Relegation essentially means failure. It was a huge test for Karanka and his Mourinho style will have won him plenty of plaudits but they were boring. Signings were pretty uninspiring and the highlight of their season was a near-Wembley experience with a quarter final FA Cup loss against Man City. Other than that they treated their fans to an early Christmas present with a 3-0 win over Swansea but even they had the last laugh.
Fact: least goals scored gets you relegated. I’m not even going to look that one up. Their defence however was surprisingly impressive for a side that lost 20 games. They only conceded 53, a feat only bettered by a relegated side on three occasions in a 20 team Premier League season. They conceded the 10th least of all teams this year.
If Monk can remind them how to defend they may well take the Championship by storm, especially as they’ve acted quickly in the market, signing Christie, Howson and Braithwaite. The aim will be top six and it should be attainable.
As stated above they’ve done most of their business already. Britt Assombalonga may yet join, which should help going forwards. Their only other area for concern is in goal as they’ve lost Valdes, Guzan and Konstantopoulos. He may well bring Silvestri from Leeds or try loaning Vorm from Spurs.