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MID-SEASON 2006/2007. PART III: COACHING ANALYSIS

24 Jan 2007
Coach Joaqu?­n Caparr??s has started his second season in Deportivo, and like the previous one, it has been a tumultuous campaign. Everybody was praising him when his Babydepor climbed to the top places at the beginning of la liga, but these eulogies turned into criticism when the team started to lose stamina. At the end of the first round, the Sevillan coach has a Depor that's more near to the relegation zone than to Europe, but at least he has finally found his starting eleven.

Like the performance of the squad on the pitch, the work of Joaqu?­n Caparr??s can be also labeled as fluctuating and instable. He has made very good decisions, while other ones can only be described as disastrous. The Utrera-born trainer should be considered as the man responsible for the current situation in the table (14th with 22 points), but without doubt his experience and charisma should be the decisive factors that will guide the squad through the second round.

According to the results, the first round of Deportivo can be divided in three parts. And it's interesting to notice that Caparr??s has made different decisions during each one of these sections. Decisions that definitely have influenced the performance of the squad.

The first of these parts can be labeled as the 'golden days' this period includes the first seven matches in la liga, the second section can be described as the 'nightmare days' and started in matchday 08 and ended with the visit to Sevilla (matchday 16). The final part is the one named 'the recuperation' and started with the first match in 2007 against Real Madrid, this part continued during the following two matches and it hasn't ended... at least until the next game in Zaragoza.

THE GOLDEN DAYS
Everybody was fearing that the newest injury of Valer??n plus the absence of Andrade would mean troubles for Caparr??s and his Babydepor. The team suffered during the past campaign when these two key players got injured, but this time things were different. During the first seven matches, the Sevillan coach was able to conquer four wins (3-2 vs. Zaragoza, 2-0 Vs. Villarreal, 2-0 Vs. Real Sociedad and 1-0 Vs. Atl?©tico) and two draws (0-0 Vs. Zaragoza and 1-1 Vs. Betis). While his team was only defeated in one occasion (0-2 Vs. Levante).

Although this period was very positive, Caparr??s never seemed to be comfortable with his team, he made several experiments and only repeated the same lineup in two occasions. He started with the 'old' 4-2-3-1 formation against Zaragoza, but he modified the system in just one week since he played with a 4-3-3 system in Mallorca. A game that saw the appearance of the famous 'trivote' of Caparr??s, a figure based in the presence of three defensive midfielders at the same time (Duscher, Coloccini and Sergio).

The game in Mallorca was also the first sign of the strange decisions that Caparr??s would do during the following months. The starting lineup at the Ono Stadi was full of surprises, like the mentioned 'trivote' or the presence of Juan Rodr?­guez as the striker of the team, while Arizmendi and Riki played on the wings.

After this game, Caparr??s maintained almost the same squad. But he had doubts about who should be the left winger, a function that was alternated between Cristian and Filipe. But the biggest success of Caparr??s was the defensive line that he chose. During the first seven matches, Caparr??s always started with the same men: Barragan on the right side, Capdevila on the left and the couple Lopo-Arbeloa in the centre. This was without doubt the key for the success during this period, because the team only received five goals in seven encounters.

THE NIGHTMARE DAYS
This period started with the defeat against Getafe and ended with the worst presentation of the season against Sevilla. Caparr??s' team only achieved three draws (1-1 Vs Barcelona, 0-0 Vs. N??stic and 0-0 Vs. Racing) and was defeated in six opportunities (0-2 Vs. Getafe, 0-1 Vs. Celta, 1-4 Vs. Osasuna, 0-4 Vs. Valencia, 0-2 Vs. Athletic and 0-4 Vs. Sevilla).

It was a big mutation in the squad, the solidity in defence was lost and the scoring problems became bigger. The Galician squad was hammered with eighteen goals received and only two goals scored during these nine matches. And if Caparr??s wasn't comfortable with the lineups during the first period described previously, this time he was near to madness.

The Sevillan committed his first big mistake when he started to introduce changes to the defensive line that was giving him good results. The appearance of Juanma in the centre and Manuel Pablo at the right back never worked out, and the team passed from a solid line with only five goals allowed, to a hole that was punished with eighteen goals in nine matches.

The other big mistake of Caparr??s is that he lost the control over his men. The players seemed to be demotivated and without guidance. A situation that became worse with the weird changes that Caparr??s started to make during the matches. A scenario that was clear in the defeat to Athletic Bilbao at the Riazor. On that occasion, the Utrera-born coach sent a lineup that included Juan Rodr?­guez and De Guzm??n as pivotes, Cristian was covering the right wing and Riki the left. Verd?? was the playmaker and Arizmendi as the striker.

But Caparr??s started with the unfamiliar changes during the second half. He put Juan Rodr?­guez as playmaker, and moved Verd?? to perform as a pivote alongside De Guzm??n. Ten minutes later, the Sevillan changed his mind and started to introduce new alternatives. Firstly, he sent Adri??n to replace De Guzm??n, and later it was Estoyanoff who entered for Riki. As a consequence of these changes, Verd?? returned to play as a playmaker, and Juan Rodr?­guez was the only pivote in the formation. This situation only generated confusion in the players. Depor was lost, the same goes for Caparr??s.

THE RECUPERATION
And then the Christmas pause arrived... and also Real Madrid, the eternal medicine of Deportivo. Once again, the Galician team suffered a metamorphosis and started to show its best face. The team defeated Real Madrid (2-0) and later, Depor achieved two draws that could have ended in victories for them (1-1 Vs. Recreativo and 0-0 Vs. Espanyol).

Maybe the key for this change is that Caparr??s recovered the control over his squad. He seemed to be more calm and a surprising thing occurred: he found the starting eleven that he was looking for. This time the Sevillan started to use a 4-4-2 formation. The solidity in defence returned with the introduction of Andrade and Duscher. Depor recovered the smile in its face and only allowed one goal in these three matches. But the scoring problems have continued and the team ended the first round with a mark of only 14 goals scored.

This period of tranquility hasn't ended yet, Depor seems to be bouncing back, but a new challenge is arriving. In order to start the second round, Depor has to face Zaragoza without two starting players: Riki and Capdevila. Both suspended with five yellow cards. Caparr??s is forced to make adjustments for the first time in 2007, his decisions will be crucial aspects in order to establish if this recuperation process is over... or if it's just the beginning of a better situation.

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