Hello folks and thanks for coming back to view the latest episode of the Vauxhall Motors Football Manager 2011 story! Our third season in the Premier League was about to begin and after a busy summer in which we spent no less than 60 million pounds on new players the fans were expecting to see some real football at Rivacre Park. They were also looking forward to our Champions League debut and so was I. This update will take you from the first match of the season to the end of October, I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Aston Villa vs Vauxhall (Premier League)
Venue: Villa Park
Starting line up: Luis Guilherme – Julian Marino, Javier Godoy, Julian Bazzi, Hans Larsson – Leandro Velasco, Graham Howson, Tinga, Tiago – Zé Carlos, Parana
Team Talk: For the fans!
It wasn’t the easiest of opening matches, we always had problems against Aston Villa. Things could have started brilliantly for us this time, left winger Tiago could have made a great debut but his shot came back off the post after just two minutes. We continued to dominate the game and the next chance fell to Parana on 11 minutes but Villa‘s goalkeeper pulled off a stunning save to keep the score level. The goal finally came in the 18th minute, Tiago picked out Parana with a pinpoint long pass and the Brazilian striker rounded the keeper before slotting home. Our joy was short-lived unfortunately, Aston Villa made it all square just two minutes later as their very first shot of the game went in! Things went from bad to worse eight minutes later, the home side scored again on their second shot of the game and they took the lead with some help from our rather unconvincing defense. We had a good opportunity to level the score five minutes before the break but Parana missed the target from a very good position inside the area.
Half time score: 2-1
Half time team talk: Sympathise.
Half time substitutions: Denís for Tinga
We were the better team, no doubt about that, as we continued to dominate the dispute after the interval. Our efforts finally paid off on 61 minutes and it was Tiago who set up the goal again, he drilled a perfect low cross for Leandro Velasco and the right winger fired first time into the back of the net. I made two more changes a few minutes later because both wingers were fairly tired so I sent in Ravel Morrison on the right and Andrew Surman on the left. One of the two substitutions proved to be very inspired as Morrison created a chance for Zé Carlos and the Brazilian ace fired home from inside the six yard box. Aston Villa finally started to push forward after that goal but our defense stood firm until injury time when centre back Javier Godoy was shown a second yellow card for a needless tackle. It was too late to make an impact though, we held out and grabbed the three points at the end of a difficult match.
Full time team talk: Well done!
Man of the match: Leandro Velasco
Flop of the match: Julian Bazzi
The next game was supposed to be a lot easier but we made it difficult for ourselves through a rather unconvincing performance. In fact, we were quite lucky to get the three points courtesy of an injury time strike from Zé Carlos. A few days after the game we received some bad news about Javier Godoy, the centre back got injured in training and was going to be out between five and seven weeks.
The UEFA Super Cup was drawing near but we had another event to look forward to a few hours before that historical game, the Champions League group stage draw. We were seeded 3rd and that’s why I was expecting to be handed a tough group. Well, it could have gone a bit better but I guess it could have gone worse as well: we were going to meet Inter Milan, Lyon and Partizan Belgrade.
Both Inter and Lyon were placed among the favorites to win the competition, eliminating one of them in the group stage was going to be regarded as a huge upset.
Anyway, before the Champions League we had a fabulous evening to enjoy in Monte Carlo, the UEFA Super Cup against CL winners Atletico Madrid.
Vauxhall vs Atletico Madrid (UEFA Super Cup)
Venue: Stade Louis II
Starting line up: Luis Guilherme – Kwabena Quartey, Louis Laing, Julian Bazzi, Hans Larsson – Leandro Velasco, Graham Howson, Tinga, Tiago – Zé Carlos, Wellington Paulista
Team Talk: For the fans!
If you look at Atletico‘s eleven you can understand why they had won the Champions League, the team is full of talent from Kjaer in defense (with Leonel Galeano on the bench!) to the awesome Babacar–Aguero tandem in attack!
Parana and Julian Marino were suspended for the game because of the yellow cards they had picked up in last season’s Europa League so I replaced them with Quartey and Paulista. The two absences didn’t seem to have much of an impact though as we created a great chance after just 30 seconds, it fell to Zé Carlos but he missed it… We were dominating the game but it was Atletico who came close to breaking the deadlock on a counter attack but Luis Guilherme pulled off a great save. We were dictating play and we were rewarded for that in the 34th minute when Leandro Velasco played a superb back heel pass for Zé Carlos and this time the Brazilian forward slotted home from inside the penalty area.
Half time score: 1-0
Half time team talk: Pleased.
Half time substitutions: Pierre Touya for Quartey, Ravel Morrison for Tiago
We continued to dominate the game after the break and we managed to make it 2-0 after 10 minutes when Wellington Paulista dribbled past a rather hurry goalkeeper and stabbed into the back of the net. It was just the first goal of a quickfire double, four minutes later Zé Carlos scored a great goal to make the score unbelievable: 3-0! The game seemed to be as good as over but Atletico found a way back in: first Babacar pulled one back and then an error from Graham Howson in midfield gave him the chance to make it 3-2 with 14 minutes left! Atletico switched to 4-2-4 after that goal and I responded by changing to counter strategy and sending in Andrew Surman for Velasco. We were under some pressure but the defense held out well until six minutes from time when Zé Carlos delivered the final blow to the Champions League holders and completed a glorious hat-trick!
Full time team talk: Congratulations!
Man of the match: Zé Carlos
Flop of the match: Ravel Morrison
I was happy, the board was happy, the fans were happy, everybody was happy except one man: the Atletico manager. He made a rather bitter comment in the press conference after the game, criticizing my team’s passing style.
Well Mr. Flores, we walked it into the back of your net four times, I guess it went pretty well ;) And you caught us on a bad day in terms of possession, usually we have more than 53% ;)
It was another step forward for the club and our facilities were slowly moving along, the youth academy was finally completed!
There still is a long way to go but for now the board only allowed an investment into the youth facilities.
Back to the Premier League, we had an easy game against Newcastle coming up next and the Brazilian duo did the damage again, just enough to grab the three points.
But everybody was thinking about our next home game, mighty Inter Milan were coming at Rivacre Park!
Vauxhall vs Inter (Champions League Grp G)
Venue: Rivacre Park
Attendance: 10,266 (sold out)
Starting line up: Luis Guilherme – Julian Marino, Julian Bazzi, Louis Laing, Hans Larsson – Leandro Velasco, Radek Vecera, Tinga, Tiago – Parana, Zé Carlos
Team Talk: You can win today!
I was hoping to give Inter a good run for their money but my dreams were shattered after just one minute, Marko Marin scored an unbelievable goal right away, probably one of the best goals I’ve ever seen in the game! (I strongly suggest watching the highlights below to see that goal, it’s worth it!). Surprisingly the team recovered better and faster than I did, my lads took control of the game and Zé Carlos tested Inter‘s keeper twice with pretty good shots. Our efforts paid off on 32 minutes when Louis Laing sent in a powerful corner kick header, the goalkeeper tried to save it off the line but he pushed it into the back of the net. It looked like it was going to be all square at the break but Inter created another great move and took the lead on the stroke of half time, it was quite frustrating to watch those guys breezing past my defense ans scoring whenever they wanted to…
Half time score: 1-2
Half time team talk: Sympathise.
Half time substitutions: Mervin Simon for Laing, Graham Howson for Vecera, Abdallah Yaisien for Tiago
Our hopes of a comeback received another blow 10 minutes after the re-start, Sneijder scored at the end of yet another fine move and the game was as good as over. My lads did find the strength to pull one back from the penalty spot shortly after the hour mark but our fightback became impossible on 65 minutes when Julian Bazzi came limping off the pitch and left us with only 10 men. Inter capitalized on the numerical advantage and kept things under control until the final whistle. Unfortunately we had another injury to worry about apart from Bazzi‘s (out between two and three months), Louis Laing was going to be out for two weeks! It was an emergency situation in defense, I had just one fit centre back and that was Mervin Simon.
Full time team talk: Good effort!
Man of the match: Leandro Velasco
Flop of the match: Julian Marino
Fortunately we had four easier games coming up and we managed to go through them without further injuries. First a weakened eleven grabbed a narrow win against League One side Yeovil in the Carling Cup, then we swept past Hull in the league with reserves youngster Ortiz getting on the score sheet and then we eased past Partizan in the Champions League. The last game of the batch saw us coming back from 1-0 down after just six minutes, Parana bagged a brace and Mervin Simon scored in the third consecutive game!
The “easier” games were over, I was pleased with the results but the next fixtures were unbelievably tough: defending champions Chelsea away, then Manchester United away and last but not least Lyon at home in the Champions League! Go to the next page to see how those games went!
Go to the next page to read the rest of the story.
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