"It's about being realistic. The priority is the League, but that does not mean leaving aside any competition. It was a long way that Espanyol did not compete in Europe and we can not throw that job out of the way. " In spite of the urgency of Espanyol in the League, Pablo Machín did not escape the symbolic component of his return to the Old Continent for an entity that had been doing so for years before being presented as a white-and-blue coach. He pursued being able to compete beyond Spanish borders. Especially, for the desire to get rid of thorns from the past.
This Thursday, in Razgrad (18.55, M. Liga de Campeones), Espanyol will have a great opportunity to position himself as a leader of his team against a surprising Ludogorets who, for the time being, has their matches in this phase for wins A rival that has appeared on the continental scene a short time ago (in 2012), but since then it has already had time to take down historical clubs such as the PSV, the Lazio and Basel, and draw against others Classics like Liverpool, PSG and Bayer Leverkusen. In the Europa League, for the moment, they have not surpassed the sixteenths of the final, a limit that they will try to break this season.
This year, with two goalscoring at the CSKA Moscow and Ferencváros, they have already shown that they will not be the crafty players of this group. Two warnings that, if they were not enough to avoid confusion, are added to the brief European baggage of Pablo Machín. The Soria coach knows the price of the errors quite well against theoretically inferior rivals in this competition. The Soria coach, in fact, was eliminated from the final round of the last Europa League against Slavia in Prague, who took the lead at the top of the Sevilla bench. And that the Andalusians, who had drawn 2-2 to Sánchez Pizjuán, had been ahead (2-3) in an extension that ended up losing 119th minute by an unlucky Traoré goal in a wrapped play.
"Football is sometimes very big and others are very cruel. Today we have touched on the cruelest part, "Machín valued minutes after that duel. A few days later he was stopped for a goal he remembered for months. "That fateful minute in Prague was the trigger for my departure from the club, after a series of results that were not as good as we deserved," he said. In these months he has been unemployed, the current coach of Espanyol has had time to analyze some of the problems he suffered with Sevilla. "We played 50 matches. We were exhausted physically and mentally. We played three previous qualifiers for the Europa League, we suffered many injuries and overcome the obstacles to the good work of the players. But we had very bad luck in the games that we lost in the final minutes. We missed many clear occasions. " A headaches that Espanyol has also suffered at this beginning of the course, and that now he will try to solve based on the experience he has acquired.
More than 200 white and blue European
Group leadership, however, will not be the only goal that Espanyol will pursue this afternoon. If Russia extended the run of European unbeatenness to 23 games, in Bulgaria it could be extended to 24. It can be done in a competition in which Espanyol already has 100 goals. The figure was rounded by Campuzano in Moscow. In the global of European competitions, there are 131 goals scored by the 202 players that have participated in continental tournaments with Espanyol. Piris, Dauder, Bartolí, Argilés, Carranza, Muñoz, Sastre, Czibor, Indio, Domínguez y Camps were the first eleven players in Espanyol, on September 13, 1961 in front of Hannover. David López, Corchia and Piatti, the last three debutants. Dani Jarque is the Spanish player with most matches played (22); Ernesto Valverde, the coach with more games directed (15); Gorka Iraizoz, who adds more victories (14), and Walter Pandiani, the author of more goals (11). Historical names of an Espanyol who wants to continue writing his European history with new records and heroes.
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