Remaining afloat in La Liga is an almighty challenge for any newly promoted team. However, with the help of midfield star, Oriol Romeu, Girona is not only surviving but thriving.
Throughout its history, the Spanish club have looked to unlock their maximum potential, and now it appears as if that goal is within reach. Since taking over in 2021, manager, ‘Michel’ Miguel Ángel Sánchez Muñoz, has done his utmost to improve the team from a tactical perspective, while simultaneously injecting a much-needed winner’s mentality.
And through his coaching, the Catalan side secured a place in the playoffs last season, which they eventually won with victories over Eibar and Tenerife. But rather than rest on his laurels, the determined manager made it his mission to maintain Girona’s position in the top flight of Spanish football.
However, initially, the level of competition seemed tough to overcome, with the ‘Blanquivermells’ losing six of their first ten games. However, in a testament to the squad’s powers of self-belief, they continued to put the miles in on the training ground and eventually, their hard work translated to positive showings on the pitch.
With a population of just 100,000 and a stadium capacity of 11,810, Girona have developed a reputation as Spain’s peripheral underdog. With a never say die attitude, they constantly upset the applecart. Under the guidance of Michel, the team stands unbeaten in their last five, with three wins and two draws, including an upset 1-1 against Real Madrid.
This incredible run of form has seen the side rise to an impressive 13th place, five points above Sevilla and the relegation zone. But while the fans are thrilled with their progress, Romeu wants more.
Oriol Romeu believes in Girona
In the summer, the playmaker announced his return home with a massive move to the Estadi Montilivi Stadium. And the 31-year-old made a significant impact in the club’s friendly against Manchester City on Saturday.
Utilising his supreme footballing IQ, Romeu didn’t put a foot wrong, picking an array of short and long-range passes. Without exaggeration, he made the side tick, with his teammates clearly taking solace in having such an experienced operator playing alongside them.
And while Girona ultimately came up short, the ever-improving side, who struck the woodwork twice, showed a great deal of potential. But while the club’s journey is undoubtedly remarkable, a confident Romeu thinks there’s far more left to come.
He told SPORF: “Girona is a club that’s growing massively. Every year, we’re getting better and better, so it’s just a case of doing the right things and levelling up ourselves. We’re doing alright, but we’ve still got half a season to go, and we want to keep getting better and improving.
“I think we’re on our way up. Time will tell, as always. We’ve got to adapt to every situation and hopefully end the season in a good way. This is what everyone wants.”
Oriol Romeu credits the manager
While the midfielder has clearly played his part in Girona’s success this season, he’s mindful that he’s been able to do so courtesy of the gaffer’s tactics.
Romeu claimed: “The manager is a coach who wants to play football, wants to press high, wants the team to dominate, dictate the game, and that’s what we aim for every single match. It doesn’t matter where we play, it doesn’t matter where we do it, we just want to play our game the best way possible.”
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While speaking to us, it’s evident that his confidence in the side is bursting at the seams. And with that said, it’s unsurprising that he’s expecting the club to make a run in the Copa Del Rey.
With a twinkle in his eyes, the player beamed: “We’d love to. It’s a tough cup, and we know every game is going to be a difficult one. We’re aiming to go as far as possible and hopefully enjoy that journey.”
Oriol Romeu discusses future aspirations
Despite Girona’s ascent up the table, Romeu is keeping a level head. While he isn’t letting his optimism get the better of him, he remains determined to put his heart and soul into every game he plays.
Speaking on finishing in the top half of the table, the midfield maestro concluded: “That’s going to be challenging, we just got promoted, and we’ve got to be honest with ourselves. Time will tell how far we can go, we can’t put limits on ourselves. We want to win every single game and compete very well every time we’re out there. But it’s challenging. We know the level of the other teams out there, and we’ve got to compete really well to finish higher up.”
Since Girona’s last encounter with Manchester City in 2017, the team have gone on an incredible journey. With the help of Pep Guardiola’s side, who’ve already invested heavily in the development of the Spanish club, who knows what the future has in store?
Featured Image Credit: James Sweetnam