Marc Bartra’s header won the game for Real Betis against Espanyol on Thursday night but the player focused on the side’s new defensive shape.
It was only the fifth clean sheet of the season in La Liga for Los Verdiblancos, who had won just two of their previous 14 league games.
This was also the first game for Betis since the sacking of Rubi at the weekend, with caretaker boss Alexis Trujillo stepping into the breach and changing shape.
The home side switches to three central defenders in order to solidify their shape, having had the worst defensive record of any side outside the bottom three in the league.
Trujillo is the club’s sporting director and has temporarily filled the managerial hotseat at the club, with this victory lifting them 11 points clear of the relegation zone and virtually assuring their safety.
“We needed this victory a lot,” Bartra told reporters, as cited by Diario de Sevilla. “For us it was a final. The team’s commitment has been there all season, but this time the team was more compact with the new system, recovering our shape quickly after we lost the ball.
“The three central defenders system worked well and we had a bit of fortune with the win – the goal was from a corner and the Robles save was fantastic.
“We needed this victory for our psychological aspect, we know how significant this was in breaking the bad run of results – it gives us the air that we needed.
“When I arrived here our approach was going from game to game to reach Europe and that is the approach we need to take now, because every game in this league is difficult.
“We have continued with the mentality Rubi instilled in us but this time we got the result.”
Trujillo is likely to remain in place for the remainder of the season before the club appoint a permanent successor to Rubi – Marcelino Garcia Toral, Javi Gracia and Manuel Pellegrini have been among the names linked to the vacancy.
“Bruno Fernandes told me that, as a kid, he had a poster of me. He said that when he played Football Manager he always signed me. I was like, ‘You had me on a poster? And, seriously, you sign me for FM?’ I mean, how weird is that?” – Find out who said this right here.