Monday, January 30, 2023

Gattuso sacked

 And so the Meriton managerial merry-go-round continues. Valencia announced earlier today that Gattuso has left the club "by mutual consent." 

This just sounds like a polite way of saying that he was fired. Since a win at Osasuna in early October, Valencia have played 14 games and won just 3. Two of those were against lower league opposition in the Copa, so don't really count. In the league the numbers were becoming awful: 1 win, 4 draws and 5 defeats. 

The squad planning has been poor with big gaps. The midfield has been increasingly weak and easily overrun. As the season has gone on, players who showed promise early in the season like Comert, Cenk, Guillamon, Almeida and Musah have all regressed. The coach has to shoulder responsibility for that.

Another issue is that the team has been mentally fragile. In no fewer than 5 games this season (Espanyol and Villarreal away; Elche, Mallorca and Almeria at home) Valencia led. The points tally from those games? 3. We lost 2 and drew 3. That's 12 points squandered as a result of poor game management, in games where we would mostly be expected to win in any case. 

The late goals conceded also point to that. 83rd minute against Espanyol and Mallorca, 86th against Sevilla, 88th against Villarreal, 90th against Valladolid, 93rd against Barcelona = 8 points thrown away. 

Gattuso and his style of play was broadly welcomed as a breath of fresh air after the stodgy, hard-to-watch, anti-football of the Bordalas era. Sadly, his inexperience showed in the end and he should have done much better with this group of players. In the end, only Ayestaran and Prandelli have had shorter stints in the Lim era, while Gattuso's percentage of games won sees him below even Gary Neville. Caveats about squad strength aside, the results were simply not good enough.

Of course, all of us will know the wider picture of Meriton chaos and mismanagement and it is they, not Gattuso, who have to take the lion's share of the blame for all this. Unfortunately, we are now in the all too familiar situation of hoping Voro can somehow conjure some magic to save us, but this is totally not sustainable.