Almeria were beaten in an entertaining clash against Barcelona in December and are currently winless in La Liga (Josep LAGO)
Almeria are bottom of La Liga without a single win in the first half of the season, but their coach Gaizka Garitano says they are not looking for “miracles”.
The Andalusian side face surprise title contenders Girona on Sunday, with both minnows living through heavily contrasting campaigns.
Almeria have managed five draws and 14 defeats from 19 games — no side has ever gone through a La Liga campaign without a victory.
The worst record is two wins, achieved by four clubs, most recently Sporting Gijon in 1997-98.
“I don’t believe in miracles, I believe in work, although it’s logical (the fans) don’t believe in us because we haven’t won a game yet,” Garitano told a news conference Saturday.
“We can’t ask for support from the fans if we don’t give them positive results, we have to do it from the inside out.”
Almeria are the only winless team across Europe’s top five leagues this season, sitting 11 points from safety, although they have come close on various occasions.
In October striker Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick to send them 3-0 up at home against Granada, but he was injured after the break and they ended up drawing 3-3.
The forward has not played since that afternoon but Garitano said he would be part of the squad to face Girona.
In Garitano’s first match in charge, against Girona in October at the Catalans’ tiny, 13,500-capacity Montilivi stadium, they took a 2-0 lead but ended up being thumped 5-2.
The team do not seem down and out, though. In a 3-2 defeat by Barcelona and a 2-1 loss at Atletico Madrid in December, Almeria showed there are some signs of hope.
However local media reported they drew 0-0 in a recent friendly against their reserve side, which will do little to improve morale ahead of the Girona match and then a visit to face leaders Real Madrid.
Garitano said his team had to make Girona suffer in defence, which is the Catalans’ main weakness.
“We have to attack them and try to do damage to them because, although they are a team that scores a lot of goals and plays brilliantly… defensively they have difficulties,” explained the coach.
Garitano, who replaced Vicente Moreno at the helm in October, believes his own team is defensively stronger than they were in the Girona thrashing.
“Almeria are more solid, and we are better placed to win,” he added. “In defence we will be more compact than when I took over.”
Two clean sheets in the last five league games show Garitano may have a point, but for now Almeria continue the desperate search for three.