End Of Season Review 2020-21 Part Eight

We have just received a late contribution from Colin Hall, so here are his thoughts to complete the series of articles from our match reporting team

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

I hoped that we could remain competitive during the season and have a real go at the FA Cup. Both of these boxes were comprehensively ticked!

Going into the final weeks of the season what was more important to you, winning the FA Cup or qualifying for the Champions League?

Ideally, I’d like to have seen our top four status secured before we went to Wembley. The opportunity was there, sadly the mentality within the squad was not. Players don’t get too many chances in their careers to play in cup finals, so were understandably fearful of picking up injuries. Thus we dropped crucial points in games that should have been won.

The players made their priority clear and we had to live with that, although it may now be some time before we next earn a chance to play among Europe’s elite.

Given how the season panned out, in terms of success how do you rate it out of 10 and why?

I’d say 8, which may seem harsh to some given that we won a trophy and finished in the top five. But seeing the golden ticket of Champions League football slip through our fingers in the closing games, for the second season running, was a real disappointment, as it will have an impact on the future development of the club.

What was your personal highlight of the season?

It was a privilege and honour to be at Wembley to see us win our first-ever FA Cup. Given the pain suffered in that competition over the decades, especially at the hands of Chelsea, it was particularly sweet that they were the team we beat to clinch the trophy.

The only regrets were the impact on our league form and the fact that circumstances restricted the number of fans who were able to witness the victory in person.

But all who were there – players and fans alike – did the club and the late Khun Vichai proud.

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?

The honours were no more than Youri deserved, He managed to stay fit, which was no mean achievement in itself, but he also acquitted himself well against the best the league had to offer. In addition, he contributed a number of crucial goals, including the winner at Wembley.

James Justin and Harvey Barnes also made significant progress during the season before suffering serious injuries. Both would otherwise have been serious contenders for the England squad this summer.

Meanwhile, Luke Thomas helped to fill the void left by Ben Chilwell’s departure. He did both himself and the club academy proud.

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

Timothy Castagne settled down very quickly with some impressive displays in the opening weeks, although he was one of several players whose season was disrupted with injuries.

Wesley Fofana arrived for a big fee, particularly given his youth, but he acquitted himself well and played an important role in the cup run. If he stays fit, he could be a rock in central defence for many years to come.

Cengiz Under, though, failed to build on the promise he showed in some of his early appearances. He proved not to be the upgrade on Demarai Gray that the fans had hoped for and it was little surprise that the option to buy him was not exercised.

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

Kelechi Iheanacho scored some crucial goals during the Europa League group stages, but it wasn’t until the second half of the season that he finally started to fulfil his potential on a regular basis. The last minute winner against Brighton proved a real turning point for him. In the remaining months, his record of goals and assists was among the best in the league. The task for him now is to ensure he can continue at that level in future campaigns.

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

Ayoze Perez played in a variety of positions and didn’t entirely impress in any of them. At the moment, he seems to be a jack of many trades and master of none. He has yet to prove that he can perform at the level to which we aspire, and if another Premier club makes a reasonable bid for him, it should be given due consideration.

There were also a number of players who didn’t get the game time we might have expected towards the end of the season. Whether this is due to the manager losing faith in their ability to perform at the standard we need will become clearer in the coming weeks.

In a season of many injuries, which player’s injury do you think had the most detrimental effect on our season ?

All the injuries had an adverse impact, but that suffered by Jonny Evans in the closing weeks was the one most keenly felt. Had he been available in the run-in, I have no doubt we’d have been able to stay in the top four.

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?

It continues to have the power to irritate, because it is not always operated on a consistent basis, but the main issue is with many of the current crop of officials, whose limitations won’t be overcome no matter how much technology is at their disposal.

Moving onto next season

If you had to choose one position where we needed to strengthen, what would it be?

We needed extra options in attack, and it is to be hoped that the arrival of Patson Daka will address this.

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

Given the departure of Christian Fuchs and Wes Morgan, plus the current injuries to Justin and Castagne, more cover in defence is needed.

Would you be looking to add some experience to a fairly youthful squad or would you continue bringing in younger players and develop them?

The current balance between youth and experience has worked reasonably well in recent seasons, should be maintained as far as possible. But the presence of a Walsh/Huth style warrior in defence would not go amiss.

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

The record of the scouting team over recent seasons suggests their advice should be heeded. They clearly have far more knowledge than I do about the players available throughout Europe.

What are your expectations and fears for next season?

Another top-half finish is well within our grasp, as well as progress in the Europa League beyond the group stage. However, should inconsistent form continue, some key players may be tempted to move elsewhere to advance their careers.

Any other observation you would like to make

The resurfacing of long-dormant racial tensions at the end of last season, and their persistence during and beyond the Euros, is a particularly unwelcome development in the game, especially for a club like ours with such a diverse fan base.

Some fans, at club and national level, seem to want a return to the 1980s when racial abuse was rampant. We cannot and must not allow this to happen. If players and teams wish to take a knee, they should be supported unconditionally.

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