I wanted to equal or better my first season in charge at the club and we’ve done it. A second consecutive 3rd place finish gives us a passage straight into the Europa League group stage again next season. Delighted!
Here’s the tale of the season in stats and how the club has progressed.
Our stats will be slightly skewed this season from that relatively early change in tactic. We started off playing the same way as last season, but when it wasn’t quite working for us switched to our new 4-1-2-3. Let’s have a look.
|Vitória Team Stats||Figure||Position|
|Shots on Target||43%||5th|
If we’ve got the ball our opponents don’t. Chuffed to see us top the average possession table, although there’s certainly been matches where we completely dominated the ball but couldn’t break down our opponents, to then be hit on the break and concede. We need to get better with the ball, create better chances, and then score them when we do create them. Our shots on target ratio went down this season compared to last and our cross completion was also worse. Despite that, and despite trying to move away from relying on it so much as the source of our goals, over the course of the league season 11 of our 66 goals were assisted from crosses.
We got stuck in a little bit more this season, moving up from 17th in fouls conceded to 14th. Our tackles won percentage decreased, perhaps due to the change in our tactical approach? More likely just a naturally random thing. There’d be no retaining of the Fair Play Award this season as Nacional scooped the title.
Jori was our first choice keeper this season, with Douglas playing a less active role and ultimately decided to retire. Jori played 42 matches across all competitions and kept 16 clean sheets, four less than Douglas last season. Porto’s José Sá and Benfica’s Odysseas Vlachodimos both kept 18 clean sheets in the league. He made 69 saves in the league which is drastically less than the 170 that Douglas made last season. Does this mean our defence was better at keeping shots at bay or that Jori was worse at saving shots that came his way? He made five mistakes this season of which three led to goals, putting him at 3rd in that table for the league.
He’s improved in quite a few aspects of his goalkeeping over the course of this season, presumably from the regular match action which he’d hardly had until he joined us. I need to recruit in this position though with Douglas retiring and young keepers at the club not quite ready. I’ll initially be looking for an affordable upgrade on Jori.
The aforementioned tactical shift affected this area of the pitch more than others, with us having to choose two CBs every week instead of three. Frederico Venâncio (41 apps) and Teodoro Paredes (50 apps) were the two most used this season, with Toni Borevkovic (27 apps) providing solid back up for them both. Paredes actually made the most appearances and was on the pitch for the most minutes out of any player (4,487) in the squad this season. Incredible consistency.
Paredes and Venâncio both appear in the top 20 for key headers made over the course of the season, with 47 and 52 putting them at joint 13th and joint 6th, respectively. Venâncio had the highest ratio for headers won in the league with 85%.
We had a league high 13 goals from corners this season, three more than last season. Paredes scored four with Venâncio scoring two and laying on four assists (mostly from flick ons).
Edmond Tapsoba was our fourth CB this season but he was hardly needed and barely rotated in as I looked to play my strongest pairing where possible. I tried to get him a loan move out in January to no success, and it’s likely he’ll move into the B team for minutes in the second tier next season.
Their influence over the overall performance of the team was greatly reduced this season, but they’re still a vital position on the pitch. Rafa Soares continued to play brilliantly at left back and still managed to assist 11 goals over the season, eight of those in the league placing him in the top five. He only scored one though, compared to his seven last season as a result of moving back a position on the field. He’s nowhere to be seen in the top 20 for distance covered per 90 minutes or tackles per 90 minutes in the league this season, again, I’m attributing this back to his different role and position this season. He has become the most valuable player at the club though and continues to attract interest from abroad.
Víctor García the main choice over on the right hand side as the more defensively minded full back. The Venezuelan international assisted three and helped himself to one goal this season in 38 appearances. It’s no surprise that both full backs were top two in most cross attempts this season, but only completed 13% of them. How we improve on that is a challenge I’ve not yet solved.
Porto loanee, Fernando Fonseca and Pará both provided good cover on either side, with Fonseca’s output actually stronger than García’s with four assists and two goals.
The star of my second season was undoubtedly Sigurd Grønli.
He had a brilliant first season of first team football for us and he’s shown great signs of developing into a top player. He made the attacking central midfielder role his own, ousting captain André André from the side on his way to nine goals and six assists. Five man of the match awards puts him in joint 2nd in the league on that. The nine goals he scored all came in the league and saw him finish 12th highest league scorer. His trait of shooting from distance and his incredible free kick taking saw him finish 6th in the table of most shots taken in the league with 82. He led the side with 29 key passes (12th highest in the league) and created seven chances (joint 12th) which feels low but the leading chance creator had 13 for the season, Allano of Estoril.
Wakaso played 3,555 minutes this season making 43 appearances and the majority of those were in the revamped tactic as our DLP shielding the defence. He had the joint highest pass completion percentage in the league at 92% and made 3.18 tackles a game, placing him 14th overall for that. Both sides of the DLP role there, which I really like about it but I’m considering switching it to an anchorman next season for a bit more defensive stability.
André André might have had to make way for Grønli in the attacking midfielder slot, but he moved aside to the support role and ended the season making 37 appearances, scoring nine goals and assisting five. His early season goal spree earned us some vital points. However he found his place in the side under threat from Guillermo Celis in the latter stages of the season as I much preferred the increased dynamism he brought us from his higher levels of work rate, stamina, bravery and aggression. He scored four and set up two in his 2,422 minutes of first team action. Thaciano arrived in January and ended the season on 20 appearances overall, the majority coming from the bench while 20-year-old André Almeida rounds off the central midfield options in the first team squad this season. He made 16 sub appearances, getting just under 500 minutes of match action. He’s a promising prospect and I need to give him more gametime next season.
On the wing
Davidson had a very good first half of the season but tore his thigh muscle in February and missed the rest of the season. He’d scored nine and assisted seven before that and was playing very well on the right hand side. Constantly getting into very good scoring positions, getting 64% of his shots on target, the 2nd highest in the league, and converting 24% of them.
I’ve mentioned him a few times in the last couple of posts but Giorgi Arabidze, the loanee from PSG, was probably our star wide man of the season.
Despite being left footed I decided to mainly play him as an inside forward on the left hand side. I’ve done this before early on when I was managing Stirling and I find it gives a bit more variety to the role. If he’s going out wide he’s able to cross on his favoured foot, if he’s cutting inside it’s not always 100% ideal on his right foot, but he’s in the box and gets on the end of chances too on his left foot. He hit 12 goals in 44 appearances, along with six assists too. He also scored our goal of the season, that cracker from the 3-2 loss against Porto in January.
Notable mentions go to January signing, Jhon Murillo, and Mário Ferreira. Murillo will have a much bigger impact next season as he’ll likely be first choice on the right hand side, while Ferreira was in and out of the side with a few niggles in what should’ve been his breakout season. Hopefully he can stay fit and find some consistency next season because he’s still one of the most promising young players at the club.
He started the season as third choice behind Luiz Phellype and Welthon, but Fernando Cardozo ends it as our main man up front.
He equaled Welthon’s goal tally from last season with 16 in all competitions, 11 of those coming in the league and he was 5th top scorer. It was a very low scoring season from individuals, Dani Olmo taking him the award with only 15 strikes. That worked out as a goal every 189 minutes for him in the league from his 28 appearances overall. He doesn’t appear in the top 20 players for shots taken this season (just outside with 63), but does in his shots on target (34, 9th in league) and shots on target ratio (54%, 17th in league overall, 9th in strikers). His conversion rate was the 12th best in the league at 17%. Another season under his belt as our main striker should see him good again and improve on his goalscoring record this season.
Fellow summer signing, Luiz Phellype, was our back up option this season and hit nine goals in his 35 appearances overall, albeit 15 of those were from the bench. Welthon fell down the pecking order and barely got a look in with 927 minutes over the season. He scored three and assisted one and will more than likely leave over the summer.
Grønli’s excellent season saw him win our Fan’s Player and Young Player of the Year awards. He unfortunately missed out on Primeira Liga Young Player of the Year as Dani Olmo swept up winning that, Player of the Year and being top scorer. There’d be no repeat of any of our players making the Team of the Year and no repeat of me winning Manager of the Year either. Benfica’s Rui Vitória won that despite finishing runner up in the league, although he did win both cup competitions.
Financially we’re on a sound footing. We ended the season with £18m in the bank, of which £2m was then spent on an upgrade to our training facilities. A really important development if we want our players to continue improving while they’re at the club. Europa League participation saw the club bring in £6m of prize money this season which is a great amount and definitely noticeable considering we only brought in £315k last season while not in continental competition.
Again we were the 4th best supported club in the country behind the big three, with an average attendance of 21,824 across the league season. That’s up 9% on last season and 72% of our overall capacity which is going in the right direction.
Now that we’ve started qualifying for Europe, this is where I start to pay attention to the Nation Club Coefficient table, one of my favourite screens in the game. The country is sitting in 6th place and there’s a lot of ground to make up to France in 5th. However, that 6th place is us moving up a spot and that gains us an extra Champions League spot for the league going forward. Continual 3rd place finishes just became even more important. We’ve made a dent on the European club rankings, we’re now 114th. It’s a start!
And finally, we’re up to 4th spot in the club reputation rankings in Portugal. AVB’s Braga had a good season, but our consistency over the last couple of seasons now, coupled with our European campaign this time out sees us jump ahead of them. We must be due catching Sporting in 3rd spot very soon.
Thanks for following along this season. It’s going pretty well isn’t it? Really enjoying my time in Portugal and in Guimarães with Vitória.
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