Levante managed to get their season up and running last night, and afterwards Parfitt said it was the first time this season he had managed to pick his own team and tactics. When asked exactly what he meant by this odd statement, Parfitt said that the night before the first four matches of the season so far, AC Milan boss Stephen Beddows had come to him in a dream and left explicit instruction regarding Levente’s set up.
Parfitt suggested that this dream occured on Saturday night as well, but on this occasion he chose to ignore it. The end result of ignoring Beddows being the Spanish side’s first point of the season. Not only did the club earn the point, but they also put in a much improved all round performance. The German side are quite a tricky prospect at this level, especially at home, but the stats show that Levante were good value for the point, and on another night may have even pinched all three.
The game started off with the home side flying out of the blocks however. Within 3 minutes, Fred had already put one effort wide and seen John Ruddy make a save from another effort. That earlypressure soon paid off, Juan Vargas scoring for the Germans on 7 minutes. Given that Koln took 6 points from these fixtures last season, Levante’s poor start looked all set to continue.
Levante came into the game more as the first half came towards a close. Adriano and Gomez both missed decent chances.
At the start of the second half, Mate Simao made way for Angel Romero as Levante went with 2 up top in an effort to get something out of the game. Six minutes later, the substitution proved to be a masterful one. Jean Beausejour was brought down, and Romero took the resultant free kick. He chipped the ball over towards the penalty spot, where Alejandro Gomez got a powerful head to the ball and beat the keeper magnifficently.
In all fairness, a second goal either way wouldperhaps have been harshon whoever lost, but it was a good game of football, and one from which a beleagured Levante side will take some confidence.
The Spaniards now have two home games in a row, with Southampton coming over for a cup mach tomorrow, before Italian club Atalanta arrive for Thursday nights league encounter.Parfitt expects the team tomorrow night to be vastly different, but is hopeful that the players who come in will see that they have an opportunity to stake a claim for a regular starting spot. Following his performance last night, Angel Romero has already been told he will start for the first time this season against Southampton, and given the clubs chronic lack of goals, the number 9 shirt is very much still available.
There have been a number of transfers in and out of the club over the last 10 days or so. The biggest name being Correia Adriano, who joined from Barcelona for a fee of £9m. Levante have also asked Barcelona if the can be kept updated on the position of another of Barca’s defenders, although a deal is unlikely at the moment with the side from the Nou Camp currently using theplayer in their own first team.
The other players to join Levante are……
- Anthony Caceres – Central Coast Mariners £360k
- Manuel Friedrich – Free agent £398k
- Sylvain Distin – Bournemouth £204k
- Israel Jiminez – Tigres UANL £2.6m
- Steve Mounie – Free Agent £150k
- Dani Romero – Free agent £450k
- Adil Nabi – Free agent £75k
- Jean Thome – FC Vestsjaelland £80k plus Euan Spark
- Bart Ramselaar – AZ £3m and Roberto Trashorras
Some of the players are hopes for the futurre, and others are old experienced heads at bargain prices. The club are not in a position to compete for top players at big money, but some of signings, especially Bart Ramselaar are very exciting, and the club are delighted to have got each and every one of them in.
The Levante youth side were tuned to their television sets last night whilst the first team were away. They have been drawn in a very tough group and are rubbing their hands together at the prospect of trips to the Bernebau, Villa Park, Flamengo and Leverkusen.
Whilst both the playing group, and all of the staff involved in the youth set up realise what a difficult group it is, they also understand that games against that calibre of opposition will be fantastic experience in their development towards what will hopefully become a successful career in the Levente first XI. As a show of confidence in the youth system, Parfitt is planning on handing several of the youngsters their first team debut’s in the cup match against Southampton tomorrow night. Should they show well, there is the possibility that they could earn themselves a spot in the first team on a more regular basis.
The youth sides group in full is as per the below, and the club will be looking to get the home fixtures penciled in ASAP.
1. Real Madrid (Keano)
2. Aston Villa (Rahul W)
3. Levante UD (Tom Parfitt)
4. Flamego (Mark Phelps)
5. Bayer Leverkusen (Noisy)