The second of our series of end of season articles from members who write match reports across the season features Tish Krokosz’s views on last season and looking forwards to next.
Before the season started what were your hopes on what we could achieve?
I thought the poor end to the previous season would carry on and affect City’s start to 2020/21. I thought they would finish 8th, so a repeat of finishing 5th was not so bad.
Going into the final weeks of the season what was more important to you, winning the FA Cup or qualifying for the Champions League ?
As they had never won the FA Cup, I was very much in favour of City seriously attempting to do so this season. I am sure that the financial benefits would have been higher by qualifying for the Champions League but, on this occasion, the win at Wembley was of greater importance to me.
Given how the season panned out, in terms of success how do you rate it out of 10 and why?
I would give it 8½. I deduct a point for not getting further in the Europa Cup and another point for not ending in the top four. But there is a bonus ½ for winning the FA Cup. However, considering the number of injuries, I think the team did wonderfully.
What was your personal highlight of the season?
Winning the FA Cup – especially against Chelsea!
Youri Tielemans won the Player of the Year Awards, would he have been your choice and who else do you think deserves praise for their performances?
Yes. He was played more consistently and was able to show his strengths this season. I hope he stays with City and continues to improve.
Until their respective injuries, I think Barnes and Justin were having very good seasons. I hope they recover quickly and do not lose any of the impetus that has accompanied their play this year.
What were your views on the signings made during last season?
Ünder was underwhelming and never really got going.
Castagne was a good buy and can be exciting going forward. He made up for the loss of form of Pereira.
Fofana was another good purchase. He is excellent considering his age but should improve further as he gains more experience.
Which player do you think made the most progress last season and why?
Kelechi Iheanacho. Although he has been with City for a few years, this season has shown that he can come up with the goods when asked. The statistics for goals scored support the view, perhaps, that, given a regular place in the starting eleven, he can increase his tally of goals scored even further.
Which player did you think underperformed the most last season and why?
Although he did not get much game time, I would pick Choudhury. He did not seem to have much influence in any of the games that I saw.
In a season of many injuries, which players injury do you think had the most detrimental effect on our season ?
As there were so many, that is a hard one to answer. The injuries to Maddison and Barnes affected the flair, creativity and excitement that we like to see, but the injuries to the defenders was probably more detrimental in terms of results. The withdrawal of Evans before the Newcastle game had a disastrous effect for the result of that match and the run-in to the end of the season. Ultimately, though, I think it was the sheer volume of injuries rather than individual ones that hurt the most.
VAR – with our view via our armchair for nearly all the games, how do you feel about its effectiveness last season and what would you change?
Most of the contentious issues regarding VAR are really in respect of the rules of the game rather than the VAR’s interpretation of such rules. If the system can identify obvious errors made by the referee or assistant referee, then it must be better than the previous alternatives. It would have been a travesty if Chilwell’s run at the end of the FA Cup match had gone unpunished with the possibility of City losing to Chelsea.
Moving onto next season
If you had to choose one position where we needed to strengthen, what would it be?
If current media reports are to be believed, City should be close to signing an attacker and a midfielder. As the loss of Morgan and Fuchs reduces the defensive numbers, I believe an experienced central defender is required.
What other changes do you think are necessary to improve on this year’s squad?
Someone who has experience of playing against stubborn European opposition would be helpful.
A tall player with presence in the penalty area when defending corners and set pieces would also be helpful. We let in too many goals in this situation.
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 like to see some of the younger players make a contribution in the domestic cup matches. Josh Knight, Kamal Sowah and Kiernan Dewsbury- Hall had rave reviews at their respective loan clubs. We have seen the improvement from youngsters like Luke Thomas; let the others have this increased exposure to determine their long-term viability.
If you had a chance for a word in the owner’s ears, which player(s) would you be advising to sign?
Not knowing who is available currently, I would not be able to advise him on new players, but I would strongly urge him to ensure that Youri Tielemans agrees to a better contract with City and does not move to Liverpool or Manchester United.
What are your expectations and fears for next season?
My expectations are that City will concentrate on doing well in the Europa competition and reach further than they did last season. Consequently, less importance would be placed on the domestic cup matches.
Having suffered with so many injuries last season, my greatest concern would be that they linger on and have a detrimental effect on the next season too. Players who have undergone long periods of illness or injury often find it difficult to regain their previous standards. I think Maddison and Pereira come into this category and have yet to achieve the high levels shown in previous years. It would be a tragedy if Barnes and Justin followed a similar pattern.
Any other observation you would like to make
Whilst Brendan Rodgers has been at City, we have qualified for Europe in successive seasons and we have won the FA Cup. That is a marvellous achievement and thanks should go to him for his contribution. He should also be supported after his obvious refusal to be snatched by Spurs.
I am disappointed that the League has not punished the six “renegade” teams that wanted to form an ESL with a greater penalty.
I know it was not financially viable, but it is a shame that the stadium expansion could not have been completed during a season where there were virtually no fans and therefore no disruption to their view of matches.
City had some magnificent away results during last season. This was not matched by an equally successful home run with too many losses against teams that we know could have been beaten. With fans coming back next season (hopefully), I hope this trend will not continue but will give more success for home fans to see.
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