Competition news

VÍCTOR FERNÁNDEZ VS JAVI GRACIA

18 Dec 2014
Depor’s coach targets to score a goal in order to change the tide. He also announced changes at the starting lineup. Malaga’s coach is aware that Deportivo is a dangerous rival.

Javier Gracia Carlos is a former player that’s trying to earn a name at the elite of Spanish football. He began his phase as a coach in 2006 after a career of 430 games between Primera and Segunda in clubs like Real Sociedad and Villarreal CF.

Among the clubs that he coached were Pontevedra CF and Cádiz CF, but it was at UD Almeria were he shone after clinching the promotion to Primera during the campaign 2012/13. He didn’t continue as his contract wasn’t renewed, but was hired by CA Osasuna. The Navarran man missed to clinch the permanence with the club from his hometown and landed this season at Malaga CF.

This is the third meeting between Gracia and Víctor Fernández in a matter of a month; the Navarran man added a win and a draw in the previous two meetings. But before Depor’s coach faced Gracia in two opportunities during the Copa tournament of the season 2007/08. At the time Víctor’s Real Zaragoza won the series against Gracia’s Pontevedra CF with each team winning one of the games (aggregate 3-2).

VÍCTOR FERNÁNDEZ
Bizarre situation lived by Víctor Fernández on this week. On Monday he was under pressure and with the menace of been sacked, by the middle of the week he was calmer and even had to offer a two-package press conference. The latter curiosity occurred as Depor will not return to A Coruña until Sunday, so the first part of the press conference was to talk of the Copa game, while the second was to talk of the game in liga against Villarreal and won’t be released to the public until Friday.

The first part of the press conference lasted twelve minutes. Víctor started talking of the importance of scoring a goal in this leg, “The aggregate score isn’t the proper one to face the second-leg taking in mind the potential of Malaga, an aspirant to European competitions. The Cup is an open tournament for surprises that has nothing to do with the league. It is a definitive game to be decided in ninety minutes. Our target is to score a goal. A goal can give an important twist to the tie and it’s our intention from the start.”

Later he talked of Malaga, “Malaga is a team that has lived different phases. It has a merit as they have suffered many casualties within the last weeks and they are fixing the issue having very good results, maybe they lost some collective moves characterized in other matchdays, but for now they are bearing the casualties of Juanmi, Amrabat and the centre-backs. They have depth at the squad and for me it has a merit. We will see their response in the Cup.”

The Aragonian coach announced that changes are expected for the game, “There will be a lot of changes compared to the game against Elche, and also compared to the first game with Malaga. Definitely we need to refresh the squad as in six/seven days we will play three very demanding games and we got the worst part: to be the last team playing the Cup at 10PM and then been one of the first teams playing on Sunday’s morning. So, there’s no time for the recovery.”

“Later we didn’t have good news in the morning training. The pitch was heavy on Monday and there were a lot of players with issues. So, we won’t risk. We will assess the status of Toché and his knee, the game was very demanding to him. He ran a lot; then, the tiredness of Fariña, which is normal as he spent a lot of time without playing. Let’s see how he is for tomorrow and also for Sunday.” He added.

There were a couple of questions regarding the winter window; Depor’s coach firstly explained the status of Modibo Diakité and why he wasn’t picked for this trip; he also explained the priorities in the market, “He has permission to resolve his future.  If we find another centre-back then it’s fantastic, but it isn’t the priority for the winter window. The priority for the winter window is in attack. There have been a lot of injuries and it is where we’ll focus our efforts. If we can get a new centre-back then it’s fine, but we should focus the little money that we have in other positions.”

Finally, Víctor Fernández said that he expects to see Salomão playing for some minutes, “Hopefully we can give minutes to him (Salomão). Since last week it was noticed that he was happier. He has confidence and has trained at the top. Hopefully he can have minutes to earn confidence. He is on the roster and has big chances to be part of the final list of eighteen players.”

JAVI GRACIA
Malaga’s coach addressed the media on Wednesday noon. He insisted that Malaga are highly interested in passing the round in Copa, “I’m hopeful of winning each game, the points that we will dispute on Sunday are very interesting to me and of course I don’t won’t to fall in the first tie in Copa. We want to enjoy as much as possible.”

“I want to see if we follow the same path of trying to win everything and especially I want to see the team following the same lane of recent weeks, keeping the same intensity and competiveness in a game that could have a very different environment, and this shouldn’t left different feelings to the ones had in liga. There is no margin for the error in Copa, these are constant finals. We face the competition knowing that the rival is coming for the victory, living a difficult situation in liga, yes, but they want to stay alive in Copa.” He added.

The Navarran coach is concern for the long list of casualties in defense, “We are increasingly depleted by the injuries, especially in a particular area, the defense. It’s weaker. It’s where you can see the lack of players. We must find variants such as Camacho who can play there [centre of the defense]. We have alternatives, yes. And I’m looking forward with optimism to face the next game.”

He also explained why Amrabat was picked for this game, “The situation with the injury has improved a lot. The pictures of last week invited us to be prudent, but now it seems that there’s security to think that he can play. There’s always a risk, but it has been minimized and he can be part of the roster and dispute some minutes.”

Finally, Gracia was saying that Malaga must be prudent with Depor, “Deportivo have deserved more and to lie in a more well-off position. I already know the importance that I give to this tie or the difficulty that I see with this rival. I don’t need to see them winning to realize of the difficulty.”

ARCHIVE NEWS DEC/14

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