Interviews

Q&A WITH VALERÓN

06 Nov 2020
Juan Carlos Valerón conceded an interview to Sportpaper AS. The coach of Fabril analyzes the situation after the first games commanding Depor’s B squad, and also talks of his new career as a coach.

Q: How is going this new experience on the bench with the B squad of Deportivo?
A: Well, very happy. Very happy to be back at Depor and also for everything that I found on here. I am very excited about this project and that Depor has trusted me to be part of it. I have spent these years looking for my place in football outside the field and here we are.

It cost a bit, you and Depor had already talked more times in other years...
A: It’s true that there were situations before, but things come when they have to come. Also, that you feel prepared and that, at the same time, they trust you as a professional; you have to give everything.

Q: Hasn't been a bit sad for you to come back and find Deportivo in Segunda B with everything you lived here?
A: I still see Depor in the same way. The league is different, but you see the fans, the stadium, the people… The story is what marks it. Fernando Vázquez said some very wise words in which he indicated that the league is the least important thing, that what makes a great club is its history and everything that accompanies it. And that remains to be the same.

Q: You said before that you were looking for your place in football. Did you hesitate between training kids or ben a senior coach?
A: When I retired in Las Palmas, I stayed at the club helping in grassroots football, being at the club on an institutional basis… I went around various things, but I wanted to have the title of coach to see how I was doing. In the end the weeks and months go by and you realize what you like, what you want to do.

Q: You have taken that step at Depor. It helped to decide to have Manuel Pablo as a second coach, Fran directing the academy, Duscher, Donato...
A: It helps a lot. Choosing the site is very important and I think I’m in the ideal place. I think I fit perfectly.

Q: Now that you are a coach. Do you see in a different way the criticisms circulated inside the changing rooms through which you passed with your coaches?
A: I will tell you that I have always tried to respect the coaches, because it’s difficult to handle all situations. But there is no doubt that now I understand many things that, although I respected them, I didn’t understand before. Not just with me, but with others. As a coach you have a totally different vision compared to the one of the player. The player sometimes doesn't see it that way.

Q: What are your references as a coach?
A: There are always proposals that you like more when you are a player, but the perspective changes a bit when you become a coach. I have added good things from many coaches and proposals until you find yours. It’s a sum of what I experienced as a player, the styles of the teams… But inside me there’s something that marked me to be a coach, the proposal of Johan Cruyff.

Q: Cruyff left his legacy and style at Barcelona. How about what’s there now?
A: I think Barcelona has tried to maintain that philosophy all these years. At times they had it clearer and at others they had more doubts. In the end, each person who is in charge of a project, has their way of seeing it, their nuances. From the outside…

Q: What you know very well is a Canarian boy named Pedri...
A: Yes of course. I didn't have the opportunity to coach him, but I was in grassroots football in Las Palmas and I watched him play and train. They were already excited back then. A different boy was coming out.

Q: Is Real Sociedad an example to imitate regarding the academy?
A: They are the models that everyone wants to copy when they do well. And not only because of the sporting result, but also because of the football proposal. It’s positive to look at those projects seeing players coming out. But behind that there are many years of work, and that’s the difficult thing in this profession, long-term projects. Finding the patience for the academy to give results.

Q: Are there any Pedri projects lost by Abegondo?
A: Hopefully. It’s very difficult to know now. Deportivo, with the new board of directors, has an academy project that is not in words, but in facts. It has been seen with the bets they have made. We will try to have results and see in the future a Depor with that identity and betting on people from the house.

Q: How do you rate Fabril's start to the league? Three games, undefeated, five points...
A: Well, we are happy with the work. It’s a practically a new team, with a different dynamic than the one that has been taking place in recent years. We want to bet on the people here with a young team. The feelings are good and there’s a lot of work ahead.

Q: You had to miss the debut of the team because you were confined by a positive case in the coaching staff. Did it hurt a lot?
A: More than annoying, it was the hope of the first game after having a good pre-season. After doing the work with the guys and the time was coming.

How do you see the whole COVID problem in a league like Tercera?
A: It’s somewhat complicated. You are always uncertain if everything is going well, if the competition continues... Then you look around you and you realize how lucky you are to be in a club like Depor. They have the means, everything is organized, the protocols are spectacular… That’s something that not many teams have. We had two cases and nothing had to be stopped.

Q: Fabril has its demands. What is the priority, results or first team?
A: For me, the priority of every B squad is always the first team. The objective is to train the players so that they can reach the first team in the future. How do you get it? Competing. That the players show themselves and develop their skills. We want the boys to have a year in which they achieve growth, both in the game and personal, in order to have a future in professional football. Hopefully many will reach the first team and those who cannot, elsewhere.

Q: Mujaid, Valín or Gandoy are already with the first team, and for now there are two kids alternating Fabril and Depor, Adri Castro and Juan Rodríguez. Where do you see them in the immediate future?
A: It’s very difficult to know. I was in a B squad, then as a professional player I lived with the boys and now it's my turn in the club structure. The evolution of the players must be seen, you never know very well. We have a very clear case in Valín. He was there to see how he was progressing, and he’s there playing because of the circumstances. Those things cannot be controlled. In the end the player has to be prepared to give an optimal level when the opportunity comes and stay.

Q: Is the message to the kids 'when the opportunity comes you can't let it get away', or is it too much pressure?
A: Each player has his maturity, the circumstances are usually different, each position is different, the needs of the first team are different... What they have to be clear about is when the time comes, to match the level. It may not come at the moment now, but in the future it will serve permanently.

Q: We remember Valerón as a player and imagine a super offensive Fabril. What is your proposal?
A: One of the things I learned is that in football all the proposals are valid. What you have to achieve is performance, results. Each coach has his proposal, but everyone agrees that he has to be efficient. I summarize this in one sentence: you have to solve game situations. If it is done, then things can be achieved.

Q: And what does that translate into?
A: At Fabril we have it very clear. We want to be a team that takes the initiative with the ball. To dominate the game, I think there are two fundamental things: getting the ball out and defending high to recover sooner and attack more.

Q: I can't imagine Valerón throwing a fight inside the changing room after a 0-3 at half-time...
A: [Laughter] I am not going to fight for a 0-3, I am going to fight for other things. I am more concerned with conduct, behavior. I try to make the boys see that there are many variables in a result. The important thing is to make an effort and do the job well. We want the ball and for that we have to run and press, make an effort. If you do it as a team, then everything is easier. That’s what we demand of the boys.

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