Competition news


28 May 2011 analyses the eight reasons why Deportivo is going down to Segunda División after twenty campaigns at Primera. The lack of goals, the bad singings and the errors of Lotina are the main causes.

Surely there are many things to analyze at the moment of searching for the reasons why Deportivo lost its highly appreciated spot among the elite of Spanish football. Many are easy to find and are at the fans’ minds, but others need a further explanation. found eight key factors that have marked this sad moment for Deportivo La Coruña.

It wasn’t a mystery that Deportivo was lacking goals, actually it was the daily reality since the last campaign of Javier Irureta at Deportivo. Since the season 2003/04 the Galicians never passed the mark of 50 goals in one liga season, and instead it lived of its solid defense. And the lowest point was the season that has just ended as Lotina’s team only scored 31 goals.

It’s the worst mark at the Galician club since the campaign 1972/1973 (22) and within the last decade it’s the third worst record at Primera División. To mention that the other teams with a poor mark of goals also ended at Segunda División: CD Numancia (30 goals, 2004/05, 19th place), Real Murcia 29 goals, 20003/04 (20th place) and Rayo Vallecano (31 goals, 2002/03, 20th place). Deportivo ended scoreless in twenty-one of the thirty-eight matchdays, which is a record not only at the club, but at the entire Primera División. This problem clearly demonstrates one of the rules in la liga: without goals, sooner or later, you will die.

Having in mind the problem to score the goals, five of the seven signings made during the past summer window were targeting to end with this problem. And in the end it was the opposite as their lack of success just made the problem bigger. Neither Desmarets nor Urreta nor Saul nor Michel nor Ruben Pérez were useful for the mission, actually none of these men scored a single goal in liga, and only Andalusian Ruben Pérez was able to play in at least the half of the liga matches.  Their whole offensive contribution was reduced to the three assists of Ruben Pérez and the single one of Michel. Meanwhile, a defender like Colotto was scoring twice and giving four assists. Later the club signed Javito, Sand and Xisco, more of the same, though Majorcan Xisco added some depth and even scored twice.

Besides, the club made two signings in order to cover the departure of Filipe Luis: Paraguayan Claudio Morel and Norwegian Knut Rindarøy. Just two new failures; just to remember that right-footed Manuel Pablo had to end the season performing at the left-back position. In the end ten new additions throughout the season that were made, supposedly, to add more depth into the squad, and it turned to be that they just reduced its length and therefore the choices for the coach.

If the signings failed it was because the team didn’t spend too much money on them; that’s another maxim at football: if you want quality then you have to pay for it. And if president Lendoiro didn’t invest money in the proper reinforcements it was because he was busier using the money to cut the debt from the €160-million peak saw on the past decade and that was reduced to €87 million earlier on this year. The hope of the president was to eliminate the debt in the next five years keeping the budget at the edge of the €40 million.

The reality now is that the savings might be expensive, because Depor is passing from earning €20 million in TV rights per season to just collecting €2 or €3 million. At least the insurances and previous deals negotiated by the president are reducing this deficit, but only for the first year at Segunda División.

In a liga tournament so tight like the one that has just ended every point is worth gold, and Deportivo lost too many after lacking concentration in key moments during the matches, which might be referred as mental errors. The analysis start with the fact that the Galicians missed to collect seven points after allowing a goal or two within the final ten minutes: 1-1 Vs. Sporting Gijón (matchday 16), 0-2 at Valencia (matchday 19), 0-1 Vs. Levante (matchday 29), 0-1 Vs. Atletico Madrid (matchday 34), and 2-2 at Sporting Gijón (matchday 35).

To this list it must be added the two points lost in the home game with Sevilla (3-3, matchday 21), occasion when the Galicians were leading 2-0 in the scoresheet during the second half and were playing with one more man (61’), later it allowed three goals and the team had to come from behind to rescue one. Also, in two of the last three matchdays, Depor allowed a goal within the first five minutes, just when the team must be more concentrated, it was able to turn upside down the scenario for the game with Athletic Bilbao (2-1, matchday 36), but in the final match against Valencia it wasn’t possible (0-2). In the end twelve lost points due to mental errors; a luxury that can’t be afforded.

Perhaps one of the most polemic and controversial issues; the coach is the first one to blame after a disaster like the relegation, and the blame on Lotina is justified as he never cleared the doubts over his capacity despite spending four years at the same club. Many criticized his poor tactics, doubtful decisions, unexplained substitutions and mainly his ‘defensive’ lineups. But wants to emphasize another factor: his lack of ability to administrate a football squad.

And it’s that Lotina never managed to squeeze the momentum of the players and was unable to motivate and take corrective measures. At the start he praised the skills of the signings and even confessed that his goal was to copy the offensive style of Barcelona, but later he realized that the new signings weren’t matching the expectations and switched into a more defensive draw, it worked out, but it lasted seven matchdays. 21 wasted points.

Later, he never knew how to administrate his players. The Basque man was criticized for not using Valerón; his argument was that he needed someone who could defend, but El Flaco was one of the few players that showed the needed level to create an scoring opportunities. Mysteriously, Valerón started to appear for the final nine matches. It was too late. A similar thing happened with Adrian and Lassad, who were benched just when both were living their best moment.

Michel was another mystery; he returned from a knee surgery and surprisingly entered directly into the starting formations, but later he was left out and there was no logical explanation for his exit. The same occurred with Sand; Lotina said that the Argentine was adding something different to his attacking line, but the striker just played five games and was left out during the final month and a half in the competition.

President Augusto César Lendoiro has been praised for his patience with the coaches; his experience always told him that to fire a coach is not always a solution, for this reason he only had three coaches within the last thirteen years, but this time this strength played against him, because the signs of fatigue with Lotina were dragged since the second round on the past season, but he never cut the head of the coach and now people try to guess what would have happened with a new face at Depor’s bench.

If the poor signings were reducing the length of the squad, then  the injuries crippled the options for the lineups; men that should were important like Michel, Urreta, Riki and Guardado spent more time at the injury room than at the pitch, same thing for Juca, while the punctual casualties of Antonio Tomás and Ze Castro just increased the problems of Lotina at the moment of building up his formations.

It might sound like an excuse, but it isn’t the case. Just to mention the fact that for the first time in 80 years at Primera División a club is going to Segunda after adding 43 points. All thanks to the unexpected results at the end of la liga, like the 3-2 win of Real Zaragoza at the Bernabéu (matchday 34), the surprising 2-1 comeback of Real Sociedad over Barcelona on that same matchday, or the 3-2 comeback of Osasuna over Sevilla (matchday 36), this last one was the first comeback in a decade from a 0-2 for Los Rojillos.

These results just put higher the bar of the permanence, and all of this happened just in the season when Depor added the lesser number of points in 30 years. Fate also plays football. As a  way of comparison, on the season 2006/07 Depor scored 32 goals and allowed 45 ending 13th at the standings, now it only scored one lesser goal and allowed two more, but it ended the campaign at the 18th spot.



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