Ange Postecoglou’s first season in the J-League as Yokohama F Marinos head coach has been a rollercoaster.
The point is highlighted by the fact that Marinos have scored the most goals in the league (50) and, at the time of writing, had conceded the second-most (48).
They currently sit 11th on the table but for periods of the season had appeared in grave relegation danger.
But six wins in their last eight games in all competitions has added some gloss to what has been, on paper at least, an indifferent season for Postecoglou and his side.
It has helped Yokohama stave off the relegation threat, and with only six games of the season remaining, falling back into the ruck would take something of a calamity.
Though there is still plenty to play for – Asian Champions League is not completely out of the question – Postecoglou can turn one eye to season two.
With a season of Ange’s football in Japan down, Asian football expert Scott McIntyre is convinced Marinos will go into the 2019 campaign as title favourites.
“They’ve been the most exciting team in Japan … they’ve scored and conceded the most goals in the league which is very rare and they’re just playing fantastic football,” he said on Thursday’s Daily Football Show.
“I think they’re going to win the J-League next year. There’s absolutely no question that they won’t go down (this season), it’s even possible that they could reach the ACL.
“There’s six games to go and if they win every game, they’re going to at least come close to those ACL spots.
“This wasn’t Ange’s team, he inherited it. There’s been a lot of nonsense going on the background with various people in the club but I think that’s all cleared up now.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of squad turnover going into next season and he’ll get in the guys that he needs to get in.
“He’s come in and in a very short space of time, he’s energised the entire league. It’s a league full of technically outstanding players, but the coaching a lot of the time can be rather dour or conservative or result-driven above anything else.”
Marinos have also reached the semi-finals of the J-League Cup, where they will meet Kashima Antlers across two legs in the semi-finals.