Cagliari headed into the Winter break in January 2033 on the back of five successive draws but 13 games unbeaten in Serie A. That had us occupying the Europa League positions, but well beyond the ambitious Champions League goal that the board had bizarrely set in the summer.
The draw streak extended to six as we somehow threw away a lead at home to Bari. And we very nearly repeated the feat as we raced into a 2-0 lead at Bologna, thanks to goals from both strikers Filippo Bonci and Thomas De Lucia, then let them back into it but held on for a 2-1 victory.
That sparked a strong run of form with a 2-0 victory over Napoli then consecutive 1-0 wins over Salernitana and Genoa. And that culminated in a ridiculous first half at Lazio in which we scored four goals in nine minutes before the break, including a superb De Lucia hat-trick and two assists for exciting 17-year-old midfielder Jonas Mikkelsen. A 4-2 win actually lifted us up into the Champions League places as Milan lost at Chievo Verona.
But the 18 game unbeaten run unsurprisingly came to an end as Inter – who, for context, have spent £213 million this season – came to town. We actually played fairly well despite Inter dominating the chances, but only found their way through courtesy of an Abelardo own goal.
Then it all started to go a bit wrong, as De Lucia – who’s scored half of our goals this season – was ruled out for a month and we lost 1-0 to a last minute goal at Benevento and 3-1 at home to Juventus.
Unbelievably, the board then demanded a meeting to discuss my “poor performance” despite us being 5th in the league and only three points off the Champions League places with 9 games remaining. I told them we’d been unlucky and had loads of injuries, but the board was bizarrely insistent and ended up just sacking me.
5th in the league with Cagliari less than 2 years after keeping them in the top half… and having just been on an 18-match unbeaten run… and they’d sacked me. Absolutely ridiculous! However, at the start of the campaign I did predict that I wouldn’t be in charge of Cagliari next season.
Cagliari hired Paulo Sousa to replace me and ended up finishing a huge 8 points off the Champions League places, which made their board look like right mugs.
Join us next time as the Journeyman save continues with another job search, and we still have our role as England manager to keep things going!