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Match Report: Guijuelo 2-1 Real Madrid Castilla

Castilla hit a bump in the road, but how damaging could it be?

One strange season continues to surprise me. Castilla have ended up battling for promotion in a division comprising of the weakest set of teams in years. Each and every game looks exactly the same no matter the league position of the opponent. Because of this, the play-off chase remains excitingly close and intense on paper, but very antidramatic when the time comes to actually watch these games. Today’s opponents Guijuelo were probably the lowest placed team still in play-off contention, but were sat in the top half of the table. Castilla’s side was dubiously experimental for such a big game, with left-back Fran García being pushed forwards into the left winger spot. The formation seemed to mirror a 4-5-1 mould, with Cristo González sitting alone up top. Gorka Zabarte filled in at left-back.

As previously stated, every game bar one has been almost identical - and this one was not going to be another exception. On an artificial turf, Castilla looked comfortable on the ball in areas of little pressure, but found themselves to be out of ideas when it mattered. In the final third the created next to nothing, and although I wouldn’t stretch to brand Guijuelo impressive; they certainly were the better side on the day. It was Castilla who took the lead however, after surviving multiple waves of attack from the hosts. Sergio López pinged a ball towards the box, and Cristo González did the rest - bringing it down before taking on the keeper and slotting home. This was right on half time, and looked to be a very important goal. The home side had other ideas though, and were level through a nice finish into the bottom corner almost immediately after the second half kicked off. Guijuelo continued to look bright, but their season looked to be in jeopardy after having a man sent off for a second yellow card offense. Castilla looked better after that, and came close to grabbing a winner through Cristo again, but it never looked like it was going to be their day. It got worse when an opposition attacker managed to break away and score the eventual winner. Castilla lost the game 2-1 against ten men, leaving with nothing after a poor performance.

Here are some of the notes from the game, and from the week in general:

The Play-Offs

Castilla now reside in fifth place, one spot away from the play-offs. They will now revert back to being chasers rather than defenders ahead of the last five games. From those last five matches, Castilla have to play three teams from the top half of the table, and two from the relegation zone. It’s beginning to look tough, and that is directly due to some poor points lost in the last few weeks. The game today was a glorious chance to push ahead against ten men, and they even enjoyed the noticable leniancy of the referee for large periods, but they could not capitilise. If they are to make the play-offs, then they will have to improve for these last five games.

Manolo Díaz

Manolo Díaz has come in and done a very good job. He has maintained the high league position left to him, and has implemented his own strategies very well. It surprises me that he is not in contention for the full time opening at the end of the season, unless of course he is not interested in such a role. Today he did make a mistake, one that seems to curse talented Castilla managers: the random experimentations at vital parts of the season. For the excellent Luis Miguel Ramis, it literally cost him his treasured job after he pondered what Borja Mayoral might be like as a winger in the crucial play-off stage. For Manolo, it is still rectifiable however. These managers are most often at the start of their careers too, and learning on the job can be excellent for their personal development. Díaz is older and more experienced than many of the other managers to attempt such boisterous schemes, so hopefully we won’t see many more during the last five finals. Eitherway he will leave with a lot of credit.

Raúl and Xabi Alonso

That end of season opening has been the talk of the town in the papers this week, and although Manolo Díaz does not appear to be up for continuing - two very familiar names have been mentioned. I really don’t need to introduce club legend Raúl, currently trying his luck at coaching the under-18s, nor the iconic midfield maestro Xabi Alonso taking on the under-14s. Let’s start easy with Xabi. He has won the league with the 14s in his first season, and looks to have had a very productive year. The rumour mill has printed him as the favourite to land the under-18s role next season. This is a perfect progression for him, and I really hope it happens. Depending on how well he then does with the older lads, then a 19s opportunity, or even a Castilla role would be the ideal next step! Raúl has seemingly become the front runner for the Castilla job this summer, and my views on this are more conflicting. Lets make a list of both benefical factors and reasons to perhaps be more cautious with this potential assignment.

The positives:

  1. He is Raúl: He doesn’t just know the club, many people might argue that he epitomizes the club. At one stage he held every record in the book, and enjoyed a stellar career as the captain of Real Madrid. A true club icon. He will have the respect of the players and staff before he has even walked in the room. In his first season of management in the academy, he won two league titles with two different age groups. It was fortunate for him that the job with the under-18s became available in the first place - but he has not looked out of place since taking the role. Of course, it has to be considered that Real Madrid are expected to win most of their games and competitions, no matter the age group. Despite this, Raúl has shown positive signs.
  2. It could always be worse: Perhaps like you, I am still in the recovery stage from two years of torture under Santiago Solari, a manager unlike no other. Whilst his authorised circus-show has created skeptism around any ex-player flying straight into management, it is important to remember that Solari was a special case. He remains the worst manager I have seen take charge of Castilla, and he comes off worse in comparison to nearly every other manager imaginable. I think there is more chance of myself winning the lottery than seeing two managers that bad in my lifetime.
  3. It keeps Solari away: There is an important decision to be made this summer. Contrary to reports, I’m unsure that Solari has been re-offered the Castilla job, but it is likely that they have kept him on a pay-roll to avoid that huge compensation sum due for sacking off his three year contract a little bit early. The cinematic supervillian still has a heartbeat, and as long as he is remains around the club then I would not be surprised if he was disturbingly given a 500th chance. The apoointment of Raul would finally hit that ultimate nail in the coffin.

Reasons to be more cautious:

  1. He is Raúl: With this great status, comes a big risk. If it comes off, then great: Real Madrid will have produced yet another talented young manager that is ready to conquer all before him. If not, then it’ll be a case of “here we go again...”. The club completely dodged any conflicts that Santiago Solari created, and allowed him to freely hamper the development of countless players in the process. Just imagine what they would be like with Raúl. I dread to think of the implications if this move were to turn sour.
  2. Early Doors: It’s so early in his coaching career, and he has so much time. I would love to see Raúl and any ex-player give Castilla a crack, but only when they are fully prepared. It’s nice making everyone justifiably starstruck for what you achieved during an amazing playing career, but people need to remember that he won’t be on the field for Castilla. In reality, the optimal move for Raúl next season would be to take charge of the under-19 team. If he does well there, then I will welcome him aboard the Castilla train with open arms. For now, if you are hesitant to celebrate this, then you are right to be. If you are extatic at the news, then ask yourselves why that is. If flashbacks of some of his unbelievable goals are the first thing to enter your mind, then perhaps you are excited for the wrong reaons. Raúl is currently an inexperienced coach, and that is perfectly fine. There is no need to rush him into something and potentially hamper his own personal development, alonside the players.
The next Castilla boss?

To sum up, I don’t really have a problem with Raúl taking charge of Castilla in the summer, and whilst there are a host of reasons to be hesitant, he also brings a good early track record to the table. He is pretty inexperienced still, and I do think the optimum move for him would be to the under-19s next season, which alongside success would then fully justify a Castilla opportunity, but it won’t be the end of the world. Surely no one will be as bad as Santiago Solari anyway. With only five games to go excluding the potential play-offs, be sure to store the soon to be vacant Castilla position at the back of your minds! We will revisit this in the future... For now, lets see what you guys think! Would you take Raúl at Castilla in a heartbeat? Answer below!


Would you take Raúl as Castilla coach, even if it meant turning down a more appropriate option?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Absoloutely, have you not seen how many titles he won?
    (50 votes)
  • 55%
    No way, give him a better academy role and wait until he is definitely prepared and ready.
    (63 votes)
113 votes total Vote Now

Back to the game, man of the match for me was Javier Belman. It was a relief to see him get the chance to play - and he looked every bit as comfortable as he always has in a Madrid shirt. One save in-particular was world class, and almost forced him to come off injured. Hopefully he can make at least double figues in appearances during the remainder of the season. Up next for Castilla is a side at the bottom of the table: Deportivo B. That fixture has tended to be tasty in the last couple of years, and saturday will be no different. If Castilla fail to get the win, then it may be time to bring the play-off dream to a halt. Be there or be square.


Assist: López.

MOTM: Belman.

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