La Liga Review looks back over the past seven days in Spanish Football's most infamous soap opera: Mestalla Street. As Koeman says 'I haven't got the support of all 25, maybe five of them...'
La Liga Review apologises. This is actually a very lazy response to an email that we just received as we try to kill some time waiting for Frank Rijkaard to give his post match press conference at the Camp Nou. Poor Frank seems reluctant to face the crowd this evening - can't think why?
A reader asks - 'What's been going on at Valencia lately? It all seems to have gone very quiet on all fronts - Albelda's not saying anything and Koeman seems to be keeping his head down. Have things settled down since Soler left the presidency a couple of weeks ago? Is Koeman safe?'
Have things settled down at the Mestalla? - Never! If there is one thing guaranteed in Spanish football it is that there is always something going on down Valencia way and someone is always falling out with somebody else. Just as you can always rely on Schuster for a headline or Ramon Calderon to put his foot in it - you are always guaranteed some sort of confrontation at the Mestalla; and everyone's favourite soap opera always delivers a dynamite quote or two every time someone goes near the place with a microphone.
So, in answer to the question - 'what's been going on at the Mestalla this week?', and, 'how safe is Schuster?'.
Here's a quote a day from the last seven days - or episodes- from the cast of Mestalla Street, in their own words...
(Immediately after losing 3-0 at home to Mallorca)
Ronald Koeman: "We were lamentable. The coach is responsible, but the players are playing for themselves when they need to be playing for the team. Every player needs to motivate himself and show that they are worthy of this club. We have given a very poor showing here. Are the players with me? You'll have to ask them that question, and if I knew that they didn't believe in me - then I'd go"
Koeman: I can tell you what went wrong yesterday - and the fact that we were missing our usual centre halves made things a lot worse"
Ivan Helguera - a centre half who did play on Sunday - responds to Koeman's criticism:
"It really upsets me that the coach can say that the absence of the centre halves is causing all the problems. First of all, he said nothing to me but he went and said it to the press. It seems to me that there is a lack of respect from him towards his players who were doing everything they could not to lose that game. If I had spoken with the Manager, and he'd told me what he said in the press room - I'd have said a thing or two. I want to make it clear that he has shown a lack of respect for the players who were out there on the pitch on Sunday."
Koeman's assistant, Jose Mari Bakero: "I dream of having a team where everything is normal. I dream of a team where we can develop an idea, where everyone participates, but right now we have to work in circumstances where external factors are making life impossible."
Ronald Koeman: "If they left me to it I'd make a winning team. I'd need to make more drastic changes, as I did with the three players who have been separated and in order to improve, I'd need another squad.
Former club Captain David Albelda, one of the 'separated' players, returns to the law courts with an appeal claiming 60 million euros compensation from the club and the termination of his contract.
David Albelda: "I think that the decision to toss aside three players who could have done a lot of good for the club was taken very lightly by the coach and the club, without any though given about the consequences. We weren't the Mafia in that dressing room. There has never been any contact with the coach or any kind of relationship"
Ronald Koeman: "The club is very extremist and I've never lived through anything quite so exaggerated as things are in Valencia. I understand why the fans were upset the other day and if they want to blame the coach, they can do, but I will not change my posture: I'm here because of the things I do, and those things have worked at other clubs. Valencia is a complicated club."
"I haven't got the support of all 25. But I might have the support of more than five of them."
Following the 1-0defeat to Murcia that leaves Valencia just six points above the relegation zone.
Ronald Koeman: "We find ourselves looking at the results of the teams beneath us and at the bottom of the table, rather than at those above us and near the top.
The future of a coach always depends upon the results. We are lucking some luck, and quite a few other things at the moment."