With just 5 games remaining in the regular season, Real Murcia sit 4th in the table, and well placed to qualify for the promotion play-offs to La Liga. What is behind this dramatic turnaround?
The work of manager Julio Velazquez, Director of Football Chuti Molina and physio Luis Arnau is to be admired, whatever the rest of the season holds. Remember that this is a team that scraped to survival in 11/12, were relegated but saved by another team’s irregularities in 12/13, and didn’t even know which division that would compete in until 2 weeks before the season. Their success is also backgrounded by the clubs financial woes; they had to plan with the division’s second lowest budget.
The lessons and errors of recent years seem to have been taken. The club appear to have given Chuti Molina a free reign to sign players, rather than having intervention from non-professionals. The signings, although not the known names that we fans so demand, evidently have a common factor; they are committed workers and team players. Gone are the internal conflicts of previous seasons – winning helps, but you can see that the squad all pull as one. Whenever a change needs to be made, the replacement fills the role perfectly. They all fit. They all support each other, even if they compete for the same place in the side (see the way the admirable Iván Moreno is the first man Wellington Silva seeks when he scores. I’m sure Iván would look for Wellington too. Or see the way the subs went potty when we scored our third on Saturday).
Not to be ignored is the outstanding way we finish games stronger than our rivals, and dramatically reduced injuries this season. This cannot be down to chance. Physically we are at another level, and the work of physio Luis Arnau and his team should be admired and given due credit.
Manager Julio Velázquez, after a difficult spell mid-season, has the team adding attacking spark and growing confidence to defensive solidity at exactly the right time of the season. The fact is we are very tough to beat, and always look likely to score. If we do qualify for the play-off, I can imagine any rival will want to avoid us. Over 2 games I can see us beating anyone once, but can they beat us?
Whatever the outcome, if we fade and finish 10th, if we catch Eibar in second, if we make the play-off and get beaten, if we get to the play-off and go up, the season must be considered a success, and must lead to continuity.
Continuity of management and backroom staff. Continuity of players. Continuity of work ethic. The same continuity if we stay in Segunda, or if we go up to Primera. If we do get that prize, then again learn from our past. Continuity. No sacking the manager half way through. If we struggle, continuity. He will get us promoted again the following season (like Lucas Alcaraz would have done). No wild spending. Let’s get the club back on an even keel.
We as fans need to continue to back the team, even though we are few and the population of Murcia are more occupied with somebody elses’ upcoming Champions league final. That is a lost battle. This team deserve our full backing, and are starting to get it.