Timeline of an identity crisis

Espanyol has lost the virtues acquired in the first round and does not recognize itself as a team of Vicente Moreno, who faces almost a final on Saturday.


The wick that Vicente Moreno had since the season began begins to run out. The fire that fueled his Espanyol, a team that completed a remarkable first round (45 points), has been consumed day by day due to different circumstances, and now the Blue and Whites are looking at the last 13 of LaLiga SmartBank pending what they do Almería, Sporting, Leganés or Mallorca and with encounters before direct rivals in between. The coach is undoubtedly facing the first delicate moment of a season with no margin for error.

Moreno was always the first choice of the sports management, headed by Rufete, and the CEO, Josep Maria Durán. His experience was an endorsement. Three promotions with Nàstic and Mallorca, one of them to First, a marked leadership in their squads and a game at least balanced. An ideal coach for a squad injured by the debacle of the previous year, forced not to leave the RCDE Stadium due to market conditions. Here's one of the double-edged weapons that has been eroding performance.

The message after the season was over was clear: around 80% of the players wanted to leave the club. Finally, the inflexibility of Espanyol to sell below its market price changed the plan. Moreno reached a minimum pact with some players forced mostly to play in the Second Division, but with a career superior to that of other rivals. The squad was the most expensive in the history of the category, full of classics from Primera. The ball began to roll and the points fell into the bag more easily than expected, the team even beat its unbeaten record and averaged an average of 100 points, data that in the dressing room were welcomed with caution.

But Espanyol was not an author team. "We have been here for four months and we have to see an evolution but it is not a long time. In my previous team we were three years and the longer you are in a team there are more automatisms," said the technician in December. Far from reality, this time. Espanyol has not evolved. Although the data places the parakeet team as one of the most offensive and scoring teams, in this second round it has been losing balance. Defensively he has received a goal in each game on average, while in attack he has lost dynamism and efficiency, even in games like Lugo or Mirandés, the rivals had the same or even more chances. Beyond the areas, he has not been able to control the matches since the game.

The coach has been polishing his line-up to keep it fixed for several days, with players such as Calero, Vargas, Mérida, Wu Lei or Vadillo with hardly any starts for two months, a risk in management that has not been accompanied by the jump in the classification that Was expected. With less margin, the coach will face a final against Logroñés on Saturday. Victory would permanently close the wound, but anything other than winning would add uncertainty to his figure in the complex universe of Chen Yansheng and his team.

Photos from as.com
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