Squad news


02 Mar 2016
Depor’s coach defends the idea that his team is still progressing despite the lack of results, meanwhile coach of Athletic doesn’t think that the results reflect the game of Deportivo.

Ernesto ‘Txingurri’ Valverde is living his second stage as the coach if Athletic Club; he debuted as a professional coach at the youth teams of the Basque club in 1997. Since then he has worked with other five outfits. His previous job was at Valencia CF during the season 2012/13; he arrived in the middle of the chaos, but was able to build up a team that fought for a spot in the Champions League.

Valverde only lost 7 of the 30 games that he coached there; unfortunately the last defeat facing Sevilla CF (3-4) pulled his team into the fifth position. Later Valverde decided to not continue at the club and landed at Athletic Club for the campaign 2013/14.

It was a good move, because his team completed a solid season and ended fourth, which meant a historic second qualification to the UEFA Champions League. On last campaign there were ups and downs, but everything was forgotten winning the Super Cup after trashing FC Barcelona and with a memorable 4-0 win at San Mamés, now his team is fine in liga and remains alive in the Europa League. This is third meeting against Víctor Sánchez after the 1-1 of last season and the 2-2 of the first round.

Depor’s coach addressed the media on Tuesday’s noon; he talked to reporters for fifteen minutes and started explaining who Jonathan Rodriguez wasn’t picked for the match, “We consider that the players in the roster are the ones in the best conditions to defend Depor, this for what they have offered during the trainings and in past games.”

He was saying that each time it is harder to get the three points, “All the matchdays represent three points at stake and, with the end approaching, the three points are more valuable and there’s less room to react. It’s a difficult game against a very good team, living a very good moment and playing in a European competition.”

The coach was explaining the mental state of the players after the last two defeats, “What I said before: we are forgetting the results and focusing in the work, which is the thing that brings the results. We are in the middle of a negative streak, coming from two defeats, and before a streak in which we weren’t winning but neither losing games, but our work is not to stay in the feelings generated by the outcome in one single game. Despite the defeats the feelings transmitted by the team are positive, because we still creating goal opportunities and are solid in defence, but are penalized by the lack of aim at the area of the rival.”

“In order to score goals, you need to create more opportunities. The more chances you have, the better the aim should be. We have lowered this number and what we can do? To keep working. We are emphasizing the work in the end of the plays. We are trying to optimize these factors. In an emotional sense, we are trying to be isolated form the view that only analyzes results.” He added.

The Madrilenian man was emphasizing the virtues of Athletic beyond the ones of Aduriz, “Athletic have repeated the same work of past seasons, having the same coaching staff, with the great work of Valverde. Athletic have several resources and are completing a very good season. They have good players beyond Aduriz, who monopolizes the goal. It’s a team with resources for the direct game, but also for the organized game. Beñat shines there and that’s why they are in the first places and pointing to European places.”

Víctor insisted that, despite the negative streak, the team continues to improve, “We talk of the games according to the results, it is something that will always exist and we aren’t out of that analysis. We are focused in the work as we consider that the team keeps improving; independently of the results the data tells us that the team continues to grow.”

Asked if Depor will play again with a trivote, he didn’t give any hint of the possible tactic, “You will see it tomorrow, but I don’t consider it that we are using this figure. There are teams that play with four centre midfielders as we did the other day, leaving the sides for the side defenders. It is an idea that we are working on this season, this in order to not rely of the transitions, for this reason we have specific players for the sides, later the centre midfielders join the attack in order to take advantage of the secondary plays.”

 The former winger didn’t want to admit that he will be content with a point at San Mamés, “As in all the games, we will seek for the victory. We know the game is tough, because the rival is complicated, but we prepare the game trying to defend ourselves from the strengths of the rivals and later trying to exploit our virtues in attack searching for their weaknesses.”

A journalist asked if he is content with the game of the team, and the response was, “The path has been good, the team is proposing things and it is progressing, for that reason we remain calm, because it is a matter of having more aim to seize the opportunities. Now, if you talk of football related to make spectacular plays,  it is something that sometimes is there and sometimes don’t. Sometimes the rival is locked at their area and there’s less space.”

There was another question related to the way the team is throwing the corner-kicks [with Lucas and Fajr both at the same time at the spot] and the coach explained that the team is rotating the strategy, “Those are situations that change, because the rivals study you, so we are changing and the rivals will have problems to defend our game. We have scored six goals in corner-kicks, so we are in the average of Primera División”

Another question was related to the lack of clean sheets in 2016, “We are working in order to not allow goals. We neither saw this before, because in the first round we didn’t have a long streak without conceding goals. This is a matter of defensive effectiveness; we work in order to be at a high level. We are among the teams that allow lesser chances, what happens is that the rivals had been effective too.”

The last two questions were related to the lineup for the game, firstly Víctor announced rotations at San Mamés, “Yes, there will be changes, because evidently we are chaining several straight games. We consider interesting to see the entry of players that are fresher and with a good energy, it is also a good opportunity to players that aren’t having the chance to be starters.” The other question was if Pletikosa will be a starter, but in this case the coach only answered that, “We won’t confirm it, we will decide it tomorrow.”

Athletic’s coach addressed the media on Tuesday’s noon. He started explained the situation with players dragging injuries, “Eneko Bóveda has problems in the adductor muscle and won’t be available tomorrow. San José didn’t train the other day due to gastroenteritis, today he was training, with reserves, though we think that he can start. Aduriz also has some problems with the knocks that he has been dragging, but we think that he will be available too. About the rest, some players have issues like Beñat, but until that point. The most serious case is Eneko, who won’t be ready for tomorrow and let’s see if we can recover San José.”

About Deportivo he commented that, “Truly they spent several matchdays without winning, but the statistics tell us that Deportivo have only lost three times on the road. They draw a lot and have determinant players like Lucas Pérez. Despite been in this streak I watch them play and I saw that they are fine. It is a team that tries to have the possession and dominate the game; they also have a good counterattack as they have fast players like Lucas or Luis Alberto. The fact they are in a negative streak, you see it in the results, but I don’t see it in the game. Maybe they are missing the aim of the first round.”

“Truly the last two games we played against them were matches that we had under control, but in the end everything was breaking up. Last year it was surprising as it happened at the last second and as they were coming in need, and this year maybe we made a step backwards as they were pushing. I remember Fede Cartabia going out and damaging us on the right wing. I believe tomorrow’s game is dangerous for us, mainly as I see how they are.”  He added.

Asked about the fight for Europe ‘Txingurri’ commented that, “We will like to break the situation at the standings and have enough room to watch upper, the other day the game with Valencia was important as Celta and Sevilla were six points above after playing before us, and it is important having them only three points away in order to not have a hole. In this sense our intention is to keep living in these places meaning a chance to Europe. There’s less margin at this stage and we cannot fail.”

He is hopeful about the future despite the busy calendar for Athletic, “I believe the team is responding in a general sense, some players weren’t fine before, but I trust that we have alternatives to be used in the remaining games, mainly as the calendar isn’t stopping. After the tie with Marseille it forces us to press harder. The game with Sporting is coming and also the tie with Valencia, so all the players need to be integrated.”

Finally, Valverde explained the state of the situation with Iñaki Williams’ injury, “It’s too soon, but it’s a difficult injury that could have been worse. We take the situation with calm. We want to be optimistic as Iñaki is a tough player, but with reserves. The recovery time, with one more week or one less, it could be the deadline that we gave before.”



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