Hello eveyone and thanks for checking in again on my Football Manager Story. This post will be split in two parts, the first being my fledgeling international career with Sweden and the second part about Cambridge.
** Author’s note: Taking charge of Sweden will be my first time ever in an international role in any version of CM or FM so I’m really looking forward to it and will be using Johnny’s “bulldozer tactic”.
Having lost all three games at Euro 2016 I was in for a tough challenge as we faced Slovakia in a friendly and a very stale and uneventful first half pretty much cemented my concerns. Five minutes into the second period things started to improve with more fluent movement and passing resulting in a goal by Celtic’s Kacaniklic. Slovakia equalized just after the hour mark but a brilliant solo effort by Kacaniklic restored our lead once more. Granqvist headed in from a corner deep into injury time to get things off to a great start.
Our first World Cup qualifier was away to Israel who were reduced to 10 men after just 4 minutes though it took almost the whole of the first half to take advantage of the situation and an own goal at that. In a dramatic second half we went from a 2-0 lead to 2-2 in the space of 5 minutes before taking the lead once more though a header by DC Jonas Olsson which proved to be the winning goal
The beginning of October brought our second qualifying game this time at home to Poland in front of 46,000 fans at the Swedbank Arena in Stockholm. John Guidetti gave us an early lead with a goal after just 10 minutes but we couldn’t build on that until early in the second half when MR Jonsson was left completely unmarked and easily tucked in a cross ball from the left flank. Mehmeti added a third in the 58th minute with a poacher’s effort and that was enough to demoralize the Poles and we coasted to the finish.
Having now won three games in a row with nine goals to boot the nation was gripped with World Cup fever as we were about to head into a top of the table clash with Turkey.
A full house of 50,000 witnessed a stunning performance by Turkey that left a lot of questions to be answered. We were hardly in the game at all and this defeat saw us drop to third place in the table behind Israel with Turkey comfortably sitting at the top.
Cambridge: Premier League
We started the month off with a trip to Wigan where once again we were totally outplayed allowing nineteen attempts on goal to our measly three. Wigan came up with two second half goals to take all three points. At home to fellow strugglers Nott’m Forest we sprinted out to a 2-0 lead within thirty minutes which saw Harry Kane get his first goal for the club. A long shot from 35 yards got Forest back in the game early in the second half and we threw away yet another three points allowing an equalizer two minutes from time. A first half strike by Agon Mehmeti gave us the lead away to Middlesbrough which saw the home side square things up early in the second period in a very even match that ended in another draw but a satisfying away point.
We next face bottom club Everton who had conceded a lot of goals already and Mehmeti added to that tally after 32 minutes with a shot from just inside the box. An encouraging first half performance soon disappeared after the break and Everton went on to take a 2-1 lead but Mehmeti was once again on hand with a glorious finish to rescue a point as we struggled with just 10 men for the final 6 minutes of the game.
I was dealt a massive blow when news came through from the medical room that right back Marcelo Canteros would be out for 2 months with a knee injury having just won the young player of the month award for September. Marcelo joined an ever growing list of injured players.
The final three games of October saw two crushing defeats at Old Trafford and the Emirates Stadium though we did manage to secure three points at home to Fulham with goals from Harry Kane and Jamie Maclaren.
We fancied our chances away to Stoke but they were soon crushed with the home side taking the lead after just nine minutes which was doubled on the stroke of half time. We came out after the interval a more competitive side and kept Stoke in their own half for long periods. A superb strike by Mehmeti brought us back into the game with seven minutes left on the clock and DC Bandiera had a header cleared off the line in the dying seconds and so we were out of the competition.
Following the defeat at Arsenal I resigned as manger of Cambridge as I felt I didn’t have what it takes to lead this club to becoming a solid Premier League team and soon after my resignation was accepted by the Cambridge board I faxed another resignation notice to the Swedish FA after just four games in charge.
Obviously then this story is now over and I want to thank everyone who has left a comment and supported me over the last several months. I’m not sure if I’ll be back with another story before FM 2012 but probably will as I enjoy the writing.
Thanks for reading and take care….
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