the morning, after training with the team, I attended the meeting. The owners, the chairman, a representative from the fans' club and the sporting director were all present.

    I sat down with my assistant manager, nervous as hell. We discussed the team's recent performances and how the team was coping, but as soon as talk turned to my future at the club, I squirmed in my seat.

    "Dylan, we must admit that your performance as manager has been far from satisfactory. But we understand that it is difficult to adapt to a new country. Therefore we will you give you more time and your job is safe until the end of the season. However, these results cannot continue."

    There was a unanimous agreement across the table and they had decided I was the right man for the job. This gave me new-found confidence. The next match ended in a 3-1 victory at home to Groningen, a team we had lost 2-0 earlier on in the season.

    Our Europa League second round first leg was a stunning 4-1 victory over Turkish giants Galatasaray at home. I was finally repaying the board's faith in me. Then a 3-0 victory to Heracles in the league proved that we had hit our prime.

    We did lose 2-0 in the return leg at Turkey, but we qualified anyway and we were to face David Moyes' Real Sociedad in the round of 16. A 4-1 win over Vitesse, and two 1-1 draws against Feyenoord and Go Ahead Eagles saw us unbeaten for five matches.

    We drew 1-1 in Spain in the first leg of the tie, a tie which was incredibly tense and one that we were lucky to escape with a draw. A 2-1 win over Dordrecht came prior to a 2-1 loss at home in the return leg against Sociedad, having had two goals contentiously disallowed. But even so, I congratulated Moyes as Sociedad were indeed worthy winners.

    Our Europa League exit meant we could concentrate fully on the league, and we did so. Our European hangover came as we lost 3-1 to NAC Breda in a disappointing result, but we won our last five matches in the league, including drubbing Ajax 5-1 at home, by far the best performance of the season.

    We had finished 5th in the league, a point behind 3rd and 4th, but miles behind Ajax and PSV at the summit. We had scored 67 goals in the league and conceded 44, with a positive goal difference of 23. We narrowly dodged the European spot play-offs.

    Meanwhile, PSV won the league comfortably, seven points clear of Ajax. Vitesse were third, Feyernoord fourth and Twente fifth. Heerenveen finished sixth and won the play-offs to qualify for Europe. Whereas, Dordrecht impressed finishing 13th. Meanwhile, Go Ahead Eagles were relegated and Cambuur and NAC Breda were condemned to the relegation play-offs.

    Meanwhile, NEC Breda were promoted to the Eredivisie, winning automatic promotion from the second tier. Meanwhile, Santini had won Eredivisie Player of the Year, whereas Phillip Cocu, manager of PSV won the Manager of the Year.

    Zwolle's Tomas Necid, on loan from CSKA Moscow was top scorer, bagging 27 goals in 32 games. Santini was second with 24 goals.

    Felipe Gutierrez and Torgeir Borven were our key assist makers, with a combined total of 23 assists between them, Gutierrez with 12, Borven with 11.

    Twente's fans voted Santini as fans' player of the year, just ahead of Felipe Gutierrez in a close second whereas I was congratulated by the board and the fans club for the incredible turnaround that we had experienced in the closing months of the season.

    Now, I could focus to a long relaxing break before returning to Twente for a second season. Next year, I want to make history.

  6. Man, try putting some screenshots, you will attract more attention

  7. Will do. Thanks a lot for the advice!



  8. My tactic I use for Twente. I will show my team instructions and notable key players.




  9. SECOND SEASON TRANSFERS 2015-16

    ZELAO

    A ball-playing defender with fantastic aerial ability, but is only used for back-up. He is also in his early thirties and could be useful to coach our younger centre-backs coming into the squad.
    TIAGO

    A central midfielder with lots of experience, but only as a back-up if the worst case scenario arrives.

    MIKEL ARTETA

    Arteta is probably the only free agent I signed that seems to have a chance with competing with Eghan Shadrach in the centre-midfield. Still a great passer with great vision and technique, Mikel Arteta has the perfect traits of an advanced playmaker.

    RAFAEL VAN DER VAART

    Another back-up spot for the centre-attacking midfield spot. Poor signing. Way past his prime. Probably will be released at the end of his contract.

    LUIS PEDRO CAVANDA

    Signed for 5 million euros from Lazio, Cavanda is a fantastic right-back who possses great pace, stamina and strength and can also be utilised as a wide midfield, and can often drop back into centre-back. A versatile, quick and important player for the team. Hopefully, he can be a superb signing

    ALBERT RIERA

    Slots perfectly into the left-back position, he still has some quality left in him from his Liverpool days and he is a great all-round player who is also versatile and can drop into midfield.

    KASPER KUSK

    The only out of the transfer window, a great talent but one that couldn't be utilised in the formation that I wanted him in. Sold him to Lyon for 4.5 million euros. A great success.

    We had built on the confidence of our late season push last season and we had decided to aim for the title. We had a budget of 9.5 million euros and we spent wisely.

    I had confidence that we could finally score goals, and we had a big chance of qualifying for the Champions League, winning the league in the process.





  10. 2015/16 SEASON REVIEW

    What a difference two years can make. After a torrid first season which I managed to scrape through by the skins on my neck, I came prepared for the second season. We were still in Europe, I felt overly confident about the league, and I couldn't care less about the cup.

    Now, to start off the season review. The league. We absolutely smashed it. As you can probably see in the post above, I finished twelve points clear of last year's winners PSV and Ajax finished fourth, some distance behind. Feyenoord entered the European play-offs and lost. Willem II, a founding member of the Eredivisie was relegated.

    Ivan Santini finished top scorer with 37 goals in the league, and the team scored 89 goals in 34 league games. It had been a wonderful season. We now enter the Champions League group stages next year, but our confidence will not be high as we were dumped out of the first knockout round of the Europa League by Anderlecht, who smashed us in both legs quite convincingly.

    The Dutch Cup was largely successful, compared to last year and we reached the final, only to lose to PSV 2-1. It was unfortunate, but yet we were still over the moon over winning only our second league title in the club's history.

    PLAYER OF THE YEAR

    IVAN SANTINI

    The Croatian was in peak goalscoring form this year, having had a prolific start to his Dutch career last season after joining from Belgian side Kortrijk for £3 million. He had bagged 64 goals in all competitions, 37 of which came in the league. Possibly the main reason that Twente romped so graciously to the league title.

    YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR

    LUC CASTAIGNOS

    The young Dutch international had joined Twente from Internazionale after having a dismal spell in Italy, after having so much promise. However, on his return back to Holland several years ago, he has been a quality talent ever since. Scoring 25 goals in all competitions, 16 of which came in a prolific campaign in the Eredivisie.

    However, Castaignos is set to leave Twente on a free transfer as his contract expires in July 2016, and he is unwilling to sign a new deal. We wish him well in the future.

    BEST SIGNING

    MIKEL ARTETA

    The former Arsenal midfielder settled in brilliantly in the Twente side and scored nine goals. He was not a key starter, but yet even past his prime, he still performs to the best of his ability. Signed on a free, Arteta is an instrumental figure both on and off the pitch.

    BIGGEST FLOP/WORST SIGNING

    JASPER CILLESSEN

    Signed for a club record fee of 7.25 million euros from bitter rivals Ajax, we expected more from the Dutch international. But in 15 games, he conceded 21 goals. Our other goalkeeper, Nick Marsman conceded 37 in 33 games.

    Marsman, in comparison, conceded 16 goals more in 18 more league matches. But credit for Cillessen, for having conceding 1.09 goals per game, compared to Marsman's 1.19 goals per game.

    BREAKOUT STAR

    JESUS CORONA

    The young Mexican international was not in my plans in the first season of my Twente tenure and looked set to leave. But, after a change in formation, Corona was deployed in the centre-attacking-midfield position and scored 11 goals and 15 assists.

    SEASON OVERVIEW

    We have established ourselves as prominent title contenders in the Netherlands, and a team that others from abroad would not take lightly. Several players will now leave the squad to participate in the European Championships, while others will have a nice, relaxing and long summer break before preparing for our title defence the following season.

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