Cruz-ing through Brazil: A Rags to Riches Story Jul 25, 2019 9:28:24 GMT
Post by Nick on Jul 25, 2019 9:28:24 GMT
For the third year in a row, a team goes down with 40+ points, Atletico Mineiro were the unlucky team, going down with 42! This league is far too competitive to get to 40 and be safe. Parana looked dead and buried but hit form at the right time and stayed up on the final day. We stayed up in the penultimate game of the season with a pretty remarkable 2-1 win at Palmeiras. We then lost 5-2 at home to Internacional on the final day and those two results pretty much summed up our season.
So what saved us? Well, our results against the teams that finished below us went a long way:
Parana - 2 points
Atletico Mineiro - 6 points
Coritiba - 4 points
Sport Recife - 4 points
Fortaleza - 3 points
Total: 19 points (out of 30)
This kind of return is absolutely crucial when fighting against relegation and, if my maths is correct, made up 41% of the points we won this season. Looking down at Serie B, the promoted teams are America Mineiro, CSA, Ponte Preta and Guarani and we'll need similar, if not better, returns against them as well because we picked up some 'bonus' points against the better sides, especially early on in the season. Our early season form also saved us, and we'll need to use the momentum gained from the State Championship to start quickly again next year.
So what needs to change? 61 goals is too many to be conceding. It was half expected, the defence is the weakest part of our squad, especially at centre back where we are ageing and slow. Focus over the off season is improving this area of the pitch. Our home record needs to improve. Only 25 points won at home (16th best in the league), 33 goals conceded and eight defeats. Not good enough.
Joilson proved to be a top signing and it was good to see him named 'Defensive Midfielder of the Year' in Serie A. His average of 7.03 was the highest in the squad of the players that played over 10 games and he contributed with 3 goals and a couple of assists.
Job done then. It was never easy, but we can be proud that we stayed up, but also that we never once entered the relegation zone in doing so. We have a little over a month off now, have gained £2.5m in prize money for our league finish, so should be able to improve the squad a little bit.