The day Mestalla stood still

Though tennis isn’t my favourite sport, comparing last Sunday’s game with a match-point wasn’t too far fetched. Everything was on the line: the continuity of Djukic’s project, the credibility of Salvo’s new era as Valencia’s boss and the rattling nerves of a crowd that absolutely despised the players’ performance against Swansea three days eralier.

The scenario was perfect for a big catastrophe happening at that exact moment. But… Mestalla prevailed. Valencia stood still and put their heart into the game. As a result, Sevilla was obliterated from the stadium. The team lead by former manager Unai Emery showed why they are currently at the last place in La Liga.

But, I digress. Valencia had to win. And Valencia won. No second thoughts.

The Valencia fan is quite smart, actually. Though the press from other parts of Spain –specially newspapers coming from Madrid- insist that the Mestalla crowd is unpleasing to its own players, too demanding and never satisfied, that nonsense has no proof on which to hold itself. The way the fans supported the team last Sunday was simply amazing. Truly beautiful.

So, yeah, the match-ball was solved with ease. Thanks to Emery for his low-brow squad of good players with not-as-good direction. I guess the next step should be consolidating the recovery and winning in Granada.

But, alas, the most important lesson to be learned from last weekend’s cathartic game relies inside the locker room. Djukic tried too hard on keeping everybody happy. Bad mistake. He then gave confidence to a number of players –the Portuguese clan, newcomer Fede, goalie Alves, ‘on fire’ Fuego, etc.- and they answered back with passion, aggressiveness and honour inside the pitch. They deserved to play. And they showed how involved they are on this project.

Other players keep trying too hard on looking on the outside as football stars when the truth is that they do not deserve the same level of confidence as other teammates. Frechman Rami learned the hard truth last Friday: when you disappoint someone, karma can be a bitch. And Djukic believes in karma quite a lot.


Paco Polit (@pacopolit)

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