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Castilla’s embarrassing loss to Deportivo la Coruña B should be the final straw for Santiago Solari

Castilla get taught a lesson, and Solari has lost the plot.

Santiago Solari is an embarrassment. The fact that he was not sacked off eons ago is only due to the fact he was a good player for the first team. From reading the title, you have already discovered what the score was. What you may not have known, is that it was a 100% deserved result. Deportivo scored all three of their goals within 18 minutes, before dropping down to 10 men around the half-hour mark due to a red card. However, they continued to be the better team, and despite letting Castilla get a few more passes together, should have won the game by a lot more than three.

Rather than waffle on about how regrettably good another club’s youngsters were for the entire article, I’m instead going to look at a few reasons why Castilla lost today, and who is to blame.

The Castilla line up was as so:

The Opposition

Okay, maybe we should talk about them for a little bit. Deportivo were simply amazing today. Castilla were terrible, but I suspect that it was Depor who triggered Castilla to throw the game. They came out with a game plan, and pressed heavily from the off. These reserve games are usually a spectacle of a higher standard football, and Coruña B team passed the ball brilliantly. They were imaginative when going forward, and before I could even think of praising them, they were 3-0 up. After they lost a man, they simply used the ball very smartly.

Midfielder Edu Exposito was sublime throughout the match. They wasted a lot of time which was unnecessary, but even a man down they were superior. Castilla did not know what to do, and were taught a (hopefully) valuable lesson in football by the other La Liga hopefuls.

The Team

This line-up was missing big name player Óscar Rodríguez, but that isn’t what I mean when I say ‘The Team’ is a problem. What I mean, is that the entire 17/18 squad is not built very well for success at all. There is only one man to blame for that — Santiago Solari. As usual, the manager had to rebuild a team for the coming season, and this seemingly simple task proved too much for the Argentinian. Even if you get stuck, there is a template of previous years that you can follow. Three keepers, defenders, midfielders and wingers with relevant back ups, and three strikers. Looking at this squad he’s made, I see an unfinished jigsaw puzzle.

His goalkeeping options are a mess, and I don’t think half of them even know what team they’re supposed to be playing for. Castilla have three full backs to call upon, and Solari seems to be deploying one as a winger. There are too many centre backs on board, meaning that someone is going to have a wasted season on the bench. The most important failure he has made, is in the midfield, which is far too skinny. By skinny, I mean they do not have enough options defensively. Seoane, Fidalgo and Jaume are the main centre midfielders, with Tena still training with the team. I fear none of those players are good enough to lead that midfield in the way that Marcos Llorente and Fede Valverde have in the years prior.

Solari had a whole summer to find a good midfielder. Depor’s Exposito would have been perfect in the middle, and Castilla even played Depor in a pre-season friendly, but alas, Solari kept bringing in attacking midfielders only. The decision to bring in Molina even pushed promised talent Augusto Galván into the under-19’s.

There are only three wingers available, and two strikers. Castilla just don’t have the legs to challenge for promotion anytime soon.

The Training and Tactics

Deportivo got it spot on tactically, and were fantastic to watch over 90 minutes. They are after all, a La Liga club, so the levels of coaching are going to be high. At Real Madrid — the best club in the world — the level of coaching is expected to be exceptional too. With Solari, you get Sunday league. Now, I don’t watch many of his training sessions, but judging by Castilla’s clueless reaction under the pressure, I can safely say that Solari is not working on anything important at Valdebebas. Castilla are a professional team, who train multiple times every week. You’d think they might look at how to beat a press, or positioning to provide security at least. Castilla will find that different teams will go into games with different game plans, and without exploring ways to beat those, they will struggle to pick up many results. I can’t imagine that a Solari session strays far beyond a game of ‘rondo,’ or two. In terms of his tactics going into fixtures, there are none. He simply makes the formation, which is usually wrong, and hopes the talented players go out and perform well enough to get a result. Because of this, the hopeful Real Madrid players are missing out on vital parts of their development, and this will come back to haunt them on judgement day.

The Manger

Santiago Solari is the worst manager I have ever seen. He likes a formation of 4-3-3, with an attacking midfielder. This is my personal favourite formation, but Solari likes to misplay players in key areas. The worst of his tendencies, is how he loves to play the main striker as a winger. This has cost Madrid literally millions. Sergio Díaz looks a ruined player, and now it is Cristo González’s turn to suffer. This also links in to Santi’s lack of tactical knowledge, as a very effective way to beat a press is to use the width of the pitch as much as possible. Today, Castilla often looked for Cristo, only to find that he had drifted inside, and that Mancebo was now the only outlet. This added to the pressure massively, and was a key factor in Castilla’s meltdown. Back to Solari, his substitutions are usually very poor, and his decision-making just does not cut it. It’s been time to go for a while now, and it’s clear that a few people deserve to go for ensuring his long stay.

I have never seen Castilla be outplayed as badly as they were today. Huge credit to Deportivo for their performance, and to be honest I’m glad that the hard work that they have put in on the training ground has been rewarded. For Castilla, it will be same old, same old, until Santiago Solari is fired. I’m just thankful that not every prestigious talent has been ruined, and Real Madrid have still have a decent talent pool to pick from. Castilla host Talavera next week, and if anyone at the club has any sense, then Solari won’t be there to witness it.

MOTM: Quezada.

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