02 Jan 2009
Coach Miguel Angel Lotina talked with newspaper La Opini??n A Coru?a and analised what are the challenges of Deportivo for the new year. He also talked about some specific cases like the ones of Laure, Valer??n and Bodipo.

Q: Can we say that 2008 has been a great year for Deportivo and one of the best in your career as a coach?
A: Yes. It has been my best year as coach, from January to December. I have had good seasons, but as a calendar year, surely it has been the best.

Q: The president trusted in you during the difficult times, and now it seems he wants you to hold him a little more during the good moments.
A: That seems to be the case. We maintain a good relationship and we are already talking about the next year, it is true, but it’s also true that we have not yet talked anything about the renewal, but here I am happy.

Q: The new year begins with the slope of January, a month in which we could measure the real possibilities of this Deportivo in la liga and the Copa del Rey, with Sevilla as a rival.
A: In la liga, I would like to reach the last eight matchdays standing in the place where we are now (seventh), without making too much noise and seeing what happens. Ideally, the spot we are occupying, if we get that, we will see, because I am sure that one of the top clubs is going to fail at the end, and therefore we can enter there.

Q: With 27 points, ten more than last year at the end of the first round and with there more matchdays, only three points under Real Madrid and the Champions League, and you continue saying that this Depor can still improve, what?
A: I think we can still offer more in defensive terms, because this year we have allowed avoidable goals and that it is the job of the coach, then to see each player growing is no longer at our hands, but sometimes you bring surprises. And of course, it is not the same to have in the second round a striker that could score ten goals than to not have one, or to have two that could score seven or eight goals each. So if we are going to have that, we are going to end at the top, but that’s something that escapes from us, anyhow we can still improve in terms of concepts at the level of the squad.

Q: At the individual level, there are also players who can yield more, as Mista and Omar Bravo, isn’t it?
A: They have only scored a few goals, and De Guzman also has a very weak first round compared to the last year and he’s likely to improve.

Q: Do you really believe that Deportivo can compete with the six clubs that are at the top?
A: Face-to-face, no. But staying there, at the end somebody will fall, because there will be angry, an elimination of Champions League for example, something will happen. But if you talk of Valencia, which has Villa, Silva, Joaquin ... and Atletico de Madrid, Maxi, Forl??n, Aguero, then yes, it’s too daring to affirm we are going to do better than them, but it’s sure we will stay close to them.

Q: Realistically, how would you be happy at the end of the season?
A: Realistically, to be among the top eight teams in la liga and doing a bit of noise in the UEFA and the Copa, I will be satisfied with that. And dreaming a lot, to achieve a title and remain at Primera. That would be the ultimate thing.

Q: The legs of the players already accumulate twenty-eight official matches against seventeen you had one year ago. Are you afraid that some players may end up paying this?
A: -Honestly, no. Because between the rotations and the good work done in terms of recovery and the trainings, I have no doubt about this regard.

Q: In addition to the physical factor, rotations also make every player to feel important for the fact of been having minutes. Can this change if the team is eliminated from the UEFA and the Copa in the upcoming playoffs?
A: Yes, of course. Being in three competitions allows you to have more people happy and well-trained and it’s shown on Sundays. But if we stay only in la liga, these rotations are meaningless. You can change a player, but the team would be more done. My opinion is that a coach can not claim to have his twenty-five players happy, it's difficult, almost impossible to say. But with the fact of been playing in three competitions is very easy to have a lot of people happy, and from a coach I appreciate that he could take as much from his players as he can, even the ones with less participation, that is the kind of player that worries me the most. Filipe, for example, has grown a lot with Lotina, good, but what about the one that isn’t playing? That’s the one that worries me. For example, Laure, who plays less, and I want to get as much as I can from him, and that worries me, it’s the same with Lafita, Filipe and Guardado, who are having a tremendous performance. And to achieve this, we have three competitions.

Q: Precisely, Laure is one of the players who promised a lot, but so far he’s half way, though still young and has time to emerge. Are you disappointed?
A: No. Laure appeared last year and took the responsibility, but just when he came in, Manuel Pablo was injured and then he took the responsibility, it is difficult to assimilate that in a category as difficult as the Primera Division. My idea with Laure was to promote him to Primera and to have him there for the times when Manuel can not be, and I see him trained for that purpose, but I never thought in Laure as a fixed starter.

Q: But, you even chose Piscu as a substitute on the right side of Manuel Pablo instead of Laure.
A: Yes, because when Manuel was injured, all came over him and he fell down, but now he’s good again.

Q: Dudu Aouate had gone to Mallorca, is a relief for you?
A: In the changing room we closed this problem on the last year, and before the start of this season I spoke with the two goalkeepers , I told them they were not counting and that both should search for a team, but the true is that the behavior of these men has been good.

Q: Had you less problems of the ones you expected to have with the presence of the two goalkeepers?
A: In the dressing room I already knew that we wouldn’t have problems,, because we had spoken clearly. And it also influenced to see Aranzubia doing a nice job, because if not, people would have started to talk. But as everyone is happy with Aranzubia, well then we were lucky.

Q: It was your personal bet for to the goal when there were a lot of people who weren’t trusting in him.
A: If he would be free now, it would be virtually impossible to sign him, because a lot of teams would be after him.

Q: An exit: Aouate, but will we have reinforcements?
A: No. When a team is bad, bringing signings for Christmas is good, because it creates a bit of expectation, hope, apart from what he can offer on the pitch. But when things go well I think it's damaging. I do not think is a benefit for us, unless the player is a phenomenon.

Q: Not even for the left-back position, the weaker position by the number of members at the team that play there?
A: No. The problem is that Filipe could have an injury that sidelines him for ten games, but to play one, two or three games, we have solutions.

Q: There’s always room for the youngsters.
A: Manu is fine, he has growth a lot and we are enchanted, and logically that’s good for his future. I also like the central defenders. Rochela plays now as a midfielder and we also have Juanan. Later we have Lassad, who is a player that in a certain moment could be there.

Q: Verd?? has knee problems, can Valer??n have a chance at Getafe for la liga?
A: It does not seem serious, but whenever we talk about the knee, we must be careful, so if he does not evolve rightly, Valer??n might play in la liga. Anyway, Valer??n is a player who does not have too many minutes in la liga, but if you look at all the official matches, I will not say that he is the one having the most, but he has had more minutes than, for example, Antonio Tomas, and more than other players.

Q: To leave a player like Valer??n on the bench seems to be a problem for you, there are people who even wonder if you have something against him
A: It is very difficult to have anything against Valer??n. He’s a phenomenon in all aspects and last year he had a lot to do with the recovery of the team, though he was not too much involved. What happens is that now Verd?? is playing in that position, and he gives us some things, Valer??n other stuff, and I do not know who will be playing in ten games, but now I'm very happy with Verd??. But something against Valer??n, no. I've 300 games at Primera. If someone thinks that a capricious coach can remains for so much time at Primera, it will be wrong, because I wouldn’t be here if I were capricious. A coach can be wrong, yes, a thousand times, but a capricious coach can not live ten years at Primera Division, like myself, is impossible, there is no room for capricious, before the situation would eat you, the football would eat you.

Q: It also helpful that Valer??n is a kind of guy who is affable and calm.
A: Surely if we would have Djalminha, we will be having headers one day and the other. I think that Valer??n is doing what he has to do, which is working and train. Each day is better. Moreover, I am sure that people will have time to see him, because I see he’s getting better and we will have to put him more often. But even as Valer??n plays a thousand wonders, that does not mean that he should have played before, I think I will have more presence and hopefully it will be soon.

Q: Another case that calls the attention is the one of Bodipo, who rose from been a discard to be a starter in a few months.
A: During the summer, I said to him in my office that he had the door open and he said he was not going to leave, that he wanted to stay and now he’s winning the spot. Last year he was injured and was not so well, now we're delighted. This is the Bodipo that Depor signed, nobody should have the wrong idea. When I saw that Depor was signing him, I thought it was a good signing, I will not say he’s a star, a player for (Real) Madrid, but is a good striker. For this he was signed.

Q: If you would have this Bodipo at the start of this season, would you also open the door out to him?
A: No. I took the decision for the Bodipo of the past year, besides we signed Mista and Omar Bravo and Xisco was still on the team, that’s why I opened the door to him, but obviously I am not opening the door to this Bodipo.

Q: Maybe it was also influenced by the bad streak of Mista and Omar, isn’t it?
A: No, the door was opened by him during the trainings. I've seen him a lot fresher, more happy, is another Bodipo and we all have won with this.

Q: The decision to give a starting role to a player who earlier on this season was discarded has also generated some criticism against you.
A: Yes, but if I don’t discard him before, he could have been the same player of the past season. Sometimes such decisions affect the player, although I did it without having that idea, but if I do not say anything? He has made the sacrifice and there it is.

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