Competition news


08 Jan 2011
Fifth confrontation between Lotina and Guardiola; the Basque coach didn’t deny the possibility of a new switch in the system, while Barca’s manager is more worried in recovering his players after the effort done in Copa.

Josep Guardiolais an historic player of Barcelona FC that won six ligas, two Copas, four Spanish Supercopas, a UEFA Cup winners Cup, two UEFA Super Cups and two UEFA Champions Leagues, one as a player (during the season 1991/1992) and the other conquered as a coach. He’s just the sixth man in the history of the competition that achieves that double prize (the others where Miguel Muñoz, Giovanni Trapattoni, Johan Cruyff, Carlo Ancelotti and Frank Rijkaard). And there’s more, because two seasons ago he added the Copa Del Rey, la liga championship, The European Super Cup, the Spanish Supercopa and the FIFA Clubs World Cup, meaning an historic mark of six titles in one campaign. No one did that before.

The surprising thing is that he recently started his career as a coach (June of 2007), just when he was named as the coach of Barcelona B, squad that was at Tercera División and that was later promoted to Segunda B and then to Segunda A. He quickly ascended in the preferences of former president Laporta and one year later he was replacing Frank Rijkaard as the head coach of Barcelona’s first team. This is the fifth occasion in which he faces Miguel Ángel Lotina as a coach, so far ‘Pep’ has added four wins and the only positive result for Depor’s man was the 1-1 at the Riazor during the last matchday of the season 2008/09.

Depor’s coach gave a press conference on Friday’s morning; he was constantly asked by journalist Gonzalo Soto if his idea ahead of the game is to switch back to a 4-2-3-1 system; the Basque man tried to avoid to question, so he didn’t confirm it, but neither denied the possibility.

 “Are you assuming this switch in the system due to the list of picked players? [He laughed as he was asking the journalist] There are four central defenders in the list, and yes we might switch the system, but it is a decision that I still have to make. But yes, it might be possible. I don’t think that Barca will be worried if we play with five or four defenders, but no matter the scheme we use, it will be because we feel more comfortable playing like that.” He said regardless the issue.

Asked if Valerón was going to perform as a playmaker, the Meñaka-born manager confirmed that instead the options are Juan Dominguez or Lassad, “Lassad, maybe yes, or not. Or it will be Juan Dominguez, maybe yes, or not. I haven’t talked to the players, but I already know how we are going to play. I repeat we will play in the way I think will make us feel more comfortable, and with the people I think will bring more things.”

Later he was asked if Laure is going to perform at the right-back position and Manuel Pablo on the left, Lotina didn’t know what to answer and just said, “Yes… maybe… “More precise was the comment of the coach regardless the good moment lived by striker Adrian, “It’s good to have players living a good moment, and Adrian is living a positive moment. You can notice that.”

What Lotina tried to insist throughout the press conference is that Barcelona, despite its potential, is just one more rival for Depor, “It is just another game for us, nothing more. Three points against a Barca that’s coming after passing a tough round in Copa at San Mamés, but it’s just another game for us. We are just putting on the pitch the players that will give us more things. The numbers and statistics are there, but this is football.”

“It is one more game for us; I won’t say that we are spending more time preparing this match, because we always do as we are professionals. In order to defeat a great team you need to be convinced, and that’s the most difficult thing, and in order to convince the players the coach must be the first one convinced. If for this we need to do four things, we must do it perfectly.” He added.

Then the coach was asked if Depor will face the match in a defensive mode, “We always have to defend, and against Barca, supposedly, they will have the ball possession, at San Mamés they had like the 60% of the ball possession and it was playing at a tough stadium. We will defend, but will also need to attack in any possible way. Against Barca many people say you must do this or that, but so far I have seen that nothing works. Osasuna pressed up front and allowed three goals at El Sadar; Espanyol did the same and received five. And other tried to defend and it was the same. So, at least we must have a clear idea of what we are doing, but later there is no method to stop Barca. Within the three years with Guardiola all the teams have tried of everything and they won almost all the games.”

Finally, Lotina was commenting the fact of been facing Almeria in Copa Del Rey, “It is a good team; they are fine and scoring goals; they are playing with joy. They have changed after the arrival of the new coach. For us the Cup means prestige and will try to reach the farthest round. But if Barca passes Betis… well… we will try to go as far as possible.”

Barcelona’s coach gave a press conference on Friday’s morning; he started explaining why he is travelling to La Coruña with the 21 players that he has available for the game, “I am taking the 21 players, because I want to see that everybody is plugged in. If we pass to semifinals in Copa within the next days then we will play a lot of matches, and we need to have everybody prepared. We can’t allow playing with the same eleven men during the nine games of this month.”

About Deportivo, the former captain of Barcelona said that, “Lately they have made pretty good games. It is a solid team at home and it’s living its sweetest moment on the season. Besides, let’s see how we recover after the big effort made at San Mamés. We must recover as soon as possible, because in liga there is no margin to lose points. We must do a very good second round in order to win la liga.”

Later, the Catalan coach was talking of some of his players, starting with Milito, who seems to be at the door out, “It is our player and if he goes out, then we will valorize the situation. I have spoken to him and I have a good feeling.” Later he talked of recent signing Afellay, “He has adapted to the group; his first days at the team have been impeccable.”

Finally, Guardiola gave his opinion on the fact that Messi, Xavi or Iniesta might be awarded on Monday with the  European Footballer of the Year award, “After the game against Deportivo I will decide if I will travel to Zurich. I just hope the ceremony will pass as soon as possible, because I want to see them happy and receiving the award, and later to be focused in the competition, though I’ve to recognize that it’s fantastic news to see our three players over there.”



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