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Friday April 15 2016
Escriba pays the price

Fran Escriba parted company with Getafe on Monday. Luke Taylor considers the problems he faced as Coach of the Madrid club.

For a while, it looked as though Fran Escriba’s time at Getafe could be a successful one. After relegation with Elche due to administrative problems, when he actually led them to an impressive 13th-place finish in 2014-15, the 50-year-old joined the Madrid club with high hopes.

For the majority of this campaign, they’ve looked safe, and they still could be, but a recent run of form, which has not seen them win in 12 games, losing 10 and drawing two, has dragged them into the relegation zone, and it’s going to be one hell of a fight to get out of there. 

Coliseum Alfonso Perez is not exactly known to have the most raucous of atmospheres around, probably owing to the large number of empty seats that are on show for most of Getafe’s home games, but Escriba managed to make it a pretty tough place to come to. Before the slump, the only teams to win there were Granada on the second week of the season and Barcelona in October, and they seemed to be winning the games that they needed to win in order to steer well clear of the drop zone. 

The problem Escriba seemed to have, though, was that the momentum which came with winning these games earlier on in the season has quickly fizzled out, and it’s never been recovered. The likes of Alvaro Vazquez, Stefan Scepovic and Pablo Sarabia were on song for a while and scoring plenty of goals between them, but performance levels have dropped considerably and confidence seems to be at an all-time low. According to whoscored.com, El Geta have the worst-overall performance rating in La Liga, which shows just how dreadfully they have been playing.

Take Quique Setien’s Las Palmas, who don’t have the resources that Getafe have as an established La Liga side for over 10 years but have nonetheless won six of their last seven games, playing audacious and expansive football and now find themselves 11 points above the relegation places. Escriba’s side, on the other hand, have been far too timid and lacklustre over the past few months, and it could cost them. 

“Escriba is a good Coach and a good person but the project hasn’t gone well,” Getafe President Angel Torres said regarding the club’s ex-trainer. “Safety is possible. There are six games and we have to win three.”

The club have since announced Juan Esnaider as their new boss until the end of the season. The former Real Madrid and Atletico striker worked for Los Azulones from 2009-2011 as assistant to Michel, and he has a huge task on his hands in saving Getafe, which starts this weekend with the visit of Los Blancos. It should be some baptism of fire, with Real Sociedad, Valencia, Deportivo La Coruna and then crunch games against Sporting Gijon and Real Betis to come.

Whatever happens, Getafe’s new Coach will struggle to fare as badly as his predecessor has in recent months.    

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