Competition news


16 Feb 2014
Both coaches didn’t show their best cards before this important meeting. At the same time they are convinced that it’s a pretty game, but that it won’t define the promotion aspirations of their respective teams.

José Ramón Sandoval Huertas is a Madrilenian coach better known for his success at Rayo Vallecano. He already spent 16 years working as a coach and in the major part of the time he worked with clubs from Madrid. The true is that he didn’t enjoy much success in his first decade as a football trainer, because he didn’t clinch anything important with C D Humanes, AD Parla and Club Atlético de Pinto. After a small stage coaching the regional squad of Madrid he landed at Getafe B.  He qualified the team for the promotion playoffs to Segunda B, but failed in the attempt.

And then, in 2007, Sandoval landed at Rayo Vallecano and his luck changed for good, because he firstly conquered the first promotion of the B squad to Segunda B and three years later took charge of the first team and clinched their last promotion to Primera. Suddenly he was considered as a coach with a daring an offensive proposal. He clinched the salvation at Primera during the season 2011/12, but a nasty confrontation with the Bankruptcy Administration of the club pushed him out after five years in the job.

Then Sandoval, for the first time on his career, left Madrid and decided to coach Sporting Gijón in Asturias during the season 2012/13. It wasn’t an easy decision, because at the time there was a “civil war” inside the Asturian club. Former coach Manolo Sánchez only lasted two months and the team was living inside the relegation zone. The true is that Sandoval managed to put the team at safer lands and even close to the promotion zone. He stayed for the present season and the true is that the situation is now more peaceful as the team is fighting to get the direct promotion. This is his second official meeting against Fernando Vázquez after the 2-0 win of the first round.

Depor’s coach addressed the media on Saturday’s morning. It’s one of the biggest games on the season, but curiously it was one of his shortest press conferences as he only talked with reporters for seven minutes. He firstly explained the difficulties to make the list of picked players, “I believe this is the first time on this season in which I’ve to rule out some players. It’s always hard and complicated, especially in this case, because the group demonstrated to be spectacular. We had to prune something. At the moment of making the list I always think of the team that will start or of what could happen, also of what could help us to win a game. It was hard and in the end you must make a decision.”

He tried to explain why Arizmendi and Diego Seoane are not taking part of the game, “Perhaps Arizmendi is missing a little more confidence. Better feelings. We will wait to see him regaining sensations before making more serious decisions. About Seoane...  Manuel Pablo was fine and we had too many full-backs and I decided that it should be him.”

Asked about Ibrahim Sissoko, El Profesor explained why the African winger was picked for the meeting, “He’s improving. He’s progressing with his fitness, his weight and is content. He’s there as he could be useful at some specific moment in the attempt to win the game.”

On Saturday the team was testing a 3-4-3 figure with three centre-backs, but later Vázquez explained that it’s only an option for future matches, “We already dominate several situations, like playing 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1. The team already knows it, but this situation with three centre-backs is new. It’s an option we could use someday. Perhaps we could use it at the starting lineup and therefore we need to train it. It is what we are doing. It could be used in some specific games, don’t know if for the starting lineup or at minute 80.”

One of the main issues discussed throughout the week is how to defend the set-pieces. The coach said that he still discussing the issue with his players, “It’s what we training today: both systems, marking by zones and with a personal mark. We will talk to the players in the afternoon and let’s see what we use tomorrow. It isn’t decided yet if we will use the mark by zones, it will depend on the feelings, and later the players will assume the responsibility.”

The Galician tactician also talked of the rival, “Sporting have great finishers. Their height is important, I think they have three players around the 1.90 and it could mean problems. What we must do is to not concede corner-kicks and neither free-kicks and that’s it. It’s a matter of playing at their side of the field.”

He was admitting that this isn’t a normal match, but at the same time that it won’t be definitive, “All the players want to take part of these kinds of games. AS I said before, this is an important game, because you can add the three points and at the same time a direct rival is unable to add points. We are talking of six points, but at the same time, as the tournament is so equal, it loses some transcendence. Yes, it’s important, but only that.”

For him Depor’s players are feeling highly motivated with the big attendance expected at the Riazor, “I hope our fans will be more noticed than theirs, but everything creates environment. If you ask my players when they travel outside home, they prefer a stadium with environment than an icy game, this no matter the fans are cheering the rival. The players are benefited from any improvement in the environment.”

Finally, Fernando Vázquez said that the players are eager to win this game despite the latest defeat at Real Murcia, “The team is aware that there were opportunities in which we could have made a step forward, but we didn’t do it; we are also conscious that we will lose more games. Since the season started we are conscious that the defeat is part of the road. We are prepared to compete and I see a confident and hoping team. The team trained at the top today and has enough passion.”

Sporting’s coach addressed the media on Friday’s morning. He was previewing the importance of the meeting, “It’s a big responsibility due to the stage in which we’re playing. We don’t know the result, but will give a hard battle. A lot of points still ahead and there are small differences between the teams, but the first round victory at El Molinón reinforced us. It’s a Primera match, a game everyone likes to play, but nothing more. It won’t be a drama if we lose, neither will be euphoria if we win.”

He wanted to avoid any controversy after Laure’s declarations and didn’t want to talk of the referee, “The referees are also fighting to progress, also fight to get the promotion. It’s wrong to talk of the referees. The game will be telecasted at Canal+, with repetitions from every corner and decisions by milliliters. I had enough problems on Wednesday to read what a player from the rival’s team could be saying, but in any case I’m careless. Revenge? This is a match, a party of football. We don’t mess with anybody; we could be talking for a long time, but are only focused in our job.”

About Deportivo, the Madrilenian coach commented that, “Both styles of Depor, the one of Oltra and the one of Vázquez, are legitimate and the goal is the same: the victory. I guess that Fernando Vázquez will try to minimize Sporting’s virtues on this game. Depor were reinforced during the winter window; I guess those were their calculations. They got dynamic players. They do a lot of good things.”

“In any case I’m only worried of my team and to see things going well as it happened in Majorca. I hope we can repeat the script of the 1-3 against Mallorca. We are an uncomfortable team for the rival and, if we score first, then Depor are going to suffer. Depor are not the kind of team that’s locked at the back, they can also put pressure up front.” He added.

The media speculates that Alberto Lora is going to play on the right wing, but Sporting’s tactician didn’t want to reveal any clue of the possible lineup, “Lora? The players don’t know yet the lineup for the game. That’s one of the options. If we play as we were against Mallorca then we won’t have problems.”

Finally, Sandoval emphasized once again the importance of the meeting, "This game is a fresh start for both teams, nothing to do with other games. Things are very clear for both teams, so beyond surprises I expect for small details. Both teams will go out for the three points. A draw will leave the situation the same, though probably it will be better for us; still we travel there in order to win. The game at the Riazor, due to everything related to it, is the extra-match in this league.”



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