I'm just under halfway through the season. Although I'm doing fine in the league I'm finding the games are a bit of a slog. not dominating play but somehow always outscoring the other team. Hoping I don't hit a mid season slump like you experienced.
I find that I have to sort out the coaching and improve that massively before I start to get anywhere with the players improving. Until then, I found sticking with 4-4-2 and retaining possession helps stem the losses.
Setup your scouting to scout all of Europe, look for youngsters marked for loan with good potential and a reasonable actual ability. With coaching, look at your training and pick one with a low lead coach rating and go hire that coach. Rinse and repeat
I quite like some of the non football stuff, makes it more real because life always has stuff getting in the way