Alberto Valentim followed up his 1-3 debut victory away against Atlético Goianense with a 2-0 against Ponte Preta and, today, another convincing 1-3 away victory, this time in Porto Alegre against former runner-up Grêmio. Atlético and Ponte are in the relegation zone, and Grêmio today fielded an alternative line-up, as their priority is next Wednesday´s Libertadores quarterfinal. Nevertheless, Valentim has certainly succeeded in implementing some ideas of his own in these last couple of weeks and Palmeiras are faster, lighter, with players less troubled by excessive defensive task involving a lot of running due to Cuca´s man-to-man marking system. Keno, Tchê Tchê and Mayke are pulling the wagon, putting out extraordinary performances. Borja has been given more pitch time and has corresponded accordingly. The long-awaited mesh seems finally to have arrived. And with Mano Menezes a few days back announcing he has extended with Cruzeiro for another two seasons, suddenly the outlook for Alberto Valentim has shifted considerably. Certainly he has the backing of the squad and the supporters. Valentim however states he is solely concentrating on the tasks ahead, one game at the time, which is wise of him.
With eight rounds to go, Palmeiras are the runner-up with 53 points, 6 points behind Corinthians. Our rival are one game short: tomorrow, they visit Botafogo, currently seventh in the tables. The Brasileirão everyone treated as a done deal two months ago is shaping up to be quite the thing. Trust me: every single corintiano is fearfully gazing in the rear view mirror.
Palmeiras next commitment is on Monday 30 October, at home, against Cruzeiro. After that, Corinthians await at the Itaqueirão… *Thump Thump*.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!