Soccer is a twisted sport.
Abelardo Fernández, who aspires to tear Espanyol out of the classification hole, played 257 games with Barcelon a, a team against which he debuted this Saturday at the blue and white bench in the Barcelona derby. It will be at the Cornellà-El Prat stadium, now RCDE Stadium, and in front of Ernesto Valverde. This, after a fleeting step as a Barça player, reached 87 games played with Espanyol, whom he also led in 99 games. Gate 89 of the Cornellanense stadium bears his name. It also has some guasa that the coach who led Espanyol by the hand to Second in his last descent of 1993 - no matter how much Juanjo Díaz concluded the task - was José Manuel Díaz Novoa, Gijón as Abelardo. Former Sporting coach, like Abelardo.
The roads are intertwined without remedy before the dispute of a match between the first and the last classified (29 points of difference after the dispute of the first 18 matches). Espanyol, whenever he faced a leading Barcelona from the last position on the table, never lost ( the 1-2 win at the Camp Nou under the glow of the shaved head of De la Peña 2009 , and a two-way draw at home in 1963). The parakeet team dodged the fall to Second both times.
All these stories, surely, carelessly bring the playful entrepreneur owner of Espanyol, Chen Yansheng, busy preserving his investment in the blue and white club 20 days after the end of the championship. Waiting to go to the winter market and take advantage of the increase in their salary limit by 12 million euros after completing their capital increase and thanks to what has been collected so far in the Europa League, hopes are focused on the figure of a survival specialist. Abelardo, the third blue and white coach this course after the poor experiences with David Gallego and Pablo Machín, already avoided in his day the descents of Sporting and Alavés in equally dramatic situations.
4-4-2 as a vital concept
Abelardo's formula doesn't have too many secrets. He trained his team both on New Year's Eve and New Year. He has endeavored to recover the emotional aspect of the costumes, given the importance he attaches to the so-called "intensity" in his encounters. He has made his players believe that there is no better player than the one who is already part of the team, without publicly claiming any signing [Machín arrived at Espanyol begging to hire a battering ram that would find the lost goals with the sale of Borja Iglesias]. Abelardo has erased the tactical pirouettes of his predecessors from the board. The 4-4-2 of all life as a concept . "Football is one of the few sports in which you can play horrible and win," he said on the eve without batting the Asturian coach.
«When you have 10 points out of 54, the player loses confidence in his qualities. Stop daring to do things. That is why we have to start from scratch, start a new League, ”he insisted. Although the day to start that new tomorrow does not seem the most suitable. Espanyol have not won a single home game this season, with a balance of two draws and seven losses . Nobody has conceded as many goals in their own stadium as Espanyol (20 against). Only one team has scored less at home than Espanyol (seven). This is Celta de Vigo (six), also in relegation places. Abelardo, by the way, has lost his six duels against Barcelona since he is a coach.
Valverde, who hopes to close the first round as leader of the championship, has other concerns. Assigned Aleñá al Betis - «has exercised a clause by which he could leave; but I didn't know it would be so soon », complained the technician-, absent Arthur because of a pubalgia that does not remit, and with Arturo Vidal in full legal dispute with his club while looking sideways at Italy, he also has to look at the goal . Ter Stegen continues with the recovery process of his right knee tendinopathy, so it will be low in both the derby and the Spanish Super Cup . According to the Barca coach, the German goalkeeper should be available once the tournament to be held next week in Saudi Arabia ends. The Brazilian goal Neto, who already played in the continental victory at Giuseppe Meazza, will play his first minutes in this League.
And Valverde, who Abelardo hugged yesterday on Cornellà's lawn after posing with interchangeable shirts, could only admit the evidence to a past he does not deny: "Of course I want Espanyol to continue in First . "
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