Club 2 – Lechia
After victory in our opening game in charge of Lechia, it was time to look to the final 14 games and push towards those top 4 positions.
We kicked things off with a comfortable 3-1 victory against bottom of the league Górnik Łęczna, Schettine with a brace and Bozok from the spot secured all 3 points for us. Schettine had 4 in 14 before our arrival and now has 3 in 2, if he can stay injury free, I’m confident he’s the man to drag us up the league and grab the goals.
Things got tougher in our next match as we travelled to 4th placed Cracovia. We really took the game to Cracovia in the opening 10 minutes, the in-form men Fatai and Schettine once again in the goals, giving us a 2-0 lead. They grabbed one back soon after to, we managed to make it to half-time 2-1 up. It was a crazy second half, but thankfully we came away 4-3 winners!
It didn’t get any easier in the next 2 as we faced 2nd in the league Górnik and well known Lech, with Górnik, I still felt like we could go in with our positive system and approach, with our form being so good at the minute we carried all that momentum into this one, 2-0 up at half-time, with those same boys in the goals again, Schettine and Fatai (from the spot). We managed the second half well and walk away 2-0 victors.
This result moves us up into 4th in the league, with 11 games still to go we’ve put ourselves in an incredible position to play European football next season.
The big one up next, Lech Poznań, top of the league before, but somehow, we are still in the better form. A 7 game win streak currently, 5 in a row for us as boss, if ever there was a time to play the league leaders it was probably now. The biggest disappointment is RWB, and star man Fila was injured in the previous win and is out for 3-4 weeks, meaning he’ll miss our biggest game of the season.
We performed really well against Lech, but we never took our chances, we suffer our first defeat at the hands of the league leaders 2-0. A difficult one to take, but with plenty of games left it might be a blessing to get Lech out the way.
The following 5 where a mixed bag, we bounced back after defeat to Lech with a 1-0 win, but then defeat and a draw left us in 8th with a real cluster of teams all fighting for that 4th spot. Had we managed to win both disappointing matches, we’d have found ourselves in with the top 3 rather than fighting between 4th and 9th. Things got tough again for us as we faced off against Legia Warsaw who were 3rd at the time. It was a game we needed to win if we were to claw back any points towards those top 3. Star man Fila was back after injury, giving us a real boost, the team had suffered in his absence.
We managed to grab a 3-2 victory, we were 2-0 and cruising before a second half fight back from Legia, but a 90th minute winner from Schettine saw us pick up some much needed points in the fight for Europe.
We annoyingly could only manage a draw after a big win over Legia, much the better side we still found ourselves 1-0 down at the break from their only shot of the half, with a 0.10xG. As you can imagine I was thrilled.
With 5 games to go here’s how the league was shaped up. We face only one top half team so the final run in is very favourable for us, we’ve got to make the most of it if we are to secure that final European spot.
We kick things off with one of the worst performances so far since we took over. A 0-0 draw in one of the most lifeless games I’ve witnessed this year. Not ideal when 15 points was the target, especially as this game was against 5th place in the league and a chance to go ahead of them.
Back to winning ways against Wisła Kraków, another pretty poor performance, we went in at the break 1-0 down and never looked a threat, thankfully after a stern half-time team talk, we came out a different side, going 3-1 up pretty quickly. A late 90th minute goal back for the visitors had me fearing the worst, but thankfully we held on to an important 3 points. This win moved us into 5th with plenty of teams dropping points around us.
Once again, we found ourselves having to come from behind to secure 3 points, a dismal first half saw us again 1-0 down at the break. We managed to fight back to win 2-1 in the end, but it was a really poor performance truth be told.
Some sad news regarding our former club Hapeol Umm el-Fahm, after being as high as 4th with us, they find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table and now sacking the man who took over once I departed.
2nd to last game of the season and we probably produced the best performance yet, a 4-0 victory over Korona, goals from February addition Duljevic, wide-man Haydary and a brace from front-man Schettine.
Going into the final game this was how things looked. 4th placed does get a European spot, it comes down to Polish FA Cup winners, which Legia have won, so we’re in a great spot on the final day, with a chance to even finish 3rd!
I felt surprisingly nervous going into the final day. If we can pull off a result and get European football it would be huge for our managerial profile.
We only manage to draw on the final day 1-1, another disappointing perofrmnace, however 3rd placed Arka lost on the final day 2-0, so we secure 3rd place in the league and Euro Cup 2 football. 2nd to 4th all enter the Euro Cup 2 first qualifying, so there will be plenty of fixtures next year, but fingers crossed we can make it to the groups, it could be huge for our reputation and the progressing of the journeyman.
UP NEXT… SUMMER TRANSFERS AND THE EURO CUP 2 QUALIFIERS