The debacle against Girona (6-2) marks the lowest point in the performance of Rubi’s Almería. Three consecutive defeats have placed the Andalusian team in the relegation places, with 22 points, after the triumph of Cádiz. Rubi’s continuity will be at stake if Almería loses today against Barcelona (6:30 p.m., Movistar). Especially if the defeat occurs in a bulky way.
Almería is a peculiar club. It is owned by Turki Al-Sheikh, who bought it for 20 million euros in the summer of 2019. After spending 62 on transfers in these three courses according to the data provided by the specialized website transfer markt and using five coaches in three seasons (Óscar Fernández, Pedro Emanuel, Guti, Mario Silva and José Gomes), the sheikh found his ideal coach in Rubi. First, because the coach from Vilassar de Mar achieved the long-awaited promotion to First Division last May. Second, because he has been a coach who has perfectly understood the formula used by the leader and his executives at Almería. Buy young players with projection and then sell them and obtain capital gains. For this reason, too, Rubi quite naturally accepted the sale in the summer market of his best striker, Sadiq, sold for 20 million to Real Sociedad. And for this reason, too, he asked for the challenge of making a team with many players compete without significant experience in the top category.
Footballers such as El Bilal, Kaiky, Lázaro, Guedes or Babic arrived at Almería, all with a way to go in the First Division. Given the risk that this planning entailed (the work of Sheikh Mohamed El Assy’s strongman and two agents he trusted), Rubi allowed footballers with more experience in the First Division and players like Melero, Leo Baptistâo and Embarba arrived. Also the goal Pacheco, transferred to Espanyol in the winter market. Almería, with an irregular trajectory, has only been in relegation positions on days seven and nine.
Rubi preferred to move on from a team that had chained four defeats in a row (Valladolid, Osasuna, Mallorca and Athletic Club). Above all, thanks to the victories achieved in their stadium against Rayo Vallecano, Girona, Celta and Getafe. Now, however, the team is bleeding to death due to its weakness in defense and the loss of a character that had always made it compete, at least at home.
Rubi is the coach who has been in charge the longest with the sheikh at the helm of Almería. He arrived on April 28, 2021 and has already directed 76 crashes. The signs that come from the property endorse, in principle, the continuity of a hard-working technician who came out of the mud to carve out a career in teams like Huesca and Espanyol. A man who belonged to Tito Vilanova’s Barcelona coaching staff and who knew how to step aside after the loss of the Catalan coach.
A defeat against Xavi’s team, however, would leave Rubi very touched, unable to contain the weakness in defense of a team that is the second most thrashed (40 goals) after Elche (48). The coach’s tactic in a somewhat tense week is to accumulate all the pressure around his person and free the players. He also puts up a defense of five to alleviate his problems at the back.
“I remember when we lost four games in a row I said it could happen, so a discouraged coach is not going anywhere. It has taken me a long time to get here to waste time in discouragement. One has to to reset and we are going to go to the death”, said Rubi, aware of the importance of the clash against a Barcelona that has only lost one game, at the Santiago Bernabéu.
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