Competition news


25 Oct 2009
Fifth confrontation between Lotina and Mendilibar; Depor’s coach said that he will only make a few changes in the starting lineup, while he still cautious about the Champions League chances of his team.

Two good friends collide in Valladolid, José Luis Mendilibar and Miguel Angel Lotina are two Basque coaches that are very close friends, they were team mates at Logroñes during the decade of the 80’s and have maintained a close friendship since then. Mendilibar has a long career as a coach, but he only debuted at Primera División until the year 2005, and it was a short experience because he was fired from Athletic Bilbao before the end of the first round. He arrived to Real Valladolid in the summer of 2006 and achieved the promotion to Primera breaking all the records at Segunda, since then he has been the undisputed manager of the Violet team.

This is the fifth time in which Mendilibar is facing Lotina. The first two meetings took place on the season 2007/2008, Lotina won the second match (3-1 at the Riazor), while the first ended in a 2-2 draw (at the José Zorrilla). On the past campaign Mendilibar’s Valladolid won with a clear 3-0 at home, while the last game was a 1-0 victory for Lotina.

Depor’s coach gave the usual press conference before the trip to Valladolid; he admitted that only a few changes will be made to the starting lineup that played at the Riazor on the past week, “We will make a few, but not too many changes, maybe one or two.  When you prepare a game, the ninety percent depends on your team and ten percent on thee rival. I want to know the rival, but it only means the ten percent. We can’t be changing the squad every week. Maybe it won’t be the same one that faced Sevilla, but it will be very similar.”

Later Lotina admitted that his team is depending too much on the goals scored in set-pieces, “Our philosophy is very clear: defensive order and to play football. We are living of the strategic plays, plus two great goals from Filipe and Juan Rodríguez, and we barely scored in normal plays, but it’s also true that the people up front are working hard in defence and we must valorise it. If we would leave them loose in attack, we will be creating more scoring opportunities, but we will be also receiving more goals.”

The Basque manager was also praising his colleague Mendilibar and warned about been playing at the José Zorrilla, “We all know it’s a stadium in which we don’t usually have good results, and we are aware of it. But I believe we are fine, almost at one hundred percent. I hope that by tomorrow, everybody will be at the top in order to face a complicate game. The teams of ‘Mendi’ (Mendilibar) don’t have too many defects. He extracts a lot from his players and maybe the intensity is his main characteristic. I don’t see the defects of my friends.”

About the casualty of Mista, the coach explained the situation, “He’s dragging an injury. We decided to rest him for the game at Murcia. I think is the same region of the past: the pubis. He has been treated conservatively, and has been training well, but this week he was laming. Let's see how he evolves.”

Finally, Lotina was still cautious about the chances of reaching the Champions League at the end of the liga season, “No matter what happens in Valladolid we must keep working. If we enter as one of the top four teams, it will be because we are doing the right things, and also because a lot of teams are failing. I mean a lot of them, not one or two. Right now a couple is failing, but I doubt that all of them will end falling.”

The coach of Valladolid talked on Thursday during a press conference, he is happy with his team despite the last defeat against Real Madrid, “On Saturday we made changes compared to the day of Athletic, and the new ones made the job. That’s good for me and for the group, so we are going up. It’s true that we didn’t pick any point at the Bernabéu, buy you can notice an improvement and that helps a lot in a mental sense. It is not the same to lose in a horrible way as it happened at Mallorca than do it as it was against (Real) Madrid.”

About the lack of victories at home, the Vizcaya-born coach said that “We must win at home now, especially because we need to witness the joy of the people that’s coming to see us. Neither can we put pressure on the team, because we need to play with calmness and trying to do a better effort compared to the previous occasions.”

Later Mendilibar gave an interview to newspaper La Voz de Galicia, he was explaining what he admires from Lotina, “I like his constancy and order at work. He always starts badly within the first three or four matches, but he never falls down. It has happened to him before, but he always popped up in all his previous teams.”

Talking about the rival the coach said that Deportivo is seizing his good streak in this start of season, “I would love to see them continuing with this streak, basically for Lotina, but as they have won fourth straight games, they could also spend the next four without winning. What happens is that the competition is very equal and they just achieved a few points during the first four matchdays. Now they are taking advantage of this positive streak, and if they pick up the points, I’m sure they would deserve it.”



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