23 kwi 2012

Summer of tough decisions awaits Śląsk

There is almost nothing in common if you compare Śląsk’s performances from the second half of the 2012 to how they play currently. Their drop in results is almost unimaginable, and only by a miracle they are still in the title race – despite having won only twice in last ten games.

It is even harder to say where the whole problems have started for Śląsk and their manager Orest Lenczyk. Was it during the winter camp when the players have noticed that new faces are not going to help them win the title? Patrik Mraz and Dalibor Stevanović have been both a huge disappointment and voice from the Śląsk camp was that there is a growing frustration over Lenczyk’s decisions regarding his players.

Then came the drop in form, connected with inability to make the new tactic as effective as the old one was. From there, it was only short way down to have the problems inside the dressing room, followed by a strange coming out of the tapes on which Orest Lenczyk criticizes his squad in person, speaking to Wrocław’s authorities. Financialissues are as important as every other factor in this crisis.

This has led to huge disagreements inside the dressing room and the older players feel that there is a massive gap between them and rest of the team in term of willingness to match fans’ expectations – after finishing the 2011 at the top with four-points advantage over Legia, it was only the championship they were aiming for.

Despite huge pressure from well-performing Lech Poznan, Ruch Chorzow, Legia and Polonia from Warsaw, Śląsk’s biggest failure is not in results or even dropping out of European cup places in last three games of this season. It is the posture of Orest Lenczyk, the man who have led the team out of relegation zone to the vice-championship last season, who is now seen as the reason of what happened to Śląsk in last four months.

Of course, in a results’ business such as football, he should have expect that, and not moan when fans are voicing their opinions, even if they are too harsh or too… well, impatient. It is his fault that players are one-two yard off the pace in each game, it is his fault that they are unable to perform better than their rivals – no matter who they are facing. Only Cracovia, the team that is almost relegated, proved to be poorer in the games they have played.

The facts are well known and Orest Lenczyk is now into the second month on the inside dressing room crisis, failing to become such a personality he was before 2012 came. His wisdom is not as highly regarded as it was, his opinions are not seen as thoughtful or insightful as they were. After drawing with Lechia Gdansk he moaned about the referee’s performance, only failing to notice that his team was second best again and draw was very flattering for Śąsk.

Several players are considering their options in the summer, and if the board decides to keep Lenczyk – at least for financial reasons – it may lead to the end of the current team, which could be the last thing they want before new season and possible European adventure. The fact that there may not be enough funds to get new players in time is as important and with at least five key players at the end of their deals, there may not be the case of funds gathering from selling them.

What the club now needs is clearing the atmosphere, and they need to do it rapidly. One of the leading players said recently that he will most definitely be on his way if Lenczyk stays. Fans are not sure that the board – so focused on the financial matters right now – will identify the problem or even is aware of it, and if they are right, Śląsk is into more troubles when the season ends. If something was proved in recent months is that nothing works as it should when the atmosphere inside the squad is so bad.

Of course, Lenczyk’s exit would mean a disaster and also a trouble in finding somebody suitable for the role – his assistant, Marek Wleciałowski was and will be one of leading candidates, yet there will be a feeling there is a need for someone new inside the dressing room. He may be already lost between Lenczyk and the squad, simple as that.

Then there is no sense in keeping current coaching staff if things not work well – if Lenczyk and his company are failing to connect with the squad now, they will not be able to repair it during the summer without huge changes made in the team. If the situation will only get worse , rapid change early inside the season may only do more harm – Jagiellonia Białystok is the perfect example of it. Śląsk’s reputation have reasonably grown over last year, yet current turmoil will not be unnoticed for the possible candidates.

Unfortunately for fans and everyone connected at Śląsk, there is no easy way out of the current chaos, yet the need for changes will only grow with each week. Each bad result was and is like a salt thrown into the wound. There will be always disagreement over Lenczyk’s role so far, his achievements that should not be forgotten, but his exit can be the most reasonable move for the board – if they decide to put players over the head. Yet, as the history has shown us so many times, that can also prove troubling for anyone who comes in…

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