FM13 at Mladost: Great start peters out
The last few matches for Mladost Lucani have been a source of great frustration. After a fantastic start to the season, where we went 8 matches unbeaten, I can feel it starting to unravel, and with the pace at the front remaining hot, for the first time I’m starting to have doubts about whether we can get promoted.
The first signs of trouble came at Cukaricki, who at the time were bottom of the league. We cruised into an early 2-0 lead and it seemed like another routine win. But FM13 has a habit of letting you take leads like this and still crushing your spirit. They scored just before half time and I told my players not to get complacent – they reacted badly and proceeded to conceded another 3 goals.
It couldn’t have come at a worse time for my Serbian Cup hopes, as we then travelled to SuperLiga side Jagodina. We created loads of chances but lost 2-0. We bounced back with another 2 wins, but then this was followed by an awful performance against Vozdovac, who were quickly becoming our first serious rivals for the title. We’ve been inconsistent ever since – putting 3 past Jedinstvo Putevi but then couldn’t score for the first time in the league against Timok, and then the dreadful showing against Novi Sad, who were without a win in 9 and yet we allowed them to stroll into a 3-1 lead, pulled it back to 3-3 and then blew it by conceding a free kick in the last minute which was promptly scoed; following that, wins against Teleoptik and Bezanija were followed by another meek showing at home to promotion contenders Metalac.
In fairness, the last few matches have been tougher, though we really should have beaten Novi Sad. But that’s no real excuse for the downturn in form – for those first 8 matches we looked unstoppable, but now our form is very mid-table, whereas our next opponents Borac Kacak are unbeaten in 7 and closing down on the automatic places. We’ve now dropped into 2nd place for the first time in a while – amazingly our other rivals kept losing at the same time as us, until we inevitably ran out of luck with the latest defeat. I’m not worried about Teleoptik as they cannot get promoted anyway, so if they finished in the top 2, the team in 3rd would go up automatically. But Metalac and Borac are closing the gap. It would be very annoying to miss out after that start.
It reminds me a lot of my Villarreal team, who had the talent and showed it to begin with but then faded badly after the first matches and the inconsistency became uncontrollable. I think it’s the game, but I would say that, though I have at least tried a few different formations.
However, we now have a 3 month winter break before facing Borac, something I hadn’t noticed when I signed up – that’s a bit annoying as it means organising another bunch of friendlies to keep the players fit. Luckily we don’t have any momentum to lose…
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