Real Sociedad provide Capello with the perfect oppurtunity to silence the critics.
Real Madrid sporting Director, Pedra Mijatovic described his team’s first half performance in their midweek Champions league defeat as a nightmare. He added “ Lyon could have scored a lot more goals and that defeat has hurt us a lot”
Trying to sound positive, he offered that “the team has the capacity to improve and there is plenty of time ahead”. He may well be right about the first part, in fact they surely must improve. However, he is delusional if he honestly thinks that Real Madrid have plenty of time to get things right.
Marca’s front page screamed “NO!” on Thursday morning and its inside pages set about informing its readers about how bad they thought Real Madrid were against Lyon. For once, Marca got it just about right; Real Madrid were awful. However, this is the same paper that was cheerleading for their favourite team on Monday, following their 4-1 victory at the weekend, and proclaiming Real Madrid as the new seasons champions.
The truth, as usual, is somewhere in between. Real Madrid had beaten one of the La Liga’s candidates for relegation at the weekend, and have just lost to a very good Lyon side. By Real’s standards, this is by no means a crisis. It, does, however, highlight several areas of concern for the club and it’s supporters.
To begin with, Real Madrid did not look like a ‘capello’ side on Wednesday. In other words, they lack a discipline and a work ethic that you normally associate with the Italian coach’s pragmatic approach to the game. Furthermore, Capello’s two favourite players, the ones he brought with him from Juventus, were the worst on the pitch. To be fair, Cannavaro is allowed the occasional bad game, he is human after all. However, there are concerns over Emerson’s age and his lack of pace was seriously exposed by an athletic Lyon midfield. And to think that Real Madrid had the advantage of lining up with Diarra, Lyon’s best former player in their team. You would never had known it.
The Real Madrid fans whistled their team off the pitch after their last home league match at the Bernabeu and their patience may be in shorter supply than their sporting director hopes. It is one thing to ask for patience when a team is at least showing signs of a brighter tomorrow, but another when the football on offer is as uninspiring as that being served up by this Real Madrid side. The paying public will tolerate efficient and effective football when it’s effective and efficient; and when it isn’t?
There are there are other concerns for Real. Following Wednesday’s defeat, Capello blame his teams lack of cohesion on the fact that they are still getting to know each other and that these things take time. However, his most loyal servant, Fabio Cannavaro blamed the defeat on his teams lack of physical fitness. A manager cannot be held responsible for individual errors or performances once a match is underway, but Cannavaro’s analysis suggests a lack of preparation and a deeper malaise at the heart of the team. The issue of the average age of the team is sure to re-surface in the Spanish press before too long.
And another thing; it would seem that Capello still doesn’t know what to do with Raul.
Thankfully for Capello and Real Madrid, they face Real Sociedad at the weekend and the Basques could be just what the doctor ordered. They have not been able to replace Nihat and they look very shaky in defence. If Bakero can steer his side clear of relegation this season then he will have surprised most observers and are unlikely to pick up their first win of the season at the Bernabeu. Last weeks 3-1 defeat to Sevilla exposed Sociedad for all their weaknesses and Real Madrid should be looking to take advantage of their open style of play to score a few goals and silence the critics; well for at least a week anyway.