Deportivo La Coruna’s appointment of Clarence Seedorf grabbed headlines and cranked up the interest level in the struggling Galician club. The Dutchman’s predecessor Cristobal Parralo won just three games and suffered nine defeats in 15 outings, with Depor slipping into La Liga’s relegation zone.
The last three matches in particular have been painful. A 7-1 defeat at Real Madrid, throwing away a two-goal lead at home to Levante to draw 2-2 and a 5-0 loss at Real Sociedad, who had won only three of their previous 18 games. Each match witnessed a capitulation which would be concerning once, but in three consecutive games it constitutes a crisis. Depor have plenty of gifted players -including the late January addition Michael Krohn-Dehli – yet over the course of the last few months, they have been a rudderless mess.
The Galicians have conceded a league-high 51 goals in 22 outings while second-from-bottom Las Palmas have now drawn level with them on 17 points. This is a club who were contesting a Champions League semi-final 14 years ago (their fifth consecutive appearance in the latter stages of the competition) but are now concerned with the strong possibility of a third relegation since.
Depor may have an array of talented players – most notably strikers Lucas Perez and Florin Andone, Swiss international Fabian Schar and midfield duo Fede Valverde and Celso Borges – but are a side who have blatantly been poorly coached. This is often ruthlessly punished in La Liga, with many coach’s priding themselves on tactical drills and defensive discipline.
The recurring struggles over the course of the past decade are not befitting of a club who won the league title in 2000 and who have a strong and loyal fanbase. Finances and off-the-pitch mismanagement have impacted results and left the side floundering beneath much smaller, yet notably well-run outfits such as Eibar, Leganes and Getafe.
Seedorf will become their third tactician of a season which started under Pepe Mel, who rejuvenated them last season but, as he has done in other jobs, ran out of steam. Cristobal was promoted from the youth team yet never looked comfortable while Seedorf has held only two previous coaching roles and never one for more than six months. All these appointments are further indication of the club’s cost-cutting measures.
The former Real Madrid, Inter and Milan midfielder had been applying for jobs in the lower reaches of England’s Football League, such was his desperation to re-enter the game. Such willingness and enthusiasm is admirable for someone willing to move down, but Depor will be hoping he can offer more and doesn’t end up leading them into a lower division.