A derby with Grace

The Valencia coach, orphaned of reinforcements, makes his debut on the Mestalla bench against a Levante that has never profaned the neighbor's house in the league (9:00 p.m.).


The beginning of the end for Celades came in a derby on a Diakhaby penalty that transformed Melero. The beginning of it will be seen what Gracia in Valencia also begins against Levante and again behind closed doors. The silence of Mestalla will be appreciated by the eardrums of Anil Murthy and from a distance also by Peter Lim. His management provokes more and more social rejection. The Gracia era starts without reinforcements; for not having Valencia, it has no owner for a number as mythical as it is symbolic: the '10'. That of Claramunt, Kempes, Subirats, Fernando, Angulo and Parejo. A '10' that Juan Mata defended at the age of 22, a mirror for Carlos Soler, who joined the list but has only been training for a week with the group, and Kang-in Lee, two of the young men called to lead this Valencia ( follow the game live on AS.com) .

There will be those who see this derby as the test of cotton ché. But it would be unfair to Gracia and her pupils to limit the analysis to 90 minutes. Because if he wins it, it would seem that the Navarrese went overboard with his complaints on Friday and didn't do it; If you lose it, it may seem that those who stayed are nobody without those who left and it is not like that either. Gracia's words in the press room set the house on fire from the inside, although the fire was controlled. Valencia needs to strengthen itself to compete for what its shield demands and it has quality footballers for this if it gets that wardrobe that they promised Gracia. Thus Gayà, Guedes or Maxi have to take the step that Parejo or Rodrigo's exits force them.

A step, but collective, is what Paco López's Levante must also take. Shortly the club will open a practically new stadium and around the corner it will begin the works of another sports city. All this only has a return with a long life in First, without last minute surprises due to permanence. Hence his sports bet, which beyond the signings of Son, De Frutos, Dani Gómez and Malsa, lies in the continuity of Aitor, Campaña, Rochina or Roger. That is in the long term, because in the short term, today, surely because they see a budding Valencia with pacifiers, the granotas face the derby as their great opportunity to desecrate the neighbor's house after 111 years of life without achieving it.

Paco López, fourth coach who has been in the League for the longest time

Paco López (Silla, 52 years old) came to the League quietly on March 10, 2018. His career had been spent until then in Second B clubs. Levante coach can say today that he is the fourth coach who has been in charge for the longest time since then in the First Division. His 2 years and 6 months are only exceeded by Simeone (8 years and 8 months), Mendilibar (5 years and 2 months) and Bordalás (3 years and 11). Álvaro Cervera has also been in Cádiz for longer (4 years and 4 months), although not in the First Division.

Paco will lead his 88th game in Primera today (118 points, 45%). As for matches in the category, Paco López is the tenth with the most experience, since 'newcomers' such as Pellegrini, Unai or Gracia himself, in addition to Garitano, Zidane and Sergio González, surpass him.

Photos from as.com
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