Three decisions that gave Lech the championship. Who believed in a great comeback?

When we were the first in Interia to say so Maciej Skorża returns to the role of coach of Lech Poznań, the information – although proven – seemed downright unreliable. The talk was about a coach who – yes – won the Polish championship with Lech Poznań in 2015, but a short time later left the team almost in ruins: plunged into a relegation zone, with low morale, in an irreversible crisis. Another work by Maciej Skorża in Ekstraklasa, in Pogoń Szczecin, from the beginning to the end (and before long) was a failure.

After being young and talented (assistant in the Polish national team with Paweł Janas, independent work in Amica and Groclin Grodzisk Wlkp.), and then a top Polish coach (the Polish Championship with Wisła Kraków and the Polish Cup with Legia, finally the title with Lech), Maciej Skorża’s career took a turn. Working in the Emirates financially secured the trainer, but did not necessarily solidify his position in terms of a possible return to Ekstraklasa. The trainer himself gave signals that he had taken some distance and changed some of his coaching behavior (that of being impulsive in interacting with other people). However, one can get the impression that some clubs were afraid to check whether these declarations were actually covered.

Maciej Skorża returned to Lech Poznań 13 months ago and officially signed the contract on April 10, 2021. Hardly anyone remembers today that this story could have taken a completely different course and that the Polish Championship might not have happened, because the coach had very close ties with Silesia Wrocław. Close enough to that part of the media Maciej Skorża has already been appointed as coach of Silesia† Lech sprang into action and contacted the coach at the last minute. When Maciej Skorża had the choice between Wrocław and Poznań, he chose to work in Lech. Like the club, he decided he had to finish something here.

That break in 2015, during the violent period of the band crisis, left both parties feeling dissatisfied. Maciej Skorża has always been regarded as the coach the Lech authorities have dreamed of. He was occupied by other employers for a long time and when he finally took over the team there was a rapid decline after his rapid success. The main point in the talks between Maciej Skorża and Lech Poznań about re-cooperation was therefore drawing conclusions from past mistakes. After being in a crisis, how not to get stuck in it like in a swamp? – that’s the question (or best: how not to fall into a crisis at all). In a welcome interview with LechTV, the coach talked a lot about what he was doing wrong (eg putting too much pressure on the players), but also later in his tenure he tried to reiterate that Lech 2015 and Lech 2021-2022 are two different teams, completely different situation. . What is worth highlighting: Maciej Skorża is much more open at press conferences these days, so not actually in a conversation with the media, but with the whole audience, including fans, is much more open than before. Which does not mean that he gives up matches and secrets, for example in the case of an injury in the team.

Just as the doubts related to the transformation of the coach, it was also possible to doubt the extent to which the club’s approach would change† An approach that fans of Pozna called minimalism – both in terms of sports ambitions and spending money to achieve them.

After six years without winning the trophy, after losing the Polish Cup final, after the extremely mediocre end of coach Dariusz Żuraw’s term, Lech Poznań didn’t even anger his fans, but started to leave them indifferent. He lost in every way, in different variants, he even had a defeat, after which the coach was quite pleased. In the near perspective of the club’s centenary, Lech needed change and success “here and now” more than ever.

Thus, it soon became apparent that the scope of Maciej Skorża’s power began to expand beyond what was originally expected and, for example, he began to exert great influence on decisions related to the recruitment of new players. The coach’s competences on this subject previously raised doubts and partly still raise them (or the Adriel Ba Loua and Kristoffer Veldeare actually better than the rejected ones Damian Kądzior?), but one thing is indisputable: with Maciej Skorża, the authorities of Lech Poznań had to dig deeper and stop denying that a more expensive player could probably do more than the cheaper one.

This cost is also related to an important feature of the trainer, which its predecessors lacked. When Maciej Skorża thinks that the “best” Ba Loua or Velde are weaker than the competitors for the squad, he simply puts them on the bench. He is also not forcing any of the young players that the club would benefit from in the future. Dariusz Żurawi will probably always remember keeping a talented guy on a couch Jakub Moder in the face of exposing a Croat who was transferred for several hundred thousand euros, tripping over his own feet Karlo Muhara† And on the other side – Filip Marchwinskic he was promoted as much forcibly as without idea (with always throwing in a different position). Maciej Skorża is played by the best, according to Maciej Skorża.

Perhaps the trainer’s most important decision was to limit the role Pedro Tiby† The great leader of Lech Poznań in previous seasons is now a notorious reserve player. And not even the first in line to get behind one of the central midfielders. The coach, Maciej Skorża, decided that the Portuguese’s way of playing does not guarantee the success of the whole team. Unsuccessful, leader Tiba sought other footholds (perhaps the Portuguese wanted to take on too much weight?). A year ago, the phrase “Lech Poznań the Polish champion 2022” sounded very unreliable. But the sentence: “Lech Poznań wins Ekstraklasa with Pedro Tiba on the bench” seemed a total abstraction at the time. And yet – today it is a reality.

On the other hand, Maciej Skorża strongly bet on another Portuguese, Joao Amarala† Probably no one in Pozna except the trainer believed that the southern man, who previously felt unwell in Poland and chose to borrow to his homeland at the first opportunity, would rebuild in Lech. In the meantime the former waiter is just going through a period of his lifescores and assists, works perfectly with Mikael Ishak† There is probably no other player in Ekstraklasa who finds as much free space on the pitch as Amaral.

Maciej Skorża was also very excited about downloading Dawid Kownacki. At the start of his career in German Fortuna, the player was treated with limited confidence by some Lech supporters. Meanwhile, next to the coach himself, it is probably the biggest winner of this championship team from Lech Pozna. Kownacki impresses with his effectiveness, but also with charisma in the locker room and on the field. He has already won one Polish championship with Maciej Skorża, so it is much easier for him to trust the coach.

And this confidence of the players in Maciej Skorża turned out to be crucial at the end of the Ekstraklasa season. During the lost final of the Polish Cup, in which the coach kept his star Amaral on the bench, the team could simply doubt the decisions of the coach. But she had no doubts – less than a week later, she celebrated her return to first place in the Ekstraklasa table. And today Lech Poznań celebrates the Polish Championship!

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