No winter friendlies this time around as the winter break wasn't as long so straight into action with the Coppa Italia kicking off for us and a 2-1 home success to advance to the QFs. Simone Edera off the bench to net the winner after two OGs.
League actions resumes at Lazio. They are third in the table, we're 4th. Big game and also my 100th in the dugout.
Evina coming off the bench for the out of sorts Trincao got the leveller. Good point.
News item post match says that Da Graca has won the Italian player of the week award. Four times out of the last 6 matchdays now. His development this season has been fantastic so far and he's now my first choice striker.
15th place Perugia on a Thursday night next and a poor result as we couldn't find the quality to get a second. Dennis Man with our goal. Frank Evina had a penalty saved in the first half at 0-0.
Nice and easy two nil win at relegation battling Brescia. A Xadas penalty just before the break and then Reese sealing the win not long after the restart.
Coppa Italia quarter final at Serie B side Frosinone. They sit third in the table with just three defeats all season so I expected a tough game and that is exactly what we got. Two goals chalked off for offside in the space of 42s just after the HT break from us and then a late winner from them. Out of the cup, really disappointing to go out to a side from the division below but it wasn't really a surprise to me.
Parma at home in a busy month. Man with the goal for the one nil win.
14 league games unbeaten now. 8 wins and 7 draws.
Dennis Man opening the scoring at home to Milan before a header from Riyad Mahrez earned AC an away point.
A long trip down south next for the game against Palermo and a narrow 1 nil win. Trincao getting the only goal of the game.
We had to rely on a 95th minute leveller from Reese to earn a point at home to Bologna. We dominated the game throughout but they were so hard to break down.
Reese and an 89th minute penalty from Xadas won us all three points against Fiorentina.
A very fair 1-1 draw at Inter. Palacios scoring the equaliser for us in the second half to kick off March's three league games.
Next up was an home game against the last team to beat us in Serie A. Benevento. I told my players that they should go out there and get revenge. My words worked as we raced into a two goal lead after just 4 minutes.
31 shots in total to their zero. A dominant performance. Da Graca, Xadas (Pen) and Palacios with the goals.
After the final international break of the season we are back in Serie A action at underperforming Napoli, Jose Mourinho is the new manager there having replaced Marcelo Bielsa in January. They sit 10th in the table. I do anticipate a tough game nonetheless.
And our 19 game unbeaten run has come to an end as Napoli run out deserved winners. April 2021:
Four players suspended for the away game at Atalanta. Romero, Wan-Bissaka, Da Graca and De Silvestri. Not good.
The game in Bergamo saw both sides nullify the other sides threats and it ended 0-0. Good point in my opinion considering the players we had missing.
Another three players out for this game. Onana injured. Xadas and Dennis Man both suspended.
After a pre match pep talk to several players, including Trincao to up their performances we came out fast again, Trincao himself scoring two in the opening five minutes. The first a penalty and then a FK.
Baselli so nearly getting in on the action when the goalkeeper tipped his 25 yarder onto the underside of the bar. Not even 10 minutes on the clock yet and we were looking to put Spal to the sword early on.
Francisco Trincao bagged his hat trick in the second half and then substitute Rincon got his first goal of the campaign.
Baselli scoring for the second game running gave us all three points at 18th place Sassuolo.
Am appaling result at home to mid table Pescara.
2-3 times a season we lose these games and it's costing us European football.
Crushing defeat at Roma. Never got into the game. Heaviest defeat as Torino manager.
As it stands we're two points clear of 5th place. Could be that we need to get a result in the derby on the final day at Juventus to get 4th.
Huge three points away to in form Empoli, Dennis Man with both goals.
Final home game of the campaign sees us host Sampdoria and a win here will give us CL football next season.
Nowhere near good enough to put away the team in 15th to end the home campaign. Disappointing result and performance which means we could well need a result at Juventus on the last matchday as I predicted a few games back to get into the CL providing Lazio keep the pressure on.
One game to go and we're two points clear of 5th place Lazio. We have the H2H on Lazio with a win at home and a draw at their place so a draw will be enough for us.
A draw and a Roma loss means we finish 3rd. Lot of drama and tension then on the final day.
Well, things didn't go our way on the last matchday as you can see. A comfortable 3 nil win for Juventus and Lazio winning 5-1 saw us finish 5th and miss out on CL football by a single point.
Final League Table:
An heartbreaking end to the season as we missed out on CL football next season by the smallest of margins. For the second straight season we ran out of legs at the business end of the season. A win at home to 11th place Pescara or 15th place Sampdoria at the time would have secured top four but it wasn't to be. Overall I'm very pleased with the season, I was targeting 7th as a minimum to maintain the previous two seasons efforts so to get into Europe at the third time of trying when we've been so close the last two times is very pleasing, looking forward to that European adventure next season.
A fantastic 19 game league unbeaten run last five months was incredible. We're such a consistent side and that's very important. If we can just iron out 1-2 poor results that'd be nice.
Another Coppa Italia quarter final exit but it was a close game and our opponents just edged it.
So yeah, overall another very good season that finally sees us rewarded with a European place.
New signings review:
Signed for £8.25m to be my key CB and he delivered for us. Started all but 4 league games for us. Lot of interest in him from across Europe but no intention of selling this guy who I consider to be one of my key players already.
This guy I bought with one eye on the future at CB, £525k, said in a previous post that I would be giving him 10/12 games this season and that's what he got, 6 starts and off the bench a further 6 times as well as playing for my u20s side with 15 outings. Very raw this guy but he has shown some improvement over the course of the season, possibly be loaned out next season depending on whether I can secure him at least first team regular status at a good level. Otherwise he'll continue as this season but playing more games. If he stays he'd be looking at 15 games as a minimum with the added EL competition to our schedule.
Loan signing for the season from PSG 19(11) games, 4 goals and 2 assists. A little underwhelming quite honestly, expected more from this chap.
A £2.6m signing from Monaco. 17(11) games, just one goal and no assists. Really struggled for form and consistency this campaign did the talented young Belgian. He did get himself a first cap for the Belgian NT towards the end of the season. Not going to write him off after one campaign but looking for him to show some improvements next time out. Lot of room to improve and we've a good record during my time at Torino of developing these young players.
Signed from Bayern's reserve side for £2.7m. Backup LW 9(15) games, 2 goals and a single assist. Shown some good improvements in his development over the past 12 months but next season I'll be looking for him to kick on after a year of settling in at the club.
The final signing of last summer to replace Belotti was Fabian Reese. He ended up alternating the striker's spot with Da Graca who returned to the club after a 6 month loan in Serie B last season. Eight goals in 19(6) games.
Top scorer - Dennis Man - 11 goalsMost assists - Francisco Trincao - 11 assistsHighest average rating - Wan-Bissaka - 7.076th best attack8th best defence 14 clean sheets
I won the Serie A Manager of the Year award for the third season running.
Francisco Trincao won the fans' payer of the season award.