Rubi’s Es­panyol in­spire re­spect

Business Day - - Sport - Richard Mar­tin Barcelona

Es­panyol coach Rubi has trans­formed the for­tunes of the of­ten un­der­achiev­ing Cata­lan club and gal­vanised hopes ahead of Satur­day’s city derby at home to La Liga cham­pi­ons Barcelona. Vic­tory for sev­enth-placed Es­panyol would move them to within four points of lead­ers Barca and fur­ther en­hance the rep­u­ta­tion of their coach, who spent a sea­son at the Nou Camp work­ing as an as­sis­tant. Rubi be­gan his coach­ing ca­reer in the lower leagues of Span­ish foot­ball, with sides such as Hos­pi­talet and Es­panyol’s re­serve team, win­ning pro­mo­tion to the third tier of Span­ish foot­ball with the lat­ter. He stood out in these typ­i­cally gritty sur­round­ings for hav­ing an at­tack­ing out­look and in­sist­ing that his teams dom­i­nate posses­sion. His suc­cess and rep­u­ta­tion led to him strik­ing up a friend­ship with Tito Vi­lanova, as­sis­tant to Pep Guardi­ola dur­ing his tro­phy­laden pe­riod as boss of Barca. Guardi­ola is re­ported to have asked Rubi to join his staff at Bay­ern Mu­nich when he be­gan work­ing with the Ger­mans in 2013. Guardi­ola’s who head the Rubi’s Nou coach con­vinced Yet Camp aban­don work­ing suc­ces­sor and it in was join 2013. his him re­la­tion­ship ca­reer his Vi­lanova, at to staff Barca, tem­po­rar­ily as at a with month, when leave Vi­lanova the the though, job lat­ter as would cru­elly his was bat­tle only forced cut last short with to a throat Vi­lanova Rubi re­mained died can­cer in April at in­ten­si­fied. 2014. the club un­der Mar­tino, Ar­gen­tine but soon coach re­turned Ger­ardo to man­age­ment, Val­ladolid, Lev­ante tak­ing and Sport­ing over Gi­jon with vary­ing de­grees of suc­cess. He then stormed to a top flight pro­mo­tion with min­nows Huesca. Yet in­stead of lead­ing Huesca into their first sea­son in La Liga, he re­turned to Es­panyol, where he had spent his early years as a coach in charge of the re­serve team. He was im­me­di­ately en­dorsed by Guardi­ola, who said: “I have great ref­er­ences for him, he did great work with Huesca and I see him as a very brave coach. I’m con­vinced he will cor­rect. Guardi­ola do very Es­panyol well ’ s inkling at had Es­panyol.” be­come proved used half of to La fin­ish­ing Liga but Rubi in the has lower over­seen their best start to a sea­son since 2010, when Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur man­ager Mauri­cio Pochet­tino was at the helm. An ex­cel­lent run of home form, win­ning five of six games, has taken them into sev­enth place, spark­ing hopes of a push for Euro­pean foot­ball next sea­son. “Es­panyol are de­mand­ing re­spect again and every­one knows they are a pow­er­ful team,” said former player Luis Gar­cia of the team’s re­vival un­der Rubi. Vic­tory over Barca, who they have not beaten in the league since 2009, would take them to within touch­ing dis­tance of their more glam­orous ri­vals, who re­claimed top spot from Sevilla in La Liga last week. Barca will be boosted by the re­turn of Brazil­ian mid­fielder Arthur Melo and striker Uruguay striker Luis Suarez for Satur­day ’ s en­counter. /Reuters

Es­panyol coach Rubi

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