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Tello during the game against Villarreal / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

In at the deep end

Lotina is an experienced pro, who took over at Villarrealon Monday morning, and has previously been in charge of Espanyol, Celta, Deportivo and Osasuna amongst others. He’ll have a tough
task in his first game though, with Madrid still stung by Málaga’s last minute equaliser and
traditionally strong at El Madrigal, where they have lost just twice in the last 12 years, winning
seven times and drawing on three occasions and Lotina admitted: “I’d have liked to have had
more time to work with the lads before meeting Madrid. They’ll be a real test for us, but a win
would give us a great boost “.

Racing and Sporting on Villarreal’s heels

Villarreal are only three points ahead of third from bottom Racing, who went down 3-1 to
Espanyol in Monday’s game from week 27, but the Santander team could overtake them on
Thursday night if they can beat Michel’s stuttering Sevilla at El Sardinero. Sporting could also
draw level with Villarreal, though they have a much worse goal difference, if Clemente can
lift his team for the visit of Mallorca - who have three players suspended for the game – on
Wednesday night. Bottom side Zaragoza’s coach Manolo Jiménez reckoned he could see “a
glimmer” of hope after his team’s 1-1 draw at the weekend, but they face a tough trip to
Mestalla to face Valencia on Wednesday.

Osasuna aim to keep up home form

Osasuna could go fourth on Tuesday night if they maintain they excellent form at the Reyno
de Navarra with a third straight home win, but visitors Getafe are themselves on a little run,
having won their last two games. Levante are currently in fourth, but with just one away
win and seven defeats out of their last eight trips, the odds might well favour Real Sociedad
at Anoeta on Wednesday – the Basques have lost just once in their last eight home games.
Málaga are level on points with Levante and will look to build on their point at the Bernabeu
with a win over Rayo, whilst Espanyol are also back in the mix after the win over Racing and
visit Betis on Thursday before entertaining Málaga next weekend.

Llorente could return for Bilbao

There’s also a big game on Wednesday at the Vicente Calderón, when Atlético take on Athletic
Club, with both teams hoping to bounce back after defeats at the weekend. Marcelo Bielsa will be able to welcome back Toquero and Amorabieta who were suspended at the weekend and the
injured Llorente could also figure, though captain Iraola is suspended.

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