Update #61: Season 13 | Can We Secure Top 4?
At the end of the last update we were 3rd in Serie A after a decent January. Adding two players to the squad who are young with great potential was a positive step forward, but could they make an instant impact? The target is still to finish in top 4 and secure another Champions League qualification for Season 14. Young Sorensen
has really made an impact since he signed, and our power in attack is arguably the best in Serie A right now. Bayer
is the top goalscorer, Duncan
won Player of the Year last season, and we also have the young Brazilian, Ronaldo Cruz Ojer
. Although, our attack has been good, we have conceded too many goals this season. Urso's injury is a big part of the issue, and with the recent addition of Julian Aschenbroich
, hopefully we have secured our new number one for the next few seasons.
February & March Results
February was a great month, with only one defeat, at the hands of Lazio, who we always seem to struggle against. After finishing 3rd in our Champions League group behind Bayern Munich and Manchester City we were drawn against Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League First Knockout Round. In the 1st leg at home, Keith Duncan
was the star, scoring a hat-trick. The set us up in a great position to progress into the next round, and we went to Germany and won 2-0, Daniel Bayer
this time with a brace. At the end of February I was confident and the team was playing well.
March was a bit tougher. We began with a draw against Torino, which was a poor result, as they were not one of the top teams in the league. We then got the news that we would play Manchester United in the Second Knockout Round of the Europa League. I couldn't believe they were in the competition. Anyway, we surprisingly beat Manchester United 2-1 at home, Duncan
played really well again and scored a brace. In the second leg, I knew that Manchester United just needed one goal to go through, since they had the away goal advantage, so I decided to go out and attack them, playing with three up front. Oh boy did that backfire. We were embarrassingly defeated 7-0 at Old Trafford. I think that was the worst defeat in my 13 seasons with Palermo, and I was eager to move on, quickly forget that result, and focus on finishing the league strong. Luckily, the players responded well to the defeat, and won the next game 2-0 against Cremonese.
April & May Results
April did not go as planned at all... Draws against Parma and AC Milan, were followed by back to back defeats. Although we didn't pick up a win in April, we played very tough opponents, and were still in and around the mix to secure a top 4 finish, with just one month to play. Our potent attack somewhat dried up in April, we only managed to score more than one goal in a game against Roma. I have been tweaking the tactics all season and still haven't found the perfect formula. We have sold all of our wingers, so rely on attacking full backs to provide the width. I believe with the quality we have in attack and our two star Brazilian full-backs, we can make the tactic work, but it will take more time to get it right. We were playing either 4-1-2-1-2 (Narrow) or 4-1-2-3.
The final month of the season started really well with a 4-2 win over Perugia. We managed to score 4 goals in a game for the first time since beating Cagliari, 4-3 in January, so I was really excited, and hoping to finish the season strong. But a tough fixture against Juventus resulted in a 3-0 defeat, followed by a 0-0 draw against Udinese, meant of the final day of the season we were in 6th position, needing results elsewhere to go our way, and a win to finish 4th. The final game of the season was at home against Verona. I decided to play attacking and with Bayer
injured, Ronaldo Cruz Ojer
had the opportunity to start up front with Duncan
. In dramatic fashion, we won our final game 3-0, Ronaldo Cruz Ojer
scored all three! He hadn't scored all season. Results elsewhere ended in our favour, and much to my amusement, we finished the season in 4th place, and secured Champions League qualification once more. I really though we had bottled it with our poor form in the last two months of the season, but we only just squeezed in to the top 4. A lucky finish to say the least.
Final Serie A League Table
A crazy end to the season, and a very interesting season overall. Sassuolo under the management of Nuno Santos Espirito played really well this season and finished 2nd. Inter Milan won the league for the 3rd season in a row. Roma secured 3rd spot. AC Milan and Napoli really under performed, finishing 13th and 14th. I am happy to finish 4th this season, but really want to take the next step and try to secure a top 3 finish next season.
I think this brief summary really sums up our season well, and although it wasn't the most memorable or glorious season, there were still a lot of positives to look book on and overall is a decent season in the history of the club.
The board have given us £19.79 million to spend next season. I am going to try and ask for more, but also looking to cash in on two players who are arriving on expiring contracts. My investments in youth players last season has also paid of quite well. Our U-20 team won the Youth Champions League, and a good number of players were loaned out and performed well, and developed more this season. One player, Diego Torres
, played extremely well on loan at Villarael and may feature in our squad next season, he can play as a CAM or as a ST. I will be evaluating the squad and youth setup in depth, in the next pre-season and look to promote some of the youth players into the first team for next season.
, our big German hero, was not only our best player this season, but the best player in the league. He ended the season with 28 goals in Serie A, picking up the Golden Boot and scoring 10 more goals than the second highest scorer in the league. The Serie A Team of the Season, consisted of 10 Inter Milan players, and Bayer
, showing how good he was, and also how dominant Inter Milan were! He had an amazing season, scoring 35 goals in all competitions and is attracting interest from the biggest clubs in Europe. But, I do not want to sell him, and will do everything in my power to keep him as a Palermo player, for many more seasons to come.
Overall Squad Stats
End of Season Awards
was clearly the Fans Player of the Year this season. Our Brazilian right-back score the Goal of the Season with a fanatastic run, and an even better finish against Sassuolo. Our South African center-back, Mudubanya
was the Signing of the Season. He only started four games this season, but looks like a quality talent. At 19 years old he already has 17 passing which is amazing for a defender. I am even thinking about training him as a Libero and changing to 3 center-backs with him in the middle.
Goal of the Season
Another season done and dusted, a big pre-season ahead, as we plan to push even higher next season and improve on the club record finish. 4th in Serie A is a great achievement, but we have the players and resources to continue to develop and finish even higher in Season 14. I will be asking for your help and feedback in the chat with decision during the next pre-season.
I hope you enjoyed following another season in the Palermo journey!
As always, thanks for reading!
Bring on Season 14, Forza Palermo!