President of Valencia penya Chescandinavia, Hans Kristian Lange, spoke to us regarding the club’s poor form and questionned Marcelino’s future.
Life at Valencia has taken a radical turn for Marcelino. The Asturian boss arrived ahead of last season as a much-needed piece in rebuilding a team which had finished 12th two years running and with a never ending merry-go-round of managers.
The Spanish tactician set about bringing in a team of professionals, installing basic but strict internal rules and weighting physical prepardness beyond what had been the (low) standard at the club for years.
There were even fines for each 100 grams above the ideal weight and discipline aroound the ground at training and on matchdays – improved. Marcelino cleaned up what was described as a toxic dressing room, with opposing groups, albeit for a high financial cost.
The 17/18 season was good for Valencia, and especially the autumn months. Marcelino was given wider influence at the club and brought in a number of people behind the scenes with his coaching staff. He even had the club bring in Sporting Gijon’s head doctor.
After a short time, Pablo Longoria was hauled in as head scout from Juventus, but Marcelino still ruled the roust over signings and sales – seeing Denis Cheryshev, Kevin Gameiro, Michy Batshuayi and Francis Coquelin brought in, whilst Simone Zaza and Jeison Murillo were allowed to leave on loan.
All of that was fine at the time, because the team were a success, it seemed logical to bring in players that he knew of and wanted at the club.
Despite some warning signs though, no manager since Rafael Benitez had the backing Marcelino was being handed. And, Rafa, as you now, won two league titles at the club.
This season has been poor but the fans have been lenient, so good willed and for so long. Only, in the last two to three games, have they began to show calls against Marcelino, and even then, it’s only been from sections of the fans with other parts whistling them.
Now, however, that fuse is burnt.
There is now no room left for the Asturian. The supportive mood turned in 2018’s final match of the year against Huesca. The team won, but it was the manner in which they won, which further agitated the fans. The defeats to Alaves and Sporting since have now sayed those fans that have been so lenient.
Marcelino now seems incapable of turning things around, or to even conjure up some signs of a change happening.
Rewind back to what initially made Marcelino successful at the Mestalla, we also find the reasons of his undoing. Players are now openly compaining that the strict discipline imposed last season has vanished. Chelsea loanee Batshuayi for example – is four kilograms above the ideal weight, but has not been fined and has had ample playing time.
Half the squad to match the Belgian are said to be over the recommended weight limit. The core of last season’s team, players like Dani Parejo, Rodrigo and Jose Gaya are said to be furious with this new found leniency.
By introducing a large legion of French players, and not successfully managing the different groups of the squad – Marcelino had allowed a rapid deterioation of what used to be a very in tune squad.
Even on the pitch, certain players seem far from best friends, something which has grown more and more visible in recent weeks.
Marcelino’s system then fails and becomes stale, seeing more frequent visits to the club doctor, Longoria. The weight of Marcelino in signings, now turns against him, as they are failing to deliver anything of note. This is especially true in cases like Gameiro and Batshuayi.
Aside from all this of course, it is the tactics which come into question. Looking at the weekend defeat to Alaves and Tuesday’s game with Sporting, many questions have arose.
Why did Lato have the responsibility of marking Victor Laguardia? Why did Kevin Gameiro get subbed off against Sporting? and why, once you do that, would you put Cheryshev and not Kang In Lee up front?
And, as one local journalist said: The only thing worse than the performance is the explanation of it. Marcelino now seems obsessed with the lack of goals, and claims every other aspect has improved since last season.
His recent excuses include VAR, frozen pitches and added time – an arrogance which has not been accompanied by any self criticism.
Maybe it is not all Marcelino’s fault, but it is definately his failure. The latter is the reason why I do not think sacking him is a solution. It has probabaly become a nessisity, but the problems are now deeper and leave the next man with a huge task.
The directors must share some of the blame, for allowing the tactician such an influence and those decisions may affect the club long after Marcelino has gone. Even the most conservative commentators, the most reasonable ex-players and ex-directors are now literally screaming for this to end.
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