The 18-man squad for tomorrow night's game has been announced and is as follows: Adrián, Casto, Álex Martínez, Ángel, Nacho, Amaya, Paulao, Carlos García, Nono, Salva Sevilla, Beñat, Rubén Pérez, Vadillo, Campbell, Juan Carlos, Pabón, Jorge Molina and Rubén Castro. The good news is the return of Jorge Molina, who's been touch and go all week but who has been much missed in the last couple of games. Chica and Mario are out with minor knocks, while Cañas's absence is due to a muscle strain according to the club website or having "his head in Wales" if you prefer the Seville press's version. (I suspect Pepe Mel must be considering giving young Nono a go as his replacement ahead of Rubén Pérez, who's been a little disappointing lately.) The Carlos García included, by the way, is a 19-year-old deep-lying midfielder in the Xabi Alonso mould and not the central defender of the same name who played for the club in Segunda (and is now with Maccabi Tel Aviv).
I'm afraid it says something about the state of things in Spain these days that a significant number of Betis fans are in no doubt that their team "threw" the game on Monday. There have been so many well-publicised cases of petty corruption in public life that any half-unusual event - the building of an oddly situated airport, say, or a football team in seventh playing abysmally against their opponents in 20th - is greeted with suspicion.
I would guess, though, that an article in ABC de Sevilla today gets closer to the truth. It points out that when so many of your team are contemplating uncertain futures, their anxiety is almost bound to reveal itself in the collective performance of the team. Whether it's a deep-lying fear of getting injured two games before the end of your contract, or trying too hard to impress watching scouts, there are plenty of ways in which there is extra pressure at this stage of the season, even if you're not fighting against relegation. Seven of Monday's starting 11 - Adrián, Mario, Rubén Pérez, Beñat, Salva Sevilla, Joel Campbell and Juan Carlos - still have no idea where they'll be starting pre-season and that's probably too many, psychologically speaking. No wonder things have gone a bit pear-shaped in the last two or three weeks.
Some more brief notes...
l The club have just announced the impending retirement of 67-year-old goalkeeping coach José Ramón Esnaola. Basque-born, he became something of a Betis legend over the course of more than 400 games between the sticks in the 1970s and 80s, including, most famously, the 1977 Copa del Rey final, in which he saved three penalties in the marathon shoot-out and even scored one (about 12'45" in the video below). Betis eventually beat Athletic Bilbao 8-7 on spot-kicks after a 2-2 draw in the Vicente Calderón.
l This doesn't seem to have had much publicity outside Spain, but congratulations are due to Elche (over on the south-east coast) who last weekend became the first team to be promoted to Primera for next season. They were a bit of a bogey team for Betis in Segunda, but we got our own back when temporary (and extremely dodgy) owner Luis Oliver bought Jorge Molina from Elche for €1.6million and promptly put Betis into administration, meaning that the sellers hardly saw any of the money. Not that we should feel too sorry for them; it's just been alleged that the franjiverdes haven't paid sales tax on their tickets for five years and therefore owe the taxman millions of euros.
l Want to know how outrageous the demands are on Spanish football coaches? How about this for an example: Philippe Montanier's work in taking humble Real Sociedad to the verge of the Champions League was only deemed worthy of a one-year contract extension by the Basque club's directors: Understandably, he told them where to stick their job and decided to head back to France to work at newly promoted Rennes. This has left la Real in search of a new coach, preferably one with experience of working to a tight budget and with a track record of promoting from the youth team - so who do you think was top of their list? Actually, this whole story might turn out to be a blessing in disguise, because the very next day it was reported that Pepe Mel was significantly closer to signing a new contract with Betis. But with so many coaching jobs opening up around now - Málaga being the latest, for example - the club would do well to tie up their most valuable asset sooner rather than later.
Tickets for Sunday's visit of Zaragzoa are apparently flying out as fast as they can print them, so another 40,000 crowd is guaranteed. More on the build-up to the game over the weekend.
The coverline reads: "UNWORTHY: an incomprehensible, almost insulting performance from Betis in Palma, where Mel's men didn't come close to looking like a team fighting to be in Europe"
Pepe Mel wasn't mincing his words after last night's performance. "It was a bad game for us overall and the first half in particular was disastrous," he told the press. "We couldn't string two passes together, we didn't match them for intensity and they won every 50-50 ball. It could easily have been 4-0 at half-time. We were a bit better in the second half, but it looked liked only one of the teams had something to play for. On Sunday we've got another game against a team playing for their lives and if we don't compete with the same intensity as them then we've got no chance. The only positive to come out of tonight is that our future is still in our own hands."
Just to confirm that he wasn't happy, the players got a half-hour lecture before tonight's low-key training session - not that they probably needed telling that they'd messed up. This isn't Sunderland.
"We're upset because that was a bad first-half performance," said Salva Sevilla. "We just weren't ourselves and they got ahead and we couldn't get the equaliser. We didn't pass the ball and use the wings like we can do, and we know if we'd done these things better then we would have got a different result."
Captain-on-the-night Nacho was more specific. "We went out with the idea of keeping things tighter and hitting them on the break, but we couldn't make it work in practice. In the second half the game was more even, albeit without clear chances, but the key was the first period. They beat us for attitude. They had a lot at stake but we should have come out with more intensity."
What's clear is that Betis badly missed their three injured players - Cañas, Nosa and Molina - with the latter in particular proving in his absence exactly how indispensable he is as a link between the midfield and his mate Rubén Castro. Hopefully he and Cañas, who no-one could ever accuse of lacking intensity, will be back for Sunday's visit of Zaragoza.
And for this game, the final home match of the season, the club are offering season-ticket holders the chance to buy an extra ticket for just €5, so we can expect another bumper crowd for the occasion. If the Pepe Mel rollockings haven't persuaded the players to buck their ideas up, perhaps the attention of 40,000 Béticos will.
Perhaps if we ask nicely they'll finish the season now, before things get much worse.
For 45 minutes the Betis players looked like they'd never even been introduced and allowed the Primera's worse side to run riot; I think the official shot count at half-time was 10-0. A single 21st minute goal was the very least that Mallorca deserved.
After the break things improved slightly, helped by the arrival of Pabón and Vadillo, but by then Mallorca's defence had settled into a groove and were not to be passed. Betis controlled most of the second-half possession, and in Salva Sevilla arguably had the most creative player on the pitch, but they could only conjure up a couple of half chances and the home side eventually held on for three points they simply seemed to want more than the visitors did. A very disappointing evening not worth dwelling on.
Betis: Adrián; Chica, Amaya, Mario, Nacho; Rubén Pérez, Beñat, Salva Sevilla (Molins, m. 81); Campbell (Pabón, m. 37) Juan Carlos (Vadillo, m. 56), Rubén Castro.