In sports, Gallego can finally count on his entire squad, available for the match on Sunday (6.15pm) against Castellón, in Castalia. The players affected by the coronavirus outbreak, nine in total in first-team dynamics, have been gradually joining group training. The first of them was Pablo Pérez, on January 9. That is, almost two weeks after the rest of the first team after the Christmas holidays.
After him came, in batches, during the following week, the rest of the affected players: Manu García, Nacho Méndez, Gragera, Pedro, Pelayo Suárez, Guille Rosas and Gaspar Campos, the only one who confirmed his positive in a letter that he made public. The last to return to David Gallego’s orders was Diego Mariño, last Tuesday.
Thus, to prevent players from accusing inactivity – the team stayed on vacation on December 21, which meant that Mariño spent practically a month in the dry dock -, Gallego’s coaching staff has been programming special sessions with these players, in addition to the group with the rest of his companions. Everything to ensure that they can be available to the coach for the weekend’s match against Castellón, the first of the second round. In fact, three of them – Pablo Pérez, Manu García and Nacho Méndez – have already played their first minutes.
That in terms of purely sports, but in this period the extra-sports aspect has taken on a key importance. The infections led to an earthquake inside and outside the dressing room, which threatened to collapse the pillars of an exciting project in sports. The uninfected players rebelled against this circumstance, and did their best to move the situation forward., without losing any of the first three games of the year –two in the League and one in the Cup– until they were eliminated against Betis last week.
“The costumes have come out stronger and more united from this situation” is the mantra that is repeated in Mareo. This is what Gallego says and is repeated by heavy weights from the locker room, such as Babin. A maxim that will have to be confirmed in future meetings. With a full second round ahead, it seems essential that the team stay together, one of the keys to the success so far. For this, the conversations that have surely been held in the locker room are important, especially by veterans, calling for unity and responsibility.
The administrative part remains to be seen. Two players from the first team have been proposed for sanction along with ten other people – one of them, an ex-tenant from Mareo – and the hotel restaurant where the breaches of health regulations took place in an event held on the afternoon of Christmas Eve where, at times , safety distances were not kept and masks were not used. To this sanction that will be determined by the Health Department of the Principality, it remains to be seen if another will be added by the club, since the players proposed to be fined it seems evident that they did not comply with the recommendations made by the entity.