Game tonight summed up the season?
Yeah, probably. It’s a fair assumption of tonight’s game. If someone hasn’t watched us this year and watched the game tonight that has probably summed up our year. Very good at times between the boxes but have just fallen short at times at both ends. That was the same tonight.
Two poor goals and then our good play of getting to them final moments – just lacked that bit of quality to score a goal.
Effort, I have nothing but full respect for my players of what they did this year. The facts are we have fallen a little bit short in our quality.
Largely down to the start of the season and then playing catch up?
Yeah. We didn’t start the season too well. Four or five games passed and a brand new team that brings challenges and players settling in, bringing a team together that understands what is needed in this division. A young squad – I think most Premier League appearances is probably Ruben Loftus-Cheek in this team. So, young in the sense of age and in the sense of nous and experience in this division.
Had some positives and improved in certain areas but have fallen short in key moments at this level.
Thoughts will turn to what is next, how important is the summer going to be?
The most important. The absolute most important. The decisions we make now as a football club are going to be crucial and pivotal.
Next year is going to be another new side, another new squad and like I said, it’s been disappointing this year, we need to put our hands up, get around a table and understand where we want to go as a club and what we need to do.
It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster with a relegation, a promotion, a relegation and we need to make some crucial decision to bounce back into this division. That is not going to be easy, especially when half the team are leaving. We’ll hopefully make some good decisions and work out where we need to go.
Do you feel a rebuilding exercise is needed?
I wouldn’t want to go into detail at this present time. I’m hurt, I”m gutted, the players are. Everyone has tried everything possible, everyone in the football club has done everything in their power to try and stay in the division this year. Certainly, you don’t need me to sit here and explain to you what we need to look at and how we need to reassess things. There’s other stuff of course which is going to come out.
What is important is we’re going to have these honest conversations and what we need to do to try and have some sustainability. Our aim is the big prize, in this case, staying in the Premier League. We need to understand how we get there and stay there. Promotion, relegation – in my eyes that is not successful. That’s what we need to work, we’ll do that together and we’ll try and bounce back.
In terms of the decision making process – do you need them to understand more? To build more slowly and organically rather than firing a lot at it?
Yeah, definitely. That’s part of the bigger picture. We all want to be in this division. In sport, it’s not as easy as looking for that goal. You need to have a strategy and plan in place. That’s what we’re going to need to do as a football club. We want some sustainability, that will be key in how we move forward.
Do you feel you have the energy and desire to come back and lead the team back next year?
It’s not a conversation for tonight. I don’t want to get involved in that. We’ve got three games left and my job and what I need to do is get this team, as disappointed as they are, finish this season in a way which is the right way.
After that, the discussions we have as a football club and what we need to do to improve will speak for itself and we’ll work it out from there.
How do you pick the team up going into the final three games?
That’s the next job. My job now, while we’re all disappointed and that will carry on for the remaining three games, is to get this group of players to fight and keep going. We owe that to our fans and to the football club.
Is what happens in the summer central to whether you will stay?
We’ll make them decisions together as a football club and we’ll have them discussions. Any team that has gone down this year, West Brom, Sheffield United, them discussions will be happening and they happen at all good football clubs even if you win things.
At the end of a season you have honest, frank discussions and that is going to be key. We’re going to have to be very honest and maybe at times very brutal in our assessment of this year and where we need to go and what we need to do. Everyone needs an opinion on that and my opinions will be given.
I’ve ate, slept and been amongst it the whole year so of course I have the feelings of what we need to do and we’ll have them discussions.