It’s not the first time that a new manager arrives and it looks like a miracle has happened in the ranks, but you can add Víctor and Betis to that list.
In his four short days in charge, Víctor Sánchez del Amo did something to produce a vast change on the pitch – exactly what the club had hoped for when they sacked Poyet and hired him. A certified miracle-worker he may not be just yet, but it’s a promising start nonetheless.
In our usual Friday night slot, los verdiblancos ran away 2-0 winners against Las Palmas, who are trickier to beat than you think and headed into the game having won more in la liga this year than they have lost, albeit with most of those wins coming at their fortress in Gran Canaria.
Both of Betis’ goals came in the first half in what was a vibrant, fast-paced, intense 45 minutes from a green and white perspective, something I have personally missed a lot. This type of performance is something that has just not happened at all this season under the former tutelage of Gus Poyet, which was why the fans were so incensed because they are not used to that football, nor do they want it to become the norm. It’s just not Betis.
Both goals came from Joaquín corners and were scored by a central defender: Bruno and Mandi. If you saw Bruno’s goal you could be forgiven for thinking that Mandi’s was a replay of the first one. The ball was whipped into the near post and all that was required was a glancing flick into the far corner.
What now for Víctor & Real Betis?
A lot of work basically. Some fans will be expecting this type of performance every week and in some ways Víctor has set his expectations high. It’s well known that players put in an extra special performance when a new manager takes over to get themselves noticed and firmly in the thoughts of the new guy in charge. It’s a clean slate for all, but the impetus can quickly wane again, so it’s Víctor’s job to keep motivation high.
In four days the new manager wouldn’t have been able to instill a whole new plethora of set play pieces, how to score from corners or revolutionise the tactics board to create such a change in style.
What he would have done is explain exactly what he wants (probably in no uncertain terms), create a bit of a buzz in the changing room and give the players a confidence boost. Most of the squad are good, some very good, players but mentality and belief plays a huge, huge part in football, more than a lot of people realise – just look last year at Leicester City and this summer at Portugal.
On this point it annoys how many experts on the TV and radio repeat the same thing over and over again, “the manager needs to spend money.”
It’s rarely as straightforward as spend the most money and have the best time. Most of the time a big pay check comes with a big ego. It does help to have high quality players, but there is much more needed for the formula. Clubs spend a lot of money on their academies and developing young players then a lot of the time, don’t give them a chance, sell them on and buy another player from a different country (more often than not) at an elevated price.
One important Betis youngster who was given a chance again last Friday was Dani Ceballos. This season the 20 year old, who was don’t forget was pivotal in Betis’ ascension back to la liga two years ago, has started just once this season and has even been left out altogether of a couple of match-day squads. His second start was granted in Víctor’s first game and I for one hope the team will be built around him.
Next Up: Eibar vs Real Betis
Would you believe it the bloody Liga de Fútbol Profesional (LFP) have scheduled Betis yet again on a Friday! We travel up to the Basque country to take on Eibar.
This is certainly a test for us. Eibar are riding high in 8th place and have there last two home games against Celta Vigo (1-0) and Villarreal (2-1), however they did lose the game before this against Osasuna, so they are not invincible.
Víctor did have a full complement of players to choose from at the start of the week, however, for precaution Adán had to retire from training on Tuesday due to a knee injury, Hopefully this will clear up in time.
To end on a good note, Ceballos is raring to go. He admitted in an interview with Betis TV that he has had “a complicated few months but now he feels like a footballer again.” I think the Las Palmas game will prove to be a critical moment in Ceballos’ season and perhaps even his career. If it does I’ll savour that last season for years to come, if not I’ll probably delete it after Christmas!