Villarreal C hosted Castellón yesterday and the albinegros won on a late goal, 1-0. The home team dominated for long periods of the match but could not find a way through. The worst news though was not the loss, but the injury to Manu Morlanes, who tore a knee ligament and will undergo surgery shortly. The Spanish international will be out for the rest of the season, probably. From all at Villarreal USA, we wish him a speedy and successful recovery!
In la Liga news, Sevilla are apparently considering making a move for Gerard Moreno in January. Villarreal has 50% of his rights, and it would be easier if Espanyol bought the other half from us so they could deal directly with Sevilla with 100% ownership. Who knows if that will happen, but he’s valued to around €7-10m in total.
More rumbles of discontent at Valencia. Coach Prandelli devoted his press conference to a strong denunciation of problems of “attitude, seriousness and professionalism”. Apparently he went off after players arrived late for training. Prandelli said “whoever isn’t willing to suffer for the shirt can leave”. Valencia are likely to move some players in the January market anyhow since the ownership has said they cannot buy without selling due to Financial Fair Play constraints.
On the pitch, Valencia are just above the drop zone on goal difference, but have not won in the league since beating Gijon in mid-October. I’m not sure if Prandelli is going about it the right way, but right now Valencia are, like it or not, in the early days of a relegation battle. They haven’t won in the league in over a month, and they just gave up a last-gasp equalizer at home to Malaga (I was reminded of Racing’s equalizer against us in El Madrigal, which for some reason I still have nightmares about).
Speaking from our experience several years back, the worst things that can happen to a team that’s struggling are (1) to become complacent—to think that no matter what, there are three teams worse than you in the league, so you’ll survive. If that attitude isn’t shaken up, then comes (2) fear, which often manifests itself in giving up late goals. By being afraid to lose, you don’t create the chances you need to win.
Personally, I hope Prandelli turns things around; it’s good for the Valencian Community and for the city of Valencia to have a successful Valencia CF, I just want them to finish behind us every year! It is early days yet—just over a third of the season gone—so still plenty of time to set things right. But clearly, a lot is going on behind the scenes; the Lim era isn’t going well.
Finally, Atletico Madrid have unveiled a name for their new stadium, set to open next year—it’s the Wanda Metropolitano. Wanda are the Chinese sponsors; the Metropolitano is a nice gesture to the stadium name before the Calderon, the Metropolitano ground where they played from 1923 to 1966. They have also redesigned their badge—I think it is sort of odd because the top part comes form the coat of arms of Madrid and shows a bear pawing at a strawberry tree, now they have moved the animal to the other side of the tree (it’s never been that way on the city’s coat of arms) and show only the bottom part of the tree—so making the animal look smaller and more like a dog pawing at a tree trunk than a bear. But hey.
All I know is we host them on Monday and Filipe Luis is out.