A host of managerial changes have dominated the headlines in the close-season of La Liga, with the highest profile switch being Pablo Machin swapping Girona for Sevilla. The 43-year-old has signed a two-year contract at the Andalusian club and the move prompts a new chapter for both clubs.
Early reports suggest one of the Coach’s first signings at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan could be to raid his former club for the services of forward Cristian Portugues Manzanera ‘Portu’, who netted 11 top-flight goals last term. It should be another busy summer at Sevilla with a new Coach attempting to stamp a new playing philosophy on his squad.
There was a clear shift of style two years ago when Unai Emery left Los Rojiblancos, taking with him the high-intensity style of play, focusing on fast transitions between defence and attack. He was replaced by the possession-based Jorge Sampaoli, who sustained a prolonged title challenge before being tempted by the offer to return home to manage the Argentina national team.
Sevilla have struggled for the past season to form any sort of clear playing style, firstly through Eduardo Berizzo then Vincenzo Montella, before interim boss Joaquin Caparros – now Director of Football – injected some pride as they finished strongly, with 10 points in four games.
What worked so well for Machin at Girona was all players buying into his philosophy and his 3-4-2-1 formation often bamboozling opponents, with wing-backs Pablo Maffeo and Johan Mojica excelling. The Soria-native originally took the reins at the Catalan club in 2014 and guided them to their first ever promotion to the top flight three years later.
“It’s the happy ending of a fairy tale,” Machin told reporters, as cited by Cadena Cope.
“Some time ago I stated that I wanted the people of the city to be proud of Girona, proud of the team and that the club will continue to grow, with more people wearing the shirt.
“Now they will also have one more supporter in Seville and I would only ever have left if an irrevocable offer arrived, and it did.
“When a Coach like me is put before a club like Sevilla, then it is very hard to say no.”
Now both Sevilla and Girona turn a new page with uncertainty, even if a certain sense of optimism prevails, for both. What worked for Machin in Catalonia may not at a club with significantly higher demands and expectations. But having guided the club to a remarkably top-half finish in their debut season in the top flight, his appointment is merited.
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