On 30 August, my time at Universidad Católica officially came to an end. After an amicable meeting with club president Juan Tagle and Tati Buljubasich, we came to the agreement that I would leave my position as manager for the good of the team and the institution, which is of upmost importance.
I learnt a lot during this managerial period, my first in South America. For me, it was a great experience. I am so proud of having belonged to this club and having worked with such fantastic players and backroom staff; together we have achieved some fantastic milestones, which I would like to highlight.
The ‘3+1’ objectives of UC
When I arrived at Universidad Católica, we spoke of having 3+1 main objectives to achieve.
The first was to win the Supercopa de Chile against Colo Colo. As this was my first match, on the back of one week of training with no preseason, this was a massive challenge, but we managed to win 4-2 after a special comeback. The substitutions we made to turn the score line around from being 0-2 down will be remembered for ever.
Our second objective was to get out of the group stages of the Copa Libertadores, something we had not achieved for 10 years. In a difficult, evenly matched group containing Argentinos Juniors (Argentina), Nacional (Uruguay) and Atlético Nacional (Colombia), we managed to come second, achieving some memorable results such as winning 1-0 in the Estadio Diego Armando Maradona in Buenos Aires, which not many teams from Chile have managed to do (if my memory serves me well, it is only the fifth time that a team from Chile has won in the Copa Libertadores in Argentina in the history of the competition).
In the last 16 stage of the Copa Libertadores we met reigning champions, Palmeiras, who won 5 out of 6 of their group games scoring 20 goals! Despite being knocked out of the competition, we were able to compete in both legs (especially in the first leg at home) and only concede 2 goals.
The third challenge for the club was to meet the objectives linked to promoting the club’s young players. We were able to achieve this as three under-21 players were called up to the Chilean national team for the Copa América (Marcelino Núñez, Clemente Montes and Diego Valencia).
The final, and most important objective was to win the Tetracampeonato (winning 4 league titles in a row). Although we are 5 points off top spot with almost the entire second round of fixtures ahead of us, at the time of writing we have scored the most goals in the competition.
So, as an outsider, all that’s left to do is to wish the club all the best. I will be spurring them on as a fan, in search for the long-awaited Tetracampeonato. I wish the club, the players and the next management team the best of luck in their quest to achieve this league-winning streak, which would accomplish the club’s final objective of the season.