Theres all sorts of clichés in football, some even make sense.
However, the way the season ended in NG2 was disappointing.
We found ourselves, sitting in 5th place, going into the last game of the season, despite the fact, that since February, our form had been horrendous.
All we needed was to better the results of Blackburn and Leeds.
This didn’t come off, and we lost 2-0 to Bolton, whilst the other teams won, condemning us to a 9th place finish.
On the other side, there were positives to take. At times, we played some truly excellent football, topping the possession charts with 63% (over 7% more than Leeds in 2nd place), making over 30500 passes in the season at an accuracy of 89% (I may try to decrease the number of passes a bit to try and make us more cutting), which, was nearly 10000 passes more than the 2nd best team. This works out at nearly 700 passes a match.
Away from the pitch, the salary per annum dropped from £25m, to just over £14m, this is mainly due to getting rid of the likes of Murphy, Guedioura and Benalouane, and replacing them with players on far less, making the club a bit sustainable.
In terms of the players on the pitch, heres my review.
Costel Pantilimon – 32 – ROM – 46 League Apps, 44 conceded, 18 clean sheets. Avg 6.92.
Decent season for the big Romanian, however, his distribution and decision making was somewhat lacking at times, and his lack of speed didn’t help at reacting to rebounds.
Luke Steele – 34 – ENG – 0 League Apps.
Solid backup for Pantilimon, however, beginning to show signs of decline agility wise. May find his chances limited when Tiago Silva comes in this summer.
Left Back –
Sam McQueen – 24 – ENG – 31 League Apps – Avg 7.12
Came in on loan from Southampton, and provided a more than dependable option on the left side.
Sergio Reguilón – 22 – ESP – 18 League Apps – Avg 7.03
Signed for £700k from Real Madrid in January. Will only get better as he gets used to the style of football we play. Quick, determined and has the stamina to go up and down all day.
Right Back –
Tendayi Darikwa – 27 – ZIM/ENG – 30 League Apps, 1 goal – Avg 6.94
Responsible for nearly 20% of the teams bookings on his own (9/50), he is quick, and can go up and down all day, however, he lacks the positioning and technique to play the way we want (which explains the bookings).
Costinha – 19 – POR – 10 League Apps – Avg 6.99
Came in for £150k from Rio Ave in Portugal during January, and will become the first choice right back next season. Not as quick as Darikwa, but, makes up for it in his positioning and technique, which allow him to get to where he needs to be.
Jayden Richardson – 18 – ENG – 7 League Apps, 1 goal – Avg 7.29
Was brought into the first team as cover for Darikwa due to injury. Played well in his first experience of senior football, even if he needs developing on the technical side. Spent the second half of the season on loan at Woking, and will hopefully spend next season at a higher level on loan as well.
Centre Backs –
Alex Milosevic – 27 – SWE – 41 League Apps, 3 goals (2 Pen) – Avg 7.06
The on field captain of the side for most of the season. Lead from the front. Decent in all areas, although, I may have to put him on some individual training to try and improve his technique a point or two.
Tobias Figueiredo – 25 – POR – 40 League Apps, 3 goals – Avg 7.10
A decent counterpart to Milosevic, he is a better tackler than the Swede, albeit, not as quick, something which has been discovered a few times dew to him being caught out of position due to long balls over the back line and strikers running on.
Michael Dawson – 35 – ENG – 6 League Apps – Avg 6.98
Now at the backend of his career, and doing his coaching badges. His pace has dropped off altogether (6), and some other physical attributes are doing the same. Mentally a master though. Will go into coaching at Forest this season.
Michael Hefele – 28 – GER – 14 League Apps – Avg 7.25
Not had a lot of appearances this season, mainly covering Milosevic and Figueiredo during injuries. Lacks in pace, and this is probably why I’ll try and move him on this summer.
Claudio Yacob – 31 – ARG – 32 League Apps – 2 Goals – Avg 6.97
The metronome at the base of midfield. Hard working, hard tackling, and whilst, not the most technical, was the start of most of our attacking moves. At 31, and with his pace dropping a couple of points, it may be worth taking advantage of the interest in him.
Ben Watson – 33 – ENG – 19 League Apps – Avg 6.86
Used off the bench at the base of midfield. Like Yacob, hard working, hard tackling, but, has very low pace, and due to this, I will look to move him on. Could still do a job at Championship level, but, not in my style of football.
Sigurd Gronli – 18 – NOR – 22 League Apps – 4 Goals – Avg 7.02
First season in England for the young Norwegian, and one to be proud of. Used at times as an option off the bench to change things up, and his technical prowess helped him make an impact. Will get more exposure to first team football.
Ryan Yates – 21 – ENG – 44 League Apps – 6 Goals – Avg 7.14
One half of the near everpresent centre midfield pairing, and his first season at this level. Homegrown and only going to get better, can run all day, and is the prototypical box to box midfielder. Has a habit of scoring from 30 yards though.
Ben Osborn – 24 – ENG – 46 League Apps – 4 Goals – Avg 7.16
The other half of the centre midfield pairing. Not the strongest, but, is a perfect foil for Yates. Will also run all day, and will chase down any lost cause in midfield. Player of the season, and attracting Premier League interest.
Joao Carvalho – 22 – POR – 43 League Apps – 5 goals – Avg 6.90
Not the most consistent of players, but, the most likely to pull a rabbit out of the hat and make something happen. Suffered a broken leg in the 2nd last game of the season, and, as a result, his bravery attribute dived off a cliff. Picked up yellow cards, mainly due to his poor positioning.
Joe Lolley – 26 – ENG – 43 League Apps – 6 goals (2 pen) – Avg 6.84
Another player who has been consistent throughout the season, chipping in with goals and being very direct. His positioning is a little poor, and his strength has dropped off a bit in recent weeks, mainly due to him playing with a broken arm. Some top flight interest in him though.
Lewis Grabban – 31 – ENG – 26 League Apps – 7 goals (1 pen) – Avg 6.83
Missed a big portion of the season due to a hip injury. Bit of a fox in the box at times, but, also went a long time without even troubling the keeper. His decision making and positioning sometimes left a bit to be desired. Currently the top earner at the club.
There are several other players who made appearances and chipped in from time to time, however, these were the main contributors.
Summer Transfer Dealings
In addition to the 5 mentioned in the previous post, Maxim Leitsch agreed to his move from Bochum. On top of that, young Greek centre back, Leftiris Tzovaras joins from NPS Volos of the Greek Stoixman League (2nd Division).
Also coming in, will be Portuguese left back, Yuri Ribeiro, from Benfica, who will provide back up to Reguilón, having made a few appearances for Benfica B this season.
The last transfer, for the moment, coming in, will be 21 year old Portuguese midfielder Xadas. At this time, where he will be used depends on how I want to look tactically, but, he will probably end up in the #10 role.