The high hopes surrounding Rafael Benitez’s return to Spanish football have been met with disappointment as Celta Vigo languish in the relegation zone.
Rafael Benitez’s appointment as the manager of Celta Vigo was meant to mark a triumphant homecoming and the start of a new era for both the club and the seasoned coach. However, with just one win from 13 games, Celta Vigo finds itself in a precarious position, and Benitez’s future is now uncertain. As he prepares to face his former club Valencia, where his coaching career flourished, the contrast between his past successes and the current state of his team couldn’t be starker.
High expectations, early disappointment
Celta Vigo has experienced a revolving door of coaches in recent years, unable to transform the team from relegation battlers to contenders for European football. In an attempt to change their fortunes, the club set their sights on Benitez, who had previously worked with Real Madrid in 2015. Despite initial reservations, Benitez was convinced to join Celta Vigo with the promise of a higher salary and a three-year contract. However, cracks in the team’s performance became apparent early on, with a string of disappointing results and the loss of key player Gabri Veiga.
Divine inspiration and the laws of physics
As the season progressed, Celta Vigo’s struggles continued, marked by a series of contentious refereeing decisions. Benitez’s frustration was evident when a red card for goalkeeper Ivan Villar in a match against Atletico Madrid was seen as a turning point. The following week, a disallowed goal after a VAR review further compounded their misfortune. Celta Vigo’s luck didn’t improve, with another penalty decision overturned by VAR in a match against Sevilla. Benitez and his team found themselves on the wrong end of these decisions, leading to growing frustration and a sense of injustice.
Out of luck, out of time?
While the narrative of bad luck offers some explanation for Celta Vigo’s poor results, it only tells part of the story. The team’s defensive frailties and a lack of consistency have contributed to their struggles. Celta Vigo ranks poorly in possession, shot-to-goal conversion rate, and tackles made compared to other teams in La Liga. Furthermore, their tendency to collapse in the final stages of matches highlights a lack of resilience. Tactical uncertainty and changes in formation have also added to the team’s woes.
Conclusion: Rafael Benitez’s return to Celta Vigo has not gone as planned, with the team languishing in the relegation zone. While some blame can be placed on unfortunate refereeing decisions, the team’s poor performances and defensive weaknesses cannot be ignored. Benitez’s future at the club hangs in the balance, with the Christmas break seen as a crucial period for him to turn things around. As he faces his former club Valencia, Benitez will be hoping for a change in fortunes and a chance to prove himself once again.