JOURNEYMAN (TAKE 2) – EURO CUP TWO GROUP AND MID-SEASON REVIEW

Club 2 – Lechia

League

With deadline day approaching, I had planned on saving our transfer budget for the February window, until I came across 18-year-old forward Dragan Stoisavljevic, wanted by Newcastle and Leeds before we made our move, I acted quickly and secured him for £1.2 million, at 6 foot 2 and with excellent crossing and the ability to play anywhere in the forward line, I actually think Dragan could make an excellent Complete Forward, although untrained in it, his attributes already look very well rounded for the role.

Dragan was signed too late to be registered for the EURO Cup 2, meaning he’ll be used for the games after in rotation with Schettine, he soon made his mark with a goal on his league debut against Gornik, it was the only goal of the game, but the forward did well using his size and strength to bring others in and took his chance very well with a great finish off the bar and in.

As we approach the 2022 world cup, meaning our winter break is now longer than usual, it seemed the perfect point to check in on our league progress. Our league form has been unbelievable so far, losing just once in the opening 15 games, I was worried with the EURO Cup 2 group games we’d suffer in the following league matches, but we’ve never let up and carried on our form from the end of last season. At 15 games in we sit top of the league by 4 points, 8 points ahead of third. With Legia down in 4th and Lech in 6th both 10 and 14 points behind ourselves, it feels like this season could be our chance to get our first league title as a manager in this save.

Schettine has been in good goal scoring form, notching 12 times so far, while centre-back Simic has been the real star of the show, 8 goals to his name and a 7.40 so far this season, Simic is quickly becoming one of the top performers in this side. In terms of assists, set-piece taker Medes leads that chart, with 14 assists so far, grabbing himself 5 goals too. Behind him it’s the 2 full backs, Le Goff and Fila have 7 and 6 assists respectively, what’s most pleasing about this is it shows the system set-up is making the most of our full-backs, something I highlighted from day one of our move to Lechia.

EURO CUP 2

We kicked off our group with an away trip to Sturm Graz, a very solid outfit, one I felt was probably slightly better than ourselves. However, that didn’t stop us producing on of the most spectacular over performances I’ve seen. 4-0 victors on the day, a brace from Schettine, MEZ Joao Mendes and CB Simic popping up from a set piece, 4 goals from just 0.81 xG. A great start to our group

We lose our second match away at Standard Liege 2-1, both of Standard’s goals coming from corners, something we’ve not struggled with all save. A 1-1 draw at home to Krasnodar sees us 3rd in the group on 4 points, with Standard top followed by Krasnodar on 6 and 5 points, at the halfway stage we’ve certainly not disgraced ourselves and I still believe there’s a real possibility to get out of the group and into the knockouts.

We followed our opening results with two draws against Krasnodar and annoyingly Sturm Graz, having beaten them 4-0 away and the opportunity to qualify with a positive result, a 0-0 draw was one of the most disappointing results imaginable. So it came down to the final day, Lechia vs Standard for the chance to progress to the knockout rounds. We had home advantage which I was hoping to make the most of by going a bit more positive in this one. The performance in this one was arguably the best I’ve seen from this side, completely dominant and the score line 2-1 flatters the opposition, but nevertheless the 3 points required from the boys to secure 2nd place and qualification from the group

UP NEXT… END OF SEASON REVIEW!

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