Valencia

Three key secrets responsible for Valencia revolution

After several years of obscurity, financial misdeeds, fans unrest and flattery to deceive, the good times appear to be finally returning to Valencia. We delve deeper into the secrets behind Los Che’s swift revolution.

For the first time since 2003, Valencia is unbeaten after nine league games. Los Che has been remarkable thus far, racking up six unbelievable victories with 25 goals to show. Impressively they’ve done so against six of the top eight teams, including both Madrid clubs. Only Barcelona has fared better.

In shock contrast, the Oranges were just two points from safety this time last year. They had lost five games and their manager too. So what exactly are they doing right? We take a look at the three key events that have helped shape the club’s dwindling fortunes.

Major boardroom shake-up

All the while, Valencia fans weren’t only irked by their team’s pathetic slump, but also the attitude of the owner, Peter Lim. Lim had constantly portrayed himself as the de facto leader, who craved the spotlight even more than his own players. However, his decision to overhaul the club’s board, early in the year, appears to have done wonders.

First, former Spanish international, Jose Ramon Alexanko, was appointed Director of Football in January. Three months after, Mateu Alemany joined in the capacity of General Director. While unpopular president, Chan Lay Hoon, made way for Anil Murthy.

Managerial shake-up

In all, hiring Marcelino as coach appears to be the masterstroke. Being their 13th manager in five years, the faithful never really bat an eyelid when he came on board in July. But the 52-year-old has since won them over with improved performances on the pitch.

That isn’t much of a surprise owing to Marcelino’s experience and knowledge of the Spanish game. He spent his entire playing career in his homeland and hasn’t done contrarily since he ventured into management in 1997. His resolve seems to have paid as he has enjoyed tremendous success everywhere he has worked.

He took Recreativo de Huelva from the second division to an astonishing eighth place in Primera; won promotion with Real Zaragoza; led Racing Santander to their best ever finish, and brought Villarreal back from the second division and to the top of the table for the first time.

As distinct as his accomplishments were at these teams, one thing actually stood out: his beautiful counter-attacking style of play. That didn’t change at Valencia. Since taking over the helms, the Oranges have shown an unusual appetite to attack, with greater emphasis on short passing.

Dressing room shake-up

Unlike his predecessors, Marcelino was given the leverage to reshape the squad to his own taste. And he did so elegantly. He began by flushing out the old guards. Nani, Alvaro Negrodo and Enzo Pérez were some of the biggest casualties. In their place, he brought in younger players such as Geoffrey Kondogbia, Simeone Zaza (permanently from Juventus) Gonçalo Guedes and Gabriel Paulista.

And things haven’t been the same ever since. Zaza is scoring for fun, Kondogbia has been sensational in the middle, Guedes is always in the thick of things while Rodrigo and Parejo have somewhat looked like new signings.

Whether they will keep up the momentum remains unclear. But one thing is very obvious, the sleeping giant of Spanish football is gradually working their way to the top. 

About the Author Toby

An unrepentant soccer freak other freaks call geek.

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