Despite having a comfortable lead in the Mexican league table, everything is not ideal at Cruz Azul. The team has managed just two goals in the last four matches and this is threatening to destroy their lead at the top of the table. The club just has a one-point advantage over second placed Tijuana after six matches into the new season.
The failure to score a lot of goals may be a problem, but it has not been a huge issue so far because ofCruz Azul’s ability to defend well. Apart from scoring just two goals, the club has not conceded a single goal in response during this period.
Manager Gerardo Torrado, though, wants to win as soon as possible with a lot of goals and he does not want to put all of the pressure on striker Roque Santa Cruz. The former Manchester City forward is one of the quality players in the squad, butTorrado says that depending only on the Paraguayan could lead to more trouble at the club. He wants the midfielders to move forward and contribute goals as well.Torrado has picked Roque Santa Cruz for two matches but the 33-year-old is yet to open the scoring. Rojas has been the only striker to score four goals so far.
"Roque is important but I am of the idea that a player is not the team. Roque is certainly an important reference on offense, but we must work together to get him the ball up. Maybe we have to step over the area, the people in the media have to reach the area to worry anymore rival. They are spatial circumstances. The court (the BUAP Stadium) and last week (Veracruz) the truth that neither helped to play football. We have to keep it looking, still have options, I think we need to move a little more to hurt the opponent,” said Torrado.
Carlo Ancelotti has certainly been very successful in the one and half years that he has spent at helm at Real Madrid, but, would he be able to win as many titles with Madrid as Sir Alex Ferguson won with Manchester United?
Well, Luka Modric, the Yugoslavian playmaker, thinks so.
According to Modric, Ancelotti is as calm as Sir Alex and he can stay at the top post at Madrid for many more years to come.
Talking about Ancelotti yesterday, Modric said, “Carlo is such a calm guy. He is a bit like Sir Alex and I really think he is in here at Bernabeu for a long, long time.”
In the modern era, the managers generally don’t get to stay at a club for more than 2-3 seasons and that’s probably because the owners are more impatient these days than what they used to be earlier.
There is always pressure on the manager to make the team produce the results. One bad season and they are handed the sack. It has happened with many managers of late.
But, the Madrid owners might be a little patient with Ancelotti if he goes through a bad patch because the Italian has won the club a bit too much since his arrival.
Barring La Liga, the Los Blancos have won almost everything in Ancelotti’s tenure and this season, they might be able to clinch the Spanish top division title too. It’s more than likely to happen considering the way they have been going till now.
Although Madrid is only one point clear at the top in Liga at the moment, but, the thing which is worth noting is that they have played only 15 games so far which is one less if compared to their closest rivals Barcelona.
The Malaga boss, Javi Gracia, has hailed his team for securing a point in the home game versus Barcelona, but, he believes that securing three points was possible too if the chances were taken.
Speaking to the reporters in the post match press conference, Gracia said, “Even securing a draw against Barca is a fantastic result. Not to allow a team like them any goal, it’s something that, as a manager, you feel very happy about and so I am. But, I think we, perhaps, could have been slightly better.”
“We were in the position to net a couple of times, but, we couldn’t and the opposition couldn’t either. So, our defence was up to the task. I would say this one point, that we have got, we surely deserved that.”
It was a scoreless-draw actually, the second one for Malaga this season. They had the same score line against Levante as well a couple of weeks back.
Now, Malaga has three draws to their name in 5 games. They had won their first Liga match in the season against Athletic Bilbao, but, ever since, they have been playing average football.
The next match they have to play against Getafe. That game is to be played at Coliseum Alfonso Perez, Getafe’s home ground.
As far as Barcelona is concerned, it was their first Liga game this season out of which they did not manage to bag full points. They had made their way to La Rosaleda with 4 back-to-back wins.
Barcelona however, despite this draw, is still leading the Liga table at the moment with 13 points.
Barcelona has to play Granada CF next at Camp Nou. They would surely be looking to get back to winning ways during that game.
The manager of Malaga CF, Javi Gracia, is not concerned with the fact that his team failed to register victory against the A-League side Perth Glory in a pre-season match yesterday. He believes that the fatigue was the reason why his boys couldn’t capitalize on the scoring chances in that match.
Malaga had begun the Australian tour with a bang by thrashing Adelaide United by a big margin of 5-1, but, against Perth Gory, they were not able to put up the same sort of show and could only play a draw.
In the press conference after the match against Perth, Garcia said, “We did struggle a little bit today, but, I am not worried. With so much of travelling and all, the boys were fatigued and it was clear the way they went about it on the pitch. There were some tired legs out there and that’s why, the chances could not be grabbed.”
“However, I would say this has been a good tour for us. We got to face a couple of quality sides and we were tested by them.”
“The game standard here is Australia seems to be decent. The league, of course, is not that big at this point of time, but, it’s been developing pretty well. I am very impressed.”
Malaga hadn’t had a great La Liga in the 2013-14 Season. They hadn’t managed to finish in top 10.
That prompted the club board to make change in the management and Gracia got the job.
In the last season, Gracia was in charge of CA Osasuna which suffered relegation after having finished at the 18th position.
Gracia has management experience of more than 10 years. He had started his career as manger in 2004 once his playing days were over.
Malaga managed to finish the season without much troubles largely because of the goals from striker Roque Santa Cruz. Even though the Paraguay striker finished the season with only six goals, they proved to be very important ones. Despite the financial troubles, the team finished just below the top half of the table. At 32 years of age, Santa Cruz still has a lot to offer for the Spanish outfit. He recently made his move to Malaga, and after the disappointing with Manchester city. Santa Cruz has often performed well with smaller teams and this has been the case with Blackburn Rovers as well.
Malaga will be able to do with the striker leading the attack next campaign after it is learnt that they could be losing another key player in the next few weeks. It has been stated that Barcelona are keeping tabs on Willy Caballero – the Malaga goalkeeper. Barcelona will be looking to sign at least two players in the summer after losing Victor Valdes and Pinto on free transfers towards the end of last season. They have already signed Borussia Mönchengladbach Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the close season but it is understood that they are also looking for a backup as well.
Caballero stated that he is happy to be linked with Barcelona. "I do not know if what they say will come true, but it is an honour and makes me proud. At the moment though there has been no contact. If [Barcelona] were to call, however, I would have to think about it. We would have to see, of course, if Malaga have any intention of selling me," said the goalkeeper, who has been playing in Spain for almost a decade. His previous clubs include the likes of Elche. He has been playing for Malaga since 2011.
Now with the transfer window closed, it’s safe to say that Willy Caballero will be staying with Malaga at least until the end of the current season which is something that Manchester City’s head coach Manuel Pellegrini might not be so pleased to hear.
Manuel Pellegrini was spotted making his way to his former club Malaga which sparked rumors of him wanting to sign the goalkeeper Caballero but no deals were actually made but there is no doubt that the Uruguayan is interested in bringing him to the Premier League and play for Manchester City.
Malaga did see some new players making their way to the club including the Ukrainian forward Oleksandr Iakovenko who arrived from Fiorentina and will be staying with the Spanish club until the end of the current campaign.
Iakovenko struggled on getting a spot into the starting lineup of Fiorentina’s head boss Vincenzo Montella and decided to try his luck somewhere else. The signing was officially confirmed after he completed his medical tests with his new club.
Another loan deal that Malaga managed to make in the month of January was signing the midfielder from Galatasaray, Nordin Amrabat who said that he actually had already received offers not only from Spain but Italy as well and the 26 years old player ultimately decided on making his move to Malaga instead of somewhere else.
“I had other offers on the table from Italy, Qatar…but the Málaga CF option was always the most interesting to me. I spoke to my other teammates, Affelay, El Hamdaoui and Riera, and making this decision was easy for me. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to play with Málaga CF, with quality players in one of the best Leagues in the world.’’ Amrabat stated after arriving to his new club.
The manager of Malaga CF, Bernd Schuster, might be given the axe pretty soon because of the regular poor performances of the team.
Malaga hasn’t played as well as they were supposed to in the Spanish top flight this season. They are placed at no. 10 in the La Liga points table at the moment. In the home games, they have performed decently, but, whenever they have played on away grounds, they have struggled. Out of the 9 away matches that they have played in the league so far, they have secured just 1 win and that itself tells the story.
Schuster hasn’t been in charge at Malaga since a long time. This is his debut season at the club. He had managed some top clubs like Real Madrid in the past, so, the Malaga board had brought him at La Rosaleda with huge expectations, but, he hasn’t fulfilled those expectations till now and the board has started to look for other options now.
The man who is believed to be a strong candidate to replace Schuster at Malaga is Dely Valdes. The 46 years old former Panamanian player has been at Malaga CF before as a player. He was a part of the coaching staff there as well for a brief period of time after his retirement. So, Malaga is not an unfamiliar place for him and he should not reject any offer thrown towards him by the club board.
Valdes has kept himself away from the media since the last couple of months. But, according to the reports, he also wants to make his way back to Spain.
Valdes has quite a bit of management experience. He has worked as the manager of the Panama national team as well.
The manager of Malaga FC, Bernd Schuster, has said that he had expected his side to play a bit more aggressively in the last match against Real Madrid. Malaga lost that match by 0-2 and moved down to no. 13 in the points table. It was their 4th league defeat this season. They have got just 9 points in 9 matches.
In the game against Madrid, one of the Malaga players put up a high class performance. It’s their goal keeper Willy Caballero. He was just magnificent throughout the game and Schuster hailed him in the post match press conference.
The Malaga boss said, “Willy had been brilliant for us in the last season as well and he has carried on the same form.”
“People generally give all the credit to the guys who score goals. The goalkeepers don’t get praised often enough. But, they are the ones who save you a number of times.”
When asked about the overall performance of his side, Schuster said, “Bernabeu is not an easy place to come and win games. You need to play very well to beat Madrid here and we couldn’t do that today. We were lacking aggression. We didn’t attack enough.”
“Madrid looked in control all the time. We couldn’t get them out of their comfort zone.”
When asked about the improved performance by the Madrid defenders, Schuster said, “It is hard for me to say anything about that because I think we didn’t test their defense.”
Some pundits were of the opinion that Malaga should have played with an extra midfielder rather than going with a couple of men upfront, but, Schuster didn’t agree to them. According to him, going with two strikers was the right ploy.
Malaga’s next match is against Celta Vigo. That match will be played at La Rosaleda on Saturday.
New Malaga signing Roque Santa Cruz has hailed new Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini and believes the Chilean will be a huge success in England.
The Paraguayan international spent a part of last season on loan at Malaga from Manchester City under Pellegrini and the for Blackburn Rovers striker believes the Chilean engineer has all the credentials required to be a success in England and to be the manager that Manchester City were looking for as a long term solution.
He went on to add that it was tough to see someone like Roberto Mancini sacked because of the success he has brought to the club and the fans expected him to be around for a long time but in the end, it is a football club and it moves on as it has big dreams to achieve. Roque Santa Cruz admitted that he knows City are chasing the UEFA Champions League next and there are a very few manager around Europe at this moment who can deliver that title.
Santa Cruz went on to state that a manager of the quality of the Chilean deserves to be in charge of a top side and compete for and win trophies on a regular basis. He went on to add that one of the major plus points of the manager is that he can handle big name stars and their egos in a high profile dressing room and that is something which will hold Manchester City in good stead as they look ahead to a bright future.
Roque Santa Cruz also hailed the manager’s character as calm and composed and added that he likes to make players feel at home and make them believe they are a part of the project, which in the case of City, will make them a success.
Paraguay international striker Roque Santa Cruz has completed his move to Spanish side Malaga on a free transfer from former Premier league champions Manchester City. The 31 year old former Bayern Munich man has signed a three year deal with the club that will see him play through to the 2016/17 season as the club looks to bolster their striking options as they prepare for another assault on the UEFA Champions League places.
The player was released by Manchester City in June following an unsuccessful four year spell at the club after signing him for a whopping £ 18 million from Blackburn Rovers. Santa Cruz was brought to Blackburn by former Manchester City manager Mark Hughes who paid £ 3.8 million for his services to Bayern Munich in 2007. When Hughes was announced as the new Manchester City manager, he decided to bring the player who had been very successful under him in Lancashire and signed Roque Santa Cruz for a whopping fee.
However, injuries and poor form hampered his time at City and he found himself on the fringes, playing just 20 times for the club before being farmed out on loan. His last appearance for the Citizens came in November 2010.
He spent a part of last season on loan at Malaga under the current Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini and scored eight goals for the club. It was his best return since his 23 goals in his first season in England when he was playing for Blackburn.
Roque Santa Cruz was visibly pleased after completing the signing with the Spanish club and admitted that he was pleased to have been able to put his Manchester City nightmare behind him and was looking forward to helping Malaga back into the UEFA Champions League places after losing out this year.