Newcastle United Taking on Europe – A Football Manager 24 Stories series. Join us as we look to continue on from where Eddie Howe left off and challenge Europe's elite. But can we hold our own, while managing a small squad and a tough domestic fixture list?
Well, what a first season it has been. And in this part 5 of the story, we bring you two cup final matches below. An incredible run in both the FA Cup and Champions League has set us up for two epic finals against Liverpool and PSG respectively. Before that, let's recap the regular season, which also ended in some typical Newcastle-style drama.
Premier League season ends
So yeah, that was some season. With all the games we had, I had not expected us to achieve a top-five finish, and while we left it till the last game, securing Europe for another season is fantastic. We were fairly lucky with injuries, for the most part avoiding any major concerns to our biggest players, and when we did lose someone, we had good cover for the spot.
As noted, however, we had a terrible defence, in fact, we ended with both the best attack and worst defence of any club… so, that's something we'll need to look at. One problem was the coaching, and with about 6 of our backroom staff having expired contracts, we've decided to not renew their contract for next season as we look to upgrade on those roles.
Anyway, onto those Cup Finals.
FA Cup Final
So yeah, we made it to the FA Cup Final in the first season, and we had some memorable moments… maybe not in the actual final, however.
The Starting 11
A strong side, with just Sven Botman missing out due to injury. We had some fitness concerns about Tonali in the build-up but decided to take the risk. The slight cloud over the fixture was the news that both Almiron and Joelinton have requested to leave at the end of the season.
Heartbreak in the first half. Tonali has picked up a knock and Trippier went down injured at the half-time whistle. To say we have a mountain to climb would be an understatement. But, we're here, so let's get at it.
Sadly, it ended 0-5 and we just never really showed up. With another final against PSG in a week we have a lot to do and not a lot of time to prepare for it. Some changes will have to happen to our squad as the long season takes a toll.
Champions League Final
Yeah, another final, but don't expect a better result, sadly.
Pain. And it remained that way until the end of the game. An incredible season ends in double disappointment. Did we stick strictly to our attacking style? Probably, our defensive work let us down a lot this season, especially against top sides. Next season we need to work on that and build up our backline.
A silver lining
Next season's budget is in, and it's a spicy one. We also have a few players to get off the books, plus some high-wage loan players leaving. We have a decision to make on Raphina's loan move, but with young star Minteh coming back from his loan we might have a new right-sided player coming for free.
What we learnt from season one
We need to improve our defence, which we'll mostly do via our DM role and push Bruno G higher up the pitch. We have a really good budget, but I'm keen to give us some space to breathe in January if required.
Part 6 will begin season 2, where we'll likely focus on the seasons in just two parts going forward. Transfer window 1, till January, and then January till season end. We'll try to do an episode a week.