After hours of waiting it was finnaly time to get going for real. Mr Ulloa greeted me himself and showed me around. It was without a doubt a pretty decent set-up. The squad was also just as good as predicted with a number of players who were going to play big roles this up and coming season.
The only big turn-off was my two assistants Beavis an Buthead, they truly knew less about football than my appendix! Needless to say, they cleared their desks before the day was over.
After getting myself a decent coahing team and loading up with friendlies it was time for some more exciting stuff.
First off I was determined to employ my 4-1-2-1-2 (a 4-4-2 but with a diamond in the middle). The idea is to mount a massive amount of pressure as soon as we loose the ball, and with the two MC's being ballwinners and the DMC being an anchor-man, very few plays manages to break through. The only option left for our opponents is the long ball so speed is crucial for my defence. BUT, as a South American team we can't just play defence, the tactic allows for great angles in the middle of the park so with a simple change of mentality my physical juggernaut can become a sensitive artist moving the ball around in the middle for ever and ever without getting caught.
Our main offensive weapons will be the shear speed of our strikers (a no-brainer considering the counter-attacking ways of the juggernaut), but also maestero, the trequart sitting behind the strikers. If the oppositions plays with a deep defensive line he will have plenty of space to execute greatness and that's exactly what I demand from him!
The core of the defence isn't really the defenders at all, but the midfielders (excluding maestero of course). It's vital that these men are able to demolish what ever offensive moves the opposition throws at them in the middle, not just to break up play but also to serve our three offensive-mided men with the ball for lethal counters while the opposition is pushing forward. As far as my defenders go the really just need to be able to cope with longballs and the sometimes great number of crosses that comes your way when not using wingers.
Hitting the transfer-market our only pressing need was two class acts to fill out the remaining spots as musketeers in the middle. I decided to go for two old foxes with hearts of gold and will of iron, Darino and Jara. Other than that I only brought in a striker and CB to add some depth. Remarkebly enough I only let a handfull of players go as well, I expected this number to bo around the twenties before I arrived... but the previous manager didn't let alot of dead weight lay around which I am greatful for!
And so, what you've really been looking forward to, how have we been doing thus far?
Well, the pre-season in my mind is about two things money and money. Since I had a basic idea of how and who I wanted to play, all the team needed was games to get into shape and learn the system. The results were poor to be honest, only pulling three wins from our 10~ some odd games... however we only played top-flight teams until the last three weeks where we played two obscure local teams who we demolished to get the moral up.
So if pre-season was pretty much a tiering old rutine, opening day is anything but! I was really excited to see what the team could actually preform.
We dominated from kick-off but had a hard time finding dangerous areas with the ball. With aound 60% possesion and virtualy now shots against us it all looked good. But as always, if you can't make dominans count it will bite you in the ass. Romeo, a player who was with us during the pre-season on try-out but who I decided to let go had been picked up by the opposition. He got the ball on the flank, turned my wingback inside-out, and smashed the ball into the far corner... a magnificant goal, but it also cost me my debut...
Despite the loss I was pretty calm though, the team was still adapting to this very particular way of playing and the core of it (winning the ball in the middle and instigating counters right away) worked pretty well even though the movement in the final third wasn't really working between the players yet... nothing time won't fix.
We moved on the dominate our second game as well, this time scoring after only a couple of minutes on a picture-prefect counter-attack, boy was I proud of my boys! However we drew a silly penalty at the end so we only walked a way with one point in the bag... still the season is young and as long as we're playing well luck will come or way sooner or later.
Game three was sadly nothing but a bad re-run of game two. After a meltdown in the defence giving the opposition the lead we bounced back and found our selves firmly in the driversseat. Yet with five mintues to go we manage to littraly shoot ourselves in the foot as we score and owngoal... I'm starting to get sick of saying that it's just bad luck...