Let me level with you. I’m worried. Very worried. There have been times this Summer when I’ve questioned my decision to join Katowice. Off the back of a hugely successful season with SC Angrense, maybe it would’ve been more sensible to take a job in the Slovenian or Czech 2nd tier. I could’ve taken over at one of the big hitting clubs in a division like that and maybe continued to build up my reputation with another promotion. Instead I took the biggest job I could find, and possibly the most difficult one too.
There’s every chance that this squad won’t cut the mustard in the Lotto Ekstraklasa and that I’ll be back on my arse in 6 months having been sacked, with GieKSa rooted to the foot of the table.
I’ll be back where I was 18 months ago, trying to convince anyone who’ll listen to take a punt on a Manager who’s effectively relegated 2 clubs.
But enough of that. Optimism is the way forward now. We line up against Jagiellonia in our new look Project: Burnie MK II, a simple counter attacking 4-1-2-3 system. Vice-captain Nowak will start in goal, with Scheffel, Hutton, Olivier and Garbacik in front of him. I’m giving Rodrigo Silva a chance in front of the defence too. It’s a risk, but his potential is excellent and I want to see if he’s ready. Bart and Hurley are our midfield partnership, Mandrysz will take the right wing while Kevin cuts in from the left, and Captain Goncerz leads the line.
We start on the front foot, and Goncerz shows a glimpse that he can fashion chances, holding the ball up well and playing it through for Hurley, whose shot is straight at Stachowiak, the Jagiellonia keeper.
The rest of the half is quiet but we start the second 45 promisingly too. Mandrysz plays a long ball over the Jagiellonia defence almost straight from kick off and Goncerz latches onto it, but he drags his shot wide of the far post.
Less than 10 minutes later, the deadlock is found. And not in the way that I’d hoped. Khomchenovskyi squares the ball from the left side of our penalty box and Jelic drills it past Nowak from close range.
5 minutes later, Khomchenovskyi’s corner is headed back to him and he crosses it in again. Cernych rises and heads the ball against the bar. I keep a poker face but this is a nightmare. The little momentum we’d built up from the chances we’d made has evaporated with the opening goal. We’ve gone all wobbly while Jagiellonia are growing in confidence.
2 minutes later, another Khomchenovskyi corner comes back to him and he crosses the ball back in to the far post. Gabacik swipes at the ball but can only clear it as far as Frankowski a few feet away, who puts it past Nowak for 2-0.
I tell the boys to attack and to play in a more structured way, but we’re getting battered. Less than 5 minutes after the second goal, Frankowski plays the ball in to Jelic in the area and luckily for us, he skies it.
I decide to just go for it. I withdraw Silva. I feel quite bad that I started him today in such a big game, I shouldn’t have put so much pressure on him. We go 4-2-3-1 and I bring on Machalski, an attacking midfielder, in Silva’s place.
A couple of minutes later though, Jagiellonia’s Scottish full back Ziggy Gordon swings a cross in from the right and Jelic volleys in his second. The match ends 0-3.
Huh. I don’t want to sound like an arse hole, but I’d sort of forgotten what this felt like. To be beaten so soundly. To be torn apart by a far superior team. If I had to guess, I’d say the last time this happened to me was the first time Angrense played Caldas.
It doesn’t feel good. I was worried before the match and I’m worried now. We offered up very little in terms of attacking threat or defensive solidity and in all honesty, Jagiellonia should’ve beaten us by 4 or 5. Our counter attacking was minimal. Our creativity was non-existant. We need to improve massively if we’re to survive this year. Or come to think of it, if I’m to survive past Christmas.
So the road to survival with GKS Katowice is indeed going to be long and gruelling. We’ve gotten off to the worst possible start and we’re already down at the foot of the table. Let’s hope we don’t stay there for too long.
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