Relegation group stage

There’s no 2 ways about it, we could go down. The media had us down to be relegated in the clubs first season in this division, but we did well enough to only miss out on a place in the top 2 by a few points, but there’s been times when we hadn’t looked like winning. The best chance we have of staying up, I think, is to go on the attack from the off. We’ve got 12 games to play, and even though we’ve had some half decent results up to now, they all count for nothing as a few bad showings from now could see us drop into the bottom 3 of this division.

‘Comece como pretendemos continuar’ I say to Ruben Parraga, in Portuguese no less

‘Sim amigo, devemos procurer obter algo bom desde cedo’ he replies

‘Sorry Ruben, I’m not that good at Portuguese yet, I heard we should look to get, but that’s as far as I got, I’m still learning’ I reply with a smile

‘At least you’re picking it up boss. I said we should look to get some good form early on’

‘I think after our last 2 games and the way we played, a good result against Lusitania isn’t out of the question’

‘Sim chefe, vou preparer a equipe’ he replies and heads off toward the training room

I head yes boss but other than that I don’t know what he said. My Portuguese is basic at best, but I’m learning and if I can carry on picking it up, I feel my effectiveness will improve.

Half time team talk

‘Nos fomos o melhor time aqui’ I say to the team, however I ask Ruben to tell them we need to press on and continue being the better team as we’ve had the better of the chances in the first half.

Ruben relays my message. The team seem confident in their demeanour. I tell Ruben to instruct the lads to get out on the pitch 5 minutes early and carry on warming up. If Lusitania see us out there early hopefully it will have a psychological effect on them, and give us a slight advantage going into the second half.

As the second half went on we found ourselves in front when Nilson buried a snap shot just inside the area. It was no less than we deserved as we’ve been the better team. Shortly after we got another, this time Dentinho buried a close range shot. I turned to Ruben and told him I knew these 2 would work well playing together. Dentinho grabbed his second and our third when he connected with a header from a cross. We did allow them a consolation goal not long before full time, however we even managed to get a 4th goal, and completing his hat trick was Dentinho. After the game I pull Dentinho to 1 side and say in broken Portuguese ‘parabens pelo hat trick, estou muito satisfeito’

‘Obrigada Vince, apenas fazendo minha coisa’ he replied.

No idea what he said, I got Vince, but that was it. He seemed happy enough though and we as a team definitely are with this win.

We won our next game 2-0 at home to Operario dos Acores, then went on a bit of a bad run which saw us get 2 points from 4 games which saw us slip down to 5th in Group E.

Pre game team talk Atletico Alcanenense

‘Nao se enganem sobre isso, est um jogo deve ganhar’ I say in a very slow way. I hope my broken Portuguese is understandable

‘Sim amigos, Vince esta certo, devemos vencer este jogo’ Dentinho responds

‘I’m Sorry, Ruben please tell Dentinho I only understood Vince is right, but thank him for agreeing with me’

Ruben speaks to Dentinho, who smiles and nods back. I get the feeling he appreciates my trying to speak in Portuguese

‘We must win this game, we cannot afford to slip up now, Lusitania & Gafetense are only 3 points behind us, we really can’t rely on them slipping up to keep us in the league’.

Once my message was relayed to the team, they head off towards the pitch. I’m starting Dentonho & Chidi up front in this one, both have good pace and positional sense, we need to win this game to better our chances of staying up.

Next episode – The run in, can we stay up?

Previous episode – Mini-sode 1

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