Competition news


11 Apr 2010
Fourth confrontation between Lotina and Portugal, Depor’s coach was very critic with the performance of his team, but hopes to end the negative streak, while Racing’s coach is confident despite the casualty of Sergio Canales.

Miguel Ángel Portugal is a former player of Real Madrid that started his career as a coach in the year 1997. He trained Real Madrid Castilla in two opportunities (1997/98 and 2005/06) and then signed for Racing Santander, place where he completed a decent season ending tenth at Primera División.

But Portugal didn’t continue for the next campaign arguing contract problems, though later it was know that he had an offer to be the technical secretary of Real Madrid, job that he left after the departure of former president Ramón Calderón. At the beginning of this season the Burgos-born coach signed his second contract with Racing after Juan Carlos Mandiá was fired due to the poor results. He signed a one-year deal with the option to extend it for an additional campaign in case of achieving the permanence.

This is the fourth official confrontation between Portugal and Miguel Ángel Lotina, the first two encounters occurred on the liga season 2006/2007, moment when Lotina was coaching Real Sociedad. The Basque lost the first game at El Sardinero (1-0, matchday 18) and the second ended 0-0 at Anoeta (matchday 38). And on the present season Lotina claimed his first win over Portugal with a 1-0 win at El Sardinero (matchday 12). To have in mind that Lotina is living his worst moment at Depor, with four straight defeats in liga.

Depor’s coach gave a press conference on Saturday’s morning; he spent almost the entire conference talking of the situation at the squad and even criticized the performance of the team in the whole season, "People are hurt in pride. We have suffered four losses in a row and that is noticed in everything. The players are training well, but it’s true that there are details that we aren’t fulfilling and it’s something noticed. We aren’t a great team. We have to analyze how we've won every game: very closely. Defending well, and scoring one day with a goal in a corner-kick, later with a great goal of Juan Rodriguez, Filipe or in another situations ... We haven’t dominated all year.” 

“We were in Europe before, because we were focused and highly involved. Now it isn’t a matter of not having attitude, but to have stopped doing the things that gave us that plus. Any mid-table team has dominated the games better than us, but the standings are cheating and to see us in Europe for big part of the year have made people thought that we were a great team.” He added.

Despite everything, the Basque manager hopes to continue involved the fight for Europe, “I would love to win; we know that the fans were hoping to qualify, the player too, and we still not right, but I also know that in the first round we were beyond our possibilities and now am seeing things that will be good in the future. If we do the right things we already demonstrated to have options to qualify to the UEFA and the Champions, one month ago it was like that. That’s the reality.”

Later he was talking of the importance of the meeting against Racing, “This is the most important game for how we are arriving to the meeting and not for been thinking of Europe. The subject of qualifying to the European competitions was a hope, not an obligation. After the good first round we all were disappointed. This match is important, because we are coming after four straight losses and after leaving a poor impression.” 

He was also emphasising the absence of Sergio Canales for the meeting, “He is a great player, somebody with good stuff, who knows how to play between the lines and that has a great depth. The player has a great future, but for one single game there’s always a substitute. Anyhow is an important casualty for been a great player. But Racing is in need and that converts them into a more dangerous rival.”

Finally, Lotina explained the composition of the players’ list for the match, “We have picked 19 players for Lassad; he is working fine and let’s hope he won’t have problems tomorrow. Pablo (Alvarez) is also fine, but if he’s fouled on the ankle then he could have problems. Manuel Pablo has been rested, but will need him at the Camp Nou.”

Racing’s coach gave a press conference on Friday; he starting saying that despite he is making some changes the scheme will continue to be the same 4-2-3-1, “The idea is to keep playing with a similar scheme to the one used in the whole season, maybe we will play in other way, but won’t change.” About the starting eleven, he just confirmed the presence of Tchite, this despite the two goals of Ivan Bolado against Athletic, “We must be patient, he (Bolado) is evolving and soon will have a chance.”

The Burgos-born coach was also despising the negative streak lived by Deportivo, “It’s just a statistic and I don’t valorise it. Truly they are having some issues and are having problems, but the first and most important thing is to find ourselves. Our aim is to win at the Riazor, this in order to add the 42 or 43 points as soon as possible, which will certify our permanence at Primera División”

Later he analysed the characteristics of Deportivo, “They know how to extract the ultimate yield from the few goals they score as they have added a lot of points. In a defensive level they are pretty strong and that’s their main virtue; they have fast counterattacks and know how to play with their three attackers, we must be careful, especially in set-pieces.”

Finally, Portugal wasn’t too worried for the absence of Sergio Canales, “Obviously is a setback, but the squads are configured to address such eventualities. I hate to mourn the casualties and I am confident with the players that are available. I see the group eager and motivated to win against Deportivo. We must be respectful, but will go for everything, because this year we were able to win in very difficult stadiums."



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