Welcome back to the final installment of the RCD Espanyol post of the season, so a perfect time to round up on my first season in charge. You can check out the first half of the season in RCD Espanyol 1.3.
We came into the second half of the season off of the back of 6 games without a defeat in the league but were 2-0 down to Sevilla in the first leg of the Copa del Rey.
So that is where we kick things off, the return leg at home to Sevilla, where I honestly though that we up against it to try and get through. What I did not expect was the lads to put in arguably the game of the season, added with the fact that Sevilla just rolled over. We destroyed them 5-1 to send us through to the quarter finals.
Our next home game saw us give away a cheap goal in the last few minutes at home to Celta, thinking would get a 2-2 draw and we were quite unlucky not to win, Iago Aspas pops up and nicks the winner. We lose the match 2-3. This continued form continued in both legs of the Copa del Rey quarter finals against Villerreal were we lose both legs and are eliminated from the cup. But that is fine by me as we can now focus on the league with no other distractions.
Elimination from the cup definitely helped our league form, following the defeat to Celta, we went on a 9 match unbeaten run lasting nearly 2 months and beating title challenging Atletico Madrid 2-1 in the Vicente Calderón. The run ended when Real Madrid beat us 2-1 in a game where it could have easily been more, we defended very well but gave away far too many chances.
So 8 games left of the season and we only suffer 1 defeat, a game where we were completely outplayed by Deportivo and they smashed us 3-0 at home. It was one of those games where you can see things going wrong but everything you try to do just doesn’t work, it puts doubts in your head that you are actually any good at this game. We all have those games from time to time. But 4 wins, 3 draws and a loss in our final 8 sees us finish on a high, we also managed to draw 1-1 at home to our arch rivals Barcelona, something after the first game I was a lot happier with.
So after a quite excellent season, were we overachieved massively, we confirmed a Champions League place finishing 4th, it would have been 3rd but our head to head against Real Madrid was poor so they pipped us to 3rd place, if it was goal difference then we would have got it as we were the second highest scorers behind the champions Atletico.
An added achievement to this very good season was Diego Reyes, our CB on loan from Porto, was named in the Team of the Year. His loan deal is finishing soon and has an agreed fee of £6m so I may look to capitalize on that.
Due to our fantastic 4th place finish, a was delighted to be named Manager of the Year. For some reason though, FM has randomly given me a bit of a tan since being in Spain for a year. I look slightly odd.
Financially we are in a very good position with our commercial summary posted bellow. We have a health bank balance on £56m and the board have given us £16m for new transfers over the summer. There will be some new signings coming in with 1 already confirmed, Jota will be joining us on a bosman from Brentford. The attacking playmaker could fit into our stirkerless squad quite nicely. There are also a number of clubs watching a number of our top performers, Baptistao, Luis Lopez, Caicedo and Perez just to name a few. I think there may well be a fair few departures as well as arrivals this coming window.
So the plans for the new season is:
- Develop the new strikerless system (a narrow 41320), this will be tested over pre season and tweaked ready for the 17/18 campaign.
- Look to develop some of the younger players that has come through the ranks by promoting some up from the B team.
- Review the players who have been out on loan and see if any of them have developed enough for a first team place, or need to be moved on.
- Realistically set expectations for the league, a top 8 finish is achievable and the board and players all agree after this years over achievement.
So that concludes this post, stay tuned for the next post where we go into next season and I discuss transfers, tactics, pre season and our Champions League qualifier.
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