At the start of each season, soccer fans go into the campaign with a certain degree of expectation, as do the managers, players and boardrooms. Consequently, it is inevitable that some teams will overachieve and some will underachieve. For example, Southampton were touted as possible relegation candidates back in August, having sold many of their most valuable assets, but ended up spending much of the season in the Champions League places and ultimately finishing seventh.
For every success story though, there is one of failure. So great is the pressure on clubs these days that we have come to accept managers and coaches getting the axe only months into their new job. In truth, it is ridiculous that managers are given so little time to implement their philosophies on the game. Brian Clough used to say that if a chairman sacked the manager, he should leave too, as it was his decision to appoint them in the first place.
Added pressure often comes after a busy or lucrative transfer window, a promising previous season or the return of long-term absentees. All these elements can lead to heightened expectations. In some cases, these expectations create a feel-good factor around a club which can help results, but they can also create unwanted pressure. These teams, all from the major top flight leagues, were expected to have much more successful seasons than they have ultimately had. Here are the top 10 underachieving soccer teams this season:
10 Hull City
9 Manchester City
5 Inter Milan
3 Borussia Dortmund
2 AC Milan
Liverpool ended the season in a catastrophic fashion, with a devastating 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Stoke in what was Steven Gerrard's last game for the club. Whilst the defeat was undoubtedly the most damning of the season, it has been a campaign full of disappointment for the Reds. Having lost the considerable talents of Luis Suarez to Barcelona and strike partner Daniel Sturridge to injury, Liverpool lost the most prolific strike force in the Premier League last season. The club re-invested the money made on Suarez, plus more, to ensure the club maintained its rise.
Despite having cash to burn and the lure of Champions League football, Rodgers' signings have been largely disappointing. Dejan Lovren, Lazar Markovic, Mario Balotelli and Adam Lallana were all expensive acquisitions, who despite having age on their side, appear to have been poor deals. Rickie Lambert has failed to impact whilst Emre Can and Alberto Moreno have been fairly steady. Liverpool finished the season in sixth place, a four position drop on last season, and the heat is certainly on Brendan Rodgers, who finished only six points better off than his old club Swansea.
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