Valencia Need Calm Amidst Storm Of Defeats

At the start of the season Valencia made a commitment to ending the continuous cycle of hiring and firing. Their patience is already being tested...

Last Updated: 01/11/13 at 09:46 Post Comment

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Last summer, Valencia were put through an intervention. The pledge made, after deep breathing, a few tears, some hugs and a bout of self-reflection stemming from a change of president and board, was to guide the team out of a period of football purgatory.

There was to be no more kneejerk hiring and firing of managers. The club would live within its means by continuing to sell talent where possible to tackle its debt but, most importantly of all, there had to be oodles of patience in a long term project, irrespective of the internal and external pressures.

This faith in a new future is now being seriously tested after a woeful start to the current campaign continued with a calamitous home defeat to the worst team in La Primera on Wednesday night. The locals were definitely revolting.

The sight of sullen Valencia fans waving the team's players off the pitch after a dismal night in the Mestalla is stuff of legend in La Liga. When things are going reasonably well at the club, life for Valencia managers and footballers is merely tolerable. When the excrement is hitting the football fan and the wall soon after, reality bites very hard indeed.

On Wednesday evening, there was an extra vigorous display of displeasure from hankie-waving supporters as crest-fallen players trudged off the pitch in a match that they simply could not lose. Instead, Valencia had contrived to be beaten 2-1 at home to Almería, a side without a single victory in any of their previous matches. That was some achievement.

After a decent spell of form in late September and early October which saw five matches unbeaten in La Liga and the Europa League, disciplinarian manager Miroslav Djukic reflected on the earlier home thrashing by Swansea in Europe, claiming "I think we had reached rock bottom." The poor Serbian was making the mistake of talking far too soon. Things can always get worse at Valencia.

Dressing room grumble after grumble hit the headlines in Spain with Adil Rami having been the most recent rebellious footballer to speak out of turn about the manager. Djukic may be "the captain of the ship, but let's see where he is at the end of the season," fumed Rami after being booted out of training for being a sullen so-and-so.

The French centre-back was swiftly moved out on loan to Milan to leave an already leaky defence in an even worse state. The two goals conceded to Almería saw Valencia conceding 19 in 11 league games. The team is also struggling in attack, Jonas attempting a brave but futile solo effort to replace the goals of Roberto Soldado, the latest of a long line of departing talent.

Whilst Valencia have all too often been entirely to blame for their own troubles due to boardroom infighting or ridiculous overspending, there now has to be some sympathy for the club. Enthusiastic new president Amadeo Salvo admits to having been thrown in at the deep end, and is working 18 hours a day to solve the various problems at the institution.

Current coach Djukic is still raw but has an enormous amount of passion and drive to get Valencia working again. All he needs is a few footballers to be pulling in the same direction rather than bickering about their current plight or looking for ways out of the club.

The one positive sign that Valencia have moved on from chop and change politics is that the relationship between president and manager appears to be close, with Salvo pledging before Wednesday's defeat that Djukic "must have the public support of the president.

"I am convinced Djukic is a good coach, he will finish the season no matter what happens," continued the Valencia chief.

Hopes are that Salvo keeps this promise, but it will be a tough one to hold if the bad results continue. The Mestalla can exert enormous pressure on presidents to ditch their coaches in times of trouble, however despite the inexperience, Salvo seems to realise that the best way for Valencia to bounce back is to keep calm and carry on.

The Mestalla has been given a lick of paint with the image of a giant bat incorporated into the seats of one of the main stands. It is a good sign of a renewal at the club and a rejection of the old ways. Despite a rocky start under Djukic, the Serbian with an iron will (not to mention an iron fist) is still the way forward for the club. For once Valencia as a mass, need to keep calm and carry on.

Round 11 Results
Espanyol 0-0 Málaga
Celta 0-3 Barcelona
Valladolid 2-2 Real Sociedad
Valencia 1-2 Almería
Real Madrid 7-3 Sevilla
Osasuna 3-1 Rayo Vallecano
Granada 1-2 Atlético Madrid
Villarreal 0-2 Getafe
Athletic Bilbao 2-2 Elche
Betis 0-0 Levante

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