Welcome back for part five of this Glory Hunter series. After a successful spell in Italy, it was time to search for a new adventure. If you missed the previous post, you can read it here, and if you are new to this series, you can find the first post here.
I decided to resign at Fiorentina in search of a new job in a new country. Jose Mourinho became my successor at the club, and his style should suit the team very well. It took a while before the sackings started, so I got to spend a few months back in Norway to visit some old friends and family before I had to leave for new adventures abroad. After that, I was called to several interviews at smaller clubs struggling in different leagues. Unfortunately, neither Montpellier, Augsburg or Brighton sparked any interest in me, so I decided that it was better to wait for the right opportunity.
And that opportunity came up in the LaLiga Santander in late October. At the beginning of the month, the club decided to sack the manager after bad form and placed 18th on the table after seven games. For a club playing in the Champions League, that’s nowhere near good enough.
I was immediately considered the leading candidate by the supporters, and it felt right from the start, the interview went well, and as a huge bonus, the team managed to climb to 9th in the time I waited to be offered the job. It’s a much better starting point than I thought I would get. I guess it’s time to tell you which club will be my next one before I bore you to death and you can’t read a blog ever again.
I consider this a special club, and I have always had a good eye for Sevilla. I sadly remember watching the match when Antonio Puerta suffered a cardiac arrest, and that’s not something you forget overnight. However, the way the club has taken care of the family afterwards is particular in my book and a testament that this is a special club.
The atmosphere at Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán when they sing Himno del Sevilla does not stand back for any stadium in the world. When they turn off the floodlights at the evening games, all the fans have lightsticks that look even better.
Look at this video from the game against Liverpool in the Champions League a couple of years ago. Imagine having that for every home game!
I took over an ageing squad that does not suit the tactic I had great success with at Fiorentina, but there are some fantastic players in the team. Jules Koundé being the best of the bunch, he may be one of the best defenders in the world, so I will build the team around him as long as I can keep him at the club. Luckily his contract runs till 2028 and has a buy-out clause of £137M. Youssef En-Nesyri is another class player in the squad who will be the leading man. For the time being, I guess I have to give everyone a chance to prove their worth before I start to make my mark on the team in January. I don’t have the highest ambition for the first season here other than to start building the squad in the right direction and meeting the board’s expectations.
I also discovered two extremely exciting prospects from the academy that I immediately promoted to the first team. Zsolt Batik is a promising attacking midfielder from Hungary who can also play on the wing. He looks like a potential world-class playmaker in the making. Ousmane Traoré is an exciting striker with great technical stats already. He’s also capable of playing on both wings. Both of them will get minutes during the first season now to make them comfortable with senior football and help them, potentially, develop faster than they would at Sevilla Atletico.
We got a flying start after I took the reigns, and we won the first four games, scoring 15 goals and conceding none. A better start than that is hard to come across. En-Nesyri fired from the get-go and cemented his place as the main man up front.
We lost the last three games in the Champions League. After the loss away to Monaco, we also lost the place in the Europa League. However, that could be a blessing in disguise for us. With a small and ageing squad, we’ve may be better off with La Liga and Copa del Rey for the remainder of the season.
Speaking of flying starts, we won all the nine games in La Liga that we played with me in charge. With 27 out of 27 possible points, we climbed closer to the top, and we’re comfortably placed 5th with 20 games to go.
I doubt that it comes as a shock to anyone that we won against Barakaldo in the first round of the Copa del Rey, and I’m hopeful that we can get a good cup run in the second half of the season.
Three transfers out are already agreed upon before the transfer window opens, so I’m sure there will be some drastic changes to the squad after the transfer window closes.
Thank you for reading and following this journey. I hope you enjoy it!
/ FM Veteran