TREVOR CROLY says he has learned a lot from a disappointing first season as manager of Shamrock Rovers and hinted that operating with a smaller squad will be one of the changes he considers for 2014.
The Hoops finished fifth in the Premier Division and missed out on Europe for the second successive year, with success in the Setanta Cup and EA Sports Cup failing to mask the disappointment.
After Friday's defeat to Sligo Rovers in Tallaght, Croly (right) conceded: "This season hasn't been good enough. To finish fifth isn't good enough, but you finish where you deserve.
"I learned a hell of a lot. There's so much to be analysed and to get better, and to make better. No getting away from that. We need to do a lot better – that's the reality."
Croly will sit down with the Rovers board in the coming weeks to plan ahead. They remain supportive of the manager, who faces serious personnel decisions over the winter.
There is a feeling that it's time to reduce the numbers and break up the core of the team which qualified for the 2011 Europa League group stages but has struggled since.
"We had 20 outfield players and three goalkeepers this season. That was a big squad and I think we could have done with a smaller group," he said.
Mark Quigley, a Croly addition, has fallen out of favour with the boss and is expected to move on, even though he is still under contract.
However, the manager's real priority lies with reshaping his defence, with Pat Sullivan and Ken Oman two possible departures.