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From 13th to 4th and then to the CL group stages!!! the other side of Barcelona

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This is the story of my 2nd season with RCD Espanyol. In my first season, we have managed a 13th place in La Liga. The first season was a terrible one as we went on to lose 8 games in a row, but we survived, more importantly I survived.

2nd season with Espanyol

TRANSFERS
I have bought Estigarribia, Marcelo (DC), Stracqualursi on a free transfer. My marquee signing was Emilo Ensue, the winger from Mallorca for a club record € 7m. I have also signed Christophe Jallet (DR) and Blaise Matuidi (DM) on loan from PSG.

TACTICS

My tactic was a defensive looking 4-2-1-2-1 with fluid and attacking strategy. I have worked quite a lot to develop this system into a successful one. The wingers and full backs are key in this system and also the central midfielder. I had Victor Sanchez and young Tejero to do this role. They both did a great job.


Great start
Our first game was at home against Valencia and we absolutely destroyed them to get ourselves a great start by beating them 3-0. We surprisingly lost our second game 1-0 to newly promoted Elche. Then won 4 games in a row, including a superb 3-0 away win at Malaga.

Notable Results

Espanyol 3-0 Valencia
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Malaga 0-3 Espanyol
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So things looked really good, far better than last season in terms of performance and our away form was absolutely fantastic as we also managed to beat Sevilla 2-1 away from home, but then something terrible happened.

Biggest defeat

Barcelona 8-0 Espanyol
I suffered my biggest defeat ever in Football Manager, an 8-0 thrashing against our bitter rivals Barcelona. They completely outplayed us, right from the start, I was helpless, nothing worked, a devastating blow after a brilliant start. But we got ourselves into winning ways again after beating Hercules 1-0 at home.

FULL RESULTS

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I have signed young striker Manolo Gabbiadini from Atalanta for € 7m. I had problems with my strikers up front as they failed produce goals on a consistent basis. Stuani especially was very poor. Stracuqlursi was also inconsistent, but better than Stuani in many ways. I have added one more player to the squad in January, a loan signing from Manchester United, Antonio Valencia.

In our home tie against Barcelona, we performed much better. In fact, we dominated the first half and hit the post many times, again our strikers failed to take chances. We went to the half time leading 1-0, we should have scored more, but we were in control. Our right back Gillet picked up a yellow card in the first half, but was playing really well, but I considered replacing him, but then decided to keep him on the field, but I was proved wrong as he picked up his 2nd yellow earlier in the 2nd half and got sent off, suddenly everything changed. Barcelona scored 2 quick goals and that was that, nothing else happened in the game, and its finished Espanyol 1-2 Barcelona, lost again, but was far better performance than before.

After this Barcelona defeat, we went on a 7 games winless run. With 3 games to go, I have realized we still got a chance to finish 5th, depending on what Atletico Madrid and Valencia do, then we got 3 most important and incredible results of the season. Two back to back away wins at Osasuna and Getafe followed by a dramatic 2-1 home win against Valladolid, which clinched at the 4th spot. Its interesting that in all these 3 games we had to come from behind, I successfully changed a couple of things and it worked.

The result that clinched us the 4th spot

Espanyol 2-1 Valladolid

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League Table

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Manager of the year

View attachment 369184Absolutely thrilled to win this award, it meant a lot after a difficult, but successful season.

Player stats

View attachment 369186Hector Moreno was our player of the season. I selected him as our captain and delivered so many match winning performances, not only with his exquisite defensive abilities, but also with some crucial goals as well.

Conclusion

It was a great season. Most of the things went as planned, a much improved performances and some great results. Our improved away form was one of the highlights of the season.

New season & CL PLAYOFFS

We got Spartak Moscow in the Champions league best placed PLAYOFFS. First leg, we played away from home and played well, but failed to take our chances, and its finished 0-0, but again performance was absolutely brilliant.


2nd leg at home


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SO WE QUALIFIED FOR THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGES!!! GREAT SUCCESS.

 
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