Real Mallorca face the daunting task of playing league leaders Leganes from Madrid on Saturday at the Son Moix. After last Sunday’s soporific 1-1 draw at Almeria, which caused a storm on social media with regard to Real Mallorca’s totally negative tactics, we have to be more attack-minded. Coach Fernando Vazquez must get the all-important team selection spot-on in this: a survival run-in game. It’s imperative we start with an attacking line-up, which means two strikers and Alfredo Ortuño given more opportunities.
If we sit back and defend, Leganes will be all over us. Not only are they La Segunda’s second highest scoring outfit with 42, they’ve got the league’s tightest fisted goalkeeper, Jon Ander Serantes: he’s only picked the ball out of the net on 23 occasions. But the good news is Leganes haven’t won in their last three outings and we, generally speaking, play better against teams higher up La Segunda.
The flak from the Almeria game made for depressing reading as it seems now with our precarious league position (16th from 22) our away games will be played specifically not to lose. Which means mass defending to try and nick a point and then trying to win all the remaining six home games. One commentator on social media this week said: “We’re in a dilemma. Do we play well and lose or play badly and achieve a point? With games running out, it’s imperative we stay in La Segunda, especially with the plans the new owners have for Real Mallorca in the summer. Anything goes to save the team.”
During the January transfer window the club signed attacking players through the middle and down the wings. We haven’t seen any of these new acquisitions play to their potential because they seldom get the ball. Lago Junior was brought in as a striker, having cored seven goals at Mirandes. He’s now playing down the wing and is out of his natural position; it seems our front men spend more time defending than attacking.
One guy who always talks a lot of sense is ex-player and now the table-topping B team coach, Javier Olaizola. Javi is probably the most-loved character by the Son Moix faithful and is the one they wanted to be first-team coach after he kept Mallorca up in 2013. He was on a local TV show in the week and said: “I fully understand the approach of the coach. If we’d lost at Almeria, he would have received even more criticism. We got a point which, although the game wasn’t good to watch, could be our salvation at the end of the season. Sometimes you have to do things the fans don’t like in order to keep the team in the league. I still think Mallorca will stay up with something to spare.” Let’s pray Olaizola’s got it right ?
I doubt we’ll get a decent gate after last Sunday’s horror show and I wouldn’t blame the “not-so-die-hard fans” for giving the game a miss. It breaks my heart to see the team who I’ve followed for over 30 years take to the pitch with no ambitions, no fight and no fire in the belly. Let’s hope come 8 o’clock they will have turned things around and will have played some decent football – especially in front of our loyal, long-suffering, Son Moix fans.
Leganes are an example of what can be done on a shoe-string budget and something Real Mallorca should be having a close look at. They’re one of only two clubs (the other is Llagostera) which have a lady president, Maria Victoria Pavon. Her husband is chief shareholder and one of her sons is technical director. Their budget is just 150,000 euros and they haven’t spent one centimo on players, relying heavily on free transfers and loan players. They’re edging nearer another La Liga fairytale and could well be Madrid’s fifth team in La Primera next season. Eibar sent shock waves through Spanish football when they won an unlikely promotion to La Liga two years ago and did it on the second division’s smallest budget. Leganes’ is the third smallest in La Segunda after third top Gimnastic (who survive very well on 85,000 euros) and Huesca. Led by Basque coach Garitano, Leganes have worked their way up the standings after spending ten years in the regionalised 80-team Segunda B. Bringing in players solely through frees and loans is now, according to Marca, giving Leganes the fifth most valuable squad in La Segunda. Three of their players, Insua, Gabriel and Guillermo, were signed on loan from Deportivo, Juventus and Athletic Bilbao. Their style of football has admittedly not exactly been thrilling at times yet it’s effective and not one Leganes fan will complain if this is the price to pay for their first ever ticket to the top flight. The key to their success story seems to be that both coach and director of football know how to get the best results out of their players. Just as Eibar’s intelligent recruitment policy was key to their promotion two years ago. Another small club, Leganes, are proving size is no barrier to the Spanish top division. Take note, Real Mallorca.
Home Games – Diary Dates :
Sunday 17th April 7:15 pm
Alaves Saturday 30th April 8:15 pm
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