Benevento have made the worst ever start to a season by a team from Europe’s top five leagues after they were condemned to a 13th straight defeat in the cruellest of circumstances by Sassuolo. The newcomers in the Serie A had lost all 12 games, knowing they would be breaking Manchester United’s long-lasting record, set 87 years ago in the 1930/1931 season. Benevento were minutes away of stopping their losing streak against Sassuolo, before Sassuolo’s Federico Peluso 94th minute header consigned them to the record books.
With this negative record in mind, Benevento could be one of the more challenging clubs in Football Manager 2018. That is why we have written an article, giving you 6 tasks to complete when taking over. The tips we give in this article will give you a good head start for playing a successful game with the Italian minnows.
1. TERMINATE CATALDI LOAN
One of the first things you would want to do is terminating the Danilo Cataldi loan. The Italian midfielder has joined on a season-long loan from Lazio, hoping to get some playtime at Benevento. You are supposed to pay 100% of his wages during his stay at the club. Cataldi earns a wage of 47k a week, which is around 3 times more than the average player at the club. For a club like Benevento, a 47k weekly wage is way too much. Now, Cataldi is a decent player, but not the player that will save you from relegation. If you want to get some extra space to invest in the team, terminating his loan would be a good thing to start with.
2. SIGN A NEW LEFT FULL-BACK
Something that caught our eye when looking at the Benevento squad, was the lack of left full-backs. You have one natural full-back at your disposal and he isn’t good enough to feature 38 games in the Serie A. We advise you to roam the free transfer market in Football Manager and try to sign a good left full-back for free. Possible signings could be Naser Aliji (Albanian) and Leonel Bontempo (Argentinian, but EU national). We tried to sign them and both players are willing to sign a 2-year contract.
3. EXPAND THE BACKROOM STAFF
Whilst money could be used elsewhere, it is advised to pick up some new fresh faces for your backroom staff. A fitness coach is always a good addition to the team, as he will get your players fitter. Also signing a new physio means injured players will recover faster, meaning you can cope with a smaller squad during the season. You have space to sign a Head Scout and a scout. Make sure you fill both spaces. There are also spaces for a Data Analyst and some youth coaches, but these are not that necessary for Benevento in the first season.
4. FOCUS ON YOUR OWN YOUTH
Benevento has a surprisingly young squad for a Serie A team. They have the 5th youngest team with an average age of 25.7. The club has some decent young players in the squad, with Vittorio Parigini, Bright Gyamfi and Amato Ciciretti being the best picks. You should always play these guys, even if some of the loan players have a higher potential. They all have long-term contracts at the club and if you want to build something, these guys will be there for some years to come.
5. LOOK TO THE FUTURE
While you are probably looking at Benevento’s first season in the Serie A (which will be difficult enough), you should also pay attention to the not so distant future. Reason? You have 12 loan players in your team. These guys will play one season for you and then return to their own club, while you stay behind with an empty team. This task is actually a follow-up to task #3, where we advise you to sign scouts. Use these new scouts to roam the Italian market, looking for interesting players in the Serie B for you to sign. Your wage budget may be tight, but there are enough players you can sign after the first season has ended.
6. PLAY DEFENSIVE AND CHERISH EVERY POINT
The thing is; you are tipped as the first team to go down in the 2017/2018 season. So, basically you are already screwed before the season kicks-off. For Benevento, every point counts. Don’t be that Pep Guardiola wannabe and try to play tiki-taka football. Your players are crap compared to the others in the league, so make sure to play realistic. Play the Italian style to fight for every point you can win. Cherish every point during the season and just hope those points will be enough at the end of the season. Looking at the last 5 seasons in Italy, a total of 36/37 points should be enough to stay clear of relegation.
If this article has encouraged you to start a Football Manager 2018 save with Benevento, then we wish you good luck in your first season. If you manage to avoid relegation or even keep your job, you have completed a very difficult task in the game.