The shadows of Espanyol

Without the Cup, the illusion becomes an obligation. And group management. Espanyol has 21 games left to define its destiny. And to rebuild the template.


As true as Espanyol's chances of winning the Cup would have remained minimal even in the case of reaching the round of 16, it is that victory is a candy that no one is indigestible. And that defeat ends up devastating even the most carefully prepared fallow. The elimination in the hands of an excessively comfortable Osasuna closes the page of an exciting tournament, more for the story than for the real expectations, and focuses all the focus on the true 'leitmotif' of the season, which represents the reverse of the currency, obligation. Go up. Ascend. Back to First.

In this scenario, which seems to have already been trodden but is new, Espanyol travels knowing that they have 21 games left, not one more, not one less, to retract the campaign blind. And that those 21 games will define his destiny not only for next year but probably for the club, due to the economic gulf between the current category and the one he should never have abandoned. In short, everything from Vicente Moreno and his players to the CEO, José María Durán, and the general sports director, Francisco Joaquín Pérez Rufete. And even if successful, the mission will have only just begun.

The loss to Osasuna, more the how than the what, raises some uncertainties. In the short term, on the management of a staff that had learned to share minutes, not equally because it is impossible, but to feel important. However, without the refreshment of the Cup and with hardly any weekdays as there were in abundance in the first round, players like Oier Olazabal, Matías Vargas, Pol Lozano, let alone Víctor Campuzano or Álex López, run the risk of disappearing henceforth, and still luck of the five substitutions per game. And no piece is left over when it comes to getting promoted is to keep even the ball boy plugged in the locker room.

In addition, and against the sambenito that midweek encounters can annoy, mislead, harm, and that is why a Cup elimination could even be beneficial, if Espanyol had shown something this season is that they suited them wonderfully. They have won them all, against Mirandés (2-0), Ponferradina (2-0), Zaragoza (2-0) and, of course, both in the Copa del Rey against Llagostera (0-1) and Burgos (0 -2) .

Although to finish disproving that stigma about the convenience of focusing on a single competition is the experience of last season. Without going further. Espanyol fell in the Cup against Real Sociedad (2-0) without offering any resistance and shamelessly threw the Europa League in Wolverhampton, with a blushing 4-0, without obtaining a single positive return in LaLiga. On the contrary, in this section of season the grave of the descent was finished digging.

Today the coach is different and the mentality, at least the one shown in Second Division, is much more winning. But there comes the other great unknown, that of the medium-long term. In case of promotion - the alternative would directly be a catastrophe - Espanyol runs the risk of falling into complacency, of believing that the same squad (let's not talk about a worse one, if an offer comes in summer, let's say for Raúl de Tomás ) will be able to survive and succeed in First.

If Sunday's commitment against Osasuna showed something, full of homegrown rojillos and news, it is that the mistakes that in the Second Division are compensated by talent in the top flight become almost certain defeats. That is, the same thing that happened last year. And stumbling twice on the same stone is a luxury that Espanyol cannot afford. So this elimination, much more symptomatic than anecdotal and with many months ahead to meet the goal and to rebuild the next squad, can (must) become a beacon to guide the club into the future. Otherwise, once again, nothing has been learned.

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