Continuing our series, Chris Griffin is the fourth member from our match reporting team to provide opinions on last season as well as looking ahead…..
Before the season started what were your hopes on what we could achieve?
Higher than previous year. Felt for several seasons that if we could only overcome dropping so many points at home then we could, would and should finish top six. Despite the ragged end to the season overall we did better at home throughout the season than in recent years and so finished top six.
Given how the season panned out, in terms of success how do you rate it out of 10 and why?
If I had been asked this in November I would have gone for 9/10. As it is I will settle for 7. We had a cracking autumn but started to lose our way in December: a thrilling but maybe a fortunate win home to Everton; not beating Norwich at home; a hardly turned-up performance at Manchester City; and bit of a pasting at home to Liverpool. Despite some good results after that we never regained the momentum we’d had in the autumn.
Overall, how do you rate Brendan Rodgers performance?
Pretty good. Sometimes maybe there is too much passing for passing’s sake but there were many times when we were great to watch – really fun to watch – and Rodgers deserves credit for that. One decision puzzled – subbing Iheanacho at Bournemouth when we had run the game. It seemed to turn the tide and the subsequent defeat cost us a lot. I do like the way he is prepared to play youngsters.
Jamie Vardy won the Player of the Year Awards, would he have been your choice and who else do you think deserves praise for their performances?
As a big Vardy fan I am happy with this. He is a special player. He has been great – plus he stayed when Arsenal came calling back in 2016. Top man. Ricardo ran him close and also Wilf.
What were your views on the signings made during last season?
Like Perez but not sure we are getting the most out of him. Don’t see him as a natural wide player. Praet is a quality player and Justin really impressed.
Which player do you think made the most progress last season and why?
Giving a nod to Justin for his end of season displays but Barnes over the course of the season probably came on the most. Yes – he needs to develop more reliability and composure with crossing and shooting so we make the most of opportunities. But when he starts taking the ball to the opposition he is a handful as his goal at Burnley showed.
Which player did you think underperformed the most last season and why?
Tielemans was terrific in his loan spell and for the first third of the season. Recall he and Maddison controlling the games at Palace and at Newcastle on New Year’s Day. But during our inconsistent patch he wasn’t up to the same level of earlier. Signs of him returning to better form after the restart..
What was your personal highlight of the season?
It’s hard to see past the game at Southampton but we had some terrific home performances against Newcastle and West Ham and Villa. Away performances at Palace, Villa and Newcastle impressive.
VAR – how do you feel about its effectiveness last season and what would you change?
Very mixed. We gained from it in the home wins v Burnley and Tottenham and the away draw at Molineux. But it let us down too – for example, in the semi against Villa and on a couple of occasions in the home game to Manchester City. Where decisions are matters of fact like a line call in cricket then maybe fair enough. But decisions requiring personal judgement are not any more likely to be right just because someone has looked at the incident over and over.
And how can it be a “clear and obvious error” when a player has a goal scrubbed because he was offside by a toenail? What unfair advantage did that give him? And don’t get me started on unintentional hand ball cancelling goals such as the Iheanacho goal at Carrow Road.
Moving onto next season
If you had to choose one position where we needed to strengthen, what would it be?
Mahrez has been gone two seasons. We’ve not replaced him. A long overdue priority.
What other changes do you think are necessary to improve on this year’s squad?
More cover for central defence, for both holding and attacking midfield and a striker to help Vardy out.
Would you be looking to add some experience to a fairly youthful squad or would you continue bringing in younger players and develop them?
I would do both – providing the price for experience is not extortionate.
If you had a chance for a word in the owner’s ears, which player(s) would you be advising to sign?
Sarr from Watford and/or Brooks from Bournemouth.
What are your expectations and fears for next season?
Expecting a tough season if our ambitions are to stay in top six especially now Chelsea et al are splashing the cash. So we must strengthen. If not – mid-table at best.
With the Europa League, Premier League and 2 Cup competitions, along with a condensed season, what would you give priority to and what would you be prepared to sacrifice?
Any other observation you would like to make
Looking forward to being back at the KP with the fans. Hope it is not too long.
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