If you read my last post, ‘L’OL, the loyalty project‘, you might have noticed how characteristically optimistic I was about the future with Lyon. I took over when they were bottom of Ligue 1 but I had high hopes of what I could produce with one particularly good youngster, Boris Perret, and competing against many average opponents in the division.
We finished 7th just missing out on the Europa League play-offs in our first season together. It was a good season for Congolese forward Eden Brazilepo who finished as the league’s top goalscorer with 23.
Wonderkid, Perret, became the youngest player to score for L’OL and showed promise he fulfilled a season later.
Second season expectations
Foolishly I went against one of my ’10 mistakes to avoid’ and set my predicted league position at a realistic but slightly ambitious Europa League qualification. I assumed that meant if we finished sixth, qualifying for the Europa League Third Qualifying Round, I would achieve my goal, however the board did not see it that way.
As the season progressed, we struggled to make winning streaks, floating around 7th position although we sat second for the early stages with PSG and Monaco faltering.
Around halfway through the season the Lyon board told me I had to get nine points from the next five games or I would be sacked. I thought this was very harsh considering I was building a team and was around where I promised I would be.
I had no choice but to accept the challenge and I achieved around 13 points with the help of my players who seemed motivated with the fear of seeing me go and we went on a great nine-game unbeaten run including seven wins which unfortunately came to a crashing end on the last day with a 6-1 defeat to lowly but talented, Evian.
We finished sixth and after the Evian game, the board issued me the same ultimatum: get nine points from your next five games or you are sacked. It was clear the board did not like me!
So typically, as soon as the season was over, it was announced France had leapfrogged Spain and Italy in the European reputation coefficients and would get an extra spot in the Champions League meaning sixth will now qualify for the Europa League Playoff.
I did not have to fret long about the prospect of losing my job though, and after bringing in some quality young players, I’ve just had an interview with league champions and Lyon’s main rivals, Olympique Marseille, who curiously have not had a manager for three seasons according to their manager history.
I was actually really enjoying the challenge of managing Lyon with their financial constraints and expectant fat cats so any decision to manage another club would not be taken lightly.
Sure enough, I was offered the Marseille job, and I accepted for better job security and who could turn down the French champions? I was devastated to be leaving just when I was starting to make it my squad with the sort of players I wanted though and might re-visit at some point.
I will continue with my philosophy from the Lyon days as you can see below:
- Take advantage of great youth system and facilities to produce new first team players who will be the basis of the squad for seasons to come as we push for domestic glory
- Play exciting football utilizing players with high flair attribute
- Can only buy/ sell players when we have at least 10 players who have been at the club for five years OR at least three players who have been at the club for 10 years (currently nine and four respectively)
- Taking a leaf from Shrewnaldo’s book I will try to scout players realistically, i.e. without the use of the ‘player search’ feature
After hearing that Louis van Gaal might use a 5-3-2 formation with Holland at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil I decided to create my own version. See below:
I then have a 4-3-3 using two wide advanced playmakers and a false nine which will probably be my most used system. It currently employs the control mentality and fluid fluidity but I might revert to counter if we are conceding a lot.
That is all for now. Thanks for reading.