It was a 1.5 hour drive to Charleroi and Alex spent the time sleeping, a trick he learned in his playing days. He had also been up late trying to decide between a suit and a tracksuit to wear on the sidelines he had gone with a suit but, the weather made him regret it.
In the dressing room he went back over the first 11 and tactic that he had picked with the help of his staff.
Alex walked down the sideline in a Wenger-esque coat to deal with the near freezing temperatures and hail. He exchanged a quite handshake with Been before settling in his seat for the game.
He was out of it again after 5 minutes to yell some encouragement to his team who were playing poorly and struggling to string passes together. “Come on pass the ball, to one another. Focus” He yelled from the sidelines.
Charleroi pushed forward on 15 minutes two passes from a throw in and Pollet had space on the edge of the box, Alex thought it was going wide but, the keeper pushed it away for a corner. This was one area Alex was concerned with he hadn’t had a lot of time to train on how to defend them. The first corner Denswil headed out for another corner but, on the other side. Claudemir headed it away and Charleroi couldn’t push forward again.
After 25 minutes Baby went on a run down the wing and despite Alex yelling to close him down no one did until he was fouled wide of the 18 yard box to give away another free kick. The ball was hit in and Perbet escaped his man to head in between the keeper and the man on the line, a poor goal to concede and Alex as furious. He also was somewhat regretting into management freezing, getting hailed on and losing when he could be swearing at the T.V. or as he knew Graham would add counting the money in the heat of Saudi Arabia.
Two poor fouls in as many minutes led to two bookings from Club Brugge that Alex couldn’t complain about. Just as he was planning out his words for half time the pitch grabbed his attention again, the ball was played wide to Joao Paulo and he passed to Izquierdo just wide of the six yard box and he squared the ball to Vossen who had an open goal from 6 yards out but, totally missed the ball and it was hit behind for a corner. Gedoz hit in a good corner and Engels rose high and his header looked to be going in but, it hit the corner of the bar and post and went out for a goal kick. Alex couldn’t believe they hadn’t scored once.
Both sides hit some poor passes and the ball was with Claudemir at midfield and Vossen was making a great run but, the pass was over hit and Alex turned away as the defender took a touch. The gasps of the crowd made Alex turn around an awful back pass must have let Vossen get one on one with the keeper but, he hit his shot right at the keeper who pushed it behind for a corner and left Alex with his head in his hands.
Alex let the team know how he felt at half time and took of Gedoz, who had been poor, for Lior Refaelov. They looked a bit better at the start of the second half but, hadn’t created much so Alex moved to a 4-4-2 by pulling off the poor Claudemir for a fellow Brazilian, striker Leandro Pereira.
A poor tackle that was high, from behind and two footed after 65 minutes on Pereira got the Brugge coaching staff off of the bench calling for a red card. The referee only booked Ninis and while Alex went to “politely enquire” with the fourth official why it wasn’t a red card his player took a quick free kick to Izquierdo he cut inside and passed to Vossen who flicked the ball out wide to the overlapping Joao Paulo. Paulo fired the ball into the box with his first touch and just after the bounce Pereira thumped the ball in at the back of the net leaving the keeper no chance. A very good equalizer and Alex was sure the fourth official appreciated it as it had distracted him.
As the game was heading into the last ten minutes Alex told his team to keep pushing for a winner. Following an offside call Charleroi got the ball and moved it quickly up the pitch Pollet with a neat pass with the outside of his boot to Tainmont and to Alex’s disbelief he beat Joao Paulo to get into the box and despite Alex’s yells to pick up the late man Pollet was unmarked and unlike Vossen did fire in from 6 yards out to leave Brugge chasing a point.
Alex’s day got worse after 90 minutes, as a catalogue of errors allowed Charleroi to grab a third goal no one closed down Marinos near the halfway line and he chipped a ball forward that Denswil should have intercepted but, didn’t. This played Pollet in on goal but, at a tight angle. His shot was poor to the near post and managed to beat Butelle to make it 3-1 Charleroi.
The final whistle was pleasing to Alex as the result couldn’t get more embarrassing and he ripped into his team after. “That was awful, I have no idea how you are eighth playing like that. Watching that game I would have thought you were the ones in last place. It could have been a cricket score out there you could hardly pass the ball 5 feet.” Alex realised no one got the cricket mark but, kept going. “We created some decent chances but, they are last we should be scoring them and not allowing them to make so many. We play again in four days and many of you have to impress me in training to start again.” With that off his chest Alex left the room to face the press.
Alex was bitterly disappointed with his start at Brugge playing the last place team in the league was the best chance he had to start his career with a win but, it hadn’t been taken and he knew the match against 5th place Lokren would be vital.
Brugge fall two places in the table after Alex’s first game in charge.