El Centrocampista

Making the Grade: Five new La Liga coaches evaluated

Since the start of this season the bottom five La Liga clubs as of this week had all changed their coach at least once (Villareal and Racing have done so twice).  So how have the new men got on since they took over, and what are the chances of them accomplishing their one and only aim, that of avoiding relegation?

Over the next few pages, Liam Bambridge takes a look at their work so far and rates the coaches performances in their short time in the hotseat, starting from the very bottom of the table with Sporting de Gijon:

1. Javier Clemente (Sporting de Gijon)

It would be fair to say that Clemente’s time at Sporting has been very underwhelming, given his track record of rescuing teams in dire straits. One win out of eight is solid relegation form, and indeed Manuel Preciado recorded two in his last eight games in charge.
Clemente would no doubt point out that in that time they have had to play Barcelona, Atletico, Athletic and Sevilla, who arrived at El Molinon on the back of seven points out of nine under new coach Michel but were beaten 1-0. However they have also collected just one point out of six against relegation rivals Racing and Zaragoza, and lost against the latter in injury time last Saturday. This prompted Clemente to launch an astonishing tirade against a local journalist the following morning, which is covered in more detail in Sid Lowe’s excellent ‘Guardian’ column here.

The club have so far said nothing in response to requests from various journalistic associations for a public apology, but secretly they must be wondering why they ditched much-loved Manuel Preciado for a character who has made a career out of being outspoken, but who on this occasion has not provided the results which allow the people that matter to make light of his combustible nature.

El Centrocampista rating: D

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  1. Heath Chesters

    7 April, 2012 at 10:56

    Granada fans were pretty split over the decision to replace Fabri, especially after the two promotions.

    Whilst overall form towards the end of 2011 wasn’t particularly bad, the the main problem for Fabri, was it seemed he’d lost the support of the dressing room. There was obvious friction and the New Year was always likely to be a crunch time.

    Abel Resino made an excellent start, but inevitably things have faltered along the way. The biggest problem for him, is the evident lack of strength in depth within the squad, when key players aren’t available.

    Resino likes a more adventurous attacking game, but when vital creative players such as Carlos Martins and Fran Rico are missing, the flow of play just isn’t there. In spite of bad luck with injuries to key players, he’s done reasonably well.

    The only cloud I have over his judgement so far, is his choosing of games that the club “must win”, or can be “sacrificed”. For me, every game is an opportunity to gain points. Granted, the team has won the “must win” games, but I really expected much more at home against Sevilla, for example.

    Arguably the next three matches will shape the season for Granada. Mallorca (A) is one of the “must win” games. Athletic Club Bilbao (H) is seen as a possible “sacrifice” game, though I see no reason why Granada can’t look for points against a team who have been inconsistent in La Liga. Zaragoza (A) is a good old fashioned “six pointer”. A game that quite simply, Granada cannot afford to lose.

    After those three games, Granada arguably have amongst the more difficult of run ins. My hope is that they have secured survival before their final two games. Real Madrid (H) and Rayo Vallecano (A).

  2. Liam Bambridge

    7 April, 2012 at 13:21

    I agree with you re ‘sacrificing’ games, seems daft to me. Sure, you are pretty unlikely to get anything from the big two, but Bilbao are:

    1.highly unlikely to make the CL
    2.have their place in the EL assured so don’t even need top six
    3.looked pretty tired the other night against Schalke (the way they play and the number of minutes that a lot of them have clocked must surely eventually catch up with them)

    I would expect them to be less than enthusiastic about the game, a great chance of a home win in my opinion, so let’s hope Resino sees it the same way!

  3. Pingback: Five places to watch football in Barcelona other than the Camp Nou | elcentrocampista.com - Spanish Football and La Liga News in English

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