Many Aston Villa fans will be quick to disagree after midfielder John McGinn summed up the club’s season as a “failure”, having failed to secure automatic promotion.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, the Scotland international reflected on his side’s efforts in the Championship this season but did not lavish praise on Villa’s performances.
“There have been so many highs and so many lows and I think overall this season has been a failure initially,” the 24-year-old said. “The size of this club, it should be in that top two and we’ve failed.
“But what we have done is give ourselves another avenue to achieve what we set out to do. We rolled up our sleeves and went on an unbelievable run and got to this final and I suppose that is an achievement in itself.”
McGinn does have a point – Villa spent 29 years in the top flight before their relegation and they should be back up there now. They did have a chance last year, but blew it with defeat to Fulham at Wembley.
But after the season Villa have endured – and the struggles they have overcome – there is no way McGinn can call the season a failed one.
Earlier in the season, the club were going through a very tough patch and were not even being considered for the play-offs. But then they made history and look where it has got them.
This Villa side are the first in the club’s history to win 10 matches in a row, which they did in March and April in a perfectly-timed run.
Without that, Dean Smith’s side would have finished nowhere near fifth and that run of wins is a historic achievement that should not be discarded.
If Villa fail to win against Derby County on Monday, then it will be a failed season. But for now, there will be many fans who will be quick to point out that winning runs spanning 10 matches do not come around too often and should be celebrated.
This one should be celebrated because it has dragged Villa into the play-offs, and restored their hopes of securing Premier League football when those chances seemed dead in the water.