An Egyptian in Argentina: A Story of Fate and Luck #8

The eighth part of the series from guest author @SegundoVolante1 Be sure to give him a follow if you enjoy his story.

After that encounter with the press I made the next few training sessions hell for the players, I needed something to take my anger out on. I wasn’t a no-good playboy was I, I was a decent football manager with tactical nous as the Moron game showed. That fucking no good hack wouldn’t convince me otherwise.

I wasn’t going to let them get to my head, I needed to remember my days as a journalist. I still knew the tricks of the trade and I could use that to my advantage.

I went to the library because I needed a new book, I had finished Angels with dirty faces and I needed a new football book to expand my knowledge. I knew they had a football section and I couldn’t order it from amazon as it would take too long.

I walked into the library and headed straight to the football section, where strangely I found two people looking for a book. I had been in here many times and I had never seen anyone other than me check it out, so I was very intrigued. They were talking to each other and apparently discussing Jonathan Wilson’s inverting the pyramid and Michael Cox’s The mixer, the taller one with glasses was saying that The Mixer was better while the shorter one was making a case for Inverting The pyramid.

I couldn’t take it anymore I just had to go and talk to them, as I walked over to them they noticed my presence and almost simultaneously turned to look my way.

“Aren’t you the new Ferro manager?” asked the taller one

“Urm yeah, people actually know a team exists here?”

“hahah we are avid football fans so we keep an eye out for any football, even lower league” said the shorter one

“I was just intrigued because you seemed so knowledgeable and you don’t get that often here”

We got into long conversation and apparently they were both Superliga fans who moved over to the country because they loved the league and they were also aspiring coaches.

Vincent Guzman was a lifelong Argentinean football fan and one of the top correspondents on South American football, he was the older of the two and he had a continental B license coaching badge. He was a tall gangly lad with wavy blonde hair and purple glasses, he looked like your typical football hipster.

Meanwhile Nestor Subiat was half Swiss half Argentinean, he had family over here and he was a Boca socio. He was a bit younger so he only had a National A license. Short and a very muscled with a very eccentric fashion sense, he had jet black and tanned skin. The two lads rubbed off each other perfectly.

The discussion between us went for ages and hours had passed without me even realizing. They were very knowledgeable about the tactical aspect of the game and before I even knew it I had offered them jobs. They worked for 4th division side Sport Porvenir, but they jumped at the opportunity. I needed coaches and they would be a perfect fit, young football hipsters just like me and it helped that they were fluent in English.

I ended the conversation and told them that we had a game against Gimnasia tomorrow, so we should meet up in the morning to discuss tactics and team selection, I would also introduce them to the worlds best bald assistant Pablo Ramos. I forgot to get a book, I was way too excited to read.

Ferro vs Gimnasia Jujuy:

We had just lost the last game to Juventud so we desperately needed a win to make sure that we didn’t slide down the table and lose our form. Me, Vincent and Nestor agreed that we shouldn’t change much without training the players before it and we obviously didn’t have the time to do it, only one significant change happened and that was Juan Manuel Garcia coming on for a knackered Forlan. This was going to be a test of our metal without our star player. Mena was also suspended for the game and 36-year-old Osvaldo Barsottini replaced him.

The first half was very uneventful with both teams struggling to create chances, Gimnasia had a few half chances and we had none at all. The two strikers were being man marked out of the game and Lujan was having a shocker on the left wing. The only half decent player was Vernetti who was giving their left back hell.

Vincent talked to the players between the half and Torres to man mark Distefano who was having a lot of joy in the half space between our defence and midfield due to them outnumbering us in midfield. We all agreed that bringing on another midfielder would make us to negative and reduce our already faltering attacking force. At least Forlan was coming on.

The inevitable happened and their lumbering striker Del Cason scored for them, he had bullied the physically weak Barsottini all night and a goal from him was inevitable. We were missing Mena massively. I shouted at the players to concentrate and keep going but apparently it didn’t work as Gimnasia kept attacking us and scored again with a header by Manchot the centre back, once again a goal from a fucking set piece. I kicked my water bottle angrily and it accidentally hit the back of Pablos head and it broke spilling water all over the subs. Nestor was telling the players to get forward but instead of scoring we conceded to a Prichoda counter attack with the final kick of the game. I went over and shook hands with their smug looking manager, he had completely outwitted me tactically and nullified our attack. I didn’t fucking like being outplayed and there was a bitter taste in my mouth as I entered the dressing room.

“ARE YOU A FUCKING ONE MAN TEAM, ARE YOU ALL INCOMPETENT. NOT A SINGLE SHOT ON TARGET IN THE FIRST HALF WITHOUT DIEGO ON THE PITCH. YOU FUCKING SHIT CUNTS!”

I stormed out of the room leaving the players looking shocked and even scared. I had never had an outburst of this scale and they were stunned by my other side.

I went home humiliated and desperate for sleep, but before I went to bed I called Vincent, Nestor and Pablo, we agreed to meet up before training to analyse the game fully and use our Prozone system to see what went wrong. Yes Fucking Ferro had Prozone.

First thing we noticed that asking Torres to man mark their AM indeed nullified him in the second half but that left a lot of space available for the left winger and the left sided central midfielder. You could see how free the space between the defence and midfield was which enabled the winger to cut inside, as for the central midfielder Torres marking the AM freed him up completely and he had a lot of time on the ball. 2 of the goals came from him starting the move and it didn’t help that he was their most technically gifted player.

Another thing Nestor pointed out was how some players were too close together in particular the two centre midfielders, we discussed maybe changing one of them to a more attacking role to offer more attacking impetus. Lujan the left if was also too close to Dang who was asked to be a supporting target man and maybe that hampered the attacking play.

The Gimnasia heat map showed how centrally oriented their play was and how they used the extra man to their advantage. The are we had highlighted earlier that was left free by Torres was also heavily exploited. We struggled to deal with their possession oriented play and we were running around like headless chickens.

Our heat map showed how weak we were attacking wise and how badly we struggled for possession. Our danger was mostly limited to individual magic by Vernetti out on the right side and long shots from midfield.

After brooding over the game we decided that maybe it would be better in games against possession based sides who are technically superior to us that we stick an extra man in midfield in expense of a striker. I also decided that Vincent would do specialized attacking training for a few weeks to ensure that the attacking disasterclass in the last game didn’t happen again.

I didn’t go to training for the next few days until our game against Atletico Midre instead attending a coaching seminar held by Jorge Sampaoli in Buenos Aires, his ideas about how football should be played interested me greatly and I came back feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Atl.Mitre vs Ferro:

We needed a win to end our brief losing run and this was the perfect place to do it. Mitre was perennial relegation strugglers with a very small fan base, or as we would find out later no fan base at all. We were better than them in every aspect and I expected an easy win.

Forlan and Mena were back in the team which was also a massive boost and it was the legend Forlan who opened the scoring after 30 minutes had gone in front of 324 away fans. Yes there wasn’t a single Mitre fan and it was an eerily quiet stadium we were playing in. Half time came and went without me feeling the need to say anything to the players, they knew what to do.

Navarro added to our lead with an absolute scorcher from long-range after a long injury layoff and I called for Valenzuela, our resident wonderkid. I felt this was the perfect game to give him some minutes and my decision was justified after he scored to wrap the win up.

The perfect win to end the tension in our camp and hopefully to get the morale back, I wasn’t quite ready to face the press yet and I asked Vincent to do it for me. He had that aura about him and I was confident he could deal with these vultures.

The next day me my two coaches and my assistant went into town to grab a coffee and go over the game once again. That was when I saw her again, yes the girl from the club. I was shell-shocked and it took a slap from Nestor to bring me back to reality, by the time I was focused once again, the elusive girl was gone. I was going to find out who she was and I didn’t care how much effort it would take me.

At least I got some good news to cheer me up as I got an email from our Head Of Youth Development notifying me that a new batch of trialist were joining the club soon should I wish to asses them. At least I had something to look forward too!

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