Valencia CF had just secured back-to-back titles in emphatic style, undefeated and racking up 102 points. We backed that up by completing the double-double, also winning the Copa del Rey for the second successive season.
Philip Cohen hadn’t quite hit the heights of the previous season but he still managed to score 24 goals in 42 appearances. Vedran Stamenkovic, who we’d retrained to be a right winger this season, scored an impressive 18 goals in 42 appearances as well as 9 assists. While backup wingers Rodolfo Ravera and Philippe Marquet chipped in with 11 goals each.
Vice-captain and left-back José Gaya also scored 11 goals, all of which were penalties in the league. He also became the club’s all-time record league appearance holder and has now played 480 league games for the club.
Left winger Juan Martín Sancho led the way with 13 assists, as well as scoring 9 goals. He was followed by Stamenkovic on 9 assists, centre-back Itamar Junges got 8, while Ravera, Vladan Cula and Cohen got 7.
Marco Kana led the way with a 7.49 average rating from 36 appearances, followed by young striker Diego Gutiérrez on 7.46 from 17 appearances then Ravera and Cohen on 7.35 and Stamenkovic on 7.31. Only two of our outfield players had average ratings below 7, right-back Davide Piatti on 6.98 and young centre-back Nicola Massari on 6.95.
Vedran Stamenkovic’s fine form earned him the Spanish Young Player of the Year award. While Kana finished second in the League Player of the Year award and Cohen finished second to Erling Haaland as Top Goalscorer. de Lima won Goalkeeper of the Year and I won Manager of the Year.
Furthermore, 8 of our players were named in La Liga Team of the Season, with two more named on the bench.
Unsurprisingly, Cohen won the fans’ player of the season with 46% of the vote, followed by Kana (22%) and Stamenkovic (19%). The latter won goal of the season, Ravera was the signing of the season and Cohen, still only 24, also won young player of the season.
La Liga team stats
We scored the second most goals in the league with our tally of 91 only bettered by Barca’s 93. Of those, we scored a league-high 11 from corners and the second-most of 9 from indirect free-kicks but not a single one from direct free-kicks. We won the most penalties in the league, having been awarded a silly 14 and scoring 12 of those.
We created the join-fourth most chances with 100, only bettered by Real Betis, Barca and Real Madrid, and the fourth most shots on target. However, we also had the best shot conversion ratio of 15% from 604 shots. And we had the second most dribbles per game of 18, only bettered by Real’s 19.
We faired a little better with possession, having the 7th best in the league with an average of 52%, while 11th-placed Leganés had the most possession with an average of 58%. We also had the fifth best pass completion ratio of 88% and completed the fourth most passes with 17,462 – way below Malaga’s 21,155 and Leganés’ 21,107.
At the other end of the pitch, we had the best defence in the league only conceding 15 goals and a joint-high 23 clean sheets. Barca had the next-best of 20, then back to Madrid on 34 and Malaga on 36. We also only conceded once all season from corners, only gave away one penalty that Antonio de Lima saved, and didn’t concede from a single direct free-kick.
La Liga player stats
Cohen finished as second-top goalscorer in the league with 22, only bettered by Haaland’s 30, and the second most minutes per goal of 138.23. Stamenkovic had the second most shots and shots on target, also both only bettered by Haaland.
Gaya popped up with the best shot conversion ratio of 42% and shots on target percentage of 88%. Mainly because he only usually shoots from penalties. While Sancho got the third most assists with 11, behind Barca’s Antonio Carlos and Kylian Mbappé of Real Madrid.
Kana had the second highest average rating on 7.52, while Cohen came 4th, Stamenkovic 7th, Carrillo 9th and Tim-Sebastian Seegert 12th.
de Lima conceded the least goals and kept the most clean sheets in La Liga.
A look around Europe
Chelsea won the Premier League with 80 points, three clear of Liverpool, and defending champions Arsenal finished down in 5th. Spurs finished 6th despite spending £134 million on signing Barber and Seoane from us. That said, Chelsea spent £274 million on three players.
Inter won Serie A by 5 points from Roma, Dortmund ended Bayern’s six-year winning streak in Bundesliga, and PSG won a third-straight Ligue 1 title by 14 points from Monaco.
Our conquerors Real Sociedad lifted the Europa League, beating Man United 2-1 in the final with Mateo Kovacic scoring a winner in the sixth minute of injury-time. While Liverpool won the Champions League by beating Inter on penalties after a 3-3 draw. Joe Gomez was the unlikely hero scoring an 86th minute equaliser and again in extra-time.
We’ve now secured two Spanish titles and things are looking good at Valencia. But the one issue that concerns me is the lack of finances, which seem to keep dwindling for no particular reason and are now down to just £48 million in the bank.
In the spirit of this save, I need to keep an eye on job opportunities in other countries. I’ve decided to only manage teams that haven’t won a league title in the last 20 years which, in 3 years time, could include Manchester United. So that’s one I’m keeping in mind.
In Italy, the only real options are Lazio, Napoli and Roma, while Leverkusen could be an interesting one having third in all but two seasons in this save. While Marseille is a less interesting option in France, having finished third in three of the last five seasons.