Espanyols 2-0 win over Bayern Munich moved the spanish side into 10th with three games to go, which is a big turnaround from their first half season form.
At the halfway point of the season Espanyol picked up just 21 points from 19 games and looked destined to be embroiled in a relegation battle. The gaffer acted on the teams slump by strengthening the team, which has seen an impressive return of 28 points from the last 15 matches, and a run to the SMFA European Semi finals where they will meet Bayern tonight.
Mullan showed at Napoli that his sides are always good defensively and that is evident this season at Espanyol with the team having the 5th best defensive record with just 35 conceded. Goals at the other end have started to go in too following the arrivals of Suarez, Firmino and Vlasic. As things stand the club is on course to surpas they close season expectations of a 14th place finish.
Squad wise although some experience has been added, Espanyol have 37 players 25 or under including 18 youth players. Of these Mullan has high hopes for a number of these.
Adam Buksa – he is 25 now but clubs in Italy, France and Germany are monitoring his progress after his impressive form in the MSL and his 5 goals in 5 games this season for Poland as Lewandowski’s strike partner. His stock is rising and although still some way off impacting the first team he has potential to get a decent rating from his 85 if he gets the big move and continues to thrive on the international scene.
Kerem Akturkoglu- An impressive season in Turkey with Galatasaray and the international set up , he is expected to move to france this summer. He is an exciting prospect who can create and score goals, and a decent move will propel his status and should have him in and around the first team over the next 18 months.
Jan Paul Van Hecke – after a successful loan at Blackburn where he was crowned their player of the year, he is expected to have a breakthrough season at Brighton next season. Despite the riches of defenders in the dutch set up, this past season has seen him get his first under 21 recognition for Holland. “Having watched him live all season, i really think ge can go all the way to the top. He is so composed on the ball and reminds me very much of Vincent Kompany, he is going to continue to rise in value and will become lomg term a regurlar at the heart of our defence”
Brenden Aaronson- Rumoured to be joining Leeds for just under 30 million, his stock continues to rise. Although his long term future may not be at Espanyol as we see him as a big tradeable asset in our quest to add another first team ready centre back, we are certainly not going to push him through the door and are happy to see him continue to rise in ratings.
“This is my first full season at Espanyol and we’ve pulled off some impressive results against many of the top teams. We are a dangerous opponent for anyone, as we have that quality in the final third, whilst being able to hold our own in midfield. Rating wise, defensively we are weaker than most, however statistically having the 5th best defensive record would point to us having the right balance. We are a long way off being a top 4 side, thats going to take some time, however providing we can keep moving forwards and show progression each season I will be pleased. The updates are going to be important in terms of when some players drop, whilst overs go up. Hopefully we have some cross over so that the gap between player ratings as a whole decreases. We have four goalkeepers now but Handonovic is way out in front on ratings. We believe in the other three, and need the updates to be kind so they can close that rating gap to an acceptable level before Handonovic retires.
Next season we are not expecting to be very active in the transfer market, bar a couple of defenders we are relatively content with our squad. Stability is key now in terms of player churn, The division is getting harder and harder with good teams going down and good teams coming up. I think some continuity going forwards will stand us in good stead.”