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