Squad news


08 May 2010
Depor plays its last home game on the season and Lotina will try to break the negative streak in liga with the boost of Filipe’s return, meanwhile Mallorca targets the Champions League.

RCD Mallorca has fairly claimed the nickname of “revelation of the season”, the Majorcans started the campaign in deep financial troubles and with two changes of owner, but things have been more delighting on the pitch. And it’s that the team has been fighting throughout the season in order to not just end in Europe, but to clinch a Champions League spot. They just lost the fourth spot after losing at home with Real Madrid (1-4) and now need a win at the Riazor and wait to see Sevilla slipping away against Barcelona.

However, the numbers of Mallorca when it plays away from home have been very discrete, the Majorcans already lost in eight of their previous eighteen visits and have only clinched three victories in this condition: 1-0 at Osasuna (matchday 14), 2-1 at Valladolid (matchday 24) and 3-1 at Athletic Bilbao (matchday 35). Besides, they have only won twice at the Riazor within its previous fifteen Primera visits to the Riazor: 2-0 (season 2003/04) and 3-0 (season 2004/05).

But this Deportivo seems to be the perfect victim to break the curse; the Galicians still the worst team in the second round with just ten points added within the last seventeen games. Depor is also the team with fewer goals scored in the period (11), and it’s the second worst defence with 28 goals allowed, this is possible since Racing Santander is now the worst defence in the second round after allowing five goals in the past game with Sevilla, which took his number of leaked goals in the round to 30.

105 days, that’s the surprising number of days that left-back defender Filipe Luis needed in order to return to a football pitch after suffering a dramatic fibula fracture and ankle dislocation during the home meeting with Athletic Bilbao. It seemed that the Brazilian was going to return until the upcoming pre-season, but has advanced his comeback to the final game of the liga campaign at the Riazor. It’s the only good news in a disastrous second round that’s leaving Depor outside of Europe.

The Brazilian was talking of his feelings, “I have been waiting for this moment. Time has passed really fast and I feel like before, I am already recovered and wishing to return to the pitch. Everything has been perfect since I left the hospital. I didn’t have any complication and we worked hard in order to not have any problem. Luckily, everything was fine and now we must start to gain match-fitness.”

Later he was denying that his injury has affected the performance of the team in the second round, “I don’t think it has to do with my injury. The team had a lot of casualties, at times we even missed ten players, and we suffered it. Now, the fans have the right to feel disappointed, because we have spent a lot of games without winning, and logically when you lose you notice the errors and the problems.”

Coach Miguel Angel Lotina didn’t want to confirm the lineup that he will use –he will releaser the list of picked players until hours before the game- but he confirmed that Filipe will at least play for twenty minutes. The Basque coach also confirmed that Juan Carlos Valerón, David Rochela and Raúl Garcia will be starters: it’s the same combination of youth and experience used in the previous meetings with Real Zaragoza and Osasuna.

The fact of not releasing the list of picked players until Saturday is understood as a way to put pressure inside the team, and it’s that Lotina has been complaining of the lack of tension that Depor has showed since two months ago. Tough the coach said in the press conference that he is releasing the list until the day of the match since he had the doubt of strikers Adrian and Lassad, duo that still dragging some physical problems. Their participation in the game will be decided until Saturday’s training.

Meanwhile, Ze Castro (muscular) and Juan Dominguez (ankle sprain) were working apart during Friday’s training, and their participation in the game is also in doubt, while Brayan Angulo will stay out as his goal is to return for the final game against Athletic Bilbao. Who are already out are central defender Piscu and winger Guardado, duo that will return until the pre-season, plus Antonio Tomás, midfielder that could be fit to play against Athletic Bilbao.

In the end it’s expected that Lotina will present a 4-2-3-1 formation; with Dani Aranzubia at the goal, Manuel Pablo performing at the right-back position, Raúl Garcia covering the left sector, while Rochela and Lopo will perform at the centre. At midfield, Sergio and Juca should be covering the pivote functions.

Juan Rodriguez should be playing at the right wing, and the big doubt is who will cover the left flank, Iván Pérez has big chances to fulfill the job, but Lotina could be tempted to play with Adrian or Lassad if any of them is fit enough to play. What’s clear is that Valerón will be the playmaker and Riki the central attacker.

Before the game, David Rochela gave an interview to newspaper La Opinion A Coruńa, he was talking of the negative streak lived by the team, “I guess it's an accumulation of many things. You will always have bad streaks. Individually we play for a lot of things, but maybe there isn’t a collective goal, and that fact destabilizes a bit and we don’t play the games as we want. After this negative moment the summer will be perfect to be disconnected ahead of next season, because we need to start as good as we did now.”

Later, he was giving his opinion about the comeback of Filipe, “Maybe it’s the moral boost that we need. Perhaps it will be helpful to leave this negative streak; the smallest detail can change the dynamic. Clearly Filipe is very important for the group. People feel very comfortable when he is on. It should be noticed. If he plays, we'll do everything to win, not only for him, but also for us and for the fans, they deserve it more than anyone.”

List of picked players: Not released (Lotina will give the list until the end of Saturday’s training -10h30 CET).

RCD Mallorca is mathematically qualified to Europe as the Majorcans already opened a seven-point gap with seventh place Villarreal; actually they still have the chance to qualify for the UEFA Champions League as the difference with fourth place Sevilla FC is only of one point. The problem is that the financial situation of the club could close the European doors. RCD Mallorca is in crisis since the past season, the club has been sold twice and a war of accusations and interests is dragging the club into a situation in which the bills can no longer be paid. It has been rumoured that the club will be declared in bankruptcy in the coming months.

The big problem is related to Athletic Bilbao, club that already denounced that Mallorca has not fulfilled a six million Euros payment for the past transfer of striker Aritz Aduriz, a legal demand that will probably cancel their UEFA Club License, which is a prerequisite to compete in any European competition. Without it, Mallorca will lose its European place opening a chance for the seventh position in Spain. But coach Gregorio Manzano has preferred to not think of the economic problems and has focused in the performance of the team.

In this sense Mallorca wants to focus in a victory at the Riazor, which could gave them back the fourth position in the table. The weak point of the Majorcans is the performance away from home as they only won three times playing in this condition. And for the meeting Manzano is losing two key players for suspension: midfielder Borja Valero and Portuguese central defender José Carlos Araújo Nunes.

Both are important setbacks; Borja Valero is the ‘motor’ at midfield; the on-loan player from West Bromwich Albion has scored four goals and represents the field player with more minutes in liga (2,779).  Meanwhile, Nunes is the heart of the defence and the captain of the team, an important casualty although Manzano has now the option to replace him with Iván Ramis, the other usual central defender that has been out for a month due to an adductor injury.

Meanwhile, Madrilenian Mario Suárez should be replacing Borja Valero, he also has scored four goals on the liga season. Manzano is conscious that he needs a victory at the Riazor, and for this reason he has prepared a 4-4-2 lineup. One of the interesting points is to witness the return of Dudu Aouate to his previous home; the Israeli keeper went out of La Coruńa by the back door after his fight with Gustavo Munúa.

The defensive line will be composed by ex-Villarreal José Miguel González ‘Josemi’ performing at the right-back position, ex-Racing Ayoze Díaz covering the left sector, and the central positions will be for Iván Ramis and ex-Celta Rubén González. Ex-Sevilla José Luis Martí and Mario Suárez will cover the pivote functions

Ex-Fabril Julio Alvarez will attack from the right wing, while Uruguayan Gonzalo ‘Chori’ Castro will do the same on the left. The couple in attack will be composed by Cameroonian Pierre Achille Webo and ex-Athletic Bilbao Aritz Aduriz, who is the Pichichi at the team with twelve goals scored on the liga season.

Before the game, defender Ramis was targeting the Champions League positions, “Or intention is to fight in these two last matchdays in order to reach the fourth position. Our goal is to win, if tomorrow we achieve the victory, and also against Espanyol, then we will wait to see Sevilla failing, because they have a tough game against Barcelona and they can fail there.”

Aouate, Lux (goalkeepers); Mattioni, Josemi, Corrales, Ayoze, Rubén, Ramis, Varela (defenders); Julio Alvarez, Gonzalo Castro, Pezzolano, Martí, Mario Suárez, Bruno China (midfielders); Víctor, Webo, Aduriz and Keita (strikers). 

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia - Manuel Pablo, Rochela, Lopo, Raúl - Sergio, Juca - Juan Rodríguez, Valerón, Iván Pérez or Adrian - Riki.
Mallorca:: (4-4-2) Aouate - Josemi, Ramis, Rubén, Ayoze - Julio Álvarez, Martí - Suárez, Castro – Webó, Aduriz.
Referee: Javier Turienzo Alvarez.(17 games on the season, 9 wins for the local team).
Kick-off: 21h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs Mallorca: 14 wins for Depor, 18 draws, 17 wins for Mallorca (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 9 wins for Depor, 11 draws, 4 wins for Mallorca (Primera & Segunda)



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