After taking a break from doing a career, I am ready to get back into it.
I could not decide on a club to start a career with so I decided to do something different. I started a career with a random club and simulated to February. I then browsed the jobs and decided on a tough project to start with, Girona FC.
Girona are 24 matches into their season and are last in LaLiga with 15 points. The goal this season is to avoid relegation. After this season, Wolters will either carry on at Girona or find a new challenge depending on how the season goes.
Girona FC are happy to announce Max Wolters as the new manager. Wolters will be joining the club on an interim basis for the remainder of the season. We were able to sit down with Wolters after his first training session with the team to learn a little more about him.
Max, thank you for joining us. Previously you were on the staff at Tottenham, what made you come to Girona?
Thank you for having me, I'm excited to be here and ready for the challenge. Girona caught my eye because they are a side that has some young talent but have not been able to put it together yet. I think if we can avoid relegation this season, this team can do something in years to come.
You haven't had much time with the players and have a match in only three days time, how do you even create strategies with that information?
Well that is where I have to rely a lot on the staff here. I have also been watching every Girona match of the season so far to learn more about how the guys play. Obviously I can't learn everything but we will find a way.
Five points from safety with 14 matches to play. How confident are you that you can keep us up?
Of course I'm extremely confident or else I wouldn't have taken the job. It's going to be a grind for sure but if we work hard, put the effort in. I am confident we will find a way. Just need to take it one point at a time.
And it can't get much harder to start, the first match is against Barcelona at Camp Nou.
Oh yes. What better way to start out. These are matches we have to be excited for. Going up against the best, obviously taking a point would be a massive feat considering everything. We might not have the skill but we will have the effort.
The hiring of Wolters is trending on Twitter this evening as the reviews are mixed.
In the last 20-30 years, not many English managers have been in LaLiga and less with relative success. Terry Venables won LaLiga with Barcelona in the mid-80s and took the team to the infamous European Cup final against Steaua. Also Bobby Robson was one year in the mid-90s (the Ronaldo year), winning the Cup Winners' Cup and LaCopa.
Probably the only British manager with a memorable career in Spain in the modern times (forget about the early days of the sport) has been John Benjamin Toshack, who had moments of great success with Real Sociedad and Real Madrid in the mid-80s and early 90s, although he exteneded his career through all the 90s.
The late experiences of David Moyes or Gary Neville were beyond terrible and I must say that the prestige of the English managers is very low here in Spain nowadays. Well... you just have to see that the top English clubs do not have English managers.
Anyway, Girona FC are a satellite club of Man City (for me, this is a shame that it can actually happen), so I wonder if this choice has something to do with it.
Good to see a new LaLiga career. I missed your stories. All the best, good luck!!
I actually completely forgot about Girona being a satellite club for City. I probably wouldn't have picked them if I remembered that, like you, I'm not a fan of satellite clubs. If I'm able to keep Girona up and extend my contract, I'll have to look into the deal with City and possibly break it.
Yes, it would be great to break that link with City. It actually smells a bit, since they did it through Pep Guardiola's brother, who owns the club 50-50 along with City Football Group. Too many interests... Guardiola signs for City, then they help his brother to buy a club... modern football.
I don't want to spoil the story anymore.
Thanks! I am also finding the feeder club information interesting as it is not something I have really paid that much attention to outside of the City and NYCFC connection.
Unlike in previous FIFA's, there are not a lot of job offers during the season I found out. Maybe it's just the switch version but the only offers are for teams in Japan, Netherlands or Russia. Randomly you have Liverpool or a few Championship teams pop up but that's about it. So when Girona came up, that peak my interest to move to LaLiga.
As for taking over the City job... That is a very interesting idea. Would Wolters take the job or break the link all together with City and stop them from being a feeder club?
New look Girona take on Messi and Barcelona at Camp Nou in Wolters debut
Max Wolters is getting a taste of La Liga in his first match as he leads his side into Camp Nou against Barcelona. The home side are chasing down league rivals Real Madrid for the league title as they currently sit four points back. Girona on the other hand are in last place, five points from the 17th place side.
Both managers stopped in the tunnel for a few quick questions.
Reporter: "Familiar place at the top of the table with half the season gone. Do you see today as a must win match considering the side you are playing?"
Ernesto Valverde: "At Barcelona every match is a must win for us. We do not change our standards based on who we are facing, we have our club standards and nothing is higher."
Reporter: "What do you expect from Girona under the new manager?"
Valverde: "We expect them to fight, they are trying to stay up and we are trying to win the league. Both sides will give their all."
Reporter: "Max, how are you feeling before you first match in charge?"
Wolters: "I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't feeling a tad bit nervous. But once the match kicks off, everything will settle down."
Reporter: "Multiple changes to the starting XI, plus a formation change already for you. Portu and Lozano are starting up top, two strikers who have been out of form and have not played much recently. What do you see in them?"
Wolters: "Watching tape I did not think the players were responding well to the 4-2-3-1 they were in. Some guys looked out of position while others were being held back. The 5-3-2 will open up the attack for us while making sure we do not give anything on defense. Portu and Lozano give us pace on top and have shown great energy in training. I'm excited for what they can bring to us."
Shocking result as Barca's title hopes fade away and Girona's spirits lift under new leadership.
If the score doesn't shock you, the way the match was played will. Girona, the side that are in turmoil took control at Camp Nou and dominated Barcelona from start to finish. The home teams fans had very few chances to cheer but they were loud nonetheless as a chorus of boos erupted multiple times during the match.
In the seventh minute Portu put the away side on top when he followed up the rebound from ter Stegen's save on Lozano during a counter attack.
Luiz Suarez drew the match level but it was Messi that really deserves the credit for the goal. The little magician weaved his way through defenders with world class dribbling that left three Girona men looking lost. Messi found Suarez in the middle of the box and set him up with an open look for goal.
Right before the half it was Portu again putting his side up, this time doing it himself by dribbling past two defenders before finding the net.
The second half was all Girona, Barcelona brought on more attacking players but that only opened it up for Portu and Lozano to attack on the break. Lozano finished the match with his goal off a Portu assist to make it 3-1.
We talked to Max Wolters in the post match about his side's big victory and his first win.
Reporter: "Max, big, big win today. How does it feel to come away with all three points?"
Wolters: "It feels amazing obviously, it was a big achievement for the club but we can't get ahead of ourselves. It is 3 points but it's not enough and we still have plenty of work to do."
Reporter: "Both goals in the first half came after you forced Coutinho into turning the ball over. Were you focused on him on purpose?"
Wolters: "That was something we mentioned before the match. Where he is positioned on the pitch, there is not a lot of cover behind him so if you can force a mistake, you have a 2 on 2 break. Which luckily for us, happened a few times tonight."
Reporter: "Both of your key changes came through today in Portu and Lozano. Was this what you were expecting from them?"
Wolters: "I expected them to play well but not this well. But credit to Bono in goal also, he came up big time and time again especially the few times Messi had great looks."
Photos of the match
Max may write an amazing story in LaLiga if avoid the relegation.
BTW, Portu is a very good player for a team of this level... or even higher
I agree, I was planning for a draw but the win was a nice surprise. Taking advantage of the game in hand will be big.
Thank you, we we're fortunate that Barca have a congested fixture list and did not play their top defenders.
I am really liking Portu as a player. Not sure why he hasn't been playing a lot up to this point but he will be a key player for me.
Certainly a big win to start. Winning in the Camp Nou is massive. Seems like Wolters does take it very serious and has a plan on how to turn around things in Girona.
A lot of changes in the lineup for Wolters from the Barca win as the next match is only two days after. Girona are continuing their fight to avoid relegation as they take on Celta who are fighting for a Europa league spot as they sit 8th in the table.
We met with Wolters pre-match and asked about the scheduling and how he thinks his side will fair.
"Obviously we want more times between matches but this is LaLiga, it is a very difficult league and this is a very busy time of the season. But nobody can or should complain about how busy the schedule is, especially when we are not even playing European football! I have confidence in every player wearing the shirt, whoever we put out there, we expect a good performance and a good result. If we lose, it will not be because we had to rotate players."
Surprising result following the Barca win as Girona look flat at home
Many expected Girona to carry the momentum from their previous match and pull off another big win but instead the home side came out flat and struggled to put passes together as they fell 2-0 to Celta. The first half was goal less with Celta controlling most of the ball but neither side created many chances.
The first goal came just after the hour mark as Celta slowly passed the ball around outside the box making Girona defenders shuffle from one side to the other. Sisto found a bit of space at the top of the box and curved a shot into the top right corner past a diving Bounou.
Girona came alive after the goal creating multiple chances between the 70 and 80 minute marks but Ruben Blanco would not be beaten today. Celta added their second goal in the 91st minute from a corner that Wass headed home to secure the victory.
Girona's best chance was in the 78th minute when Lozano had a shot deflected that hit the post and was pushed away by a diving Blanco.
Wolters: "It is a tough result to take but it is fair. We were not on our game tonight, our passing was terrible and we did not create much. Defense was good for the most part, one outstanding goal for them and the other was when we were focused on attack and let a corner slip in. Another big match in a few days against Villarreal that I am sure Jordi will have his team up for so we must be ready to go."
Girona are back on the road as they face Villarreal who are currently 4th in La Liga through 26 matches. Villarreal have won 5 straight since the 4-0 defeat to Real Madrid while Girona have a win and a loss under the name manager, Wolters. The home side are fighting for the last Champions League spot as they are 11 points behind 3rd place Barcelona but only 3 points ahead of 5th place Athletic Club. Wolters spoke pre-game about the match.
Reporter: "Big match today against a top opponent. After the letdown midweek, do you feel the boys will be up for it?"
Wolters: "We are 19th in the table, every match is a big match and every opponent is tough. The loss a few days ago brought us down to earth a bit after the win in Camp Nou. I think they will be ready."
Reporter: "Manel Martinez is getting his first start of the season, why did you pick him today?"
Wolters: "From the few weeks I have been here, he has shown great potential and skill. With 3 games in 9 days we need some rotation and it's his turn to have a chance to step up and play along side Portu."
Reporter: "Sticking with the 5-3-2 formation, unlike other lower table clubs you try to control the ball. Is that the plan today?"
Wolters: "I think sitting back to defend 90 minutes is a great way to lose. If we have the ball, they can't score. Easy as that. I'd rather control the ball and put pressure on them when we don't have the ball to try forcing a mistake on their half."
Another top 4 side fall to Girona
The White and Red pull off another big victory as they win a back and forth battle over Villarreal 4-3. Villarreal looked to have control over the match as they scored at the quarter-hour mark from a Pablo Fornals volley by the penalty spot. But the visitors struck back off a corner that Pablo Maffeo headed in. Right before the half, Villarreal took the lead again from a Victor Ruiz goal that came off a scramble in the box that saw men falling all over before Ruiz slide in to knock the ball across the line.
The second half was just as exciting as Manel Martinez scored in the 50th minute off another corner for Girona. Martinez, who was starting for the first time this season, scored his second goal in the 63rd minute to bring us level again after Espinosa scored for the home side only minutes before.
Wolters went to the bench in the 66th minute to bring on Soriano who would be the key main late in the match. With a 20 minutes left to play, Portu lobbed a pass over the back line to Soriano streaking into the box. A soft first touch knocked the ball down to his left foot where Soriano was able to strike a hard shot into the bottom right corner to put Girona on top 4-3.
Match in pictures
There are still 11 matches, Girona can reach easily the mid-table if they keep their form.
IF we can keep the form..
Despite the irregular results, the team always give a fight, which makes me feel positive about the possibilities of the team to save the season.
I am more cautious against the top sides and focus every moment during the match. We need to be better at doing the same against the sides we should be beating.
If we find consistency I think we can finish closer to 13-15 then the relegation area.
The point moves Girona from 20th to 19th in the table but Wolters side are still 3pts from safety and Malaga have a game in hand. Even with the draw, Wolters was left wanting more from the trip to Madrid.
"I felt we could have come away with all 3 points tonight. Matches like this we have to close out and not let points slip away."
Lozano and Portu contributed for 2 of the 3 goals tonight as their partnership is continuing to grow.
"The more they play together, the better they will be. They just seem to get each other and know where the other will be going."
The point for Madrid moves them 4pts clear on top of the table with 9 games remaining. Girona face Levante in two weeks after the international break.