Javi Gracia has urged his Malaga side to be wary of the threat posed by a new-look Real Betis on Saturday. “They’re a different team to before…”
A productive January transfer window and the appointment of Juan Merino as Coach have moved Betis clear of the relegation places in La Liga, and Gracia warned Malaga not to expect a similar game to their meeting earlier in the season, when his team ran out winners.
“Betis were a team who was able to win here, but we had a good match,” he said at a Press conference.
“We weren’t worthy of defeat. Now they’re a stronger team, they grant few chances to their opponents and are fairly balanced.
“We know they depend on Ruben Castro a little for goals, but I’d highlight their potential from set-pieces.
“They score a lot of goals from set-pieces and are very much alive in this regard.
“They’re a different team to before. They’ve changed Coach and players.
“They won’t be the same team who performed here, but there are many references to look from the first half [of the season] like Ruben Castro.
“But our opponents have many differences, as we have. Rather than look at something specific, we look at their overall strengths.
“They’ve been able to win games at home, so it’s not going to be easy.
“To get the three points the other day and be close to the target makes us happy and think that we are on the right track.
“The important thing is that we win at Betis so we have two weeks of tranquillity.
“We’ll enjoy [the two weeks] if it’s a positive and if it’s negative it will suffer.
“We’re close to our target. What happens next will tell us the importance of the points we earn. We don’t know if they’re definitive points yet. We must continue.”