Real Betis aren’t performing to expectations so far this season, with many supporters of the Andalusian club rightfully criticising some of their key figures.
For coach Manuel Pellegrini, however, there have been important players that he’s been unable to call upon in recent games due to a combination of illness and injury.
Aissa Mandi remains isolated after testing positive for coronavirus while playing for Algeria during this past international break.
The 29 year-old was absent for Betis’ 4-0 defeat at the hands of Athletic Club last Monday, and won’t be back in time for their clash with Eibar tomorrow.
Mandi’s contract ends in June and there has been much debate about whether it should be renewed or not. For Pellegrini, however, there’s no doubt that he’s an important player.
Speaking with Diario AS, the Chilean said that part of Betis’ poor form has been down to the fact that “it is important that the best of the team haven’t played due to injuries: [Nabil] Fekir, Mandi and [Sergio] Canales.”
Pellegrini’s elevation of Mandi into this company is in line with Quique Setien’s thoughts when he was in charge of the club.
“Aissa’s progression has been the greatest I have seen in a footballer in the 40 years I’ve been involved in football,” Setien said back in the summer of 2018.
Mandi was indispensable under Setien and was also important for last season’s coach, Rubi.
Pellegrini has only taken him out of the starting lineup because of suspension or coronavirus, so all signs indicate to the Algerian continuing to serve as an important element of the Betis’ backline.
Featured image courtesy of Rush the Kop.