Top of the league, top of the Champions League group, a Club World Cup win and a chance of winning both domestic Cups, things were sharping up well for my final few months in charge of Benfica, we just had to keep the momentum going if I was to taste domestic and European success once more in Portugal.
We begin this post with the January transfer window and in all honesty it was a quiet one. Wonderkid Jorge moved to Bayern Munich for €37.5m after demanding a move while Jetro Willems was signed from Juventus for €6.25m to be the replacement. Not an ideal situation for us but these things happen in Football, I think going forwards we’ll be okay.
League Results and Table (2019/20)
Not a single draw all season but sadly the winning run couldn’t go on forever, a shock 5-1 defeat to Uniao de Madeira ended our run of 34 straight league victories while a later defeat to Porto saw us end the campaign with 32 wins, 2 losses and 0 draws. One of the biggest results for me was the 6-1 drubbing we gave Sporting at the Estadio da Luz, it’s always good to beat your rivals but that, that was just glorious for me.
Miles ahead of the runners-up we never looked like losing the title from the off-set. A delightful 4th title for myself and our 4th consecutive league triumph. Elsewhere Braga have continued to be below par and finished in 8th while Uniao de Madeira enjoyed a very successful season finishing in 4th plac.e.
A mixed bag in terms of the Cups. Once again Porto proved to be our nemeses although this time they beat us in the League Cup on penalties following a 1-1 draw. In the Taca de Portugal Final the result was very much the same with us grabbing the shootout win. While I’m upset that we couldn’t be victorious in both of the Cups, I can’t fault the effort put in. I’m just relieved we didn’t lose back to back shootouts.
UEFA Champions League
For the first time since 1961 and 1962 Benfica have lifted back to back Champions League honours following a superb comeback victory against Manchester City in the Final. Last year the win was surprising but this year it was less so. We knew we had a superb squad and teams were frightened to play against us, goal bonanza’s against Chelsea and Real Madrid helped us to consecutive Finals where we battled from 2-0 down at HT to defeat Manchester City, an absolutely superb moment and truly my best as a Manager.
A look back on my time in charge…
I’ve spent 5 magnificent seasons in Lisbon with SL Benfica, a period of time in which I’ve taken charge of 290 matches in competitive fixtures. In my time at the club I’ve seen players leave, players join, youngsters break into the team. I’ve lifted trophies, felt heartbroken in defeat and got my hands on a Champions League trophy not once, but twice. I’ve truly enjoyed my time here at this magnificent club.
During this time I’ve also seen myself move up to 16th in the World Hall of Fame as a Football Manager while narrowly missing out on top spot in Portugal alone, something I could only have dreamed of when I took the reigns here.
But while everything has gone to plan and I’ve loved my time at the club, it’s come to that period in time where I’ve achieved all I can at this club, I’ve won everything there is to win (Besides the Europa League) and things can only gone downhill from here. It’s time to move on for a new challenge and let somebody else take charge of this fantastic project.
Now the aim of this save was of course to create a dynasty, and having won a boat-load of trophies I’d like to think we’ve done just that. While I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly, I’m delighted with the short term success we’ve managed to bring to the club and I’m sure it’s something that I’ll never be able to replicate again.
For anyone wondering what tactic was used throughout this series, check out my post about it here:
Thanks for reading my FM16 blog!