BARCELONA (Reuters) – Getafe coach Jose Bordalas has performed miracles with the modest Madrid club by taking them to third in La Liga but a victory away to champions Barcelona on Saturday against old foe Quique Setien would be his biggest feat of all.
Bordalas took over Getafe in 2016 when they were second bottom of Spain’s second division but guided them to promotion that same campaign before turning them into one of the top teams in the top flight, despite a meagre budget and small fan base.
Getafe narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Champions League for the first time last season, but have come back even stronger.
They head to the Camp Nou on a run of four consecutive league wins, sitting comfortably in third place, three points above Atletico Madrid, seven behind second-placed Barca and 10 adrift of leaders Real Madrid.
Last week they enjoyed a resounding 3-0 win over Valencia, who had no shots on target and did not even win a corner.
Getafe’s success has been based on a tight unit of players, short on star names but packed with experience and desire.
Their three top scorers Jamie Mata, Jorge Molina and Angel Rodriguez have a combined age of 100, while 37-year-old Molina is older than the club itself.
But not everyone is enamoured by Bordalas’ methods, not least Setien.
A disciple of Johan Cruyff’s possession-based style of play, the Barca coach is an ideological opposite to Bordalas, who has developed a reputation of building hard-nosed teams who are unafraid to dabble in the dark arts.
While in charge of second division Lugo, Setien accused Bordalas’ Alcorcon of time wasting. After a draw between Real Betis and Getafe, he said the frequent fouling of Bordalas’ side made his blood boil, calling their tactics “lamentable”.
The coaches did not shake hands in their next meeting.
Bordalas has since said he has no grudge against Setien, but stressed that his side do not get the respect they deserve.
“People who dismiss us as defensive do not know what they are talking about,” he told newspaper ABC.
“We are very attacking, we press the opponents in their half, we are direct, we are always looking to get into the other area. It’s great to see us causing problems for clubs who are far bigger and far richer than us.”
Elsewhere, Eden Hazard is set to make his first outing in almost three months when leaders Real Madrid host Celta Vigo on Sunday.
Valencia meanwhile play at home to Atletico on Friday in an early battle for the coveted fourth spot.
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)
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