Osasuna settles this Wednesday at the Bernabéu (9:30 pm, Movistar) with the label of the Championship revelation team and with the endorsement of being the one that has achieved the most wins away from home in the five major European leagues: four out of four. Cádiz (2-3), Alavés (0-2), Mallorca (2-3) and Villarreal (1-2).
The exemplary fable of this Osasuna who now competes among the best, without forgetting that his primary objective is permanence, began several years ago. In the 2017-18 season with his return to the First Division and from a purely football point of view it coincides with the arrival at the club in the position of sports director of Braulio Vázquez, who had previously served as such at Valencia (2010-13) and at Valladolid (2014-17). He was the one who signed Jagoba Arrasate as coach and between the two they got down to work.
From prudence and with a small mouth, Braulio analyzes how the current situation has developed. “We could not be more proud of our work: the new stadium, the team in high positions, 20,000 members and a hobby that pushes us every day to be better. Since we got to Primera (2018-19) we have the same policy. We have the solid foundation of the promotion and each year we add three to four pieces. We don’t sign much. The first year we were tenth without losing the identity that had served us to climb. This season, five additions. A signing, Budimir, for whom we paid eight million, the most expensive transfer in the club’s history; two free players, José Ángel Coté and Kike García, and two on loan, Manu Sánchez, who was already there the previous year, and Ontiveros ”.
Braulio is clear about the work philosophy and explains it this way. “We have established a block in which the homegrown players prevail, we have eleven in the first team. We have been able to renew the talent that used to go quickly. To Moncayola, 10 years old, to David García, five, and other young people recently uploaded, such as Javi Martínez. We only have three foreigners: Brasanac (Serbian), Budimir (Croatian) and Chimy Ávila (Argentine). I believe in foreigners who already know our League. I do not risk with people who come again. Between the fact that I have little money and that I am looking for a quick adaptation, I prefer the security of someone I know. I cannot fail in the few signings that I do. The cost of our staff is 46 million. Until Budimir, our most expensive signing had been Rubén García, 3.5. Our second unit is almost all homegrown players or players with a low economic profile. Our fourth tip, for example, Barbero, does not reach 100,000 euros. I put it as a real example ”.
The team’s style of play is a matter for the coach, Jagoba Arrasate, and Braulio wants to add that he is totally identified with the likes of the fans. “Our people do not like close matches, or tactics. He wants frenzy. Round trip. Playing that game sometimes takes its toll on us. Against Valencia we lost 1-4 for wanting to go too high. It is difficult for us to measure ourselves. We go and we go, even if the party does not ask us to. People push us to go. She gets horny with three corners in a row. Away from home we get such good results because we measure the risk a little more. It is no coincidence to have won all four. In total, we have won in four from minute 85. And it is no coincidence, we are going for the games until the end. We have a lot of faith, we compete almost always, even if we lose. In bad times, we even bond more. The profiles of our players are very marked. Kike García, who has just arrived, is a god in Pamplona because he brings together the values that society demands, especially work, work. That is not negotiable in Osasuna. A 40-meter run to defend is more valued than a pipe. We are looking for players who cannot fail us in that sense ”.
Tactically Osasuna adapts to various drawings, depending on the match and the rival, but the predominant one is 4-1-4-1. Against Villarreal he played with three centrals, although it is not an occupation of the spaces that his coach likes too much. Its strong point lies in the center of the field and its main virtues are reflected in the statistics. It is the team with the most possession in the opposite half (37.7%), ahead of Barcelona (34.4) and Real Sociedad (33.9) and the third with the most recoveries, also on rival terrain. His attack game is markedly perpendicular. Without long possessions, charge the enemy area with many men in finishing position. Dominate the passing game in both areas.
His sports director tries to avoid misunderstandings. “That we have that direct football should not hide our virtues. We have 14 goals in favor, which are many, and we generated many chances. It is not fair to say that we hit the pitch and that’s it. We are not that. Our transitions are the last third of the field, yes, but we are the team that focuses the most in the entire League and from all heights. We are high-backs who center like the angels and our midfielders are from area to area, the routes of Brasanac and Moncayola are terrible, because that is what Jagoba likes. Torró gives us balance. We press very high. It is not normal for a lesser team to go so high to press. We shrink a lot, we don’t put our ass behind. We risk ”.
The normal thing is that, at the Bernabéu, Arrasate makes changes. Whenever the team has three games in a week, it does. And the next match, in addition, is against Sevilla. Two years ago at the Bernabéu he changed seven players in relation to the previous game and last season at the Di Stéfano, eight. Jagoba likes to have the entire squad hooked. Value the meritocracy of training and the good form of each player.
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