#5 – 2019/20 Review; Case Studies, Top Developers and Youth Intake

Welcome to the latest instalment in what is the ‘The Kids From Montbéliard’-series where I focus on developing players and write about how I go about training and developing them.


I’ve been a bit quiet for the last few weeks because I was thinking about how I could improve my content and how that would fit best with my playstyle. I do play quite fast once I’ve set everything up, especially when I’m doing a save like this. The results aren’t most important to me, so I skip quite a few easy games and might holiday between matches. I want to see developing results and the best way to see the progression is to check after every season.

After six months, there won’t be a lot of attribute changes. Off course, you can see if your players are on the right track by checking their training and match ratings, but in the end, I – and you as a reader – want to see some proper attribute changes. I’ve got some very promising 17-year-olds at the club, and I can’t wait until they’re around the age of 22/23 to see how good they turn out to be. I would like to get there as fast as possible and stopping every six months in-game to write about what happened isn’t exactly helping to achieve that.

Another reason to change things up a bit is my (mental) health. Slowing a bit down (I started with a post every week) will help me to have more time to write more quality posts because sometimes I just don’t feel like playing Football Manager let alone write about it. And sometimes when I do want to write, I get that writers’ block.

I’ve published four parts before publishing this post but wrote these first four posts without having a plan in place. I was writing for the fun of writing and hadn’t thought about what would be the best way to lay down my posts, for example. To be fair, I had not expected the response I’m getting and didn’t know so many people would read my blogs. In return, I want to improve my content to enhance the reading experience for you as a reader! However, to do this, I need to stay interested and invested in my save, and therefore I need to make sure that it stays pleasant for myself too.

Because of all the above, I’ve decided to publish lesser posts. I hope and aim to publish fortnightly going forward and will write yearly updates. I’m not exactly sure about what these posts are going to look like, but I do know I want to keep writing about player development.

I’m checking and changing training regimes every three months in-game and will write about these changes and progression but will cover them in one post for the whole season. I might write about some different things between these posts if I feel like I need to address these things in a single post. On occasion, I might even write about how I approach things in a more guide-ish manner.

This post should’ve been a case studies post, talking about their progression in the first six months, but I will write about the second half of the 2019/20 season and the development of our case studies in the first year instead.


In the previous post, you’ve seen how we’ve been performing during the first half of the 2019/20 season. We’re on top of the table, have reached the 11th round of the Coupe de France and were knocked out of the Coupe de la Ligue by Ligue 1 side FC Nantes in the quarter-final. So far, we are having an excellent season!

If you follow me on Twitter, you could have known that I’ve finished the first season by now. Today, we are going to take a look at how the second half of the 2019/20 season went, and I can already tell you that we’ve had a marvellous first year in charge of FC Sochaux. After talking results, we’re going to look at how our players have been progressing in the first year and what I did to achieve these development results!

I’ve written about my ‘case studies’ in my third post on the blog, which you can read here. I’ve chosen to follow four players in the first season and write about their development. How do I train them, and how are they progressing? We will see later on, let’s first have a look at what we’ve achieved in our first season at FC Sochaux!


Last time, we reached the 11th round of the French Cup, so it was almost inevitable that we’d come up against Ligue 1 sides going forward. We were up against Rennes in the 11th round, which was a surprisingly exciting match. We conceded in the 65th minute while Privat already missed a penalty in the extra time of the first half. He made up for the missed penalty in the very last minute of the game. He scored the 1-1 in the 95th(!) minute. Rennes then scored an own goal in extra time, which saw us progress to the quarter-finals!

Next up was Bordeaux in a very similar game as against Rennes. These games were very exciting as it took us a very long time to find the net. It was Privat again who scored the winner in the 89th minute. By now we’ve beaten three Ligue 1 teams during the season. We already defeated Lille in the Coupe de la Ligue, and now we’ve beaten Rennes and Bordeaux as well, lovely!

I had expected to end our French Cup run in the semi-final because we were up against AS Monaco, but life got even prettier! Monaco had obviously underestimated us by setting up a B-team. We managed to dominate the game and win 1-0, that’s four Ligue 1 teams beaten.

The final was played against Ligue 1 runner-up Lyon who really wanted to win the cup as they played their best XI. They were just too good for us. We lost the final 2-0, but I’m very proud of our cup run as a Ligue 2 side!


Halfway through the season, we were on top of the table while the board expected us to reach a mid-table finish and the media prognosis was a 13th place finish. In the last update, we ended with a 1-0 loss against Troyes ending our 18 matches unbeaten run in the league. 

We managed to turn that around with a 3-1 win over FC Lorient followed up by a 2-2 draw against AC Ajaccio. We won the next four games before losing again against FC Paris. After the loss against Paris, we managed another unbeaten run of seven games, before we lost to Valenciennes. 

Our win in the next game over Nancy meant we where crowned champions of the Ligue 2, gaining promotion to the Ligue 1! I decided to only play youngsters during the remainder of the league. That resulted in another loss against US Orléans, a win over Troyes and we ended the season with a draw against Rodez Aveyron. 

We are the champions!

We had an amazing season results-wise! 

  • French Cup final

Beating three Ligue 1 sides in the process, and another in the Coupe de la Ligue (Rennes, Bordeaux, AS Monaco, Lille)

  • Champions of Ligue 2

While the board expected a mid-table finish


Let’s have a quick look at who our top performers where:

  • Martin Francois
    Highest average rating with more than 10 games (7.36)
  • Melvin Sitti and Byan Lasme
    Most goals scored in all competitions (12)
  • Salem M’Bakata
    Most assists in all competitions (12)
  • Thomas Toure
    Most chances created in all competitions (18)
  • Thomas Toure and Ousseynou Thioune
    Most player of the match awards in all competitions (6)
  • Jason Pendant
    Best tackler (3.5 tackles p/game – 91% success ratio – 8 key tackles)
  • Maxence Lacroix
    3.38 interceptions per game


Melvin Sitti had a solid first year under my wings. He had a bit of a rough start because of injury in June. He was tackled hard in a game against Montepellier and was out for four weeks. The injury interrupted his pre-season and hampered his development a bit. He stayed on the side for about five weeks and needed another two weeks to build his match sharpness. 

Albeit the injury, he has improved. I wanted Sitti to develop his physical attributes and work on some of the mentals as well. Therefore, I’ve trained him as a box-to-box midfielder with an additional focus on agility and balance. He started to develop during August, so I didn’t touch his training because everything was looking fine. 

Melvin Sitti Progress – Stalement in October

In October he started to plateau and messages were coming in of Sitti complaining about his training regime. He thought that his individual focus wasn’t beneficial for his progression, so it was time to change things. I’ve put him on deep-lying playmaker on support mid-October with additional focus on shooting. Sitti is playing as the mezalla in our system, and therefore I found it beneficial to work on his finishing and long-shots. From November onwards, he started to improve again. 

The last few months he’s declining a little bit, but overall he has improved and became a better player! I devote his decline to needing match experience at a higher level, which he will get next season in Ligue 1.

Melvin played in 38 matches during the the season, in which of eleven he came from the bench. He scored twelve goals and assisting another five. He was Man of the Match in three games and averaging a 7.09 rating. A pass completion ratio of 90% and a tackle win ratio of 91% makes him a good performer. As I said, Sitti has been doing pretty well during the first season.

As seen on the screenshots below, Sitti improved his dribbling, marking, technique, decisions, off the ball, acceleration and agility all by one point. Yes, his development could’ve been better, but as aforementioned, he had a bit of a rough start to the season. And, I haven’t picked players to only show off my best progressing players. Sometimes it’s good to show disappointing results too. I still believe Sitti can become a good Ligue 1 player. However, I had hoped that he would’ve progressed more by this time. 

Salem M’Bakata had a good first season. I rotated him a lot with Paye for the right wing-back role. M’Bakata has a bit of the same issues as Sitti, needing match experience at a higher level which he will get next season, and I hope that Ligue 1 experience will help him grow. He needs to because he’s now 22-years-old and didn’t improve much during this year.

I trained M’Bakata as a wing-back on support and didn’t touch his regimes for the whole year. He started with an additional focus on strength, but I removed that after three months as it wasn’t getting any results. I expected him to improve much more than he did which is a bit of a disappointment.

Salem M’Bakata progress – Ups & Downs

Salem M’Bakata played 27 games for us in which of two he came from the bench. He scored one goal, but was our top assister with 12 assists on his name! He won player of the match in two games, averaging a rating of 7.21. He has 3.19 tackles per game with a ratio of 92% and notes 9 key tackles. So, M’Bakata is performing on the pitch but needs to do more in training!

Technically, M’Bakata is still the same player as at the start of the season. He only improved his decisions, determination, agility and stamina. This isn’t good enough development-wise, and I’m very disappointed with his progress. He really needs to step up his game, otherwise, he’s going to lose his place to a 16-year-old Nolan Galves waiting for his chance in the U19’s.

Skelly Alvero had a quiet first year at FCSM. He did play two official games for the first team but was mainly part of FC Sochaux B. He didn’t play many games but didn’t need to anyway. Next season he needs match experience because he’s now 18-years-old. He has trained very well and made some progress.

Alvero is the typical target man type of striker. I’ve trained him as an advanced forward with additional focus on his quickness for the whole year. I believe a tall and strong striker with pace can be very lethal. That’s the reason why I’ve focused on his quickness so much.

Skelly Alvero progress – Developing well

I can’t show a proper screenshot of his seasonal stats because he was pending between the two teams. He played one game in the French Cup where he assisted a goal and noted a rating of 6.9. The other game he played in the first team was in the Coupe de la Ligue. He participated in another 16 games in the B-team, scoring five goals and another assist, averaging a rating of 7.49.

As I said, Alvero had a quiet season, but it was intentional. He wasn’t ready to play much in the first team, and there are other promising strikers in the youth teams. He’s still very young and will have enough chances to gain match experience. I’m considering loaning him out for the next season because of the lack of game time I can give him next year.

Alvero developed a bit more than Sitti and M’Bakata. He improved on dribbling, finishing, first touch, heading, long-shots, penalty taking, technique, composure, decisions, flair, off the ball, work-rate, acceleration, agility, balance, jumping reach, pace, stamina and strength. All by one point, so I’m very happy with his progress without a lot of game time. I’m looking forward to seeing him improve more when he gets some matches under his belt. 

Sidy Diagne has performed well in our first season too. Just like Alvero, he was pending between the two teams but had more chances than Skelly. Diagne will become a top Ligue 1 player if you ask me, and I’m excited about next season when he will play some games in Ligue 1. I expect some explosive improvements from him next season. He’s still only 18-years-old, so match experience is going to count now, and Ligue 1 is a quite high level in comparison to where he’s at currently.

His training regimes rotated quite a bit. He started training as a ball-playing defender on defend, with an additional focus on agility and balance during the first three months. In October I changed his additional focus to quickness and reverted to defensive positioning in February.

Sidy Diagne progress – Step by Step

Diagne played three cup games for our first team. He created two goals and had an average rating of 7.47 in these games. He played another three games in Ligue 2, averaging a rating of 6.83. He played 18 games for the second team, averaging 7.59. This tells me he’s too good for the second team but isn’t yet good enough to be a regular starter in the first team. However, I’m willing to play him more next season.

Diagne made quite some progress to be fair. He has improved on almost every attribute by one point, while some grew by two points! He improved on corners, dribbling, finishing, first touch, free-kick taking, long-shots, passing, penalty taking, tackling, technique, anticipation, concentration, decisions, determination, flair, off the ball, vision, work-rate, acceleration, balance, jumping reach and stamina by one point. Positioning, agility, pace and strength went up by two points!


Sidy Diagne’s progressions looked very good, but some players even developed better than him! I’m not going into too much detail here, but wanted to give a quick overview of our top developers!

Jessim Pellissard played five games in the first team averaging a rating of 6.68, scoring one assist. Another 17 games in the B-team, scoring 17 goals, averaging a rating of 8.06. Pellissard improved on all attributes except aggression, bravery, flair and leadership. He improved by two points on passing, technique, anticipation, decisions, off the ball, vision, stamina and strength. He grew by three points on balance!

I’m going to keep an close eye on him the next season, and will update on him again. He’s one of the new case studies!

Jessim Pellissard progress – One of the best

Alan Virginius was labelled as the most prominent prospect of FC Sochaux before the youth intake took place. Alan played three cup games for the first team scoring four goals, assisting another one, and winning one player of the match award. He played one game in Ligue 2. He had another 24 games for FCSM B, scoring 11 goals and assisting six times. Virginius proved to be one of our most promising prospects.

Virginius improved on every attribute except corners, tackling, aggression, bravery, jumping reach and natural fitness. He improved by two points on composure, acceleration, agility, balance, stamina, pace and strength. 

Last but not least, Rassoul Ndiaye. Ndiaye played 11 games for the first team in which of four he came from the bench. With a pass completion ratio of 90% and a tackle won ratio of 100%, he had a pretty solid season for a 17/18-year old. He had another 17 games in the B-team, scoring seven goals and noting four assists with an average rating of 7.60. 

Rassoul has improved on every attribute except corners, tackling, aggression, bravery, leadership, teamwork, jumping reach and natural fitness. He improved by two points on passing, acceleration, agility, balance and pace.  

Rassoul Ndiaye progress – Solid


Youth intake 2020 – Golden generation?!

We had an unbelievable first youth intake and can certainly speak of a golden generation! We have six(!) five-star potential players, and another two four-and-a-half-star potential players. I know, don’t look at the stars too much, but they look promising indeed! Especially Cees van de Kreeke, Ludovic Voteau and Jean Boisson.


Well, next season will be an enormous challenge. I expect to fight against relegation from Ligue 1 but hope to end above the relegation zone. We have beaten some Ligue 1 teams during our cup runs which gives some confidence, but doing that for a whole season is a different story.

There was already a lot of interest in some of our players, but I hope to keep the boys together! We need to if we want to survive. I don’t expect to win anything next season as winning silverware isn’t the aim of this save.

I do expect to see some explosive progression during the next season because a lot of players will play at a very high level in comparison to their current ability. Guys like Ndiaye, Sitti, Virginius, M’bakata, Diagne, Lasme and Francois will get a lot of match experience at a higher level than before!

I can’t wait to get the season started in Ligue 1!

Other posts in The Kids from Montbéliard

#1 – The Kids from Montbéliard (Introduction)
#2 – Key Players & Bright Prospects – The Kids from Montbéliard
#3 – Case Studies – The Kids from Montbéliard
#4 – 2019/20 First Half Review – The Kids from Montbéliard


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