You know those jobs you take on in Football Manager where you walk in like Billy Big Balls aka Tim Sherwood or Kenny Powers from Eastbound and Down thinking you are about to ‘f### s### up’?
I was on the high of highs after I somehow bagged the AS Roma job in Italy’s Serie A after getting Cesena promoted from Serie B but they were languishing in a relegation place. Nevertheless, arrogant as ever, I thought it must have been the last manager’s weaknesses that caused this unenviable situation and I was sure I could get a squad not short of talented players to perform and push us swiftly up the table to the board’s desired Europa League spot.
However, as the weeks passed by and I dallied with a couple of new formations, I realised the job would be much more testing that I thought. Despite looking decent players none of my centre backs can be relied on at the moment. I have an amazing £30m-valued 23-year-old striker who scored regularly when I first took over but now he is really struggling for some reason and this is a massive problem when we cannot keep a clean sheet (something I found easy in Serie B with Cesena).
As you all know when results are going against you it is hard to know what to say to your players. If you criticize them they can react badly and become even more demoralised and if you tell them everything will be fine they can come too relaxed. I need to work out what sort of feedback they respond best to.
Meanwhile, we are 16th in Serie A, two points above the relegation places (a slight improvement on when I took over) but survival is not even close to what the demanding board expects and in fairness they have every right to. We are paying our players very good wages, we unfortunately have too many ‘passengers’ I cannot wait to dump, and I have some excellent players at my disposal so the tools are there to climb the table. Things just are not going my way though and we are 21 points behind continental qualification.
What would Moyes do I ask myself? Some of the Roma fans still back me and say despite my low-key managerial experience, I deserve time to build my own team and then I can be judged but this is Italy and managers do not get the time they might in England.
I will be back soon to let you know if I turned things around. Moyes has more chance of keeping his job for another season than me in my opinion.
My career so far: