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The preseason ends, with lots of work still to do

The squad is probably put together (though there could be an addition and/or departure before the league season starts, I'd think). But with the new coach still figuring out what he's got, and a match this Wednesday, instilling confidence in players and fans may be the most important task.

Villarreal CF twitter

Villarreal's preseason is over, and a summer of tumultuous change is over as well.  If you look at our squad from last year, six of the players chosen for our last league match are gone, and that doesn't include Areola or Tomas Pina, or players like Adrian Marin and Alfonso Pedraza, loaned out this season.

But while we expected some changes in the squad, what we didn't expect was to lose our longtime 'director of football' and our head coach, less than two weeks before the season starts.  While Marcelino has always had his detractors, the manner of his departure, and the fact that the coach hired to replace him wasn't Pellegrini (apparently all the rumors he was arriving were unfounded, but it got everyone's hopes up) has concerned people.

And, while preseason matches are just that, and not too much should be read into results, let's just say Villarreal didn't dominate anyone this season.  I'm not a fan of "friendlies" that end up being glorified scrimmages with scores of 10-0, but in matches against first-level teams, we were 0-1-2 against La Liga, 0-2-1 against Portuguese top teams.  No, results don't matter, but still...

One of the problems in assessing this preseason is very few of the matches have been shown anywhere, so it's been difficult to form an independent assessment of the players.  The general opinion seems to be that N'Diaye has shown he's no center back, Pato is still getting in playing condition, while Sansone and Soriano have been impressive, but that's about all I can take away from our performances so far.  (Well, also that Akram Afif was impressive enough to loan out to another Primera side for experience).

And, more than usual, injuries and transfer sagas have limited the amount of time a first-choice XI has actually been playing together.  Soldado and Bakambu got to play a bit together, but now Bakambu has had no time to work with any of the other strikers.  Bruno Soriano has seen little action, Mateo Musacchio virtually none at all.  It was surprising he didn't feature at all yesterday.

Escribá has three days to figure out a strategy for Monaco, three days to come up with a starting XI that he thinks will execute that strategy, and three days to instill the confidence in the players (and supporters) that success will come.   If there is any good news, it's that Monaco has even fewer strikers than we do....