We talk about performance, and rightly so, but ultimately it is the result that most people focus on as that’s the bottom line. Of course, the 5-0 scoreline was a disappointment, there’s no denying that.
You do need to bring things into perspective though. Ludogorets, as a team, are an excellent side. Their recent history includes games against AC Milan, Arsenal, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid. You only need to glance at their European statistics to recognise the pedigree of the Bulgarian champions.
A gift from Lazio, Fortuna the eagle was flown across the pitch prior to kick-off. It is an impressive sight and certainly something that you will remember for a long time afterwards.
In the UEFA Delegate’s meeting on the morning of the game, the question is asked if there will be any activities around the match itself. Usually we have presentations or fan promotions, so when Ludogorets said that they will have an eagle in flight, that was different, to put it mildly.
Coming on during the second period against FC Copenhagen the week before, this time the towering centre back played all of the second-half. With the JD Cymru Premier season around the corner, this is a real positive for the team and everyone associated with The New Saints FC. It’s good to see Blaine back on the pitch.
It’s always tough for any manager to face the press after a defeat. Following the game, Scott was live on Bulgarian TV and then answered questions from a number of journalists. Regardless of what emotions he felt inside, he dealt with everything in a professional manner.
As always, he was honest and forthright. The moment we speak in public we are representing both ourselves and the club, and therefore, how we come across is important.
During our time in Bulgaria we made many new friends. The club was very accommodating and friendly, and the fact is that long after results are forgotten, friendships remain.
Lead image: Action from the game, courtesy of Brian Jones.