CHRIS HUGHTON believes the team made significant progress last season in realising the goal of securing European football for the forthcoming campaign.
The boys recorded an improvement of 13 points on the previous campaign and also climbed four places in the Premiership chart as they achieved a consistency that saw them not lose back to back league encounters over the course of the season.
Of course, were it not for a final day setback at West Ham, the reward of fourth place would have been registered - a position that was held from early December.
"It was a most promising season and we put on some good spells of very attractive football," said coach Chris. "Players have made progress and the inclusion of someone like Aaron Lennon in the England squad for the World Cup is a reflection of the way we did and the influence our players can have at international level.
"There were lots and lots of highs followed by the obvious low at the end. What we have to do is take ourselves back to the beginning and what we spoke about then was making progress.
"We've certainly made progress with our league position and we have also done the same as a club and as a team on the pitch," he continued, adding that the consistency of performance could well have been due to a growing maturity among the younger element and the experience brought in by several individuals.
"What we have to take into consideration is the influence of people like Edgar Davids, Lee Young-Pyo, Teemu Tainio and Paul Stalteri.
"Outside of them we are not only a young team, but a young squad. Players that have played a lot of games - Ledley and Robbie - are not exactly old stagers and the players we've bought in like Dawson and Jenas are still learning the game.
"That is what we were faced with at the start of the season and we have seen each and every one of our players grow as the season went on."
After concluding his end of season reports yesterday, Chris Hughton gives a final overview of last season...