Girona's recent 4-0 defeat to Real Madrid, following a 0-3 loss in their previous encounter in September, has solidified Real's dominance over the Catalan underdogs, who have otherwise proven to be a formidable opponent in La Liga this season.
Despite these setbacks against Real, Girona's performance in the league has been commendable, offering hope to their supporters. However, Míchel, Girona's coach, maintains a realistic perspective on his team's aspirations and capabilities.
Míchel, who was sidelined due to a suspension and could not be present in the dugout, expressed no dissatisfaction with his team's effort. Acknowledging the superiority of Real's players in one-on-one situations, he cited the likes of Camavinga, Bellingham, and Vinícius as examples of the level Girona aspires to reach. "We gave it our all, but in the duels, the Real players were superior... This match showed us the reality. We're having an incredible season, but we're still a few steps away from Real's level," Míchel remarked, underlining the gap between his team and the top tier of Spanish football. This sobering realization, according to him, is crucial for keeping the team grounded and focused on achievable goals.
Despite harboring hopes of an upset, Míchel admitted that, during the match, the possibility of a win seemed out of reach. He speculated that a more defensive strategy might have contained Real Madrid's advances better, but conceded that such an approach does not align with Girona's ethos. Praising Real Madrid's performance, Míchel tipped them as strong contenders for the championship, acknowledging the challenge any team would face in trying to prevent their triumph.
Míchel's reflections extend beyond the match, touching on Girona's position within the broader context of Spanish football. He candidly stated that competing with giants like Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atlético Madrid is beyond Girona's current scope. "The title race is not our league; we compete with Athletic Bilbao, Real Betis, Real Sociedad, Valencia…" Míchel clarified, positioning Girona among clubs with similar stature and aspirations. Despite dismissing the notion of Girona as a title contender, he expressed optimism about the team's potential to qualify for European football next season, setting it as a tangible and ambitious goal for the club.
This candid assessment by Míchel not only highlights Girona's commendable performance and growth in La Liga but also underscores the realistic ambitions and strategic planning required for smaller clubs to compete and succeed within the echelons of European football. It's a reminder of the relentless pursuit of excellence and the pragmatic approach needed to navigate the competitive landscape of top-tier football.