Pellegrini’s Betis are already aware of toughness that the last quarter of the season is for those teams that are still alive in all the three competitions. Happiness was all around until now in fans and players at the Benito Villamarín. Furthermore, the goals seemed to be on track.
It was all too perfect. ‘The Plan’ was under control, even more with the irregular performing from their main threats, Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid. Moreover, they had a comfortable advantage towards other outsiders like Villarreal or Real Sociedad.
However, and despite how unpredictable this sport usually seems, the story is written. It does not matter at all how much quiet they breath at Heliópolis, the precedents obviously pointed towards a difficult final part of the season for Betis. The inexperience and pressure are complicated factors to control despite the team plays an extraordinary football.
On the other hand, we have reached a time where the table tights up in two well-differentiated areas: the battles for Europe and to avoid relegation; but both races share a common characteristic: need. The games are getting more even as weeks pass by and the afraid to loose points is there.
This fact added to a clear change of dynamic is exactly what has happened with Barcelona and Atlético. The urgency for avoiding the disaster has woken up the winning spirit from both teams. This way, now Pellegrini’s players are even more forced to win and to keep the current pace in the race for the Champions League spots.
It is true that Betis had proved their capacity to stay alive in all the three competitions, the defeats to Sevilla and Atlético bring doubts. The ‘Verdiblancos’ have been in the comfort zone (within the Top 4) for the entire season and seeing themselves out now can be a psychological blow for a not too much experienced roster in these kind of situations. It would not be strange that they might end up just focusing on the Spanish cup Final and the second leg of the round of 16 in the Europa League due to the huge vertigo they are facing.
However, there is a person at Betis that has the experience on this scenarios: Manuel Pellegrini. Surely, his team’s current phase was a likely option in the Engineer’s Plan. His management of the locker room is extraordinary, certainly above the rest of the clubs. This circumstance has partly propitiated the excellent outcome in their season so far.
The Chilean coach and his staff must make their players to get rid of any kind of uncertainty. The key lies in keeping the health competition that maintains the entire team focused, as they have more than enough individual and collective quality. Equally, the approach can’t change. Such aggressive and risky, but attractive style at the same time is the essence of Betis.
Now is the moment to show the integrity of a solid block that can pick up wins consistently anyway. To correct the trend and redirect the course to end the season by accomplishing the goals.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: Twitter @RealBetis.