Slim to none

Betting houses can’t guarantee any beneficial outcome from supporting Atletico this Sunday. Can’t blame them, though, as Simeone’s squad is stronger than ever and, furthermore, Valencia will battle them in El Calderon after another infamous performance against Kuban Krasnodar a couple of days ago. Fancy way of preparing a ‘big’ game, right?

“Chances are slim to none”. That sentence was heard last week in Paterna. “But… Maybe, just maybe, the kids will motivate themselves enough with just how important the game is”. Managers and trainers in the team’s facilities are bold enough to explain that, usually, motivation and not skill is the main argument for and against Valencia inside the pitch. We saw this against Nastic de Tarragona. And once again last Thursday vs. Kuban Krasnodar.

These players are cheeky enough to stroll around without passion or energy. Aware of their hypothetical superiority with the ball on their feet, they ofter think that inspiration may be just enough to make it. Running, putting effort, trying hard… Why bother? That’s the main different when compared to Atletico de Madrid. Those guys sure run a lot, press a lot, tackle a lot. They know they must do it… or Simeone may become angry. And no one wants ‘El Cholo’ yelling at their face.

And that’s the other main argument against Valencia tomorrow: its spirit. Simeone has so many diverging points with Djukic that they seem to execute two different jobs altogether. The Argentinian wiggles outside the pitch, screams, shouts, presses the ref, yells orders, bickers with his assistants. Meanwhile, Djukic usually stands alone and still, hand in his chin, watching the game peacefully. A couple of slight reactions to what happens within the game is his only trademark. Night and day.

So, should we resign ourselves to our painful fate? No. Not by a longshot. Valencia fans are unable to think about a loss before the game is played. But alas, we should think about what factors will become definitive if Atletico crushes Djukic’s men. They ‘need’ to behave themselves as a prideful bunch. They ‘need’ to get some punches in. They ‘need’ to show all of us that they respect this crowd.

They need to prove themselves and all of us that they are worthy of this club.


Paco Polit (@pacopolit)

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