With Aston Villa further strengthening the squad this summer as we prepare for a second season back in the Premier League, everyone is looking for improvements on last year and nobody wants to be in and around the relegation battle again.
With fans understandably having ‘experience’ concerns given the players we are targeting, equally some improvement should come from last year’s captures simply being better settled and more adjusted to the top flight game – but just how far that may take us up the table is obviously massively open for debate.
I’m hoping for in and around 14th place as a worst case scenario as if we want to demonstrate the ambitions indicated by our spending, and the fact we kept Jack Grealish at the club, midtable has to be the aim along with fewer goals conceded, more goals scored and at least a minimum of 10 more points.
In his Sheffield United press conference, head coach Dean Smith gave his own thoughts on our ambitions for the future.
“We’re looking at improving and we weren’t satisfied with finishing 17th in the league. We believe, with the players that we’ve got, that we’ll be better for our experiences last season. We stayed up on the last day last season and we learnt a lot of lessons. We had a lot of change from the previous season and a lot of injuries as well. Hopefully we don’t have those injuries this year and we can be a better team than we were. Our aim now is to finish higher than we did last season.”
As Things Stand, Where Do We Finish?
Dare To Dream 7th or Above
Speaking to the Express & Star, Jack was a bit more specific.
“We haven’t sat down as a group yet but I am sure we will do that before the season starts and set out our goals. Everyone wants to build on what we have done last season. At the start of last year, we were probably aiming to finish between 12th and 14th but it does not always work out as you plan. Hopefully we can build on that this season. With the squad we have I believe we can aim high. I think we have to be looking between 12th and eighth. You have to be realistic. You are not going to from finishing 17th one season and then going to fifth or sixth the next, as nice as that would be. I think if we could finish anywhere between eighth and 12th that would be brilliant.”
With the assumption there’s still a player or two still to come into Bodymoor Heath before the transfer window shuts, 12-14th in the table would represent good and solid improvement and it is a realistic hope for the coming year.
Now we find out how close we can get to that!