Competition news


20 Dec 2012
Depor’s coach admitted that he was going to switch the draw for the game, but the plan might have changed due to the injury of Ze Castro. Espanyol’s trainer is only thinking in saving his team and is careless if they pretty or not.

Javier Aguirre Onaindía, aka El Vasco (The Basque), is a Mexican coach that previously had a long career as a midfielder, playing mostly in his home country and also at CA Osasuna in la liga. He made 59 appearances for the Mexican national team between the years 1983 and 1992 and retired in 1993. He took up managing in 1995 and became a successful coach after qualifying with Mexico for the World Cup 2002.

He landed in la liga after the event and became a notorious coach as his CA Osasuna survived at Primera for four straight years and even qualified the Navarran team for the preliminary round in the UEFA Champions League. In 2006 he took charge of Atlético Madrid and also had good results putting the team in the biggest club’s tournament in Europe, but left the job after a conflict with the players.

Since then his career has been irregular, he was called again to take charge of Mexico and qualified for the 2010 World Cup, but he didn’t convince the strict local media, neither left a positive impression at Real Zaragoza though Los Maños were miraculously saved for the season 2010/11. On November 28, 2012 he was named as the new coach of RCD Espanyol after the exit of Mauricio Pochettino. At the timeLos Periquitos were the last place at the standings

The Mexican coach has directed the Catalan team in the last three games in liga and still searching for his first win in the tournament; neither has he lost. This is his second liga meeting against José Luis Oltra, the previous was a 1-1 draw between Almeria UD and Real Zaragoza back on the season 2010/11.

Depor’s coach offered his press conference on Wednesday’s noon; he talked to reporters for 25 minutes; it was a tranquil press conference, without incidents and neither tough questions despite Deportivo is the current last place in la liga. He started explaining the status of Ze Castro, “The problem is in the Soleus muscle, the same of the previous injury; today in the training he didn’t feel fine and didn’t feel safe, and you already know that when someone isn’t feeling right then the best is to play with someone else that’s at 100%. Everybody on the list is fit to play.”

It was speculated that for the first time the Valencian coach was going to switch the system as on Tuesday he tested a lineup with three centre-backs, something that will be changed with the injury of Ze Castro, “Yes, the true is that I had an idea and now things are changing, because any casualty always change something, yes it is changing the initial plan.” He said regarding the issue.

“In some moment of the season I thought about it, I already told you that in Saragossa, at half-rime, I commented to the players that if things would be the same then I was going to do it, later it passed through my mind in other opportunities. I was also thinking of it for tomorrow’s game, but also for the future. There are some differences, because the style isn’t changing, but there are small changes. Yesterday we tested this on the training pitch. We didn’t train behind closed doors for this reason, but it’s true that we trained it. I had an idea for the team, but it can’t be materialized, and let’s see now what’s the best for the team.” He added.

The journalists insisted on this regard and the coach continued with his analysis, “Even without Ze [Castro] we have the option of playing with three centre-backs, this because we have other players that can play there. I always thought of this option, even before the match against Zaragoza. It’s just that I thought it was going to work now. You always make decisions, sometimes it is to give continuity and in others is to make a change.”

About the incidents at the gates of the Riazor after the last game against real Valladolid, Oltra said that, “I understand that people show up their discomfort, it is normal, everyone is feeling uncomfortable with the situation of the team, everyone at the club, and since that point it’s normal to show the disagreement, but there’s a limit and it cannot be surpassed. Still, I understand that it’s only a minority, because the rest of the fans always bring their support and love. “

Asked about the status of Riki, Depor’s tactician said that, “It isn’t necessary to demonstrate the commitment of the players on this way, I always said that everyone is feeling highly involved with the team. If Riki is traveling it is because he’s fit to play, another thing is that he will play, but he isn’t traveling just for a mere compromise and just to make people think that he’s committed. I picked him because he brings things on the football pitch.”

Oltra didn’t want to describe the game as a final, “I always said that the next game is the most important one, and if now the last two places are facing each other in the last game before the Christmas break then everything becomes more important. Decisive? It is only matchday 17 and all the teams at the bottom are close to each other. The situation is bad, but it isn’t critical. We defeated Osasuna, Mallorca and drew at Celta and Granada. It’s one single game. We don’t like this situation, but no matter what happens tomorrow we will still have options.”

About the rival, the Catarroja-born trainer said that, “They have changed the coach recently and haven’t lost yet with Javier [Aguirre]. They’re a solid team… with solid players. It’s going to be difficult, but we can pick the three points. There are always surprises at the bottom on this league, last year it was Villarreal and two years ago it was Deportivo. Espanyol was in a better place last year and now they are there, but still they’ve enough arguments to leave the last places.”

Once again he was optimistic regarding his future at the team and despite the current situation in la liga, “The president always transmitted his support; he’s phenomenal doing that; he always transmitted support and tranquility. There’s no doubt about that.  I spoke to him after the last game. I feel supported by the club, and when I talk of the club I mean the president, the board of directors and the players.”

There was a question regarding the financial situation at the club and the impact on the players; the answer was that, “We are focused in what we are focused; everyone has their part, I always said it, and ours is to try to help from a sporting sense, and from there I never detected that the team is affected. Later there are other circumstances that affect you, but never saw the players thinking of that. They’re feeling committed and trying to help from a sporting sense. Many clubs have been reinforced after passing through administration and let’s hope it will be the same if it happens on here.”

The coach analyzed the situation of the clubs in relegation, “It has been hard for the last six places to add points, we are having numbers that evidently aren’t good; that’s why I always said that, following this path, it could be that you won’t need 45 points in order to save yourself, but we don’t know what could happen. Last year I remember that we were talking of 75 points in order to clinch the promotion and ended needing 92. Today it seems that you will need 40 points to save yourself, and what happens is that the last places only have a few points, the leaders have a lot and the mid-class is feeling comfortable.”

“It looks like the relegation is a matter of six clubs, later there are eight teams playing for nothing and the rest will compete for higher goals. But I still believe that there will be a fight at every position. What we want is to win and leave the bottom places. Last week people were talking of the previous game with Valladolid in 2008, but it was January and there were five points of difference with the safe zone. Now we aren’t in January and the difference isn’t of five points. We are only three points under the 15th spot, so if we would have won the game at the Riazor and this one, then we would have passed that team. What I mean is that a lot still ahead and that’s what I try to transmit.”

The only moment when Oltra was a little upset was when he was asked for the reason why Juan Dominguez wasn’t picked for the game, after arguing with a reporter he just answered that, “Because I think that this game is more for André [Santos] than for Juan [Dominguez]. I just make decisions.”

Finally, he complained of the schedule of the last two liga games, “We’re the only team that plays on Monday and Thursday. I don’t like to give excuses. But I ask: if Valladolid and Depor didn’t play in Copa last week, then why we played on Monday? Why we didn’t play on Sunday? These are decisions that are made and I cannot complain, but we’re the only team that plays on Monday and Thursday, and we have to make a trip and thinking that this is an important match.”

Espanyol’s coach addressed the media on Wednesday’s noon; he was remembering the previous home game in which his team missed the victory against Sevilla, “I just remember a cold night with people really hot, and that taking in mind that only the half of the stadium was full. Let’s hope we can bring a lot of fans to the game and that we can achieve the victory. The other day we missed it by inches and hopefully we can change things tomorrow.”

The Mexican trainer was content with the draw against Real Madrid, but believes that a lot of work still ahead, “We need to defend better and attack better. I hope that the team will make a step forward in tomorrow’s game. The work didn’t end at the Bernabéu. The fans have the right to feel happy, but it is part of the past now.”

He also confirmed that Sergio Garcia and Kiko Casilla will be starters in the game, “I don’t want debates at the goal or at any other position. Sergio Garcia is a number nine and will play as a number nine. Casilla will also play, and about Mattioni, he’s fine, strong and competing, but wasn’t picked for a tactical decision, and it’s that I’ve 24 players available and can only put the best eleven at the team.”

For Aguirre what matters now is to save the team and not to display attractive football, “The Espanyol team that Aguirre wants will be seen when we could have 42 points. Now we must add and get out of the hole, which is our mission. Later we’ll see what happens. Perhaps we’ll go for the B plan, but now it’s time of plan A, which is to save ourselves in any possible way.”

“If we tomorrow win then we’ll be pleased with the result. If we clinch a draw then we’ll see how the game was. And if we lose then we must keep working. We must make a step forward in this game, and that means to improve in attack and in defense.” He finalized.



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