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Welcome back to my Football Manager 2020 Wolverhampton Wanderers Story.
Season 4, Episode 44
Our unbeaten run continued last month as we push for a title charge. We’ve hovered around 2nd and 3rd all season but with a lot of games to be played this month, we could hop over Spurs and grab that 1st place for ourselves.
We need a fully fit squad to win the title so I will be trying to manage our players fitness levels to the best of my ability. We cannot run them into the ground. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Watford (9th) vs Wolves (3rd)
3/2/2023 Premier League
Watford have been quite the surprise this season, and they currently unbeaten in 5 (all competitions). Our away form is an issue for us so far this season so going into this match we have to be fully focused. Our form on the whole has been fantastic since we haven’t lost a match in all competitions since September. But we have relied on last minutes winners of late and it’s an aspect of our game where the luck will run out.
An even game in which we managed to come out on top. We both had chances but Cutrone rewarded me for putting him in the starting 11 with his 3rd goal of the season. No where near the amount of goals I want from my strikers. Haaland is doing most of it. I aim to give Cutrone a run of games in the hope to spark some form into the boy. We went top of the table briefly before Spurs beat Leicester 3-2 on the Sunday.
Derby County (19th) vs Wolves (2nd)
7/2/2023 Premier League
Another away match today as we travel to Derby. Fiezzi makes it back to the bench after missing a few matches with an injury. We’re in good shape and me and the boys are very confident going into this match. For me, Derby are not Premier League level and their league position shows it. They haven’t invested enough in top talent and I’d imagine they will see the drop come the end of the season.
As suspected, it was a straight forward victory. Cutrone gets on the score sheet again to my delight. I hope him and Haaland are striking up a great relationship. Spurs dropped points during the midweek fixtures against Aston Villa, and we now sit level on points with them. The players are buzzing at the moment.
Wolves (2nd) vs Everton (12th)
11/2/2023 Premier League
A home tie against Everton are up next. Fernandes hasn’t been at his best recently, so I’m going to drop him back into the CM Mezalla role and push Van de Beek forward into the AMC slot. Mason Mount will soon be back in training and competing for that AMC role.
Spurs had the early kick-off against Liverpool and they drew 0-0. We have a chance to make 1st place ours. I’ve spoken to the lads and they know what they must do.
“Wolves go top of Premier League”
Everton clearly game for a draw. They sat back and hadn’t even registered a shot by the time Haaland put the ball in the back of the net. It was tough. They set 10 men behind the ball at all times, but we persevered and managed to get that all important goal. We now sit two points ahead of Spurs. What a day for Wolves fans.
Wolves (1st) vs Leicester (17th)
14/2/2023 Premier League
We host Leicester on Valentine’s Day, a side that are currently performing well under expectations. With a media prediction of 8th, they find themselves squandering in 17th. Neil Lennon has only been in charge for 25 days and while he won his first two games, they now sit with 4 without a win.
Fernandes still didn’t put in a performance that I wanted in his Mezalla role last time out, and he will sit out this game today because of it. Perhaps he needs a bit of a rest. Fiezzi makes his 2nd full start for us.
An outstanding performance today as we carved Leicester open like a knife through butter. Even without our usual midfield trio, we continued to boss the game. New boy Fiezzi played his best match in a Wolves shirt today, earning him man of the match in the process.
Spurs continue to drop points as they register their 3rd 0-0 in a row, this time against Manchester United. We sit 4 points clear at the top. An incredible series of unfortunate events for Spurs for fantastic for us.
Wolves (1st) vs Brighton (14th)
18/2/2023 Premier League
We feel like an unstoppable fright train at the moment. This month has been perfect – 4 games played, 8 goals scored, and 0 conceded. And with that form, Audero is currently one clean sheet away from breaking our club record – and we’re only in February.
He has been a revelation in goal since joining us in the January of last year.
Spurs played Manchester United again in the early kick-off and lost 4-2. They have completely capitulated in recent weeks and a win against Brighton will earn us a seven point gap. Mason Mount makes our bench for the first time.
Not the best of games, but we got the job done. Fiezzi continued from where he left-off with another good display. For such a young lad in a new country who doesn’t speak a word of English, he’s really shining.
The only blight on the fixture was Ruben Vinagre taking a nasty fall and broke his collarbone. He will be out for 7-9 weeks. A huge blow for us and him. He’s been outstanding this year. We have Augustinsson ready to take his place.
An incredible seven point lead is what we have at the top of the table. I hope we can sustain this momentum.
Borussia Monchengladbach vs Wolves
22/2/2023 Champions League 1st Knockout Round – 1st Leg
The Champions League is back once again and our reward for finishing first in the group was a tie against Borussia Monchengladbach. While no tie in the Champions League is easy, it’s certainly a favourable one for us as they sit 10th in the Bundesliga.
A balanced approach will be put forth as we aim to keep tight as the back while searching for that elusive away goal.
This will be an interesting tie as behind striker Kouame, they have a talented trio. Were we to avoid defeat today, we would surpass our club record of 22 games unbeaten. A record we set last season where our amazing run helped us claim 4th spot.
One Nil Wolves is soon to be our new nickname as we record our 4th 1-0 victory in February. And with that result, we’ve surpassed our record. Not something I thought I’d be achieving so early, but it’s all credit to the boys.
We were never threatened in the match, and we kept to the game plan. Keep it tight at the back and wait patiently for our opening. Neves provided a delicious ball for Cutrone to latch onto and there was only one outcome as he ran through on goal. An all important away goal and we head home with our heads high.
Burnley (12th) vs Wolves (1st)
25/2/2023 Premier League
I’m starting to lose a little patience with our club captain, Fernandes. He’s been good in spurts, but generally he’s been a little lacklustre. Perhaps Mason Mount is ready to truly challenge him for a starting 11 spot. Fernandes‘ last 5 matches have earnt him an average rating of 6.66 with just one assist to his name. For a team looking to win their first ever top flight title, he needs to do better.
A surprisingly tough match today as Burnley gave us a real game. For large parts they dominated the ball, but we battled no and got our reward. Van de beek came from the bench to find the winner with a glancing header.
Elsewhere, Spurs have continued with awful form with a 3-2 loss to 19th placed Derby County. They haven’t won in 5 matches now and we hold a staggering 10 point lead. I’m in slight shock and Spurs’ complete fall from grace. I don’t want to even think about the title right now. As cliché as it sounds, we need to take it game by game.
Wolves vs Bournemouth
28/2/2023 FA Cup 5th Round
Our final game of a busy but incredible month is a home tie against Bournemouth in the FA Cup. After seven games already this month, this game gives us a chance to rest the likes of Neves, Fernandes and Haaland. The FA Cup is definitely not high on my priority list considering how well we are doing in the league and the Champions League.
But we of course will put out a side comfortable of winning.
This game was certainly one for the neutrals. Within 10 minutes we were 3-0 up and I was ecstatic. I made 8 changes to the starting eleven and I was so pleased to see such a cohesive side.
As the game went on, Bournemouth grew into it. They started to give us some real problems and before the 90 minutes was up they had squared it to 3-3.
We played without Kimpembe and Onguene today and it really showed. But credit to the lads as we continued to fight and managed to find the net twice in extra time.
We march into the 6th round and a tie against Championship side Sheffield Wednesday awaits us. We’ve got lucky with this draw as Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United are all still in the competition.
Manager’s Player of the Month
We just played out a perfect month. 8 matches played, 8 wins on the board and a lot of this success is down to Errling Haaland.
He’s a world class star at just 22 and he has potential to grow even more. With a £110m buyout clause, I am cautious about his future. Should we go on to win the league, I will certainly be sitting down with him to try and erase that buyout clause. He need him for the long haul.
Manager’s Player of the Month Winners: Haaland (3) Fernandes (1), Augustinsson (1), Neves (1).
Our incredible run has seen me pick up my 4th ever Manager of the Month award beating the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Stoke’s Juan Carlos Unzue.
Granted we haven’t played the best sides in the league this month but we’ve still had to work hard and we’ve been getting the results we ultimately deserve.
It’s not the first time we’ve had a perfect record in a month, but to do it with so many games played, I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved.
There’s been times where we’ve had to rely on late goals, but they all count the same.
Errling Haaland has been instrumental to our title charge. I’m not sure where we’d be without him.
We entered February trailing league leaders Spurs by two points. We now leave February, remarkably, with an astonishing 10 point gap.
Spurs have had an absolute disaster of a month, winning one goal out of six. They somehow still sit in 2nd, but it won’t be for long if they carry on like this.
We have a much easier schedule for March but April will be a testing time as we will face 4 of the traditional ‘big six’.
Off the field it’s been very uneventful. Everyone at the club seems so concentrated on this title push and the results are showing this. I’d had to pinch myself to see if the situation we’re in is really real.
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