The First Half Of 2013/2014 Season
We’re halfway through the regular season: 15 games played, 15 to go. We have had a very good first half of the season, and I’m very happy for the boys, they’ve put in solid games! We struggled at the start, but now we’re in a good form!
The Fixtures And Results
I think our form has been excellent, and I’m happy to see that we’ve only lost one game so far.
The League Table
We’re clear by some points at the moment, but in our form, we should be able to keep our first position quite easily.
League Position Development
As I’ve said earlier, we started off pretty badly, and since then, we’ve been picking up results. This can clearly be seen in the league table at the moment.
I’ve chosen not to sign anybody this transfer window, as the board told me we’re spending quite a lot already. And I feel we’ve got a squad that is good enough as is.
Sydney FC - Newcastle United Jets (0-0)
My first match as a manager, and it wasn’t very good. We had opportunities, but they were saved, or they went wide of the goal. Our play wasn’t how I liked it, but they boys didn’t have very long to get used to it. It was a pretty disappointing debut, but there were some positives to be seen.
Brisbane Roar FC – Sydney FC (0-1)
Our first victory, in an away game as well. We played on the counter attack, they dominated possession and shots, but we were clinical. This is how I like my boys to play in away games: not great football, but good effectiveness.
Sydney FC - Wanderers FC (0-0)
A derby between two local teams, so the atmosphere was good in the stadium, but it still wasn’t full, not even half-full. It was another draw for us, and we had only conceded once. But on the other hand: we only scored once. For a derby, it wasn’t very interesting to watch from the sidelines at all: there were only 10 shots in total! Wanderers had more of the ball, but we had 6 of those 10 shots, only one on goal.
Perth Glory FC – Sydney FC (1-1)
Another draw, but still unbeaten. It was the first match we conceded in, and again, we weren’t very good, as we were dominated in possession. And to make matters worse, my defender Sasa Ognenovski scored an own goal! I was fuming, things weren’t going well, and fans were booing me. But luckily, we managed to save a draw because Dimitrijvic scored in the 36th minute.
Sydney FC – Melbourne Victory FC (1-1)
Some fans were standing in front of the staff entrance: they wanted results, right now. But once again, we only managed a draw. Our new player Tim Payne managed to score from a role he’s also familiar with: striker. This match, we did play better than the opposition, and we had four more shots. So our performance got better, but the results still aren’t coming.
Melbourne City FC – Sydney FC (1-3)
Our first win in a long time, and a solid one as well. We played against another team from Melbourne. I saw the line-up, and I only really recognised one name: David Villa! When playing or Italy, I came up against him once or twice, and he’s a good player. So I ordered my players to close him down, and mark him tightly. In the end, it wasn’t necessary, as Nick Carle scored two good goals, and Matthew Jurman scored the other goal for us. I gave the boys a pat on the back, and told them to try and keep hold of their form.
Sydney FC – Wellington Phoenix FC (2-1)
To my relief, we won this game as well, which gave the fans some joy. We played well, and we had 9 shots, 3 of which on goal. Another really effective match in terms of finishing. This match, Shane Smeltz got himself a double, in the course of two minutes! He also got the Man of the Match-award. In the 90th minute Manny Muscat scored, but it never put our 3 points in danger, as it was too late in the match. After the match, the board once again held a performance check: they were happy, as we were still unbeaten.
Sydney FC – Newcastle United Jets FC (2-2)
Newcastle were second at the moment, so I expected a hard match. And, we got a hard match. We were down 2-0 at half time, and I told my players that they really needed to improve, this seemed to really motivate the boys for the second half, as we scored twice. Another double, this time by Despotovic, helped us secure a point, and it meant that the Jets didn’t take a bigger lead on us.
Central Coast Mariners FC – Sydney FC (0-2)
After the draw, I wanted to secure 3 points in this game, as it would pile more pressure on the Jets, and it would please the fans and the board. Luckily, Carle managed to score just before half-time, which made my half-time talk a lot easier. In the 86th minute, Dimitrijvic smashed a penalty into the top corner, this goal secured our victory. We dominated the match in terms of shots, we had 12, they had 4. But possession-wise, we lost the battle, this doesn’t worry me at all, because that is the sort of football I want to play.
Sydney FC – Melbourne City FC (4-0)
Another match against the club of David Villa, and this time, we won again. We recorded our biggest win of the season to date against City. It was an unlucky day for ex-PSV-player Orlando Engelaar, as he scored an own goal. Despotovic scored two goals, and the last goal was scored by Nick Carle. We dominated the match, with 13 more shots than our opponents. This match, just like the other match, Villa didn’t score a goal, and Melbourne were still rock bottom, with 1 point from 10 games!
Wellington Phoenix FC – Sydney FC (0-2)
I was hoping for another victory, to extend our unbeaten run of 10 games. We could also go top if we won this match, for the first time this season. And once again, we won the match with relative ease. This meant we went top, and Wellington were still only 9th in the table. Rhyan Grant and Ranko Despotovic scored our two goals, to help us secure another three points.
Sydney FC – Brisbane Roar FC (2-1)
We kept our top spot in the league, because of this hard-fought victory. We trailed for most of the match, because Jurman scored an own goal in the 16th minute, but he was really solid for the rest of the match. Bernie Ibini equalled the score in the 60th minute, and I was already happy if we got a point. But three minutes before the end of the match, our youth player Corey Gameiro scored the 2-1. I was happy, and gave Gameiro a compliment, because he fought hard, and he scored his first professional goal.
Adelaide United FC – Sydney FC (2-0)
Our first loss of this season, and we were pretty bad. Just before half-time, Jeggo scored. I told my players to play their game, and try to get back into the match. They didn’t manage to do so, and to make matters worse: Ryall got sent off in the 70th minute, he got his second yellow card of the day. These two cards weren’t the only two, as our team alone had 8 bookings in total. Then, to top it off, Griffiths scored in the 86th minute. All in all, it was a bad performance, and we didn’t deseve to get anything out of this match.
Wanderers FC – Sydney FC (0-1)
After that loss, I wanted to recover from it, by winning this tricky away game. And to my relief, we did. Rhyan Grant scored the only goal of the match in the 21st minute. Once again, somebody got sent off. This time, it was midfielder Milos Dimitrijvic. It was after 30 minutes, so I decided to change to a more defensive formation: 5-2-2. By the skin of our teeth, we managed to hang on and take our hard-earned three points back to Sydney.
Sydney FC – Central Coast Mariners FC (1-0)
I wanted to close the first half of the season off with a victory in front of our fans. We narrowly won this match, as Carle scored the only goal of the match in the 74th minute. This time, nobody got sent off, I told the players to play a bit more carefully, and they did. But still, we made 29 fouls, why they only made 3. It’s a surprise we only got one yellow card that match!
I’m enjoying my life as a manager, and I’ve got to say: it might be more exhausting than being a player! I’ve chosen to delegate some tasks regarding the youth system to some other people at the club, and this has really taken some stress of my shoulders.
In terms of other jobs to look at, I’ve only seen two vacancies at big clubs: Leeds United and Olympique Lyonnais. But for the moment, I want to stay here and bring success to the club, as it would be a bit rude to leave after half a season.
I’ve had several meetings with the board, and they’ve been pleased with my performance so far. However, they don’t want to give me a higher budget, which I feel is necessary for the club to grow further. With more money, we could bring in some good players, and then we’d be ready for a good run in the OFC Champions League.
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