March 31, 2013
Montanier maintains focus
Team Stat Comparison
|Goals for *||1.3||1.5|
|Goals against *||1.5||1.4|
|Last 5 home||L-D-L-D-D||D-D-W-W-W|
|Last 5 away||L-L-L-W-W||W-W-L-D-W|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Espanyol | Real Sociedad|
|12/15||A: Almeria||12/15||H: Real Betis|
|12/22||H: Real Valladolid||12/21||A: Granada|
|1/5||A: Osasuna||1/5||H: Athletic Bilbao|
|1/12||H: Real Madrid||1/12||A: Villarreal|
|1/19||H: Celta Vigo||1/19||A: Getafe|
Real Sociedad coach Philippe Montanier wants his team to relax as they chase Champions League qualification.
Sociedad have lost just once in 18 La Liga matches, and that 4-3 at Real Madrid, to stay ahead of Valencia and Malaga, whom they face after Sunday's match at Espanyol.
Montanier feels if his squad can remain composed over the run-in, then the San Sebastian outfit can secure a shot at a place in Europe's top club competition next season.
"We have to focus above all on our game. Focus on what we have to do to get good results. We don't have an objective in terms of the table; we have objectives in terms of our play and our performances. The rest will come by itself,'' the former French international said in Ouest France newspaper.
"I have one of the youngest teams in the league and after 20 months of daily work, the team is constantly progressing and stores the trust, from which comes a good performance.
"It's going to be a sprint to the finish. You could say that we've started well, but unfortunately it's only the end that counts, where we have arrived after the 38th game.''
Midfielder Asier Illarramendi is confident the team can hold things together over the final 10 matches.
"They are difficult games, because we have six on the road and at home we are facing Valencia, Malaga and Real Madrid, amongst others, but we have the desire to make it into Europe and we will give everything in the games that are left,'' he said.
Espanyol, meanwhile, may just about be safe in 13th place on 35 points, but the financial problems of the Barcelona-based club continue.
President Joan Collet had meetings this week with manager Javier Aguirre and players as they look to settle outstanding wages.
He said in a media conference, reported on the club's official website: "We had arrived at a date to make some payments, but it has not been signed yet entirely.
"I take my hat off to the players, because they know the situation we have had in recent months.
"They are behaving beautifully and I can only have words of thanks that have been very sympathetic to this situation.''