El Centrocampista


Four days after securing their first league win of 2012, Valencia proved they could in fact do it on a cold wet night in Stoke as they beat the English side 1-0 with an impressive Europa League performance at the Britannia Stadium.

Fast forward ten days however, and things aren’t looking as positive for many fans. Two consecutive league defeats, including Sunday’s home loss to Sevilla, and the European exploits are beginning to appear somewhat irrelevant.

In between these fixtures Valencia defeated Stoke for the second time in a week and progressed to the last sixteen where they will face PSV, any success in Europe was glossed over by sections of supporters due to their 5-1 destruction by Barcelona.

The positivity surrounding David Albelda’s contract extension and Roberto Soldado’s overdue call up to the Spanish national side were also overshadowed, this time by Ever Banega’s injury that has ruled him out for at least the remainder of the season. The Argentinian who has become one of Valencia’s most important players, had his leg crushed when he forgot to engage his parking brake after a petrol stop, Valencia have already shown they are missing the player desperately.

Valencia supporters are renowned for being the most demanding in La Liga, and this week they’ve lived up to that tag. The debate over Unai Emery is one that will drag on and on while he remains manager, an increasing section of Los Che supporters believe he has taken the club as far as he can, the result against Barcelona compounded those emotions.

The squad is competitive, but even the most demanding supporters realise it’s almost impossible to compete with Real Madrid and Barcelona. The fashion of losses against those teams, and many others are what frustrate the supporters to such a degree they are calling for Emery’s head.

Many outsiders find it difficult to justify sacking a man who has repeatedly seen his best players leave and yet comfortably retain Champions League football each time; only so much progress can be made under these conditions, and with Valencia’s debt burden believed to be reduced following the resumption of building work on their new stadium, judgement should perhaps be reserved until he’s given the tools capable of aiding progression.

Debates over Unai Emery continuing at the club are common and often valid, but are also given extra impetus by president Manuel Llorente’s reluctance to offer his manager any more that a one year extension on a rolling basis. This year things seem different, the pressure now seems genuine and local sports paper ‘Superdeporte’ have begun to question on the former Almeria manager.

The newspaper ran with a story on Tuesday stating that Valencia are seriously considering replacing Emery at the end of the season, they go on to state the list of four managers that the club are contemplating. The least likely of these is Marseille coach Didier Deschamps who is known to have turned down the advances of such clubs as Liverpool in order to continue his project in France.

The manager of the French national team Laurent Blanc is also a candidate as many are unaware of what he intends to do after this summer’s European championships, although he remains an unlikely choice. Former Valencia, Real Madrid and Barcelona player, and current Spain under 21 coach Luis Milla is one candidate that Manuel Llorente may have less trouble getting in, however the candidate that most supporters want to see is Mauricio Pochettino, the Argentine has guided Espanyol up the table with a relatively low budget and transformed the club from relegation contenders to candidates for European football.

As always it’s very difficult to predict what will happen at Valencia over the summer, but with the club looking to spend rather than sell for the first time in a while, Unai Emery will have to all he can in this seasons remaining games to ensure he’s the man leading Los Che out in their next campaign.


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