Wandering to Titles – Are We a ‘Big Team’ Now? (March) Episode 22

If you’ve missed an episode, why not take a look at my Episode Guide. Here you will find all the episodes of this story all in one place.

Welcome back to my Football Manager 2020 Wolverhampton Wanderers Story.

Season 2, Episode 22

A short month for fixtures as we head closer and closer to the business end of the season.

This could be an historic month for Wolves as we try to progress further into the Champions League Knockout stages.

But first, we face a local rival in the form of Birmingham City.

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Wolves vs Birmingham City
2/3/2021 FA Cup 5th Round

It’s not often we get to face local rivals, Birmingham City. And based on their league form (10th in the Championship), it will continue to be a rare occurrence.

As usual against teams in the Championship, we will rotate to give the fringe players a chance to impress and get some minutes under their belt.

While we only won 1-0, the win was never in doubt. These kind of disjointed performances are what is expected from 9 changes to the first team.

Pedro Neto could have had a handful tonight, but he couldn’t take his chances. Nothing to worry about.

Our FA Cup 6th Round draw is not ideal though. An away tie at Liverpool is about as hard as it gets. A London derby between Spurs and current holders Arsenal is interesting though.

Sheffield United (18th) vs Wolves (5th)
6/3/2021 Premier League

Sheffield United will be without Key Player Harry Wilson (on loan from Liverpool) today. We’re in good spirits.

Well that was unexpected. I’m furious at my players. We barely turned up. We were in total control of the game up until their goal. A rare error from Patricio lead to Freeman having a free header on goal.

From there on in, we created nothing. There was no urgency at all. The players all received the hairdryer treatment and will be in training first thing tomorrow morning. Appalling performance.

Wolves (5th) vs Man United (3rd)
13/3/2021 Premier League

Although we play Man United next and are not expected to win, I still demand a better performance than what we showed at Sheffield United.

Jota still a doubt for the game and Cutrone ready for a place on the bench.

An improved performance would be an understatement. We were exceptional today. The only change in the side was Mustafi coming in for Djalo.

Fernandes started us off with an incredible goal from some ways out. Jonny scored a brace from RWB before conceding a penalty to a marauding Rashford – but big man Patricio stepped up and saved it.

Fernandes is certainly relishing his role with an extra body next to him.

Wolves (2) vs Valencia (0)
16/3/2021 Champions League 1st Knockout Round Second Leg

Since our last meeting, Valencia have won 4 games back-to-back. But we head into the match with 2 away goals.

A disciplined and methodical approach will be taken. Nothing can be taken for granted, especially in the Champions League.

A loss on the night, but a win overall. It was a nail-biting affair that could have told a completely different story at any moment.

A rare Mepham mistake allowed Lee Kang-In to prod home early on. But we stayed strong and saw the game out.

Quarter Final Draw

An historic milestone for Wolves as we enter the Quarter Final of the Champions League. A plethora of amazing teams await us with RB Leipzig being the easiest of the bunch – however they did just knockout Real Madrid.

And we managed to draw none other than Liverpool, again, for the 2nd time this season, 3rd time in two years.

We play them next in the FA Cup 6th Round. I’m sick of seeing the sight of them at this point.

Our previous meetings have not been too favourable, and this could get a lot worse as we play them 4 times over the next 5 matches. Luck will need to be on our side.

Youth Candidates Are In

Things were looking glum, even more so when I opened up my e-mails and saw my youth candidates for the first time.

I knew I didn’t have too much hope considering the initial report we got, but this is very underwhelming. Not a single player I feel will ever make it to the first team.

Disappointed, to say the least.

Liverpool vs Wolves
20/3/2021 FA Cup 6th Round

Our first of 4 matches in 5 against Liverpool, and we start off with the FA Cup 6th Round.

I’m hesitant to say I’m not looking forward to these fixtures. Liverpool are a scary team to face up to once, let alone 4 times in under a month.

But we must be strong. We must show willing. They are beatable.

In the first half we played a cautious approach. With this, we invited way too much pressure onto ourselves, and we couldn’t get a foothold of the game.

We were nearly 2-0 down by 17 minutes as we gave away a penalty, but Martinez thankfully hit the post.

Second half I switched it up to a more balanced style. We grew into the game and had more chances for ourselves. I think in these games, it’s time we play to our strengths, just like we did against Man United earlier in the month.

Looking Ahead

On paper the results this month look a little bleak with 3 losses. But it was an historic month as we progressed further into the Champions League knockout stages.

The Sheffield United loss is a sore one, but we bounced back in emphatic fashion.

April looks set to be a torrid month. We have to face Liverpool 3 times in a week. I’m not looking forward to it, but I’m hoping the boys will surprise me. We cannot let Liverpool destroy the morale I’ve built up.

Poached Staff

This month we saw one of our staff members poached for a full managerial role.

Oscar Garcia heads off to Real Zaragoza who sit 6th in the 2nd division in Spain. It’s nice to see our staff members take the next steps forward in their careers. I wish him well in his new role.

As always, thank you for reading. Please share with your friends, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for the latest updates; @ExtraTimeFM. Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.