There's hardly any enthusiasm about Florentino Pérez remaining as Real president so he will buy popularity in the usual way - by spending oodles of cash this summer...
Atletico Madrid's Copa Del Rey win over Real on Friday wasn't just about short-term glory, says Tim Stannard, but a chance to build for better things ahead...
After 70 minutes of standing dangerously exposed to the full force of a freezing rain dosed up with a blustery wind, only the most passionate, foolhardy or barking mad hadn't run for cover in Getafe's Coliseum stadium on Saturday night.
Unai Emery fulfills all three of these characteristics, which is why the new Sevilla manager was cheerfully oblivious to the awful conditions, utterly transfixed by a less than thrilling game of football.
From the moment the referee blew to start the weekend's clash between the Madrid club and visiting Sevilla, the boss of the Andalusian side was an ever-present on the touchline, barking instructions at his footballers to move forward half an inch, backwards one foot, or shuffle a bit to the right. His players didn't even pretend to acknowledge what the manager was saying aside from the very occasional nod. Nor did Sevilla's substitutes on the bench, who were treated to a running tactical commentary from their new manager.
After all, this was Unai Emery in his purest state and why it was such a joy to see the Basque manager strutting his stuff after an absence of eight months from la Liga. The manager's footballers may admit that he is an enormous pain in the bum with his crouching, pointing, shouting, cajoling, white boards, drills and endless tactical chats but Emery has banked huge respect as a coach. However, one wonders if this most insistent of managers earned a rather flattened nose from his playing days in Spain's lower leagues or an irate footballer in the wrong mood to receive yet another scouting report on an opposition marker to read after training.
Although just 41, Emery has been coaching sides since the age of 32 after being forced to retire early with a knee injury whilst playing for Lorca and eventually being offered the manager's job. After winning promotion with the side, Emery earned a move to Almería and took the southerners into the Primera League for the first time in its history, before parking the club in eighth place.
In 2008, Emery won a move to Valencia, a poisoned chalice if ever there was one and found an institution in disarray from top-to-bottom and completely penniless. The manager's role was to restore stability to an outfit racked by infighting having suffered a disastrous campaign with four coaches including the divisive Ronaldo Koeman. In his first year, Emery lifted Valencia into sixth having finished in tenth place previously. The Basque then pulled off three successive third-placed finishes despite losing David Silva, David Villa and Juan Mata along the way. This is the best that could have been expected of Valencia, who were never in a position to break into the top two.
Unfortunately, fans and players grew bored of this purgatory existence and this saw Emery's mandate at Valencia run out last May with the manager moving to Spartak Moscow. Like Michael Laudrup in a previous season, Emery's reign at the Russian club did not last until the end of the year, but the coach at least enjoyed his tenure in Moscow, admitting that the best part of the job was not having to read the sports papers on the grounds that he couldn't understand a word of them.
A coach of such quality was only going to be unemployed for a short amount of time, and it was less than two months for Emery, who was appointed last Monday as the latest manager of Sevilla after the firing of Míchel, the freshest victim of a club enduring a five-year nose-dive into mediocrity after such incredible feats. Too many poor signings, dressing room divisions, indisciplined footballers, failing finances, a spat between the club's Ultras and club's leadership and a president in the form of José María del Nido, distracted by a battle to stay out of prison having been found guilty of corruption are just some of the team's problems.
The footballers' lack of backbone, fight, the ability to care in all honesty for the vast majority of matches explains why the side were able to thrash Betis, beat Real Madrid, come very closely to inflicting the first league defeat of the season on Barcelona before Real Sociedad achieved this on Saturday, but were stuck mid-table having had the worst first half to a Primera campaign for the team in for years.
Emery is walking a well-trodden path with Sevilla having had five managers since the departure of Juande Ramos to Spurs in 2007. Every single type has been tried to get Sevilla playing again - experienced, scary, avuncular, charming and uniting - but all have failed. Míchel admitted that the problems are at the club lie with pressure from fans as well alluding to external factors around the club. "It can't be that the last five managers are bad."
Even with someone who has the puppy-like enthusiasm of Emery, as well as the experience of turning crisis clubs into winning ones, del Nido is too worn down to know if the right move has been made, despite handing Emery a deal until the end of the next season. "If I had a magic wand and could fix Sevilla's problems, Emery would not be here now," admitted Del Nido.
Although Emery has only been in charge for a week, there have been small signs of improvement in the commitment levels of the footballers. Wednesday saw a goalless draw at Zaragoza in the quarter-final stages of the Copa del Rey, a match which preceded the 1-1 draw at Getafe. After Saturday's game, the Sevilla boss was his usual self, talking 200 miles-an-hour about the game and what he had been able to achieve at the club in just a matter of days. "The most important thing is to get back self-esteem, which is rock bottom. This is done by being close to them and seeing how they feel. There's one easy cure though and that's winning, but that process has to be worked for."
The frustrating aspect of Sevilla is that although there has been money wasted in some terrible players over the past few years which has seen a huge decline of quality from the days of Fredi Kanouté, Luis Fabiano, Seydou Keita and Dani Alves, there's still enough talent in the current squad to be comfortably challenging for the top six places. Alvaró Negredo and Jesús Navas are Spanish internationals, José Antonio Reyes has still got the moves but is all too often wayward and unpredictable whilst midfielders, Gary 'the Pitbull' Medel and Ivan Rakitic are fine players, too.
There's certainly enough for Unai Emery to be working with and the manager has sufficient experience, drive and enthusiasm to get the best out of them. For the sake of la Liga - which needs a solid Sevilla to shake things up - the hope is that Emery can succeed where so many managers before him have failed by breathing life back into the Andalusians.
Round 20 Results
Espanyol 3-2 Mallorca
Granada 2-0 Rayo Vallecano
Real Sociedad 3-2 Barcelona
Getafe 1-1 Sevilla
Málaga 1-1 Celta Vigo
Osasuna 2-1 Deportivo
Valladolid 2-0 Zaragoza
Atlético Madrid 2-0 Levante
Valencia 0-5 Real Madrid
Betis v Athletic Bilbao (Monday)
Tim Stannard - follow him on Twitter