Mitra Kukar – Club 1 – Season 2 – Update 6
Following on from my last update where we were pretty comfortable in 3rd place after a dreadful run in October, I was hoping to pick up a few more points to secure the position that our season had deserved. There was also the question as to whether I would be offered a new contract by the board when it expired at the end of the year.
I was pretty shocked at how quickly we managed to turn our form around again and managed to finished the last 7 games without another defeat. We seem to be a very streaky team – often going a month unbeaten and then not winning for the entire next month which is very strange.
The only game of particular importance was our 2-0 victory against Arema Cronus on the last day of the season that actual meant that we pipped them to 2nd place after they managed to bottle the 7 point gap at the end of my last update. It was a pretty even game but 2 late late goals from Kamal and Talipudin secured the all important 3 points and 2nd place.
As I said, we managed to sneak into 2nd place on the last day of the season, finishing a massive 15 points behind Tira who will be hard to best next year. The most pleasing thing however, is that we managed to finish a huge 37 points clear of the relegation zone which was our main goal this year. The players have done amazingly this year and I am delighted with our season overall.
The strikers have followed on from the last update and have managed to score 42 goals between them over the course of the season. Unfortunately, Sulaiman picked up an injury and missed the last 5 or so games which meant he missed out on challenging for the top scorer in the league.
Talipudin has also had a fantastic season, notching up an amazing 13 assists from the right hand side. He definitely seems like the kind of player that can change the game if he is playing well and I am desperate to keep hold of him at all costs over the off-season.
His counterpart on the left wing, Rodriguez, has had a respectable first season, accumulating 8 goals and 6 assists, although 3 of his goals were from the penalty spot. I have had some fallings out with him over the season as well, as he seems to coast through games when we aren’t in control without offering too much. He does have a release clause of £77k in his contract and currently is unwilling to extend his deal which ends next season so he could potentially be off over the winter period.
I would also like to give a mention to our central midfielders, Tan, Kamal, Syahroni and Atep. I started the year with Atep and Syahroni as my midfield two, although with a combined age of 61 this did not sit well with me despite their decent performances. Kamal has been mostly a substitute all year but had a run of starts at the end of the season as I tried to work out my best partnership without Atep who is retiring. Tan was a mid-season addition to the team and is the most likely candidate to replace Atep. He has also contributed 5 goals as well as 2 assists from the advanced play maker role, although he does have some wild passes in his locker which can often put us under pressure defensively.
I have to admit that I’m still not fully settled so I will need to play around with this in pre-season and maybe try and add another signing to our squad in this position.
The biggest problem for us this year has been defending set pieces, which I have never noticed as an issue on any other of my saves, so has taken me by surprise a bit. We have the worst record in the league for defending corners (13 goals conceded), direct freekicks (3 conceded) and indirect freekicks (8). That means we have conceded exactly half of our goals from set pieces this year which is shocking! I have tried a few different routines and nothing seems to be working. I even looked at average heights of teams and found we are 14th in the league, but only about an inch less than average so I am a bit stuck.
We are also top for red cards (3) this season, which of course is never good.
End of season awards
I was very surprised when I saw that Fauzi had been awarded player of the season as I would probably have given it to Sulaiman or Talipudin ahead of him, but I guess the fans affection for a player who is the clubs record goal scorer of all time earned him a few extra votes so I can't really complain!
Sulaiman did however win signing of the season and young player of the season, which I can get behind as he finished with 15 goals and 7 assists. Again, my runner up would have been Talipudin who is quickly becoming my favourite player in the squad.
We did however get goalkeeper of the year somehow – even though Murdianto didn’t even come in the top 3 goalkeeper for clean sheets, but congratulations to him. Talipudin also gets the recognition he deserves as well with a spot at right wing in the team of the year.
Finally, to round off the awards, I received manager of the year which I am delighted with – my first trophy!
The biggest question going forward is – will the board offer me a new contract? If they don’t I will probably seek a new opportunity elsewhere rather than stay on a month to month deal as this doesn’t offer much job security. Additionally, do I even want to stay at a club that is expecting to lose around £600k per year when I am operating at around half of the allowed wage budget? The board also only expect me to avoid relegation next season so I am unlikely to have much backing in the window if I do want to make any transfer moves.
Of course I would love to stay at Mitra Kukar and continue this amazing project that we have started, but I am also very aware that the challenge is to win the all of the Champions Leagues, not build Indonesia into a world super power (however fun this might be!).
*Unfortunately, I have to leave you on a cliff-hanger and I will reveal the outcome of my contract scenario in my next update! Let me know what you would do in this position – stay or go? Thanks again for all the support on my last update and I will reveal my decision tomorrow!*