Rayo Vallecano's Paco Jemez is a breath of fresh air in La Liga

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Rayo Vallecano stepped out onto Barcelona's Camp Nou pitch at the weekend knowing they had lost all nine previous games to this particular opposition.

Both home and away, Barca had reigned supreme, allowing Rayo manager, Paco Jemez and his side just two goals in all that time, whilst scoring over 30 themselves.

Against such a backdrop, we might have expected Rayo to be more defensive but that really isn't in Jemez's makeup. Never has been.


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Here is a manager that loves to see players express themselves; to play out from the back even under the most intense pressure. Mistakes don't matter as long as each player buys into the Jemez philosophy.

Just like Pep

There's a little bit of the Pep Guardiola about him in that respect.

Who can forget when Barcelona travelled to the Santiago Bernabeu a few seasons back and a calamitous Victor Valdes mistake allowed Karim Benzema to fire the hosts ahead after just 21 seconds.

Pep wasn't so bothered by the mistake, but wanted to ensure that his custodian did exactly the same again when the ball fell at this feet, and play it out from the back.

Rayo, like Barcelona, do things a certain way. There is no deviation whatsoever. Win, lose or draw, Jemez will have his side playing in exactly the same manner.


The paying public still want to be entertained. Let's be honest: Who wants to go and watch a match where two teams are overly defensive, creating a sterile atmosphere and a feeling that hard-earned money has been wasted?

Football is an entertainment business and the players are its actors. These athletes have the power to change the mood of the locals who come to watch the match, with a good win or impressive performance.

Look at how Rayo took the game to Barcelona in the opening exchanges of the match at the weekend.

Even Manchester United flop Bebe didn't look out of place down the left channel and his pass to Guerra for the opening goal was exquisite and deserved the finish it received.

With 15 minutes of the game left, Rayo were still ahead on the amount of possession during the game. Imagine that - a team coming to Camp Nou and having the cheek to play Barca at their own game.


Although Barca ran out comfortable winners in the end, with Neymar a shoo-in for the man-of-the-match award, the scoreline flattered the hosts somewhat.

Had Rayo taken any number of gilt-edged chances, then the final result may well have been a lot closer.

Those that suggest the same would be more a result of Barca's current inadequacies in defence are doing Rayo an immense disservice.

They are a breath of fresh air in La Liga, and long may they, and Jemez, continue to give us the great pleasure of bearing witness to their particular brand of swashbuckling football.

Do you think Paco Jemez should be in contention to take over from Vicente Del Bosque as Spain manager? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!

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