4 maj 2011

Cup triumph saves Skorża

Game that was regarded as job saving for the manager that will end lifting the Polish Cup with his team did not disappointed, as every game between Legia and Lech this season. Final that needed penalties after 120 minutes to separate both sides after fabulous strikes from Injać and Manu may prove much more than another day at the very end of the season. This time it was a fight for the future, to save not only manager's job but his idea of the team, current shape. Some Legia fans even wished that their team would lost.

How come? Don't they want European football next season? In a season that is a struggle for their team sure as hell a moment of joy was much needed among Legia's faithful. But the problem is not with winning the cup, rather than what it will mean for the club. With Skorża, who is rightly proven guilty of making several mistakes in preparation this team to Ekstraklasa, there is another job that will be saved - Marek Jóźwiak's one. He is the one responsible for transfers which in bigger part were wrong choices at Legia this season and he needed this triumph as much as Skorża did. But there is no room for any further mistakes for that duo, conflicted one, as owners said that their limit is over and every another bad move will cost them more than dozens of them cost Jóźwiak up to date. It will be a busy summer this year at Łazienkowska, money won't be tight and with Skorża once again given chance to rebuild this team, he will have fairly short period of time to make it a squad capable of winning and competing for Polish Championship.

Defeat almost certainly means that Jose Mari Bakero will not be staying with Lech for another season and rightly so. I was one of few that tried to defend him while he was criticized from his start in Poznań but there are not any arguments left as he lost a battle for the only trophy that was in Lech's reach. He may not leave the team for a couple of weeks and may have to wait for the season end to hear official decision but he is doomed - although there will be debate whether there is a point in making him stay when only more damage can be done. He leaves a team that struggles on the pitch, is not attacking minded while his constant rotation has barely any sense and only made few players angry - mainly Semir Stilić who said he will leave Poznan if nothing changes. Then is Artjoms Rudnevs, possible target for several clubs from Italy, Germany and England, very talented striker that came just last summer and may be on his way somewhere else. What will Lech do, with new manager coping with a squad that just lost valuable members? As with Legia, there will be money available this summer but there is a question who will lead the team out next season and that puzzle must be solved quickly by Kolejorz's board, if they have ambition of bringing Championship back to Poznan. 

Unfortunately, the winner is not regarded as a team that will do well in Europe. Legia, what is well documented this season, is not a team that may achieve as much Lech Poznan did this season. Everybody knows that there will be some actions taken to make this team better but it is a person of manager that makes fan question his qualities and future decision making based on current season. Skorża, very intelligent man, smart and nice, probably knows his team limits and his desire to prove himself to Legia fans is even bigger after yesterday win. Pressure has gone up as well.

Two teams that will go through revolutions  and after all, score didn't matter that much and made no difference to their situation. Of course, Lech will be hurt badly, especially in financial terms as lack of European football was not something that their board took under consideration before this season when they tried to create budget. But there stability of Lech, their future is not in danger, especially when they can count on thousands of fans coming to their games - hopefully not scared away by minority that demolished stadium in Bydgoszcz after the final. 

Polish Cup final was a good game, both teams performed at times better than usually this season in the league, especially Legia. Lech will be disappointed with the line-up but first half proved Bakero's selection right, only to show his weakness later in the game when opposition equalized and he failed to change the course of the game with changes when clearly Legia was tiring in extra time. He tried but got them wrong and Skorża reacted well even when his two center-backs had to be changed due to injury. The unexpected hero of the night was Portuguese winger Manu, quick, hard working and with absolutely no delivery, picked the right moment to score his first goal for the club since summer transfer - there might be a chance for him after that performance.

How can we rate this year's edition of Polish Cup? It was less surprising than last season when Pogoń Szczecin faced Jagiellonia Białystok in the final but we had great run from Podbeskidzie and Lechia Gdańsk, while still several teams from Ekstraklasa did not pay enough attention to this tournament. With Polish Cup regarded as the shortest way to Europe, this time it is Legia who will claim this saying to be truth, especially when they are still struggling in the league. Will this triumph be a kick of new life into their disappointing campaign? Maciej Skorża wouldn't mind at all, every argument for his job at this club will help. 

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