Nostalgia in Mestalla: Marcelino returns to lead a Villarreal in need


Updated Monday, January 1, 2024 – 23:05

The Africa Cup leaves casualties in both teams. Baraja wants to maintain “the competitive thread” that left the tie with Barça and the victory in Vallecas

Mestalla still oozes a melancholic sadness when he remembers Marcelino García Torahim on the bench directing a Valencia fourth in the League and champion of the Copa del Rey. It has been more than four years since that idyll that turned the Asturian into the most recent idol of a parish that does not give praise. The future of that Valencia was cut short by Peter Lim with a devastating dismissal that blurred the team until it became a shadow of that one. Marcelino returns to Mestalla and, although he already did it with Athletic, this time it will be special.

In the derby, the last coach who made Valencia champion will be on the bench of the regional rival, the Villarreal, the Valencian team that sports European stripes but is going through a delicate situation. With just a month and a half in the club, Marcelino has not worked miracles and the yellow team arrives in need of points. Look at the drop to six and it brings with it a good number of casualties that raise the doubt of what image it will give at Mestalla. The sanctions of Alex Baena y grocery storethey join the injuries of Foyth, Pino, Denis Suárez, Pedraza and the last to fall, Sorloth. The rear is at risk of being patched, because Albiol It will be a doubt until the last moment and Aïssa Madi is already in the Africa Cup.

The effects of this competition are also felt in Valencia, which loses to Diakhaby y Amallahtwo essential values ​​in Rubén Baraja’s short staff, to which is added the sanction of Thierry. For this duel, the coach recovers Javi Guerra after two games of suspension, and suffering from the flu, and the captain gay after his injury. What it doesn’t have is no reinforcement now that the winter market has started. There is no budget for signings despite the fact that the squad is very tight and any option is based on the departure of a player with few minutes, as could be the case of Cenk.

The situation in Villarreal is different. Marcelino not only knows that he will have reinforcements but that he already has the center back Eric Bailly at your service. He knows him from his first stage at the club and now he returns with the freedom letter after passing through Manchester United and Besiktas. But the Astuarian is not satisfied and waits for more. At least the club is working on it.

Villarreal, far from high places in the table, have already made too many mistakes and need to score at Mestalla, something that has never been easy for them. Of 23 derbies at the Sweden Avenue stadium, He has only won six and drawn four. He has not left the field with the three points since the 17/18 season, just when Marcelino was leading the Valencians. Since then, four local victories and a draw last season in an agonizing duel.

Valencia does not come to this match in such a hurry, but Baraja insists his players not to lose “the thread of competitiveness” that led them to draw a tie against Barçoh win at Ray in Vallecas.

2024-01-01 22:05:11
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