In his first week as Manager of Real Madrid, Fabio Capello told the assembled press that it would take time for his methods to take effect at the club and that he respectfully asked the journalists to give him fifty days before passing judgement. Unfortunately for Capello, last nights 1-0 defeat to Getafe came exactly fifty days after the Italian took charge of the club.
The verdict? -“Much worse than fifty days ago” screamed the front page of Marca this morning and few could argue with that.
It was not just the defeat to Getafe, but the manner of the defeat. Capello came to the club promising to instil a new discipline, a new spirit and resilience not seen at Real for a very long time. We always knew that it was never going to be pretty , but even those of us who are less than enamoured by Capello’s pragmatic brand of football, at least expected his Real Madrid to show some organisation and determination.
The Madrid press are describing the team as ‘gutless’ and that just about sums it up. This does not look like a Fabio Capello side and it is lacking the cohesion that is his trademark. They look insecure in defence and lacking idea or invention in attack.
The words ‘shaky at the back’ and ‘Fabio Capello’ are something you would never normally hear uttered in the same sentence and in fairness to the coach, last night’s defence could be described as makeshift – missing senior players Fabio Cannavaro, Sergio Ramos, Cicinho and Michel Salgado for a variety of reasons. Helguera, Raul Bravo, Roberto Carlos and Alvaro Mejia together are usually enough to get any centre forward rubbing his hands together in anticipation.
However, there can be no such excuse for the midfield and forward line. Getafe, who played very well, dominated the first half against Capello’s first choice midfield pairing of Diarra and Emerson. The two defensive midfielders are supposed to provide a solid core to the side but apart from a couple of cameo performances from Diarra this season, the pair have only succeeded in nullifying their own, rather than the opposition’s offensive capabilities.
David Beckham returned to the side in place of the injured Reyes but did little to inspire and continues to give the impression that he is unsure of his role on the right flank.
The addition of Raul and Ronaldo at half time was supposed to change things around, but the shift from Capello’s rigid tactical formation left the side looking even more clueless.
In the 58th minute, Alexis headed the ball into the far corner of Casillas net to give the home side a thoroughly deserved lead. Real Madrid could not muster a response, or even a shot at goal and the evening got even worse when Ronaldo, making his first appearance this season, was red carded for dissent in the final minutes. He will miss next weeks ‘Clasico’.
Capello does not have another fifty days to get it right.
He has a week, to be exact. Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday and then Barcelona at home next Sunday. He cannot afford to lose both of those or the Madrid press, already cranking up the noise, will be screaming for his head before too long.