Squad news

CONCLUSIONS FROM THE PRE-SEASON

15 Aug 2017
Ten are the conclusions from the pre-season 2017. From the system that Mel will use to the doubts of the fans regarding the performance of the team.

La liga is about to start and it’s time to analyze the lessons left by the pre-season of Deportivo. The following is the summary of the ten conclusions from the pre-season.

1- The reign of the 4-2-3-1: The 4-2-3-1 has been the preferred system at Deportivo since the arrival of Irureta at the end of last century, that was expected to change for the new season, firstly because Pepe Mel is a coach that likes a lot the 4-4-2, then because of the continuous use of the 4-3-3 during the pre-season, it opened the debate about what system is going to be the base for the liga season.

But Mel cleared all the doubts during last week’s interview at La Voz de Galicia. He confirmed that the 4-3-3 was only used because he had more centre midfielders than attackers, and it was the best in order to distribute the minutes among the players, while he confirmed that the 4-2-3-1 will continue to reign, “I've seen that it’s the system that best adapts to the team, it’s the one of two open players on the sides, two centre midfielders, a playmaker that can act as a striker and a man up front.” So, the 4-2-3-1 will be the base for la liga and it has been for the past two decades.

2- Expecting a calm changing room: The club changed the way to choose the team’s captains, but what didn’t change was the kind of leader wanted at the changing room. In recent years the experience has prevailed, but also the fact that the captain was always a friendly person that always keeps a passive attitude in front of the cameras.

And things aren’t going to change, this was clear after Luisinho wasn’t chosen as one of the five captains, the Portuguese has a strong character, something that the club wants to avoid in the figure of the leader. The five captains (Mosquera, Borges, Sidnei, Juanfran & Navarro) have the profile of the classic captain with the exception of Juanfran, who is more outspoken in front of the cameras. This brings back the concern of what would happen in case of internal problems and negative streaks, because in past seasons the squad has been pointed for been mentally fragile when the internal problems show up.

3- New season, same doubts in big games: The main problem of Deportivo in recent seasons is that everything falls apart for long periods of time and that’s why the teams suffers so much in order to have a stable campaign. The team almost always had problems facing big rivals that put a lot of pressure on the field, later the defensive errors show up and the heavy losses occur, this is combined with long draughts scoring goals, a weak mentality make things worse extending the negative streaks and suddenly the fans were watching how vital points started to fly away.

In this pre-season, the heavy loss against Porto recalled the ghosts of the big losses in liga against Real Madrid and Barcelona, the team faced the same problems of lack of ideas, lack of punch and defensive errors after been facing a strong pressure on the pitch. So, it shouldn’t be strange to detect a sense of discomfort among the fans towards the team, because the team shows a pattern that’s repeated season after season.

4- Mel have doubts at the goal: Pepe Mel believes that the goal isn’t well covered and hasn’t hided his concerns. On last week, after a direct question regarding the arrival of Lucas, he answered that the club must also be looking at the goal “I'm afraid that so much effort in Lucas Pérez could hurt us to make the other signing at the other area. And I think we need both: forward and goalkeeper”. Ironically, one day before president Tino Fernández stated that “the goal is well covered.”

For now, it seems that Rubén Martínez is the starting choice with Tytoń been the substitute on the bench, but it seems clear that, as soon as a new keeper is signed, this new addition will immediately become into the first choice.

5- Schär is over Arribas: Fabian Schär was signed late on the pre-season, but he didn’t last too much in gaining a spot at the starting eleven. He brings things that the current centre-backs don’t have, starting with accuracy in the long passes searching for the attackers. It’s expected the Swiss is going to be a starter alongside Sidnei for the debut in liga, something proved by the fact that this was the couple at the centre of the defence for the Teresa Herrera.

6- Big competence at midfield and high expectations on Fede Valverde: Without doubt the position with more contenders for a starting role is located at the centre of midfield. With a 4-2-3-1 on, two centre midfielders are needed and there are four at the squad, all of them with the ability to earn the spot. Guilherme is staying and, despite the age of Valverde (he’s only 19), the Uruguayan can perfectly be a starter.

There are high expectations with Valverde due to his qualities and recalls to the situation with José Rodríguez, who also came loaned from Real Madrid to be a starter been only 20. Mel can be perfectly rotating the four players for the position and using them according to the needs of each match.

7- Bakkali and Cartabia add new things in attack: Deportivo lacked offensive players during the pre-season, but two of the new additions are bringing fresh things to the sector: Bakkali and Cartabia. Pepe Mel didn’t see too enthusiastic with the arrival of Zakaria Bakkali, but the true is that the Belgian gained a spot showing individual skills and speed, which is a nice complement to Andone. He should be a starter against Real Madrid.

Meanwhile, Fede Cartabia’s skills were already known from his past stage with Depor, and the Argentine reaffirmed this during the pre-season. He adds passing skills and vision, something brought already by Çolak, but with more regularity.  Cartabia already earned the opportunity to start the season with some advantage, because Çolak is suspended for the opening matchday, so the ex-Valencia will act as the playmaker in the debut in liga.

8- Bruno Gama gets a new opportunity: It was one of the disappointments on last season, Bruno Gama had zero impact in his return and some people even hinted that his exit was expected for the summer, but the true is that he was the most regular player in attack during the friendly games. Actually, he was the top scorer in the pre-season (6 goals scored) and was also the best assistor (5). Now, the question is if he can extend this performance for la liga season, for now the winger has gained a spot at the starting squad.

9- Borja Valle earned a spot: No one knows exactly why, but Borja Valle has earned a spot at the squad for the new season. During the press conference after the friendly with Tenerife, several local journalists asked about the status of the striker as Tenerife want him, “He isn’t going out, his exit is ruled out” The coach firmly stated.

Valle might not have called the attention during the pre-season, but he played in 10 of the 12 friendly games, only missing two of them due to a physical problem. It seems that Mel liked his sacrifice during the trainings. Among the players that went out loaned on last season, only he and Cartabia will stay for la liga. The question is his role at the squad, because Mel tested him as a fullback and can also be used as a centre forward or right winger.

10- Mel prefers Francis and Edu Expósito: Many people are pending on the evolution of Bicho and Óscar, but the eyes of Pepe Mel regarding the academy are firmly on goalkeeper Francis Uzoho and midfielder Edu Expósito. Francis arrived during the past winter window and will debut with Fabril in the Segunda B season, and Mel already previews a good career for him, “Depor has found a pearl and we need to take care of it. When a player has possibilities then you need to take care of his future. At this point he isn’t competing for a spot at the first team, but you realize of his possibilities. You see him growing and we think that we have secured an important place in the future.” He said when the pre-season was starting. Francis will be the third keeper at the first team.

Meanwhile, his admiration for Expósito is coming from last campaign. The midfielder was one of the three players that performed in all the 12 games on the pre-season and Mel also says great things of him, “I think the picture is clear since last season, I believe we have a player that can add things to us, and it can also bring hope to our people for been from our home. He [Edu Expósito] deserves this and all the coaches know that he is ready.”

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