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The Notts County players must have been very disappointed that they did not win the match. However, what Twain said after the match might have made them feel better.

During the post-match press conference, Twain praised Notts County's manager, Tang, also known as Dunn, by saying that he caused him a lot of trouble and it had been very long since he felt this anxious about a game…

That was high praise for Tang. In fact, Twain meant to do that. He wanted to let the Forest fans get used to Tang and slowly accept this future manager. There were people who thought that Tang was not capable or reputable enough. That was not a problem; he was looking for his successor, and it was not a beauty pageant. Tang was definitely capable. After all, Twain himself was "taught" by Tang——he started off by reading the notes left behind by Tang back in the day. Fame? He was not famous at all when he took charge of Forest at the beginning. Since Evan had already given up on his unrealistic dreams of being a "strong team", why would they need to get a world-famous manager as his successor? Besides, world-class managers would not be willing to live in Twain's shadow. These managers were all too proud to accept being compared with Twain all the time.

Furthermore, Tang came from Nottingham Forest. He was familiar with Forest and he had deep feelings for the team.

Taking everything into consideration, Tang was the most suitable successor for Twain, and he was also someone whom the Forest team could depend on for the next few decades.

It was like Moyes, who was not famous either, yet had been managing Everton for so long that he had already become a name that would never be forgotten in the history of the team. In fact, Twain had not been managing Forest for very long. All his stints added up to only 12 years, which was not even top 20 in terms of duration of management among the English football clubs.

If it were not for the fact that Twain was able to win so many trophies, his 12 years of management would not have left much of a mark in the footballing world.

The English managers would have different plans depending on the length of their management. Short-term plans, mid-term plans, and long-term plans. Twain could at most make a mid-term plan, but Forest needed a long-term plan. Nottingham Forest's foundation was still not strong enough. A team's foundation could not be built up just by winning five UEFA Champions League trophies. No number of trophies would be enough. Time was needed for a foundation to be built. If the club could be within the title challengers every season for a period of twenty years, then there would be some foundation for the club. After a hundred years, it would probably be a force to be reckoned with, and it would be able to be among the traditionally strong teams.

Unfortunately, Twain did not have the time to build a foundation for Forest. This was a task for the young and healthy Tang. What he did was build up a glorious history for Forest, a period of history that would become a source of mental strength for the players in the future. It could be said that Twain created mental wealth for the team, while Tang would focus on the material level. The combination of mental and material wealth would lead Forest from strength to strength. It would be unlike the Clough dynasty that faded off after a period of glory as Clough grew old. It was like a shooting star, disappearing after flashing for a moment in the sky.


Twain did not want to see Forest wallowing in the lower divisions after he grew old.

It was easy to attack a country, but harder to defend one. Offense and defense required different kinds of quality. Twain knew that he was not one to defend a dynasty; his impulsive nature was more suitable for attacking. As for defense, someone steadier and calmer would be more suited for it, and Tang would be a suitable choice.

That was why he went to Tang.

This derby match allowed many people who had no idea who Tang was to see his capabilities first-hand. Even a team like Notts County could shine under his leadership. The higher quality Nottingham Forest team would surely do even better.

Twain had not told Evan about his plans yet as he knew that Evan was only thinking about persuading him to stay for a few more years. Even if he were to talk about a successor now, Evan would not think much about it. Twain was not worried that his suggestion would not be taken into consideration. He knew how much influence he had in the club, and his influence became even greater now that he returned to rescue the club when it was in peril. He had always enjoyed massive support from the fans; therefore, as long as he supported the decision, nobody would disagree.

As for people who thought that Tang was not domineering enough? If everyone were like Twain, then the end of the world would be nigh…

It was because of this "selfish motive" that Twain almost didn't mention his victory at all. Other than praising his team for their performance, he kept praising Tang. The Chinese media were ecstatic about it as they could boast about it in their home country to their fans. This time, they would not be labeled as "clickbait", as Twain's words were even more enthusiastic than their headlines!

Tang was almost embarrassed by what Twain was saying and he did his best to stay humble. Yet this humility that he showed became another reason for people to praise him.

And so, this derby that came after 14 years ended in a harmonious atmosphere among everyone.

  ※※※

After the derby match, Twain did not contact Tang. They were both adults and they knew what they needed to do. Tang was still managing Notts County, but Twain was already preparing to guide his successor. Twain acted as though he had nothing to do for the time being, as if he did not continue thinking about a successor.

January was the winter transfer window. It was time for the big clubs to get some reinforcements. It was a time to strengthen areas that were neglected during the summer transfer window or to correct the mistakes made then. However, Nottingham Forest had no intention to shop for reinforcements. Twain knew that he would only stay in the club for half a season more, and Tang would take over completely before the start of the next season. If he was thinking about the long-term and for the good of the team, keeping the squad as it was during the winter transfer window was for the best.

Otherwise, the players that Twain liked might not be suitable for Tang's tactics. Buying them would not only delay the players' progress, but it also would not be helpful for rebuilding the team either.

Chen Jian was the only one that Twain bought as he thought that he would not disrupt Tang's tactics.

However, not buying players did not mean he would not sell any.

With Chen Jian's arrival, there were four players in the center of the midfield. The team did not have any plans to fight on multiple fronts so there was no need for so many people in the same position. Gago was getting old. Even though he was very happy about Twain's return, the Nottingham derby showed him the reality. His impact on the team was getting smaller and smaller. If the boss really did not intend to stay for the next season, there would be no point in him staying too. The new manager would most likely not place much importance on him, and in that case, he might as well return to Argentina and find a team to retire in.

Therefore, Gago talked to Twain alone, hoping to confirm that the boss was only staying for half a season.

Twain told him that he was indeed only staying for half a season, and he'd leave the team after the end of the season. He did not persuade Gago to stay either, as he knew that Gago's departure would be a good thing for the team. Tang would not need to deal with this problem when cleaning up his team.

Even though it might sound heartless, it had to be done if one analyzed the problem objectively.

Gago also thought about this problem, which was why he did not express any displeasure. Instead, he took the initiative to suggest that he would transfer to another club after the end of the season.

Another familiar face was leaving his peripherals, but Twain did not find it as difficult as before. Maybe he had seen too many departures and was getting numb to it. On the other hand, maybe it was because Gago was not really someone who had been with him for very long.

Twain did not persuade Gago to stay when he wanted to leave. However, when another person wanted to leave, Twain wanted to ask him to stay.

Jake Livermore was actually competing with Gago for the attacking midfielder position, even though he would usually be no match for the experienced Gago. He thought that Gago was already getting old so he would slowly become a key player. Little did he know that Twain would get a new player from China playing the same position as he did into the team. The new guy actually managed to play in the Nottingham derby and performed rather well too.

This made him understand that his status in the team had become even lower than before.

Livermore was a smart person. He knew the reason why his status was low was that Twain did not like him. Otherwise, he would not have gotten four players in the attacking midfielder position. A smart person would not use an egg to smash against a rock. To Livermore, he was the egg and Twain was the rock.

A smart person would leave on his own accord. This way, everyone would look good and his reputation would be intact.

Therefore, Livermore had a private chat with Twain as well. He wanted to know whether he was the last choice within the five attacking midfielders.

Of course, Twain would not say, "That's right, you're the worst player out of the bunch in my opinion." Unless he was an idiot or was trying to provoke him deliberately.

In Twain's view, however, Livermore was not useless. He was a very suitable impact substitute at least.

However…

"Boss, I cannot accept being a bench player," Livermore was very direct and frank. Twain liked his attitude. It was nice when people spoke their minds and were not secretly scheming.

"I hope that you'll think about it carefully, Jake. We need strong substitutes too," Twain did not give him any false information, telling him directly that his position in his mind was that of a substitute.

"I'm sorry, Boss. When Fernando and George were the big stars, I was their substitute. Now that Fernando is getting old, another player from China appeared… I'm already 29 years old, Boss, I don't want to end my career as a substitute."

Livermore looked at Twain with a serious expression on his face.

Even though everyone was thinking about their own personal goals, Twain did not dislike it when someone was frank about it. Wanting to advance one's career was not something bad.

Twain's plan for Livermore to be a substitute was simple. In his plans, Wood and Chen Jian would be the key players for the next half of the season. They might even continue to be key players for the next season. After Gago was gone, the team would only have three attacking midfielders left, and that was very unsafe. Even though he did not know what kind of tactics Tang would use, it would not do to have no substitute for this position.

Livermore was the best choice to be a substitute in Twain's mind. He was good enough to be a starter, albeit with some deficiencies and somewhat lacking in capabilities. It would be a pity to let him go, so it was best if he could be happy being a substitute.

Too bad the players were unlike NPCs in the games. They had their own thoughts, and nobody would be willing to be a substitute. Everyone wanted to be the key player, to be the soldier. However, only eleven players could start in a football team and someone had to be the substitute. This type of player was the supporting cast. They were not as eye-catching as the star players were, but they might just be the most important type of players on the team.

However, Livermore was obviously not this type of player.

He flatly rejected Twain's attempt to persuade him to stay.

Twain could do nothing when faced with Livermore acting this way. However, it was not difficult to find bench players. If he had no choice, he could always pick a player from the youth team. He was not the one who had to think about this problem, it was Tang's burden to bear. Twain might as well do Livermore a favor and agree to his transfer request. He hoped that Livermore would not leave during the winter transfer window, though. Instead, he wished Livermore could finish the season. To repay Twain for agreeing to his request, Livermore agreed to Twain's condition as well.

Just like that, Twain managed to keep a stable core for the team. Under the premise of giving up on the FA Cup and focusing on the league, they did not have to worry about major injury issues or international call-ups causing problems for their lineup.

Under these conditions, Twain was to lead the team to avoid relegation. However, deep inside, he had a greater target—to qualify for European competition.

Twain suddenly recalled the first season when he was in charge of Forest, the first half-season to be exact. He took over after New Year's Day and the team was not doing well, just like now. The difference was that the team's finances were in trouble then, and they did not even have a transfer budget of at all. He could only look within the team and make use of the ready resources. Eventually, his team was only a step away from winning the title.

It was from that moment onwards that Twain felt the heart-wrenching pain of failure, and he hated failure from the bottom of his heart. It was also from that time onwards that he would do anything to win.

The situation now was similar to the situation then. The difference was, his lack of dealings in the transfer market was not because he lacked funds, but because he chose to avoid it.

His desire for victory had never changed. Twain would admit that his temper was better than before, but his competitive nature had never lost its edge. If there were people who thought that he had become a " Nice Guy"… Twain actually hoped that people thought that way. Then he could pretend to be weak and defeat the powerful… However, would people really think so?

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