After an unbelievable start to life in the second tier of Turkish football surely our good form had to end, right?
Nope! Our good form continued! I’ll be honest, even I’m not sure how this is happening. We played some friendlies during December to keep the fitness and morale up while the World Cup (which Croatia won) was going on.
January Transfer Window:
We will start with the transfers out…
Ozan Sol who was a key player for us last season but struggled to get in the side this year left us, he wanted first team football which I just couldn’t guarantee him. Our top goalscorer Mustafa Tahir came to me and said that he was going to leave on a free at the end of the season so I decided to sell him now, he was part of a player exchange. Then youngsters Azat and Eray who were never going to make it at the club also left us.
Now for the transfers in…
Yilmaz comes in as a back up striker, Muhammed Tetik is a goalkeeper who has a lot of potential, he joins us as part of the swap deal for Mustafa Tahir. Ferhat Oktay is a 16 year old newgen who we picked up for free, hopefully we can develop him and sell him on in the future. Dogukan also joins on loan as a back up central defence. Rahmi Kaya is a young central defender who I can see being with us for a long time, I think he could be what we have been looking for in defence. Mücahit Akçay is our replacement for Mustafa Tahir. He is well versed at this level and at 24 could still develop further.
Going into the second half of the season, this is how we lined up:
Hamza had really found some good form and took the place of Zelalem in the starting eleven. Fatih at RWB is a youngster on loan from Fenerbahce who had a bad time with injuries at the start of the season so only came into the team in January.
Our golden generation came through, I was pleasantly surprised to see our HOYD may have been right, there are some good youngsters here. Time will tell but maybe we can develop some of these players.
The data shows that our attack was in fine form throughout the season, the lack of dribbles pleases me as it shows we are sticking to our passing philosophy.
Please excuse my bad editing but this (image below) is a very common goal that we scored.. the Wing Backs stretch the pitch offering us an outlet to potentially get a cross in. Also, I found it confuses the opponents Full Backs as they don’t know whether to stay wide and mark the Wing Backs or sit narrower and stop the central players. The Mezzala (in this case Irfan) is our where our main creative spark comes from.
The DLF is key here as he drops back into the half space between the midfield and attack, dragging the defenders with him. Creating space in behind for the Poacher to latch onto the pass. The Central Midfielder on Attack often makes late runs into the box while the Central Midfielder on Defends holds his position and is ready to nullify any counter attack.
The high press from last season is still effective, this is a big reason why we are so sound defensively, we simply stop teams before they even have chance to create a serious threat.
So the final third of the season looked like this:
You may have noticed I haven’t posted the league table, well… that’s because this happened:
We guaranteed our promotion with two games to go, on the final day we went into the game knowing either a draw or a win would give us the title. We did it! What a season!
We were relegation favourites, predicted to finish 18th and we only went and won the league! I can’t believe it.
Looking ahead to life in the Super Lig is scary. We will be going up against big teams like Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, Besiktas, Trabzonspor… the list goes on.
I never expected back to back promotions so I have no real expectations for next season, let’s just try not to get relegated.