Pepe Mel conceded that Real Betis are ‘vulnerable without the ball’ if they do not pressure opponents, after a close-fought Europa League Play-off round win.
Los Beticos take back to Andalucia for next week’s second leg a 2-1 win, thanks to goals from Jorge Molina and Cedrick, but they were made to work for it by Czech opponents Jablonec.
“We had the chances to make it 0-2, we did not, we were pulled back level and doubts entered into our minds, as did fear,” reflected Mel post-match.
“They have a high pace to their play and it showed in the game. Using Javier Matilla in the team suited us because we were then calm, took our time, and that is what we needed.
“When we don’t have the ball, we are a vulnerable team, for now. We need to press as strongly as we did at the Santiago Bernabeu at the weekend, or we won’t have a good time.
“They did things right. I’m not saying this to make the opponents look good, I say it because I feel it. They did well and when you win things in your own country it is because you are good.
“With regards to how the game went, this is the best result we could have had. The return leg will be different, the stadium will be larger, the pitch will be familiar to the players and we will try to determine the pace of the game.”