Real Mallorca lose again. | LPF


Real Mallorca, as Easter comes and goes once again, are putting their loyal fans through the emotional “wringer” as they battle relegation with just six games left to play. They were made to look ridiculous on Saturday, going down 3-0 to a bang average Elche side who were without their top two strikers and had to make six enforced changes from the side who lost 0-1 at Osasuna the previous Sunday.

Saturday’s defeat leaves Mallorca in 17th place on 29 points, one ahead of Cadiz who played away at Barcelona last night. All this means is that TOMORROW NIGHT'S GAME AGAINST ALAVES AT THE SON MOIX, KICK OFF 19:00 is a high pressure match with so much riding on it as Alaves are just four points below us (25) in 19th. All the good work and feeling brought about by our shock win 1-0 against At. Madrid the previous Saturday has evaporated after what, in reality, was a pathetic performance from the Palma side. Our goals against tally is now 53 and our defence has more holes in it than a Russian battleship. New coach Javier Aguirre may have got lucky in the At. Madrid game but on Saturday his decisions on the pitch were an unmitigated disaster. Unbelievably he commented afterwards that he didn’t like the 3-0 scoreline but “liked” what he saw from us on the pitch. I think Javier needs to visit Specsavers in Santa Ponsa!

A good start was key to Mallorca’s chances, not just for our relegation woes but also knowing we hadn’t won at Elche’s ground since Jesus was a carpenter ! For me the rot set in as early as the fourth minute when we won a corner. Dani Rodriguez, normally our “Mr Reliable,” WALKED OVER to take the corner from which he took a short one to Olivan and that advantage was easily handled by the home defence. Dani Rodriguez’s form of late has been so disappointing and on Saturday he was inoperative in the creation department. So much so that for the first time this season he was one of the first players substituted by Aguirre. But Dani wasn’t alone in the bad performance category, goalkeeper Sergio Rico had an absolute nightmare. He was slow to get down for Elche’s opener, completely missed a cross for the second and for the third he preferred to clear the ball instead of catching it, with the misfortune that the ball hit Kang In Lee and went in for an own goal – talk about a Comedy of Errors.

Elche started the brighter and it was no surprise when they went ahead just before half time as our vulnerable defence looked all over the place.

In that first half we were non-existent in attack, outmatched in midfield and weak at the back, and we were totally overwhelmed by a team minus eight regular starters. At half time Aguirre made the necessary changes, bringing on Take Kubo and Kang In Lee, both of whom should have started the game. Kubo, as happened against Atletico, started as a sub, came on after the break, and was our best player – the only one who treated this game as it should have been treated, as a “Final.” He detected defects in the home defence which towards the end showed signs of collapsing at the slightest pressure. He was heavily involved in our best chance right at the end when a Muriqi effort cracked against the crossbar – much too little, much too late.

SUMMING UP : Our coach got a few things wrong on Saturday, one of the worst things was selecting Amath up front as he contributed precious little. Surely in games like on Saturday and again tonight against Alaves, he must pick our best starting XI. I couldn’t understand why he used up all five substitutes 10 minutes into the second half when the score was only 1-0. What would have happened if we’d had a couple of injuries ?

Salva Sevilla is our best creative player and supplies the ammunition for the forward players. He has to start every game, without his guile and vision we’re going to continue firing blanks.

Tomorrow’s visitors Alaves are cock-a-hoop after they scrambled a 1-0 win at home to Rayo Vallecano. They’ll be a difficult nut to crack but we have to win – it’s as simple as that. We must also show more attitude and commitment.

Social media went into overdrive after Saturday’s defeat. One contributor said “The sports management people at this club should not be allowed to continue. We have at this vital time of the season a weak and unbalanced team in every area.”

David from Marratxi said “Mallorca insists on destroying itself with performances like the one played against Elche today. Another thing – my seven-year-old son tells me that both Manolo Reina and Leo Roman are better goalkeepers than Rico !!”

PS An inspired performance from one of the best players never to play from Spain, Jose Luis Morales (“El Comandante”), steered Levante to a crucial three points in their relegation “six-pointer” with Granada. Levante, who won 1-4, were rock bottom and looked dead and buried two months ago but have found a rich vein of form and are now joint bottom with Alaves on 25 points, four behind us. Tomorrow's game in the Son Moix could define our season if we win.