Manuel Pellegrini believes the World Cup will create a unique logistical challenge for club coaches this season in Europe, but his confidence with Real Betis remains high.
Under Pellegrini last season, Betis just missed out on Champions League qualification and finished fifth in LaLiga, as well as claiming the Copa del Rey for the first time since 2005.
With the World Cup break in November and only five players in the squad under the age of 23, finding and maintaining a critical sense of rhythm represents a definitive challenge in building upon last season.
Speaking to Marca as his side commences pre-season, the 68-year-old believes the second half of the upcoming LaLiga season will particularly be like a sprint to the finish.
“It is a different World Cup that is going to cut the championship into two phases, with 45 or 50 days without playing,” Pellegrini said. “So you have to try to amortise it with friendly matches, with some occasional vacations, to reach the second part of the championship with all the energy that is needed for the final stretch.”
Combining the combative likes of Borja Iglesias and Guido Rodriguez with the more cerebral Sergio Canales and William Carvalho, Betis played a distinct brand of football under Pellegrini last season.
@SergioCanales #ForeverGreen pic.twitter.com/mBbcXtfcQq
— Real Betis Balompié (@RealBetis_en) July 14, 2022
They were one of only five teams in LaLiga last season to score over 60 goals and the Argentine coach raised the idea his side’s fans have also been normalised to a particular style of football.
He added, however, that maintaining an attractive style of football while delivering amid heightened expectations is a challenge his side is willing to meet, while competing on domestic and continental fronts.
“Yes, we all want more, the people and us. It is not easy to achieve it, but we are going to fight from the first day to be able to do it,” Pellegrini said. “There are four titles in dispute, LaLiga, the Copa del Rey, the Europa League and the Supercopa.
“Of course we are going to try to fight for all of them. It is also a challenge to qualify for Europe again, if it is in the Champions League even better, but the biggest challenge is to maintain a style of play and a style where the fans really feel identified and not looking for a result in any way.
“It is an important challenge, motivating, a hope that we generate ourselves and now we have to take charge because, of course, the Betis fan has to stay with that bar and support the team absolutely the same.”