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Reflections on an awful Villarreal performance

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At least we didn't hear anyone saying we were unlucky, we deserved more, etc. Everyone--players, coaches, and press--was sickened by our performance on Sunday.

I was hoping to see Canteros come on yesterday, but no such luck
I was hoping to see Canteros come on yesterday, but no such luck
Thomas McIlroy

We all hoped this would be different. After our first really poor half of the season against Huesca, how would the Submarine react? We hoped for a return to incisive, attacking football; what we got instead was dreadful.

"The Submarine was shipwrecked in the Nuevo Colombino", Jose Luis Lizarraga writes. He has some specific comments--the failure of Toribio to link with Senna, Cavenaghi playing on an island with no connection to anyone, and points out Trigueros had his worst game of the year (there were times I forgot he was on the pitch, to be truthful). But the real problem was in spite of our talented roster, we were second-best on the pitch all day long. We couldn't do anything with the ball, we couldn't recover it when we lost it, and we seemed to have no "soul or heart or competitive gene".

Lizarraga also comments (correctly, I think) that the first substitution, Uche for Cavenaghi, was not appropriate in the circumstances. Cavenaghi had a poor game, but bringing in Uche that early meant that in Pandiani's absence, the only way to get two real strikers on was to introduce Bordas late on.

An article in Las Provincias makes many of the same points, specifically that Villarreal needs to win the ball back. Against Recre we exhausted ourselves chasing around aimlessly, but there was no plan or real pressure exerted to win the ball quickly and play quick passes to attacking players. Our style is built around quick movement with the ball; in the first half against Huesca and yesterday we were outpossessed (not to mention, when we had the ball we did little with it).

Another EPM columnist says "yes, it's early, but it's time to worry" . Villarreal neither attacked well nor defended well, players such as Cani gave the ball away time after time, our midfield seemed too nervous to connect passes together, and we could not choke off the harmonious triangular passes of our opponents. Yes, Mellberg and Bruno were missing, but that was no excuse for this sort of performance from everyone.

The players seemed at a loss to understand what took place:

Costa: "No sé cómo explicar lo que pasa" - Deportes - El Periódico Mediterraneo

As for coach Velazquez, he didn't take many positives away from the match either:

Velázquez: "No hemos dado el nivel de trabajo ni entrega" - Deportes - El Periódico Mediterraneo

And, in fact, the team didn't get the day off, but practiced today. Let's hope it pays off on Saturday.