2 mar 2012

Only one way to go

This was really surprising. Despite poor or average record, no one expected to see Kazimierz Moskal sacked from his position as Wisła's Krakow manager. After all, when defeat in city's derby was too much for Robert Maaskant, the White Star legend was picked to step up in the hardest moment possible - with few games in league in 2012, huge gap in the table and mission impossible in the Europa League group stages.

He did fairly well - despite mixed results in Ekstraklasa, his miraculous finish in Europe gave the whole club a new hope for the rest of the season and the challenge in next stage, against Standard Liege, wasn't regarded as too big for players like Melikson and Małecki. But winter was struggle for Moskal - he maybe had his team for the whole time but clearly in need of financial support, received nothing and without experience, he could hardly change a thing in their style or tactics.

And indeed, if something was seen lately in Krakow it was more of the same what turned out to be the end Maaskant's  tenure. And Moskal's too. Of course, there will be Małecki's case coming out too - but he did well and his decision to leave him out of the squad was good one, though one taken in extremely tough situation. 

That also should be the first lesson for new manager, Michał Probierz. If anything he proved this season is that he likes to work under pressure and is not afraid of any challenge thrown at him. At Jagiellonia, he had given up on the job much earlier before the sack came, Łódzki Klub Sportowy was a disaster before he, for his short time being there, turned them to something at least resembling a professional football club. Aris Thessaloniki was a disaster - wide, disjointed squad, unhappy fans, poor form and financial situation. His work there should be longer, but he couldn't work under given circumstances, quickly noting that the challenge is too big for his small group of allies in Greece.

He came back to Poland pretty quickly and as fast Probierz was connected to different positions across country - Lechia Gdansk was in need of one, Lech Poznan looked at possibility even last Friday, Legia thought about his candidature but for next season and, obviously, there was Wisła. With championship chances virtually gone after latest defeat to Korona Kielce, 40-year-old manager must reassess the squad, stabilize the team from the back and put some spirit into flat team that have quality but fails to deliver results.

"Of course, Wisła Krakow is on different level to Jagiellonia, where our promotion to European cups was first in the club's history," Probierz said on his first presser as Wisła's coach. Of his goals he said that at first he wants to create solid team that will not be as easily defeated at home as it has already happened so often this season. Indeed, five defeats in ten Krakow games put them as joint second worst in the whole league! And this is the place which was once regarded as mission impossible for other Polish teams.

Michał Probierz is a man that knows own value and is not one afraid to share his view about own talents - at today's presser he spoke highly of himself, promising fans that he is not person afraid of tough challenge. Of course, this is not easy one given the table and circumstances or even squad at his disposal, but from Wisła's chances and talented lot he has, he unnecessarily creates a highest mountain possible to climb for any manager. He shouldn't, not only because of his position in Polish football, but also for the sake of the players -  if they proved something this season is that they are in need of confidence above anything else. 

Melikson, Wilk, Iliev, Genkov, Biton, Kirm, Chavez and Pareiko - Wisła have enough players to make the championship theirs even in this season, especially if poor form of those at the top will continue. Probierz is right to point out at home record to improve as fastest as possible - Wisła will host both Śląsk and Legia and they will have crowds behind their team again. 

This might not be the biggest challenge of his career but Probierz faces stern test and the one that will define his future - he was rightly given the benefit of the doubt over his short-term jobs at ŁKS and Aris but Wisła is different level and on different level his achievements will be assessed. There will be no easy explanations, and this isn't harmless task he took. But for the first time in Probierz's career, he took responsibility over something bigger and it will be intriguing to see, whether he is up for the job. 

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