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Pablo Machin: Destined for The Premier League?

A glance at the top of La Liga reveals an awful lot about Spanish domestic football at this present moment. Real Madrid are nowhere to be seen and little Alaves are placed proudly in fourth.

Sandwiched between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, in second place sit Sevilla. The grand old Andalusian club are just one point behind Barcelona after twelve games.

They look to have shaken off last season’s rustiness which saw them slump to seventh place in La Liga. Credit for this must go the great work being done by their exciting young coach; Pablo Machin.

The Soria born manager has made huge strides in recent years, emerging as one of the most highly rated trainers in Europe. No doubt, his exploits will have turned heads in boardrooms of The Premier League‘s big clubs.

Success

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After almost a decade on the coaching staff at Numancia, Machin was thrown in to lowly Catalan outfit, Girona. Back in 2014, the back water club was anchored to the bottom of the Spanish second tier and facing relegation.

Machin rapidly turned things around, with a speed that would probably have shocked even him. Having saved them from relegation in 13/14, he lead them to three successive top four finishes in the Segunda, ultimately leading to their first ever promotion to La Liga in 2017.

Despite being relegation favorites last season, Machin guided Les Gironistes to mid-table playing a deadly brand of counter attacking, gutsy football. They took some pretty huge scalps as well, beating Real Madrid as well as impressive victories against Celta Vigo and Villareal. It was this unprecedented success that caught the eye in Andalusia.

Upgrading

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Given the turbulence that rocked Sevilla last season, the appointment of a rookie La Liga coach appeared a bit of a gamble to say the least. Expectations have significantly risen over the past few years at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, trophies have flowed and a succession of excellent players has made them one of Europe’s respected names.

While Machin did remarkably well at Girona, his side were largely geared to absorb huge doses of pressure rather than going on the offensive. More would be required at Sevilla, who had eyes on more trophies and a return to the Champions League, going into 18/19.

Machin would also be working with vastly superior players, who had been coached by the likes of Unai Emery in recent years. His methods would have to transfer at a much higher level.

However, early days as it may be under Machin, the former Numancia man looks to be delivering. They are second only to Barca on points and goals and have won many admirers for their brave attacking set ups. They are also ticking over nicely in the Europa League, poised well for the knockouts. It’s clear this is a young coach with a very bright future, unphased by expectations and bigger challenges.

Meticulous

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Machin is known to be a deeply analytical coach. He is a note taker and a student of the smaller details, not too dissimilar to Rafa Benitez in that regard.

His demeanour is often calm, but there is a burning desire for his players to constantly upgrade and adapt to his precise methods.

Typically, he lines up with a 3-4-2-1, however this transforms into a front five when his side is attacking, with wing backs racing forward to stretch an exposed back line, opening up gaps in the lines for talented forwards like Ben Yedder and Navas to exploit.

They also break rapidly, using intricate passing triangles and overlapping full backs to explode forward. This is clearly a manager who likes his team to pack a punch.

The likes of Sergi Gomez have credited the former Girona manager’s Meticulous nature and demanding training sessions, as sources of improvement and self assessment. Clearly Machin is a man who prides himself in keeping his players thinking and alert.

Future

La liga is not famous for it’s coaches staying and building, year after year. Only Simeone has stayed for longer than three years at a club in the top four,  so it remains to be seen if Machin will settle in Andalusia.

Results and success will obviously contribute, but if his star continues to rise, there may be a plethora of clubs interested. At 43, he has his whole career still ahead of him.

He is already regarded as one of the continent’s brightest young managers, and is now working at a very exposed level. The Premier League has often dipped in to the Spanish talent pool and we may well very soon be talking a lot more, about this quietly spoken coach at Sevilla.

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