The Champions League

Francisco helps Rayo Vallecano get over Andoni Iraola’s departure

As reported by Mundo Deportivo, Andoni Iraola’s departure to Premier League side Bournemouth in the summer was thought to entail an end to Rayo Vallecano’s impressive resurgence.

Under the three years of Iraola’s management, Rayo underwent an incredible transformation, gaining promotion to the Primera División, almost sneaking into the European spots last season, and earning a historic appearance in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey in 2022. 

However, Rayo have continued to flourish with the arrival of head coach Francisco Rodríguez, currently sitting in 7th place. The former player-turned-manager has managed to equal Iraola’s 2021-22 points tally for the first ten games. That season, Iraola’s Rayo gained sixteen points in their first ten games.

In the current 2023-24 season, Rayo have also racked up sixteen points in their first ten games with four wins, four draws, and two losses. The Madrid side are proving to be strong both defensively and in attack, having the third-highest number of shots on goal behind Real Madrid and Barcelona.

They have also been strong defensively, keeping five clean sheets so far this season, with seven of their thirteen goals conceded this season coming in a single match against Atlético Madrid in August. 

The side from Vallecas will face Real Sociedad, who are on eighteen points, at home next. Rayo have not beaten the Basque team at home since October 2013. 

GSFN | Finn Entwistle

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