Things are going alright, if you discount the cups

We’ve got the post-Christmas blues. Knocked out of the Coupe de France in early January, our poor form continues unabated. It picks up eventually, but not before the chance of winning some silverware disappears into the distance.

Actually, I’m being a bit harsh. We do alright, but just not quite good enough. Remember that Skol Cup Coupe de la Ligue final I mentioned? I was sure we were going to win it. We bottled it against lower-league opposition, losing to Amiens SC on penalties. And we were lucky to get that far, having to rely upon a late equaliser from Giovanni Simeone.

The Europa Cup was even more frustrating, and we fell at the quarter-final stage against an AC Milan team that had bettered us in the group stages. Rafa Benitez manages them now and he’s taken a dislike to me. I tried to calm things down between us, but he was not for taking my olive branch. In the end, they beat us 2-1 on aggregate over the two legs. Prior to that, we’d beaten Sunderland 5-3, and PSV 4-1 over two legs, all four games drawing great performances from us.

And so we finished the campaign with only the league to play for. A Europa Cup spot was what we were charged with providing and it was close. In the end, we were only 3 points shy of a Champions League position (3rd), which was close enough to convince our wonderkid Haris Ahmetovic to stay. I’d previously promised him Champions League football, but he seems content to stay given how close we came.

In fact, we did so well that, as the season ends I’m offered a job interview at Olympique Lyonnais. They finished midtable, and seem to be about the same size as Montpellier, so I decline their advances

At a time like this, I have a tendency to rip it up and start again but I think next season’s team will look very much like this season’s, with only two or three positions improved.

I say that, but I’ll end up buying a dozen players and struggling to keep them all happy.


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