Our first season as a manager was up and running with goals aplenty in our first few matches with Athletic Bilbao. And our 3-5-2 setup seemed primed for attacking football.
The goals continued to fly in as we thumped Mallorca 6-1 with a brace from Inaki Williams and goals from both Sergio Ros’s – who strangely were both born in the same town of Durango, very odd!
That was followed by a tough test away to early leaders Atletico Madrid and we did pretty well. They took an early lead, Inigo Martinez equalised, only for Thomas Lemar to get a decided mid-way through the second half to inflict our first defeat as Bilbao boss.
And in classic FM style that was followed by a 1-0 home defeat to Leganes, who scored a last-minute screamer despite only having 3 shots to our 16. Things didn’t get any easier as we went away to Barcelona, who thrashed us 5-0 with Bernardo Silva scoring four which, you guessed it, were his first goals of the season.
Another international break gave us time to regroup and we bounced back to form with a 2-0 win at Getafe, with goals from both wing-backs Asier Sanchez and Alex Berenguer. Unfortunately, we then had to play Real Madrid and they proved again how much better the top three are by racing into a 3-0 first-half lead and we got a consolation through striker Ros.
Europa League battering
Our good Europa League form continued as we raced into a two-goal lead over FK Astana inside 11 minutes, with both strikers scoring. Ros added his second, midfielder Oihan Sancet made it four inside 21 minutes, and Ros wrapped up his hat-trick in the first minute of the second half. And two minutes later it was six with a classic wing-back to wing-back goal for Berenguer. The rout continued with Williams also getting a hat-trick and wing-back Sanchez scoring again, and the 9-1 success was the highest scoring in Athletic’s history.
Oops – accidentally got sacked…
At this point we were doing quite well, albeit a little up and down. But then I had to take the dogs out for a walk so I decided to go on holiday while I was out. When I returned, the game was already in March – which seemed very quick for my computer.
And it turns out, the Bilbao sacked me just before the end of December! At this point they’d somehow slumped to 10th place in the league, so I guess the board was probably justified in its decision!
So I guess the next blog will focus on another hunt for a job!