Valencia’s delicate psychology

Valencia have long been plummeting down the well of destruction. Financial irresponsibility, economic turmoil, exaggerated fan expectations and the possible changing of ownership has cast a dark shadow over a side once viewed with fear. When the Spaniards suffered a destructive loss to Swansea in the Europa League, the media’s hyperbolic use of the word crisis served to only place even more pressure on the shoulders of Coach Miroslav Djukic.

The tactician’s desire to create a proactive side that controls the game was, in his view, the only way to awake the sleeping giant that is Valencia. Attitudes had to change, tactics had to be altered and a philosophy needed to be established. Yet his early work has suggested failure in most areas.

Certain players have insisted the blame lies with them and the directors have peddled that thought, hiding their own ineptitude in the management of the club behind the ‘attitude’ of the players.  86 per cent of the fans agree it is the players who need to change their attitude whilst only 13 per cent blame Djukic’s coaching methods.

Superdeporte interestingly argue that the club are playing a dangerous game by creating this sort of war against the players. Rather than taking collective responsibility for the weak start to Los Che’s campaign, management has sought to turn the players into the enemy which could, Carlos Bosch argues, backfire spectacularly as it may turn said players further off to the idea of giving it their all.

In the case of Adil Rami, the script sounds familiar. Circle back to 2011 and Djukic admitted that Royston Drenthe, his fullback at Hercules, was going to be ‘a key component of my project at Hercules’. Weeks later and the defender was left out, excluded for arriving late to training and for his many bad habits that Djukic felt affected the harmony of the dressing room. “When we arrived, the player did as he pleased and then suddenly he was asked to change, but it was difficult to convince him to do so,” explained the Coach in an interview with Valladolid’s Dani Martinez Anton.

David Trezeguet, the other star at Hercules at the time, thought it best to ‘deploy the best team’ and put disciplinary issues aside for the sake of the club. However, Djukic was having none of it, responding that he’s ‘not an idiot and always plays his best players’: “The locker room is sacred to me and I will defend it.”

Essentially the Serb’s coaching style revolves around hard work, a balanced dressing room and the complete undertaking of his rules. Attitude is of the utmost importance and players must demonstrate their commitment to the cause if they hope to achieve anything. His Real Valladolid side was credited for the motivation within the dressing room, their capacity to recover from hurtful losses and their determination to continue down the path drawn out before them.

If Valencia hope to improve then players must not feel targeted but likewise, should be punished should they overstep the mark. 81 per cent of fans feel Rami should be suspended without pay to serve as an example – difficult to argue with such figures.