I am pleased to say that we ended the season has Champions of the Championship along with runners up in the FA Cup were we came up short in the final losing 6-1 to a rampant Chelsea side on the big day.
With a lot of personnel coming and going at the start of the season it was important to get the side as fluid and cohesive has possible which happened to go well with our 2 variations of playing a 2-3-5 formation juego de posicion (positional play) based on the philosophy of Josep Guardiola ‘ s Bayern Munich side. In the 2nd half of the season we kept the same principles of the Juego De Posicion but used a 4-3-3 formation (more Barca style) to make use of our firepower up front after they had settled in to the club, our forwards had returns of :Dembele 39 appearances 17 goals, Thalles 36-14, Wilson 29-10, Armstrong 20-12 all good returns which shot us to the top. Over the season we averaged 64% possession, which would have more than likely have been more but for tweaking the tactic early season.
The club was taken over and his now French owned by a Paris based business man.
Has mentioned above we had a good cup run and reached the FA Cup Final, my second in the last 2 seasons however my record is 2 FA Cup finals 2 defeats after a crushing 6-1 defeat to Chelsea. A particular highlight for me was beating my old club West Ham Utd 3-0 in the Semi Final.
Overall we had a very good season and achieved our target of Promotion at the first time of asking by winning the League by 6 points from Wolves in 2nd place and with a goal difference of +48. The Juego De Posicion philosophy worked well and gave me pleasure in the fact that it was the first time I had created it with such effect.
One player who deserves a special mention is Ravel Morrison who played in several roles for me including left wing, centre midfield, and even shadow striker he was outstanding through out the season. I had built the tactic around 3 technical players in our midfield in Samper and Gumbau from Barcelona and Gaudino from Bayern all 3 stepped in to our side and made us tick during vital moments in the season.
On a personal level I have been offered interviews at my old club West Ham and Arsenal which I declined, however Olympique Marsielle also offered an interview and finally the offer to to manage the French club which I have accepted.
So a short stay here at St.James Park ends a three year stay in England, but now a move to France and an opportunity for me to test myself in France at the club were Marcelo Bielsa lay down the foundation for the Juego De Posicion which I myself will be keen to continue. I have had 3 year contracts at each of West Ham and Newcastle Utd and have not seen the end of either but with 3 years signed again at Marsielle my intension is to see out all 3 years if they don’t sack me….
Managerial Career To Date:
15-16 West Ham United Premier League 7th
16-17 West Ham United Premier League 4th- FA Cup Runners Up
17-18 Newcastle United Championship 1st Champions- FA Cup Runners Up
18-19 Olympique Marsielle