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Happy Monday, groguets! Villarreal CF news, March 26

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celebration of second goal
celebration of second goal

HIGHLIGHTS:


Rayo Vallecano 0 Villarreal 2 by jordixana" >



Wow, it has been a while since we could celebrate a road win, and the papers and fans' sites are all pleased with the result, as they should be!

Jose Luis Lizarraga first: El mejor ataque siempre es una buena defensa - Deportes - El Periódico Mediterraneo

He praises Lotina's clear approach, strengthening our defense and improving our competitiveness. And playing on such a poor pitch (we've seen Segunda B pitches that were better) and against a team that fights as hard as Rayo does, the result was impressive.

Levante-EMV's Enrique Ballester: Media salvación - Levante-EMV

He makes the point that Villarreal came prepared to play on the tight pitch, the play that created our first goal was something we had worked on. In the second half, Movilla's introduction improved Rayo, which even after Lass's introduction had an attack "more impulsive than cerebral".

Olly Dawes from elcentrocampista.com has a tactical analysis, helpful though I wish he had analyzed Lotina's changes of shape in the second half and the introduction of Camuñas and Martinuccio:

Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Villarreal Tactical Analysis | elcentrocampista.com - Spanish Football and La Liga News in English

Now a couple of fans' perspectives.

First, Abrahán Guirao: El Villarreal respira a 6 puntos del descenso :: elperiodic.com

A couple of observations are interesting--he notes that on social networks (as well as from the Villarreal supporters in the stands, I think) the first change (Angel for Nilmar) was questioned, as was the feeling we were giving up too much of the play. Also, he quotes Lotina as saying after the Madrid game that one of our biggest problems has been giving up goals through defensive mistakes. There were really only two this match: one the headed pass resulting in a header straight at Lopez, the only time I remember Zapata and Musacchio getting split open, and the other the bouncing ball that found its way through the penalty area to Arribas who blasted it into space.

Now, submarinoamarilo.net:...Y Lotinazo en Vallecas. El Villarreal CF gana a domicilio al Rayo y se aleja del descenso - Villarreal CF

Enric Marti praises Lotina for 'replacing anarchy with tactical order' and felt Cani had his best 45 minutes of the season in the first half, also notes that Trashorras and Michu were effectively marked out of the game, and in the second half Lotina reacted quickly to make moves that ultimately paid off. There's still work to be done, and we're not out of the woods yet, but the mood is certainly much more positive than it was a week ago (has it really only been a week?)

And as I noted last night, Elisa Uranga (forzafutbol) was at the match, and she has a post-game video report and still photos that are excellent.

Overall, there is a concern, certainly warranted, that our attack is still weak, as we are relying more on high pressure and counterattacks to score than on possession play. Nilmar is working hard but just can't buy a goal at the moment, but Ruben, after a couple of subpar games for him, looked re-energized yesterday.

Interestingly, Garrido emphasized a similar counterattacking approach last season, certainly during the first half of the year when we were ripping off a lot of wins. Of course, we had Rossi (and Santi) then....

The team has two days off (let's not forget, they had three games in eight days) before returning to training with a double session on Wednesday. I suspect Sr. Lotina will be studying film and planning his strategy for the visit of the pericos next Sunday.

Other brief news: Pablo Iñiguez (Villarreal B) continues his recovery, but from his tweets it sounds like he'll be out of action a while yet.

Sergio Canales is training with Valencia's first team again, his return might help take some of the heat off Unai Emery for sure. Can it be that Valencia, Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid are being worn down by the Europa League, just as we were last year? It certainly seems that way.

And Eric Abidal is set to undergo a liver transplant this week. We wish him a successful operation and a speedy recovery.

Endavant Villarreal!