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THE BOARD OF LOTINA

03 Mar 2008
Strategic plays seems to be the key on this season. If the stationary game was a rule for Caparr�s, the set-pieces are a common resource for Lotina. And it's that eleven of the last sixteen goals scored on the season were conquered in this kind of actions. The last one was a complex free-kick that was transformed into the wining goal against Sevilla, Lotina and his players described this action to <i>La Voz de Galicia</i>

"That free-kick is an old song for me" it was the phrase pronounced by Miguel Angel Lotina with a smile in his face when he was describing the play in which  Deportivo scored the second goal that allowed the victory over Sevilla. The Basque coach told to reporters this strategic plays are usual in his training sessions, and that he uses this kind of actions since the times in which he was coaching Osasuna, Espanyol and Celta.

Lotina was even remembering a similar situation when he was in Vigo "With Celta, we scored a similar goal against Recreativo in la liga (season 2002/2003). I remember that it was the 1-0 (4-1 at the end). In this zone of the pitch, I like to have two or three tested plays when we are taking a free-kick, and Saturday's action was one of this. But on the day of Getafe, we tried a variant like this one."

On Tuesday, newspaper La Voz de Galicia analysed the play and talked with the players that executed the action. All started after Mosquera committed a foul over Wilhelmsson on the right wing, Depor's players decided to execute the action tested previously during the week and five men participated in the action.

Wilhelmsson takes the free-kick, Filipe Luis fools the rival with a run to the left, while Antonio Tom�s received the ball on the right, then he searches the cross to the centre of the penalty area, place where Pablo Amo is waiting in the far post while Angel Lafita is covering the near post. The play was supposed to include Fabricio Coloccini, who should enter by the middle, but the Argentinean didn't intervene at the end.

Antonio Tom�s told to La Voz that "Filipe was the one pointing out that we should try the play" later Lotina said that it was him who ordered the play to the Brazilian defender. The participation of Filipe is important because he distracts the attention when it seemed that he would take the free-kick directly to the box, later because his run to the left called the attention of some of the defenders, this allowed Antonio Tom�s to move himself to the right.

Lafita confirmed that Depor's players at the box knew what was going on, he said that the signal for them was too see two team mates giving the back to Sevilla's barrier "When we saw two players in front of the wall, there was no choice. I knew what they would did, and I also knew I should move myself to the near post."

But Sevilla realised what was going on and Antonio Tom�s had troubles in order to send the cross, as Lotina explained "Sevilla knew what we were trying to do, because Maresca was quickly trying to stop the cross. The normal thing is to send a high cross, but Antonio Tom�s was forced to sent a low shot although this attempt was made with more strength. If the cross would be perfect, maybe we wouldn't scored."

Antonio Tom�s also shared the opinion of Depor's coach "Maybe we had a little bit of luck, but the idea was to put the ball there, in front of the defensive line." Lotina completed the idea saying that "In all the strategic moves, you will always have a component conformed by the luck."

The curious thing about the play is that who scored the goal was the player in the worst situation, because Pablo Amo was alone after leaving behind the rival that was covering him (Kon�), while Daniel Alv�s was at the side of Lafita when the ball reached the box, as the Aragonian winger explained what happended "It wasn't easy to shot because Daniel Alv�s was holding my shirt,  it was hard to lose him but I won a half of meter, luckily it was enough to put the boot and shot on target."

Despite that half of Spain is now noticed about the action, coach Lotina promises that Deportivo will continue to try this kind of actions, although with some modifications "Well, it's true the goal is forcing us to work and change the play. What we must try to do is to modify it, but the rivals should realise we will try to make it once again in the same way, because they surely will study the video."

Another curiosity is that Lotina tested this action in the trainings with Sergio as one of the participants, but the Catalan was out of the game for illness, reason why Antonio Tom�s had to take part of the action, the Cantabrian youngster didn't know the details of the play and Lotina had to explain the action to him using a board during half-time, as Antonio Tom�s related "It was simply because I saw the team testing the play in the trainings and I didn't know it. I just asked in order to know the play, just like that."

ELEVEN GOALS IN STRATEGIC PLAYS
The goal of Lafita shouldn't be understood as an accident, contrary to this, it should be interpreted as a normal action in Lotina's board, and its that eleven of the last sixteen goals scored by Depor in la liga have came in strategic plays (four from the penalty spot), mostly in second plays after a corner-kick or during a free-kick. This is also a product of the new system with five defenders and the fact of having three tall central defenders on the pitch.

A fact that was explained by Lotina "Now we have height in this team, the three central defenders are very dangerous because they dominate the aerial game, in defence and also in attack, a fact that isn't habitual in la liga. This are three players that are dangerous up front and the rival faces a lot of difficulties in order to know how to stop them."

The following is the description of the last eleven goals scored by Depor in set-pieces:

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