Nine games remained and we certainly had room to manoeuvre compared to those below us. A couple of victories would take us out of the relegation zone. We didn’t have time to settle and ease into it. I was thrown straight in as we had two games in quick succession against Stoke and Bournemouth.
The first game was at Villa Park in front of a home crowd. I setup with the 442 I mentioned in my first post, mixing a bit of youth and experience. We got off to a great start, leading by two goals in the first twenty minutes. Stoke pulled one back after the break, but we reclaimed our two goal advantage within ten minutes. A 3-1 victory was a good start. We managed another victory over Bournemouth, winning 2-0, before Man City beat us 3-0 to remind us that we still had work to do.
However, we didn’t let that stop us in our track as we remained undefeated for the remaining six games, with the 2-2 against Norwich the only game stopping us from getting six out of six. We had a couple of impressive results in amongst them too, victories over Liverpool (1-0), Watford (4-2) and the final day destruction of Sheffield Wednesday (6-1) was the perfect way to sign off. We ended the season in 10th place, eight places higher than when I took over. A nice little rise at to safety.
We had some very impressive displays from players, but I’ll definitely need a few new faces to give the squad some strength and the reserve team needs a huge clear out to get the wage bill down. Somewhat surprisingly, I’ve been given a £32m transfer kitty for the summer. I’ll obviously be able to expand on that due to the planned clear out of deadwood, but I can only hold onto 45% of any fees received.
I’ll talk more about our tactics in the second season as I’ve not quite got all the tools I want at my disposal right now. A transfer window will hopefully help that.
Expect a summer transfer post in the next few days.