The task of defending Palmeiras’ coach Eduardo Baptista gets harder by the day. Certainly hardworking, studious, passionate about his craft, but not much of that seems to colour the squad. Our players are underperforming badly, same players that a few months’ back were peaking. No defined playing style can be detected. We have lost superiority in the air, both offensively and defensively. Baptista himself makes odd choices, leaving supporters grinding their teeth in frustration. Also very worrying is that he seems unable to motivate: under Cuca, players came on hungry and 49% of Palmeiras’ goals were scored during the first half; under Baptista, only 20% in the first half, with players instead having to chase that draw or winner in the dying minutes of the game. Bottom line, we are yet to see a couple of solid games from start to finish. And mind you, it has been four months since Baptista took office.
Yesterday’s defeat to the Bolivians might have been a turning point. Palmeiras needed but a draw to secure advancement to the knockout stage and finish in pole position. The pitch was bumpy and hard, the altitude played tricks on our players. Nevertheless, Jorge Wilstermann are a limited side and nothing yesterday justified defeat, except for Palmeiras’ stale performance. Instead of going through to the next stage, Palmeiras now face the risk of missing the spot: all it takes is a bad defeat against Atlético Tucumán in the last round, while JW beat Peñarol.
In spite of all this, Baptista’s boat would not rock much were it not for rumours Cuca could be in Palmeiras’ sights. If club and Cuca come to an agreement, things might happen very fast in order to take full advantage of the ten days at disposal before Palmeiras’ next marathon of important games: 14 May Brazilian championship debut against Vasco da Gama; 17 May Brazil cup debut against Internacional; 20 May second round of the Brazilian championship against Chapecoense; 24 May Atlético Tucumán to secure continuation in the Libertadores Cup.
What do I think?
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!