Monday, 20 August 2007

Capello would not approve

When Capello was sacked after finally bringing the league title to the Bernabéu following four trophyless seasons, Calderón justified the "unanimous" board decision on the basis that they needed "to find a more enthusiastic way of playing". In other words, attractive football would reign over the expediency of results at any cost.

Last night he got his wish, although not perhaps in the way he might have hoped: a crushing home defeat at the hands of Sevilla in the return leg of the Spanish Supercup saw eight goals scored at the Bernabéu. Sevilla proved to be superior in pretty much all aspects of the game as they picked up their fifth title in 15 months (2 UEFA Cups, 1 Spanish Cup, 1 European Supercup and now 1 Spanish Supercup).

What is surprising is that under Bernd Schuster, Getafe tied Barcelona for the least number of goals conceded (33) during last season's league championship. In other words, he built his team around solid defensive principles. With Real Madrid, he doesn't seem to have decided on a playing style or scheme, or even a fairly consistent starting eleven. This is fine in the middle of the preaseason, and there's been a fair amount of movement in the transfer market, but the league opener, the Madrid derby against Atlético, is only five days away, and the Bernabéu crowd can turn nasty very quickly if he doesn't deliver.

The Madrid press so far have been fairly forgiving of Schuster. This is hardly a major shock, given that they were the ones hounding Capello all of last season and demanding his presence at the helm. Their criticism so far has been mild, but this will quickly be forgotten if Real's performances don't improve soon.

There are worrying signs that the pressure is getting to Pepe. Following his provoking a Cadiz player by spitting at him (getting both the Cadiz player and his team-mate Diarra sent off in the process), he topped this by a truly unfortunate display last night where he gave away a penalty resulting in Sevilla's third goal, was partly responsible for three of the other four, and ended up getting sent off in the dying seconds of the game. Not the best way to justify the 30 million the club spent on you during your home debut. Drenthe, on the other hand, did get a cracking goal, but it was all for naught.


linda said...

I was waiting for your take on the events - measured and reasonable as ever.

Isn't it partly the fault of whoever's in charge of signings that the new boys came in so late with no time to integrate them before the league starts? So maybe it's not that fair to lump everything on poor Bernd, who's been calling for signings ever since he went on the job.

linda said...

Just a quick question for you: what on earth is AS on about when they bang on about Real needing another '9'? I would have thought that was one department with no problems, what with Ruud and the rest.

Gonzalo said...

Hi Linda,

I'm not suggesting Schuster is the only culprit for the team's lacklustre performances over the preseason, and, to be honest, that's what a preseason is for, experimentation. However, there really does not seem to be a system in place, signings or no signings. If he really has been talking to the club since before the end of last season, he knew the situation. If he starts complaining this early about not having the pieces he needs for his scheme, then what is the point of him staying at all? Mijatovic and Calderón clearly have their part to play, but Schuster does not get away scot free.

Don't get me started on As. I never take any of their 'news' as having any substance until they are corroborated by other media, especially when it comes to transfer stories. I suspect the Milito story will go away eventually; it's probably just midweek page-filling. I could be wrong, of course, but I'll save any opinions on the subject until the facts are known.