End Of Season Review 2017-18 Part Six

Today is Eddie Blount’s turn to provide his thoughts on last season and start planning for the next, as our series continues from our match reporting team
 
Before the season started what were your hopes on what we could achieve ?
At the start of the 2017-18 season I was unusually uncertain as to what to hope for re City’s fortunes. The norm expectation – premiership survival however achieved – seemed churlish in the light of the Glorious Season of 2015-16 and the wonderful Champions’ League exploits of 2016-17.
 
To set the sights too low would be akin to a failure to acknowledge the momentous achievements of the recent past, yet to aim too high might be a sign of unrealistic expectations. A further complication was that our splendid owners had spent more in the transfer window than we had ever spent and I almost felt as though I owed it to them to set the bar high. Yet we are City and know the roller-coaster ride that this traditionally entails. I settled for top half and either qualifying for the dreaded Europa League or doing very well in at least one of the Cups.
 
Given the way the season progressed from early relegation threat, to hopes of European football to then a season petering out, then throw in a couple of good cup runs,  how would you rate last season overall out of 10 and why?
So my rating for what actually transpired would be 6.5 out of 10. A top half finish is commendable but we made no better a fist of chasing Burnley than Spurs did of chasing us two years ago. It was there for the taking given our run of favourable fixtures but we could hardly have messed it up better had we done so intentionally (we didn’t, did we?). A Cup final would have sufficed and so nearly came off but again we faltered on the home straight.
 
Harry McGuire won the Player of the Year Awards, would he have been your choice and who else do you think deserves praise for their performances?
My player of the year would have been a choice between Maguire, Ndidi and Vardy with the latter getting the nod for his quality finishing and non-stop endeavour whilst ploughing at times a very lone furrow
 
What were your views on the signings made during last season ?
The pre-season signings were disappointing on the whole with the success of Ndidi  and to a lesser extent Iborra and  Dragovic plus the promise of Diabate counterbalanced by the under-achievements of Slimani, Musa and until close to the end of the season, Iheanacho and Silva
 
Which player did you think underperformed the most last season and why ?
My biggest under-achiever was Mahrez who could learn much from Vardy about maximising potential by sheer effort. Mahrez was brilliant at times but inconspicuous at others and contributed more than a little to the partial demise of Simpson. His mind was not 100% devoted to the club and yet Danny Drinkwater has shown what can happen to a player who has made it with a club outside the elite and then joins such a club. At Man City Mahrez will be just another really good player so it pays to be careful what you wish for.
 
What was your personal highlight of the season?
My personal highlight of the season was the Vardy volley from the inch-perfect pass by Mahrez, a truly wonderful goal
 
Moving onto next season
 
The main question towards the end of the season was would you keep Claude Puel to carry out the re-building obviously needed over the summer and what is behind your reasoning?
I am not yet a fan of Puel but will reserve judgment when I see his signings and how we progress up to the end of the year. I did not agree with some of the game time he gave to the younger players. Chilwell in particular cost us several points with defending which sat uneasily with his qualities going forward but I was also disappointed with the lack of progress of Gray.
Having said that Iheanacho showed signs of a lot more to come so we may yet see Man City pay £50 million to buy him back. The playing of Choudhury as effectively a fifth centre-back at home against sides battling relegation was incomprehensible. In addition I did not see the logic in sending both Ulloa and Slimani out on loan at the same time so that we were both short of strikers and bereft of any possibility of Plan B
 
What changes do you think are necessary to improve on this year’s squad?
To improve the squad we need to defend like Burnley. Far too often we were a soft touch against physically stronger sides, conceding far too many heavy defeats. If we cannot match sides like Burnley, Bournemouth, Watford and Crystal Palace physically we will be in trouble. We also need to be able to compete in the air. We never look remotely like scoring from corners (the opposition are more likely to break quickly and score than we are) but we always look likely to concede from them. So a couple of Huths would not go amiss!
 
A number of players went out on loan last season, are there any of those players you would like to see involved in our first team squad for next season?
Not sure any of the players who were out on loan will have a future at the King Power though Barnes is young enough to improve further and has a good left foot. Elder at Wigan might also be a replacement in time for Fuchs whose last season this will be. I would like to see Mendy back if his heart is in it but the others will move on
 
If you had a chance for a word in the owners ears, which player(s) would you be advising to sign?
As for new signings we need physicality and aerial power. I would spend the Mahrez money on Zaha if he could be persuaded. Evans would be a step in the right direction (editors note: article writtem before his signing was confirmed) or perhaps Mawson. Midfield needs strengthening and we need to stop using two defensively weak wide players who have left us desperately outnumbered and out-fought at times in the centre of the park and play a 3-5-2 (or 3-5-1-1) basic system instead of 4-4-2 (or 4-4-1-1). Finally we need a big mobile striker who can assist Vardy and give us a Plan B
 
The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation

Getting Fit with the Leicester City Community Trust Viewpoint

Last week we published details of schemes being ran by the Leicester City Community Trust to encourage fitness through football by engaging football fans and promoting healthy lifestyle changes through their loyalty and attachment to our Club.

Barrie Shaw has taken part and shares his thoughts

“Approaching my 60th birthday, I felt overweight and my physical activities comprised of the odd visit to the gym and walking to the coffee machine.

I came across two projects being run by LCFC Community coaches and signed up for both.

Over a 14 week period my Monday evenings were taken up with ManVFat Football and Thursday evenings with the Eurofit project.

The Eurofit project is aimed at getting people aged 50+ more active and aware of diet and nutrition whilst promoting healthy lifestyle changes.

The group consisted of 20 like-minded individuals who have a love of football and in particular Leicester City.

Each week a different life style topic was covered in the classroom before venturing out into the King Power stadium itself for an exercise session.

These sessions varied from walking around the pitch perimeter and the KP stadium to exercises in the concourses, culminating in playing a walking football tournament on the KP pitch itself.

We were encouraged to increase the number of our daily steps whilst also monitoring our daily standing time though a pocket device called an Activator.

Blackburn Rovers were also running the Eurofit project and a competition developed between them and us who could do the most steps with the league table checked each week.

I thoroughly enjoyed taking part and managed to lose just over a stone in weight and needed to buy some new clothes. I lost 2” on my waist and managed to fit into a medium shirt for the first time in years.

The group is continuing with Walking Football sessions of which I am looking forward to taking part and I intend to maintain the changes I have made to my lifestyle”

To express your interest and for more information, please email Matt Bray on matt.bray@lcfc.co.uk

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End Of Season Review 2017-18 Part Five

Today sees the fifth in our series of articles where our match reporters reflect on last season and start planning for the next, here are the views of Graham Tracey

Before the season started what were your hopes on what we could achieve ?

Top half and hopefully get close to Wembley in a cup

 

Given the way the season progressed from early relegation threat, to hopes of European football to then a season petering out, then throw in a couple of good cup runs,  how would you rate last season overall out of 10 and why? 

7 – I imagine this is a higher score than many would give, but to reach two quarter-finals (which we could / should have won either or both) and have regrets about not finishing 7th shows how far we have come in a short space of time. I read a comment on the Mercury website from someone saying “this is the most bored I’ve been in the last 25 years” – presumably he must have been in a coma when I went to 3 successive games under Peter Taylor when we didn’t even have a shot, or most of the mid-noughties. Get a grip and some perspective.

 

Harry McGuire won the Player of the Year Awards, would he have been your choice and who else do you think deserves praise for their performances?

Harry is a clear a winner as N’Golo was in our champions season. I would also strongly praise Vardy, as well as Mahrez for the way he responded when he came back into the fold. Albrighton as always. And Fuchs who showed his commitment to the club even when frozen out for long periods.

 

What were your views on the signings made during last season ?

On the whole more promising than the one before. We may have hoped for a more immediate return from Silva and Ihenacho, but both of these, as well as Diabete, should improve significantly. Iborra was a good addition.

 

Which player do you think made the most progress last season and why?

This is a tough one, given that the squad was already well established. I’ll go Chilwell although he is clearly better on the left wing rather than left back. Plus Matty James should be mentioned, great to see him be able to contribute at times.

 

Which player did you think underperformed the most last season and why ?

Kasper. I guess it is hard to understand unless you are a keeper, but it must be a position where you go through dips, however hard you train.

 

What was your personal highlight of the season?

Mahrez’s last minute goal v. Arsenal. The sort of emotional finale that doesn’t often play out in real life.

 

Moving onto next season

The main question towards the end of the season was would you keep Claude Puel to carry out the re-building obviously needed over the summer and what is behind your reasoning?

Another tough one but I think just about yes. It’s crazy that even advocating giving a manager a full season is old-fashioned, but I think we should. I think Puel suffers from the PR problem of quiet managers during bad patches – we’d all rather see someone visibly angry about it – a Pearson rather than a Sven.

 

What changes do you think are necessary to improve on this year’s squad?

Mainly defence, and set pieces (still at least 25% of goals). I am very sentimental about football, it’s not all about the next match for me and I hold each title winner in the same reverence as I do the men who walked on the moon. They won’t be here for ever and I treasure still having Wes and Simmo etc, but other options in their positions is obviously crucial.

 

A number of players went out on loan last season, are there any of those players you would like to see involved in our first team squad for next season?

One of Slimani or Ulloa, only if they want to though, I cannot begrudge players who want to seek regular starting line-up action. Kingy again is welcome to stay but if I was him I’d think I’d want to make the most of the rest of my career and rack up some starts.

 

If you had a chance for a word in the owners ears, which player(s) would you be advising to sign?

Jonny Evans would be good. Last season I said The Ox and look how well it went for him when we had a change of scenery at Liverpool. As always, it is about personalities and so commenting just on what I’ve seen on the pitch is only half the story. If you read Vardy’s book it brings out how crucial the right blend is – the stuff about Cambiasso trying to take over behind the scenes was interesting.

 

Any other observation you would like to make

Our fans just need to stay realistic – which you can do while being ambitious and positive. There are about 25 clubs of similar size or history to Leicester who must be thinking ‘why are we in the wilderness when they are 9th in the top division’. We could easily fall from grace so enjoy where we are. Appreciate the amazing quality of some of the goals we scored this season. Don’t get on the back of home-grown players like Chilwell and Choudhry.

The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation

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Get Fit with the Leicester City Community Trust

The Foxes Trust board is keen to promote fitness through football across all age ranges, with two of our board members having taken part in Walking Football for the Over 50’s for several seasons.

 

This week is Men’s Health Week and LCFC have been promoting two existing projects aimed at Foxes fans. The aim is to engage football fans and promoting healthy lifestyle changes through their loyalty and attachment to our Club.

 

Leicester City Community Trust will be running EuroFIT, a 12 Week Lifestyle and Activity Programme’s taking place at King Power Stadium, and are recruiting fans with a BMI of 27 and above to take part.

EuroFIT commences with an information session on Tuesday 26 June at King Power Stadium. EuroFIT helps men to increase their activity levels, while providing the information, skills and techniques required to get fit and feel better. Sessions will take place on Tuesdays with two start times, 10am, and 6.30pm.

In addition, new players are welcomed for the new Leicester Man v Fat League. On Monday 11 June there will be an induction with the league-proper beginning the week after.

The course runs for 14 weeks every Monday from 6:30pm until 8:30pm at English Marytrs School.

To join now, you can visit the Man V Fat website by clicking HERE. 

Matt Bray, LCFC Community Manager stated: “Both projects have proved to be successful with weight loss and more importantly longer-term behaviour change, adding increased physical activity to participants’ weekly routines.”

To express your interest and for more information, please email Matt Bray on matt.bray@lcfc.co.uk

Watch a video about the Eurofit scheme https://www.lcfc.com/tv/704839/eurofit-bring-good-health-to-lcfc

 

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End Of Season Review 2017-18 Part Four

Tish Krokosz. was the new addition to the match reporting team last season, today is his turn in our series of articles where our match reporters reflect on last season and start planning for the next,

Before the season started what were your hopes on what we could achieve ?

8th to 10th, so mission accomplished.

 

Given the way the season progressed from early relegation threat, to hopes of European football to then a season petering out, then throw in a couple of good cup runs,  how would you rate last season overall out of 10 and why? 

7/10 – See above question. Points were deducted as this season gave perfect opportunities to go further in the FA Cup and reach the Europa League, so disappointment there. But, who wants to go to matches on Thursdays and Sundays? Also, the pace of the game was often too slow and deliberate under Puel which meant he lost the backing of the crowd.

 

Harry McGuire won the Player of the Year Awards, would he have been your choice and who else do you think deserves praise for their performances?

Probably, but Ndidi was a close second.

 

What were your views on the signings made during last season ?

Only Diabaté was an exciting player and reasonable value. Iborra had some good matches but is too prone to injury. “Ian Nacho” was inconsistent but improved towards the end of the season and probably appreciated the Puel style of play. Silva had a brilliant cameo in his introductory match against Huddersfield but was not the influential midfielder I had hoped he would be thereafter. I would like to see Dragovic’s loan turned into a permanent deal.

 

Which player do you think made the most progress last season and why?

Diabaté – he fitted into our style quickly.

Chilwell was given the opportunities but did not always benefit from them.

Ndidi, who is still not the finished article, became a fixture in the team list.

 

Which player did you think underperformed the most last season and why ?

There were several candidates for this criticism. Wes Morgan is beginning to show his age and the previous guaranteed, defensive work was not always apparent. Mahrez, despite often having two or even three opponents guarding him, is still capable of more than he showed this season. Danny Simpson was guilty of being a good defender but not capable of fulfilling the role of a wing-back as his distribution and forward play was poor. Silva, after all the hype, did not show the expected class and was never dominant in his midfield role. And then there was Slimani. He did not adapt to the Puel style of play.

 

What was your personal highlight of the season?

Vardy’s goal against Spurs at home and the ensuing result.

 

Moving onto next season

The main question towards the end of the season was would you keep Claude Puel to carry out the re-building obviously needed over the summer and what is behind your reasoning?

Yes. He has not been given a proper chance to show his style of play with the players who are capable of it. The last two games of the season showed we can play with verve, but was that as a result of his actions?

 

What changes do you think are necessary to improve on this year’s squad?

A new right back – done.

A partner for Vardy – he was isolated for too long in too many games.

A centre-back to replace Huth.

A centre-back to follow in Morgan’s footsteps – he is slowing down and not the force he was.

Then depending on who leaves ….

 

A number of players went out on loan last season, are there any of those players you would like to see involved in our first team squad for next season?

Callum Elder seemed capable in his match against Manchester City in the FA Cup. Although Wigan are keen on signing him, we should be looking to the future and thinking of a replacement for Fuchs.

Has Kapustka improved after his German spell? If so, he should be considered.

Elliott Moore has had a lot of senior match experience in Belgium. He could be useful as a back-up in defence.

I am not a fan of Slimani, but in the absence of a new tall signing in attack, he can have his uses. Otherwise, the club should try and move him on and recoup as much of the purchase cost as possible.

 

If you had a chance for a word in the owners ears, which player(s) would you be advising to sign?

This usually means looking at who has been relegated to see availability. Possibly Joe Allen from Stoke or Shaqiri. Neither will be happy in the Championship and Allen dominated the midfield when they visited us.

Did I detect a look of boredom on Kante’s face in the FA Cup final? Perhaps the offer of a new Mini could entice him. If he could be persuaded to come back I would be very happy, but I am not counting on it.

 

Any other observation you would like to make

It is unlikely that Mahrez will stay beyond the summer so his fee has to be spent wisely. Our inability to reach Europe will not be attractive to the best candidates so we will have to accept that his alternative(s) will be less experienced players. I still blame his transfer request debacle in January as the reason for the team’s subsequent poor performances so it is time for him to move on. I would have preferred to sell him to a foreign team, though, so that he did not play against us.

There is always concern at this stage of the year that more of our talented players are enticed by bigger teams. The ability to retain them has always been a weak point for City.

The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation

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