Having had a great first half of the season, we were looking to push on and really put up a fight for the title. I had my new players in on the 1st of January and I got rid of some dead wood.
Copa del Rey…
This was my best chance of silverware when the season started. A good cup run and a Champions League spot would have been a great season in my eyes. Having got through the 4th round against Cordoba, the 5th round pitted me against Barcelona. I always rotate my teams for the cups, regardless of opposition. Unfortunately, 3-1 and 3-0 defeats put us out at that stage. Barcelona played with strong teams and I never stood a chance.
I could have played a stronger side, but when I got drawn with Barcelona, my interest in the competition waned and I decided to concentrate on La Liga and the Europa League.
The first knockout round of the EL put us up against Portuguese side Benfica. I knew they were a strong team, but thought I had enough in the tank to get through.. maybe even on away goals. We beat them 2-1 at home but on the return leg they thrashed us 4-1. So disappointing. My focus was now all on La Liga!
I think I said in a previous entry that getting into the Champions League was my priority and if I could split Barcelona and Real Madrid, I’d have seen that as a successful season. After the Europa League exit, we struggled to find that back of the net as much as we had earlier in the season. We ground out results against Betis and Athletic Bilbao. A 4-0 win against Malaga and 5-1 victory over Getafe gave me hope that things were back to normal.
Real Madrid put us firmly back in our place. They smashed us 6-1 at the Bernabeu and we left with our tales firmly between out legs. We played terrible “on the big green area out there” from back to front we were woeful. I made a few changes after that match as players form had dipped. We managed to go undefeated in the last 6 games.
Heading into the last match, I needed Real Sociedad to get a draw or better against Barcelona for me to stand any chance of winning the league. We kept up our end of the bargain and hammered Osasuna 5-0. At the final whistle I checked the table and was gutted to see that Barcelona had won the league by one point. They beat Sociedad 3-2.
In the league I thought we played really well. We were the highest scorers and had the second best defensive record in the league. Ultimately, the table doesn’t lie and it was the draws that cost us the league. Converting one of them into a win would’ve sealed it. The 0-0 draw against Villarreal was where we sort of lost it, 7 or 8 clear cut chances were missed.
Here’s a final look at the table.
I think a few players of my team underperformed. Gutierrez who I had high hopes for at the start of the season had a bit of a dip in form and never recovered from it. My other signings seemed to do ok, nothing other worldly though. They definitely did strengthen the team I think.
Obviously in any team there are stand out performers. My striker duo of Rodrigo and Paco Alcacer were amazing. 60 goals and 32 assists between them was outstanding.
Behind them for most of the season was Carles Gil, who I never planned on playing much at the start of the season. His form in the Europa League changed my mind. He finished with 19 goals and 22 assists.
Victor Ruiz was pretty handy in front of goal when it came to set pieces. He scored 12 goals this season from central defence. I like it when I get goals from set pieces. I’ve not got any corner cheat, I just set my corners up as I thought would be good and it has been.
Here’s a look at some player stats.
Still undecided if I’ll stay at Valencia after this season. I’m keen to see as many clubs as I possibly can so I’m keeping one eye on the jobs market. Will post an update if I change clubs in the summer.
Thanks again for reading!