Brandon shoot just inside the box as he gives Malaga the lead. / MARIANO POZO

Malaga CF now make their on-pitch presence known

In the first three games with Guede in charge, the team has always opened the scoring and has surprised the opposition with their high intensity

BORJA GUTIÉRREZ

If football matches lasted just 45 minutes, Guede's Malaga side would have beaten two of the promotion favourites, Valladolid and Eibar. Against the big two sides in the division, the Blue and Whites proved to be a changed team under the Argentinian since his arrival three weeks ago. Malaga now make their on-pitch presence known from the off, which has caught their opponents off guard.

In Guede's opening three games in charge as coach, the Andalusians have always opened the scoring. Against Valladolid and Eibar they managed to do so at the start of the games, before five minutes had even passed, with Brandon scoring on both occasions.

The Spaniard embodies what Guede asks of his players, to physically push themselves, alongside great mobility and with an asphixiating pressure over his opponents.

This is the foundation of the new-look Malaga, Guede's Malaga. The Blue and Whites' right-back, Víctor Gómez, explained it to perfection. "Intensity is part of the team's identity since [Guede] arrived; the team is on a positive trend. The result was negative, but we learned to adapt and compete with the league leaders with one man less, which is what we have to underline," he said after the game against Eibar.

Aggresive improvement

The anger the team felt after playing Eibar was down to the fact that Malaga, despite all their efforts, walked away from the game empty-handed and with no points to help their survival quest. Though it must be said that the 'Guede effect' is still in full force; that is, an increase in agressiveness, the loss of insecurities and their complete determination regardless of the setbacks.

The Malaga players also have the backing from the coaches to go all in, even if that translated to a slight increase in bookings. Against Eibar, the Blue and Whites saw five yellow cards and one red for just eleven fouls, with a further three cards shown for off-pitch incidents.

Guede also remained clear on the perceived lack of discipline. "The protests are something we need to improve, but the emotion of the game leads to that and I can't berate them for anything," he said, showing his satisfaction for the players' attitude.

Physchologically, the new head coach is extracting everything from the squad. Without Guede's motivating qualities, Malaga's intense start to games cannot be explained. Their high energy is leading to key moments during matches, as well as being converted into goals.

Guede's solution to the Blue and Whites' lack of goals has been to get the players creating more chances. The team is now reaping their rewards, netting six times in their last three games, which is a major shift from their goal drought earlier in the year.

The feeling at the club is that the team is on the right track to win more games, and that the defeat to Eibar was a bump in the otherwise smooth road that will carry them to the end of the season and to fight another year in the second division.