Jose Mari Bakero may not be a great football coach. He may not be a favorite of Polonia Warszawa owner, Józef Wojciechowski as he didn’t match his high expectations (nobody did that so far) or that late summer phone call (when Basque was supposedly drunk and quit his job) may have something to do with it. But I’m struggling with reasons why Lech Poznań fans, the press and pundits already thinks that signing him was the biggest possible mistake made by the club’s board.
What’s wrong with Bakero then? He didn’t do that wrong at Polonia, because his aim was to avoid relegation and he did just that. Wojciechowski must have been crazy (and he is, honestly) to expect something better from the team that he had that time. The pressure he put on his manager was enormous and laughed out loud on numerous occasions, not to mention several idiotic comments he shared about Spanish coach. I’m not saying that Bakero is completely without fault in keeping his team in relegation battle until the season end but I’ve kept saying that the best players Polonia rivals had, was the owner of this club with his comments.
To be honest, since March Wojciechowski was only looking for a reason to sack Bakero and as he this time strangely didn’t use his usual explanation of ‘poor results’ he made several complains about Basque’s ‘team management’. Usually it was all about Tomasz Jodłowiec who was played as defensive midfielder while owner stated that he is only, ONLY a center-back and if Bakero wants to stay in his job, he must play him where it is right - in Wojciechowski’s opinion, of course.
Yes, three transfer flops happened to Bakero during his stay in Warszawa, but he quickly learned his lesson and every summer transfer was a good one. Also it must be said that he was a bit unlucky with the scores during second round of last season as his team three times lost crucial goals in added time to lose important points. His tactics were right and his biggest disadvantage may be the fact that he did not walk out of the club after humiliating comments from Wojciechowski and actually listening (under pressure) to his ‘advices’. This season the only defeat under his management came after Wojciechowski clearly said that selecting Andreu (the best DM in the league or top three, maybe?) will cost him the job. He listened and it cost Polonia points… and his job as well. Put aside that summer story I told You at the start, Jose Mari Bakero is seriously underrated in Poland.
Although I don’t think that sacking Zieliński by Lech was the best decision made by the club, they didn’t have better replacement on Polish market than Bakero. And there was no time to find manager abroad to risk another weeks of his acclimatization in Polish Ekstraklasa when Lech’s chances of catching the leading group in the table may be already lost. He is smart guy, while his knowledge of the game is second to none, no doubt about that. He may not prove me right and become as good manager as I tried to make him in that post, but I’m very, very curious how he will do in Poznań without having crazy person that only thinks he knows the game.
Bakero made already us a favor and created great player out of Adrian Mierzejewski – made not only a leader out of this frightened central midfielder, but also took him to another level, all the way to the national team, fully deservedly. Now he has a team that most certainly is one of the best in Poland and last two games showed that they are getting out of biggest troubles. He couldn’t wish for better rival for a start – big Manchester City is coming to town and he can quickly shut mouth of all his doubters.