Competition news

LOTINA VS POCHETTINO

14 Feb 2010
Third official confrontation between Lotina and Pochettino; Depor’s coach was saying that he sees a more fresher team, while Espanyol’s manager was hoping to repeat the performance of the first round.

Mauricio Pochettino is an Argentine ex-player that spent his career at Newell's Old Boys, RCD Espanyol, Paris Saint-Germain and Girondins Bordeaux. Pochettino played 276 liga matches with the Catalan side during his two periods at the club (1994-2000 and 2004-2006). He also completed 20 caps with Argentina’s national team, including one appearance in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. 

This is his first experience as a coach. He took the job after José Manuel Esnal ‘Mané’ was fired at the start of the past year, and the results were good as Espanyol saved itself from relegation. This is Pochettino’s third confrontation against Miguel Angel Lotina, who was his “teacher” when the Basque man was coaching the Catalan club. And Pochettino has won the previous two meetings: 3-1 on the past season and 3-2 at the start of this campaign.

LOTINA
Depor’s coach gave a press conference on Saturday; despite that everybody saw the starting lineup that he tested during Friday’s training session, the Basque didn’t want to confirm anything, “The starting eleven is already cooked. Right now, as any good ‘cocido’ (Galician food), we are just giving the final touch and I won’t give you the recipe. Probably Riki or Iván Pérez will play at the right wing. I neither discard to see Juan Rodriguez performing there nor to use a scheme with two strikers.”

About the situation of Mexican Andrés Guardado, the coach said that, “Guardado will play in one of the halves; he will play for forty-five or fifty minutes. We don’t want to see him performing for the full ninety minutes, because he is not physically prepared for a complete game.”

On the past week the Meñaka-born manager was warning that his team was tired and living its worst moment on the season, but now he thinks that things have improved, “I see the team fresher, before we were at the limit at the moment of making the list for the games, and now the entry of Riki and Guardado is giving oxygen to us. But it will be dangerous to jump to the grass thinking that we already have everything.”

The ex-Espanyol coach was saying that his former team is a bounded opponent, which converts them into a dangerous rival, “They arrive after losing against (Real) Madrid and for the criticism they are more alive than before, and willing to demonstrate more things. Meanwhile we arrive after equalising in a game that left the impression of been a victory for us, and it’s dangerous to think that we already achieved the result.” 

Finally, Lotina said that he talked to the players in order to avoid the calculations about the European chances of the team, “We are always making calculations and later you win two games to end up losing four, or the opposite. All the games are important, including this one, but it isn’t definitive. We still have to play seventeen matchdays, maybe sixteen because we still have to visit Barcelona, buy we already faced Madrid. I make those calculations thinking as a team from the bottom, because who is thinking about defeating Barcelona?”

POCHETTINO
Espanyol’s coach gave a press conference on Saturday’s morning; he was hoping to repeat the result achieved at the Riazor, “Hopefully it is going to be the same turning point of the first round, and that we will be able to repeat the good streak that we achieved then. We made a good game at the Riazor and deserved to win. I don’t know if it was our best game of the season, but it has been the only away victory and it was against a rival that’s up there.”

The Argentine manager was also remembering that Depor’s visit on the past season marked the started point to achieve the salvation, “We started a streak of ten consecutive games, it was pretty good and we started the comeback that allowed us to achieve the salvation. We won eight matches, we drew one and we lost the other.” 

However, he is aware that Depor is going to be a tough opponent, “Lotina has a football philosophy that won’t change. Deportivo is a disciplined team, a well worked squad in a tactical sense and that practices a vertical football. They know how to play calmly. We play a more elaborated football, while Depor is more direct. The team that could have the ball possession and the initiative will have more options of taking the game.”

Finally, Pochettino is more than aware of the necessity of the three points, “We need to make a good match and will try to play well in order to add these three needed points. The matches against Mallorca and Athletic Bilbao must be our reference, because in both encounters we left a positive impression.”

ARCHIVE NEWS FEB/09

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