The good thing about bottoming out: there is only one way to go, and that is up. Consider this the "seeing-the-glass-half-full entry" after a long string of negative results and negative posts. I think - and hopefully this is not just wishful thinking - that we may have reached the perfect opportunity to turn the submarine around and salvage as much as we can from this season. We haven't lost it all yet. Even Champions League is still a remote possibility. But to do something about it, everything has to change, and it has to happen right now.
Admittedly, there is not a lot in Vila-Real to be thrilled about to this point, but I believe there just might be a little light at the end of the tunnel. And I say that, even with Valverde at the helm. First, although some coaches can make the seamless transition into a new team (see Pellegrini), it doesn't always happen. I think that after a little introspection we would all admit that Valverde is a good coach. He has the record to prove it. Also, we all know that it is difficult for any team to shed a system that has been in place for five years. While it isn't something I want to think about, Villarreal has been in a difficult situation that perhaps we didn't all consider fully prior to the beginning of the season.
To this point, things have not been made easier with a couple of badly-played matches and a very difficult schedule. The first three matches, Villarreal simply played terrible football. They had been able to patch things together against lesser competition in the early stages of the Europa League, but their lack of cohesiveness showed up when it came to Liga action. And since that point, Villarreal have been put through match after match after match without a break against some difficult clubs. Something that has not been discussed is the difficulty of the schedule so far. Since La Liga began, Villarreal have played the 2nd (L), 4th (L), 6th (D), 7th (L), 10th (D), and 12th (D) place teams in La Liga, and the first place team from Austria. Don't get me wrong - there is no good excuse schedule or otherwise for what we have done so far, but perhaps things are not as bad as they look.
Over the next three Liga matches, Villarreal play Xerez (20th), Malaga (18th), and Tenerife (15th). Throw in a difficult match away to Lazio on October 22nd, but otherwise, Villarreal can and should pick up nine points over the next three matches. In other words, we could be in the top nine or ten very quickly with a completely new outlook on 2009-2010.
Plus, if we take care of business against Lazio, things can turn around quickly in Europa too.
Pires made an excellent point this week about needing this break for the team to regain its composure. The team is in bad shape right now, unable to score, unable to control the flow of play, and a little sketchy all around. Having these two weeks to get more comfortable with Valverde could be what the team needs to regroup. The internationals will not be available, but that is the problem when you have some of the best players in the world in your squad.
I am not saying any of this is going to happen, but it should. It has to. If it doesn't, Villarreal have to really start concerning themselves with staying up, and Ernesto Valverde will have to start concerning himself with hiring a resume writer. We can do this. ENDAVANT!