Club two – Lechia
So here’s the state of play for this end of season run in. With 14 games left to play, we sit top with a comfortable 12 point lead!
With just 1 loss all season it’s been a quite remarkable opening 20 games for the Lechia boys, Schettine has 11 goals in 17 league appearances and Joao Mendas has 12 assists in 18 from central midfield. Perhaps the most impressive player has been Lorenco Simic, the CB brought in over the summer to bolster the defence has proven as effective attacking as he is defending, with 8 goals all season from CB and the highest average rating in the team at 7.38, Simic has giving this team a real possibility of bringing the title back to Energa Gdansk.
As we went into the first knockout round of the EURO Cup 2, we were in exceptional form, unbeaten in 17 in the league, we faced Zorya of Ukraine, 4th in their division and a well matched side compared to ourselves. Interestingly the first knockout round is only one leg, with extra time and penalties should the score be tied after 90 minutes, so hopefully we can make the home advantage count!
Omar Haydary gave us the lead just 15 minutes in, after a questionable pass from Kako that he launched up in the air, Haydary was underneath it, brought it down and fired from the edge of the area into the back of the net off the post. On the 55th minute it was that man Simic who doubled our lead. That lead was cut back t ojust one goal just 10 minutes later as some neat work down the right allowed Zorya to head home at the back post. Haydary all but wrapped up victory for us in the 84th minute, at the back post he fired in a volley put in from the left to secure our place in the next round. Full time 3-1.
Going into the draw, it soon dawned on me just how tough the draw could be in this competition, the likes of Tottenham Roma, Wolfsburg, Besiktas and Real Sociedad all left in the competition. Typically, we drew one of the big boys, Sociedad away. A quick look through the squad made me very nervous and didn’t give me a lot of hope, with the likes of Oyarzabel, Janazaj, Willian Jose and perhaps most frightening of all, Alexander Isak all still there. Interestingly, Sociedad are exactly the type of team I’ll be hoping to take charge of at the end of what I’m hoping is a successful season with Lechia.
We kicked off against Sociedad with nothing but prayers, it took 30 minutes for Sociedad to take the lead. Simply more quality all over the pitch compared to us, we struggled to get our key men on the ball. Sociedad doubled their advantage just before half time, Ander Barrenetxea scoring both for the Spanish side. A quick look at him shows just what we’re up against, the 21-year-old is likely not even a starter for them but is head and shoulders above anything we have at our disposal.
In an uneventful second half, we actually had a huge chance to make it 2-1 with 5 minutes to go to give us hope, but Haydary could only fire wide after winning the ball high and racing through, it ends 2-0 and sees us exit the EURO Cup 2. A valiant performance against much better opposition where we by no means disgraced ourselves.
Having such league success has meant I was going to focus on the Polish FA Cup, as we were up against second division side Chojniczanka in the quarter-final, however I was stopped in my tracks by the lower league side, despite being 20 games unbeaten in the league, we were knocked out on penalties by the Polish First Division side.
With 8 games left and a 15 point lead, it feels almost inevitable we’ll get our hands on our first league title as a manager, barring some exceptional bottle job.
The task did get slightly tougher, as talisman Schettine moved back home to Brazil, there was simply nothing I could do to change the strikers mind and he had his heart set on going back to his homeland. Dragan will need to have a good final 8 games to help us secure this title!
Rather than have any drama (which admittedly doesn’t help the blogs) we maintained our league form and wrapped the league title up with 5 games spare!
The only thing left to do, is hope we keep this form going and have a season with just one loss, although that will annoy me. After a couple more games, we got an increase in rep for our league title, it perhaps came a little too late, as we missed out on the Milan job, who hired somebody with a worse rep than us! A touch frustrating as over the summer I’ll be looking to move to one of the top 5/6 divisions.
Just 2 games to go in the league and we suffer our second defeat of the season, not that it takes the shine off what’s been a very successful season from us, an annoyance though. We win the final outing and secure a new point record for Lechia, a dominate season that saw us win the league 15 points ahead of Legia!
UP NEXT… JOB SEARCH