Mallorca play bottom side Elche on Monday. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter

Real Mallorca get what’s called in Spain “the graveyard game” (as Spanish fans don’t like games played on Friday or Monday nights) when they face bottom club Elche on Monday night at 9pm in their Estadio Martinez Valero, The ground holds many happy memories for the Palma side and their fans as it was where we won the Copa del Rey final in 2003.

After their gutsy performance last Saturday night, going down 0-1 to Barcelona, the football media has been full of praise for our valiant effort. One of the most popular podcasts on Spanish football is El Tel (Terry Gibson) and Jons (Jon Driscoll), La Liga Weekly.

On Monday they commented “Mallorca were well drilled, well coached and got numbers behind the ball. They had a game plan. A back five, with their midfield sitting deep, they launched the ball up to Muriqi hoping he got hold of it and allowed the other players to join up. There’s no shame in that and Mallorca did it very well. They had 10 shots, three on target. Barcelona had 11 shots, also with three on target. As you’d expect, Barcelona dominated possession and Mallorca were happy with that. They gave Barcelona a real run for their money and Barcelona found the islanders a really difficult opponent.”

Thinking back to the game, we had Barcelona on the ropes in the final throes, with several of the Barcelona defenders hobbling, I would have gone gung ho bringing on another striker and throw caution to the wind.

One player who’ll miss Monday night is 34-year-old left wing back Jaume Costa. The ex Villareal defender has tweeked a leg muscle and won’t make the short trip over to Alicante. Costa is one of our fittest players and has laid on a couple of assists thus season with his pinpoint crosses. His replacement is 26-year-old Argentinian Braian Cufre. Discarded a year ago, he joined second division Malaga on loan where he made 14 starts. He arrived here two years ago from top Argentinian side Velez Sarsfield after intense negotiations with Mallorca making a notable outlay (1.2 million) for a percentage of his rights. A clause that never came to fruition and his career in Spanish football has never got off the ground.

Costa is the only pure left back in the squad after Brian Olivan went to Espanyol in the Summer. However, after a good pre-season, Cufre’s been given another chance. This may be his last opportunity so he has to step up and be counted starting at Elche on Monday night.

Making a return from a serious toe infection is Senegalese international Amath Ndiaye. He may get a few minutes game time.

One of my favourite players is midfielder Iñigo Ruiz de Galarreta who had a great game against Barcelona especially in the second half. After a long term absence with a dreaded cruciate ligament injury (for the second time in his career), his return has cleared up coach Aguirre’s doubts in midfield, although he still hasn’t completed an entire game. Born in Eibar, the 29-year-old Basque made a much quicker recovery from his serious injury than was expected and has become the undisputed kingpin in Mallorca’s midfield. Galarreta has shown that he doesn’t give up in the face of adversity. He nearly got on the end of a training ground rehearsed corner kick early doors last Saturday but his effort finished in Row Z!

Mallorca were much more aggressive when Galarreta became more of a protagonist, and he’s been keeping out experienced French player Clement Grenier, who hasn’t yet shown the consistent form expected of him.

The next objective regarding Galarreta is to renew and extend his contract which ends next June. Lots of fans on social media are pleading with the club to give him a new deal which at 29 could be his last in top class Spanish football. With Athletic Bilbao (his home club) lurking, the market for them (they sign only Basque players) is very limited and there are few Basque players who decline the call of At. Bilbao especially at the end of their careers. Our technical director Pablo Ortells must find an economic package that suits the club and the player so that something similar to what happened with the Catalan Brian Olivan doesn’t happen again. Olivan wasn’t happy with the conditions proposed by Ortells and announced he was leaving for Espanyol months before the season ended – he left on a free transfer.

Monday night’s opponents Elche are in freefall and are bottom of La Liga with just one point from seven games, and have conceded 18 goals. Things are so bad that they sacked their coach on Monday night after they lost 2-1 away at Rayo. Ex Mallorca boss Vicente Moreno now in Saudi Arabia is on the short list to take over at Elche.

AND FINALLY, Paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of the sentence or phrase is surprising and unexpected.

Here are a few : (1) Where there’s a will, I want to be in it; (2) Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak; (3) If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong; (4) Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad; (5) I did not say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you; (6) I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find someone older than me; (7) Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head, a beer gut, a plethora of tattoos and still think they are sexy !