After a week when I was asked what, for me, is the most annoying advert on TV at the moment – I had no hesitation in saying the Haribo Star Mix ad, with the two policemen talking in child-like voices ! – Real Mallorca play 9th placed Burgos side Mirandes in the Son Moix tomorrow at 18:15.
The same kick-off time as the team who are six points behind us, and with a new manager, Almeria. Mallorca will be without two of their midfielders: Galarreta (who’s done his hamstring and is doubtful for the next few weeks) and his possible replacement, Baba. We’re struggling to fill these positions with Sedlar and Febas likely replacements.
Also, importantly, sitting this game out is coach Luis Garcia Plaza who was sent off (the third coach in our division to be dismissed last weekend) towards the end of last Monday’s game at Sabadell. LGP sarcastically shouted “Only four minutes?!”(because of no crowds every word can be picked up) to the young whipper-snapper referee who took offence.
The official explanation for his dismissal was that he was waving his hands above his head in an aggressive manner and his comments were deemed offensive. If there was consistency with sending offs for something so petty, each game would be abandoned before half time because most of the team and coaches would have seen a red card.
He’s been given an unbelievably harsh two-game ban which means his assistant Pedro Rostoll will be in charge tomorrow and next Saturday 9 pm at Malaga. These two vital games now have the added handicap of being without the coach; although he’ll be in contact with Pedro throughout the game via mobile phone.
Whether it takes a slap on the back or a size 44 up the “jacksey,” somehow LGP and Rostoll have to find a way to stop our players from choking in the six games remaining as our automatic promotion quest limps towards the finishing line. Two poor 0-1 away defeats by minnow teams struggling to stay in La Liga SmartBank have shown the imminence of direct promotion is weighing heavily on the players’ minds and performances.
We’ve been showing a worrying fragility in defence, which for most of this crowded campaign has been solid as a rock. It’s now sprung a leak, undone by a couple of soft goals at Castellon and Sabadell. Remarkably, with all this negativity, were still in second place, six points ahead of third-placed Almeria who brought in ex-Betis coach Rubi on Thursday after they’d won only once in eight games.
LGP said on social media this week “We have to face Mirandes, Alcorcon and Zaragoza in Palma, and Malaga, Tenerife and Ponferradina away. If we can win four of these games we’re guaranteed the jackpot even if Almeria win all their fixtures.” He went on “Life and football are not easy at times and remember, Mallorca are still poised at the gates of heaven. To get there we must get out of the hole we’re now in.”
Our biggest problem seems to be a recurring one of low morale. Once we let in an early goal with practically the whole game left to rectify the situation, we’ve been unable to do so. Also the team is lacking inspiration from the bench; players who’ve come in as substitutes haven’t demonstrated anything of note.
After last week’s defeat, I’ve had messages from a couple of irate long-time “socios” with regard to our lack of punch upfront. The main object of their rants seems to be Alvaro Gimenez who’s contributed very little to the cause. I’ve had comments such as “looks overweight” and “sweats a lot!”
I’m curious to know why attacking players like Lago Junior, Marc Cardona and even Aleksander Trajkovski are not given more game time. It looks like we may have to rely on our home form to see us over the line, starting with a win tonight. We’re tantalisingly close, let’s get the job done. Surely we don’t want to have to buckle up and start preparing for play-offs again?!
AND FINALLY, Two nuns, Sister Mary and Sister Helen, are travelling through Europe in their car. They get to Transylvania and are stopped at the traffic lights. Suddenly from nowhere a diminutive Dracula jumps on the bonnet and hisses through the windscreen. “Quick, quick,” shouts sister Mary, “What shall we do?” “Turn the wipers on, that will get rid of the abomination,” replies Sister Helen.
Sister Mary turns them on, knocking Dracula about, but he clings on and continues hissing at the nuns. “What shall I do now?” she cries. “Switch on the windscreen washers, I filled them up with holy water before we left,” says Sister Helen. Sister Mary turns on the washers. Dracula screams as the holy water burns his skin, but still he clings on and continues hissing at the nuns. “Now what?” yells Sister Mary. “Show him your cross,” advises Sister Helen. “Right,” answers Sister Mary as she opens the window and shouts “Get the f**k off our car!!”