Three defeats in the last four league gamesincluding the fall in the Bombonera, and the very hard elimination of the Argentine Cup suffered before Patronato last night describe the critical moment that River is going through.
Unusual, too: for the first time in the more than 8 years that Marcelo Gallardo has been a coach, the club will end a season without winning at least one title.
A portrait of today, framed in the words of the coach himself, who left La Rioja beaten, after the team from Entre Ríos -which is fighting not to be relegated- disputed the match as equals, despite having put some substitutes. And he will get it out of the way after the penalty shootout.
“It was a difficult year for everyone and you have to put your chest to it. We have the same disappointment of the people. I only focus on what we couldn’t do in all the games in the second half of the year”, the DT said in statements to ‘TyC Sports’.
And to this beaten River there is one more difficulty in the middle of the storm: they must seriously focus on staying in the top positions of the annual table so that their participation in the next edition of the Copa Libertadores is not jeopardized. Above, on the near horizon, is Argentinos Juniors. Next Sunday, River visits him at La Paternal. A defeat for Núñez’s team would leave them level with 61 points, with 15 more at stake for the closing of the championship. It is remembered: the first four of that table access the Libertadores: today they are Racing, River, Gimnasia and Argentinos (Boca is already classified for having won the League Cup).
River’s 2022 is explained with devastating data. Elimination in the quarterfinals of the League Cup against Tigre, at home. Out of the Copa Libertadores in the round of 16 against Vélez, at home. Without the Argentine Cup due to the loss against Patronato on penalties in the quarterfinals, in La Rioja. In addition, in the League it is nine units behind the leader, Atlético Tucumán. He lost the two superclásicos of the year (both 1-0, one at home and one away).
Gallardo outlined his analysis, when the elimination had just been consummated: “We have to be self-critical. We could not meet the expectations of the year and today we must be serene and reflect on what happened, despite the disappointment that invades us. We couldn’t build a team that gives us guarantees to fight all the finals, that’s the truth. In addition, taking into account that there is still a calendar ahead and the goal is to enter the Copa Libertadores in 2023, he added: “The first thing, to get out, you have to be self-critical, as we have always been. We have characterized ourselves as a self-critical team of the demands we set for ourselves to face the year and have the aspirations that a club like River should have. And we couldn’t do it. But now you have to be calm. These are hard times and people accompany us with a respect that has always been there, and I highlight it, ”he reflected.
What was missing from this team to meet the objectives? In relation to other years, game, character and even personality because if something was not lacking, it was the names that make up the squad. Players with hierarchy and capable of facing any competition with integrity until the end. In that sense there is no excuse. Gallardo fulfilled all tastes. Along with the sales of Enzo Fernández, to Benfica, and Julián Álvarez, to Manchester City, which meant the income of around 46 million dollars to the coffers of the club, Andrés Herrera, Emanuel Mammana, Elías Gomez , Leandro González Pirez, Juanfer Quintero, Tomás Pochettino and Esequiel Barco. These seven arrived in the summer. While Rodrigo Aliendro, Lucas Beltrán, Miguel Borja and Pablo Solari, were the ones who arrived in this last transfer market. In total, River invested almost 25 million dollars.
The route of these six final dates will determine the final grade of the year: the objective is to enter the Libertadores so as not to magnify the failure. This beaten and reactionless River will begin that series of matches next Sunday, against Argentinos, as a visitor. Then he will receive Students on Wednesday, October 5. On October 9, they will play against Patronato, in Paraná. Then he waits for Rosario Central (10/12) and Platense (10/16), both at the Monumental, and will have a very tough finish at Avellaneda, against Racing, a team that by then could be in the fight for the title.
The goal is clear: Copa Libertadores 2023. The truth is that something must change in the squad led by Marcelo Gallardo because the present indicates that it will not be easy to achieve it. A reassuring reason for the technical director has to do with the returns of the footballers who were affected by the calls for their selected teams. Important pieces: Franco Armani, Paulo Díaz and Nicolás De la Cruz will be in the team that jumps to play in Diego Maradona on Sunday. To start the path of recovery?
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