January 19th 2013, at 6:34pm
He’s the man with the Mexican charisma, the man with the midas touch.
Everything Javier Aguirre touches turns to gold, and right now, he’s got his grasp locked firmly on RCD Espanyol.
Since taking over at the Catalan club in late November, replacing a certain headline grabbing Mauricio Pochettino, Aguirre has transformed Periquitos relegation-certs to mid-table hopefuls. Seven Liga matches have heralded only one solitary defeat, (away to Campiones-elect and neighbourhood rivals, Barcelona) whilst a credible draw away to Real Madrid was followed up with victories over Celta Vigo, and on Friday night, Mallorca.
A tough tackling midfielder in his day, Aguirre has brought about the same steely approach and disciplined mentality at Estadi Cornelia El Prat, with much emphasis on keeping things tight in the middle of the park. No stranger to the transfer window, the Mexican, 54, has already dipped his toes into the January water with the astute purchase of Bulgarian winger Martin Petrov.
So just what is behind this remarkable Espanyol turnaround? Well, primarily, the side are playing with confidence once more under Aguirre. Spanish striker Sergio Garcia is finding the net once more with relative, and regular ease, as he shows glimpses of the form that earned him a Euro 2008 call-up with the national side. Rooted to the foot of the table under Pochettino, the Catalans now look the most likely of all Liga sides in the bottom half to pull clear of the relegation melee.
When Aguirre was coach of the Mexican national team at the last World Cup, he exceeded all expectations as the South Americans qualified from a group containing France and hosts, South Africa. Don’t be surprised to see him do it again at Espanyol!