Football Manager’s 2012 season kicked off in earnest with a home game against Fulham at the DW Stadium.
As manager I opted to stick with the system of 442 which had worked well in pre-season. With Moses just returning from injury and Boyce and Di Santo long term injuries I was forced to bring in squad players such as the two Mc’s to play on the wings with Piscu in for Boyce and Sammon for Di Santo.
And it seemed to work as Wigan controlled the game with Rodallega and Piscu putting Wigan
two nil up in the first twenty minutes making this football manager thingy look easy.
Didn’t last though, Fulham pulled a goal back just before half time through Dembele and as Wigan tired visible after the break I was forced to pull Sammon and McCarthy off replacing them with Gomez and Thomas and switching to a 451 in an effort to hold onto the lead with a more defensive ethos.
It looked like Wigan were going to hold on but in the 85th minute football showed how cruel it can be even on a laptop when Dembele was put through by Etuhu and slotted the ball past the advancing Al Habsi forcing Wigan to share the spoils.
Still it was a good display with new signings Crusat, Jones and Maloney waiting in the wings and with Boyce, Di Santo and Moses to come back into contention I went into the next game a local derby away at our neighboursBolton with renewed optimism.
How wrong I was. The pre match interview attended by the local media I was asked as a Wigan man how it felt managing the team against our fiercest rivals. I replied it was a dream come
true and motivating the players wouldn’t be hard for this game.
How wrong I was, a lack lustre display from an unchanged side saw Wigan huff and puff but go into the interval two nil down to goals from Davies and Cahill. I switched at half time to a 433 attacking formation and went for it but despite enjoying more possession than Bolton Wigan couldn’t score and a two nil defeat left me facing criticism from the fans groups for a poor
Never mind, next up was the Carling Cup second round game away to Swindon, this would provide a welcome respite from the trials and tribulations of the Premier League right? Oh boy was I wrong.
I opted to rest as many first team regulars as I could playing Gohuri, Pollitt, Stam, Dicko and Thomas and for the first half hour things were comfortable as Dicko playing for Rodallega scored on his debut. On the half hour Kerrouche scored for Swindon and despite switching to 433 for most of the second half with Hugo bolstering the front line, Wigan still ended up going into extra time. Thankfully a late goal in the second half of extra time spared me the ignominy of going into a penalty shoot out and although Swindon had a good shout for a penalty following a foul
by Alcaraz Wigan held on.
This football manager lark was definitely a lot harder than it looked , my positive words of encouragement delivered in a calm manner seemed to have no effect on the players and I was struggling to motivate some of them.
Its said that one day computers will rival humans in theirability to think although I suspect FM12 has already reached this level. The reason? In the week leading up to the next home league game against Spurs I was contacted by an agent offering me Amr Zaki for one million pounds sterling. Only a super intelligent mind could set up a Wigan manager in such fashion.
The last game of August was a home game against Spurs and I was able to welcome back a fully fit Moses and a returning to fitness Boyce the latter having to make do with a place on the bench. Again I stuck with the 442 Diamond formation having been informed by Graeme Jones that it was working well in training.
What works well in training I have learnt doesn’t always work well on the pitch, Spurs took an early lead through Van Der Vaart and despite shedloads of possession from Wigan we were still
unable to break them down. Sammon in particular was having a ‘ mare but with Di Santo injured I had no other forwards to bring on to replace him.
The game ended one nil and Wiganwent into the international break with one point from three games sitting 16th in the table. It was reported in the media that fan groups were questioning my
appointment but there were no calls for me to be sacked…..yet.
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