Competition news


22 Feb 2008
Lotina faces Valverde for the fourth time on this season and once again he does it with the necessity of achieving a victory. For this, he's introducing changes in the formation with the intention of giving depth to his squad. Meanwhile, Valverde is optimistic about the chances of his team despite he has suffered five defeats within the last seven matches in liga.

It's the eighth confrontation between Lotina and Valverde and also the fourth one on the present season. Valverde has the advantage in this series since he has won four of those eight games. Lotina has only been able to add one win, while he hasn't been able to defeat Valverde during the last five confrontations, including the three matches played on the present season: 0-1 at Montjuic for la liga, 1-1 at Montjuic for copa del rey (1st leg) and 1-2 at the Riazor for copa del rey (2nd leg).

But Valverde is living tough times, he's making his worst start of the second round at Espanyol, that's because the Catalan team has lost four of the first five games in the second round in la liga. Valverde even had better numbers during his stage at Atlhetic Bilbao, the Basque coach earned eleven points in the first period with Athletic, while he conquered nine in his second and last season with the 'Lions'.

Coach Miguel Angel Lotina attended to Abegondo's press room on Saturday's morning after he released the list of called players for the game against Espanyol, the journalists in the room were surprised to see the name of Aouate in the list, and the first question was related to the reason why the Israeli keeper was called for the match, Lotina's response was: "When both keepers returned to the squad, I said they were two more players in the team, also that I would count with them and that I would call the one living the best moment. And now I consider that Aouate is that player."

Journalist Gonzalo Soto from Radio Galega asked directly to Lotina who will be the keeper for the game, and that he wanted a single response: Aouate or Lafita? the journalist said. The response from the coach was: "(laughs)... what a crack you are! (laughs). If you ask me like that, I can't lie.. I can't answer you... I won't answer." But the Basque coach admitted that Wilhelmsson will be a starter and that Lafita has big chances of doing the same "Willy will play, and it's probable that Lafita will play too. In the attacking zone, I don't know,  I haven't talked yet with them (the attackers)."

Later Lotina explained what are his intentions with the changes in the squad compared to the formation that lost in Huelva "We will see changes, first because Antonio (Tom??s) faced some problems during this day and he has been sidelined. Basically, what I want is to give more depth to the team, that's why I am thinking about the possibility of Lafita. The changes are made in order to win depth on the pitch and not to take advantage of the counterattacks."

Another subject analysed was the situation of Juan Carlos Valer??n, the Me?±aka-born trainer explained the reason why the Canarian playmaker won't start against Espanyol "He's willing to play and he has raised the intensity, but I don't see him prepared to start a game. I'm sorry, but we must have patience. I consider this is going to be a game that will be very closed, with only a few open spaces, it isn't the proper one to see him playing."

About the game, Lotina hopes that his players will show more courage compared to the confrontation against Recreativo "If you look to the past, I already said that maybe we missed intensity on the past Sunday, and I hope we won't miss that on tomorrow's game." Finally, Depor's coach analysed the situation of Espanyol since they are arriving to La Coru?±a without Tamudo nor De La Pe?±a "They are important players, but Espanyol has signed Ewerthon, they haven't promoted a boy from the B squad. They have a very good squad. I am sure they will notice the exit of both players, but that won't necessary be noticed in one single game, but in the long-term."

The six defeats suffered by Espanyol during its last seven liga matches are generating question marks related to the real potential of Espanyol, but coach Ernesto Valverde wanted to rest merits to the situation "We aren't so bad. I can't think my squad has reached a barren. The sensation I have is that we are pretty fine. We just need to adjust some things, it's true, but we already knew we would reach this kind of games in which everything is upside down. We still living at the top places, in the UEFA zone, with good sensations and creating opportunities to score goals. I will love to see an improvement in our results, but I don't think we are felling down."

About Sunday's rival, Valverde affirms that Deportivo is hurt for the last defeat in liga "Depor is a team that has been bad lately. They faced a tough moment that was surpassed, and they went out of the drop zone thanks to some good results. But the other day, the game with Recreativo ended to be harmless for them, because their direct rivals won their matches. It would be an important game for both teams. We play for lot on this confrontation."

 The media in Catalonia has appointed that Espanyol's poor results are directly related with Tamudo's injury, a fact that was denied by Valverde "We are what we are, as in the good or in the bad moments, we are the same team. There isn't a dependency on Tamudo on here, because we lost at Almer?­a and at Valladolid with him on the squad. It isn't a mathematical subject. I don't like to talk about that, because we must continue competing with or without him."

Finally, the Basque trainer keeps the hope of been able to play a European competition during the next season "We all have witnessed the sequence followed throughout the season. We have reached the top places and the speech has always been the same. I think the hopes of the fans are normal. We have created a big snow ball, one that we haven't deflated this. We knew it would be complicated since it demands a high regularly, but we aren't going to blame ourselves. It seems logical to see people still having those hopes."

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