Last night after recording our podcast Joseph and I were talking, as one does, and he made an interesting point—often, within a couple of years a coach has pretty much accumulated a body of work that is a pretty good indicator of performance in future years.
That is not always true, of course; some coaches make a career out of working with limited budgets, never getting the chance to coach a team with a quality roster. (Manuel Preciado was one of these, which made his sudden passing after accepting the Villarreal job in 2012 even more sad).
But, I digress. So, let’s look at Javi Calleja’s record with Villarreal. He took over from Fran Escribá after six games of the 2017-18 season, then had 15 matches in charge in 2018-19 before being fired. Calleja I’s record in the league was thus 19-11-17. (40.4% win record, 1.446 points per match, 55 points over the course of a season).
Since returning to Villarreal, Calleja II has a record of 7-7-6 (35% win record, 1.4 points per match, 53.2 points over a 38-game season). These last statistics are of course skewed by being less than a complete season, but the coincidence is striking.
In fact, before last weekend, if you consider all matches he’s coached at first team level, his record showed the same win percentage—38.46%—both before his firing and after his return. Interesting, isn’t it?
Also interesting is that Paco Lopez’s record as a first team coach for Levante (I mention him because he is another fellow who coached our B and C teams) is not much different: 41% wins, 1.46 points per game, 56 points over the course of a season. Make of it what you will.
Also worth pointing out that Calleja’s best record was with the team Escribá assembled and he took over. Was that simply a better team? Or did Escriba’s focus on defense give Calleja a roster that constrained his attacking tendencies enough to produce a successful season? One thing is for sure, this season Calleja has who he wants (and is not playing folks he doesn’t want) so this is his roster.
Lots of food for thought....and discussion!