Originally published at theguardian.com
Pablo Machín stood by the table football in the middle of the Montilivi dressing room where two teams lined up rigidly in 3-3-4, one in blue, the other in white, and told his players – the real ones in red – they should be proud. He didn’t speak for long, just a few seconds standing there among the socks, bandages and bottles on the floor, and when he finished there was applause from everyone and for everyone. There was no cava, Girona’s coach said, but there was a celebration and, he admitted, euphoria. “Maybe it’s the coach’s job to calm things down, but I want them to enjoy this,” he explained. This was big, after all, and they had earned it. So they did enjoy it, hugging and cheering.
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