A season 11 round-up

Here’s a single post wrapping up my season 11 of our Journeymen save. I’m no longer manager of France, having dropped the mic as soon as I held aloft the World Cup. So, here we are, still at Montpellier, and still trying to win the Champions League. Although crucially, you might remember, we didn’t qualify for it last season.

Coupe de la Ligue

The board are not interested in this trophy, but my cabinet is bare and I’m hopeful.

We join the competition at the 4th round stage, and go into a tie against Amiens SC. A straightforward 2-0 win follows. It could’ve been more, too.

And that’s us into the Quarter Final, and a game against much tougher opposition: Olympique Marseille.

We scrape through, with a 2-1 victory. OM batter us, but goals from Sandro and Ayao see us through.

The Semi Final is against another of the teams up near the top of Ligue 1: Olympique Lyonnais. This one is slightly more convincing, and goals from Lemos and Febas get us into the final with a 2-0 victory.

To the final!

We’re playing OGC Nice and, I’ll cut to the chase, we win! A fairly underwhelming 1-0 victory sees me pick-up my first trophy for Montpellier in my 5th season of managing them. I’m not sure I would’ve lasted as long in the real world.

Coupe de France

1 Game, in the 9th round; 1 defeat, to lower league opposition.

The board are not happy.

La Ligue

This year’s league form is a tale of two halves. Well, it feels like it.

We start well, with a 4-0 win at home to AS Nancy Lorraine. We then lose two on the bounce, before going on a 5-match unbeaten run.

WLLWWDWW

Around this time, vice-captain Mauricio Lemos decides to go in the huff regarding a potential move away. His mate, Steven Kamphuis joins him, so I throw both of them in the reserves.

Bad move. Squad anarchy. Our next 6 matches look like this, and we end up miles off the pace.

LLDDWD

The two rebels are eased back into the first team fold, and harmony is somewhat returned. In fact, we go on a bit of a run and from December to mid-March, we are unbeaten.

WWWDWWDWWWDWDWW

However, the games we lose are against our title competitors AS Monaco and PSG and, those games aside, we go the rest of the season without losing to anyone else.

That little drop in form early in the season, though. It killed our title challenge. In the end, we finish behind both, in 3rd, and although we quality for the Champions League next year, it doesn’t feel like a successful season.

Speaking of Europe.

Europa League

We escape Group I in 1st position. It’s not as comfortable as it sounds, as we only win 3 of our 6 games. 2 Draws against Dinamo Bucureşti, and an away defeat at FC København make it a whole lot less comfortable than it should’ve been.

The 1st Knockout Stage sees us up against PSV, and we do the business in the Netherlands, winning 1-0 at the Philips Stadion after a Komivi Ayao injury-time winner. It’s 2-2 at home, and we head to a 2nd Knockout Stage tie against West Brom.

Two 1-0 victories make it sound tighter than it was. We’re absolutely superior in both legs and should’ve won by a much larger margin in both games.

The Quarter Final is against SL Benfica and we’re at home for the first leg.

After 8 minutes, we are 3-0 up, following goals from Sandro, Ayao, and Simeone. Easy street. Until they score 2 goals before we get to half-time. The equaliser comes in the 66th minute and we ride out a bit of an onslaught and head to Portugal having conceded 3 away goals.

We’re much more comfortable away from home, it seems. Goals from Ayao and Sandro (2) get us to the Semi Final with a 3-0 victory.

It’s local rivals AS Monaco in the Semi, and we almost beat them. Almost. 1-1 at Monaco, we’re confident going back to the Stade de la Mosson – Mondial 98 (I presume this was built for the 1998 World Cup), but they rob us 1-0. We even contrive to miss a late penalty, during a period in which we are the better team. If only, eh?

Oh well, maybe next year.

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