Yesterday, I was too upset to write this. I really do not know if we’ll ever get a clearer pathway into a semi-final than what we had this season. Mirandes has a 33% chance of facing Granada in the Copa Del Rey semis, and that’s a position we frankly should be in. There are no excuses, there’s only a failure to desire a result as much as our opponent.
Before we get any more into this, nothing but our full respect to our opponent Mirandes. This was not a small side trying to consolidate their forces, park a bus, and luck into a goal. Even when they took the lead, three separate times, they pressed for more. Their football was expansive, inspired, and made us pay for our mistakes. They are absolutely deserved winners and frankly at this juncture I hope they go on and win the whole thing.
The biggest issue yesterday was the defending. Chakla looked very much like a Segunda B player being asked to play against a higher tier side, and just wasn’t good enough, and even when he came off, the play at the back did not improve. Paco Alcacer, the club record signing, came on with nearly half an hour left and had no impact on the game whatsoever. The midfield was incapable of dominating the possession game despite being far more talented than their opposition, and the manager once again produced a gameplan that saw us start out flat and never really recover.
If I had written this immediately post match I probably would have come in calling for sweeping changes, manager firings, and overall retribution for denying the club, the fans, and Sr Roig a chance to continue competing for a title we all richly deserve. You may still feel that way, but I come into this now with a simple mandate in my mind: make Europe or else. The Copa del Rey winner automatically qualifies. If Mirandes or Granada win the Copa, that means 7th place in La Liga will not be good enough to play in the Europa League next term. There are no more distractions, no more extra games, everything should be thrown into the league with nothing held back and if this roster with this talent is not in the Europa League next season I want a new manager and hungry new players this time next season.
Yesterday came down to a lack of desire, a lack of effort, a lack of passion and that should never, ever describe a Villarreal side. We can and I hope we will be better.