Interviews

Q&A WITH LOTINA

15 Apr 2011
Long and sincere interview made to Lotina by papers La Opiniůn A CoruŮa and AS; the Basque coach responded all kind if inquires, from his continuity ahead of next season to the signings made for the present campaign.

Q: The season is getting too long.
A: Yes. When you're in a situation like this, it is always too long. But I think the team has been able to make a step forward.

Q: Is it your harder campaign?
A: Yes, it is the hardest in these four years. In the first we started playing well, but with bad results. We ended the league very strong, with consistent results and scoring several goals. The second was the best one, with good football and having European options almost until the end. In the third, the results were initially good, with a serious team, but with a limited number of goals. This year has been the most irregular. Neither had we too much football nor this team has been solid.

Q: And the key to all this?
A: There are many things. I emphasize my idea that during the pre-season I was happy with the team. Last year we had problems in several positions. This year we signed Saul, Desmarets, Michel and Urreta.

Q: Those are players who do not count.
A: But in August it was different. I felt like having more alternatives. What happened? Since we started badly, they havenít reached the top of their level.

Q: Yes, but that's what happens with second-level players: they only go in the same direction of the wind.
A: True, but we knew who we were signing. We canít pretend that we are going to sign players without spending a penny, and then to see all of them playing forty games per season. Maybe one of them will do itÖ. This is the reality of this club and we canít cheat anybody.

Q: Were these signings decided by you?
A: Since I'm here, all signings have been made in the same way: with my blessing and the one of the club. The only player for whom I pushed a little, more for an issue of internal discipline, was Aranzubia.

You are talking about signings, how much responsibility do you assume for this season?
A: Everything. Since I'm here it was always made in the same way. The club has a name, I study it and say yes or no, and vice versa. Some of them werenít chosen by me, but I feel responsible for it. There have been possible signings that I put over the desk and the club, for economic reasons or not, discarded them. Everyone that was signed came after reaching a consensus between all the parties involved. I feel responsible, as the club should feel responsible too. Ernesto Bello and Lendoiro are now on here, surely things will work better.

Q: Do you know that Deportivo has achieved only nine victories within the last forty-four games?
A: Well ... I just miss that we havenít played good football. And when we played well, we had no depth. And that has been our dilemma for a long time, a fight between football and depth. In the second year we had good football. Where was the difference? In the fact that Lafita scored 8 goals, Verdķ 7 and Riki made 6. Those goals disappeared, except for Riki. And this situation is expensive in football. Many times, the good game comes after the goals.

Q: Some say that Depor fights for the permanence and that it is Lotinaís fault, while others say that Depor wonít go down to Segunda thanks to Lotina.
A: If we would have started well, then we would be higher at the standings. But if in August you would have asked to several coaches at Primera is likely that they would have answered that the current position of Depor is the right one. In the situation of the club, if you sign people for free, it is wrong to believe that you are going for the UEFA spots. Maybe one year you can do it because everything turns to be perfect, well yes. But overall, the site of the clubs that donít spend money is to fight for the permanence. Everything else is a lie. And we're not smarter than others. As long as Depor keeps solving its problems, the objective must be the permanence.

Q: What do you regret for?
A: At some point, I've been angry at the world and have delivered the feeling to the changing room. There were things that I didnít understand and the situation surpassed me.

Q: What do you mean?
A: I didnít know how to control my emotions. There were times I was sad, angry...

Q: What situations?
A: I'd rather not talk about it.

Q: When will you announce that you are living Deportivo?
A: First the permanence and then we'll talk. Deportivo is a quiet club with a friendly crowd. But four years are a lot of years. The message is no longer the same. I talk a lot about football and that wears you down. When you constantly talk about football it undermines you, maybe more than others coaches that make more superficial comments. But now I only think of the 44 points mark. I donít care what will happen on the next year. I donít discard anything, neither that I will stay here, nor that I can train in a foreign league, nor to see me accepting an offer in Spain, nor to see me unemployed for one year.

Q: Donít you think that at this point Lotina is the one that loses, and the players the only ones that win?
A: That is for the years Iíve spent on here. We all win and lose, although in the defeat the guilty one is always the coach. The current situation is normal at Depor. If the club signs in this way, for the situation that it is living, the goal is the permanence. Maybe you could have a good year where you end living closer to Europe, thatís for sure. But there will be others in which you will be down there. It will happen until you exceed the economic problems.

Q: Throughout the year it was said that there were, in some ways, small riots inside the team.
A: Man... The changing room is perfect. There has been no such thing. But this year people have played a lot with the half-truth, which I call lying. It was also said that I wasnít talking to Lopo, just the player with whom I have a better relationship. People have played with half-truths and opportunism. I donít like liars and opportunists.

Q: And why was that?
A: The results are very helpful. The sporting subjects cover all problems that might occur. If you lose, there are problems every day and of all kinds. And if you win, nothing happens.

Q: After listening you, I understand that you wonít continue for next year.
A: I didnít say that. Decisions have to be taken at the time, thinking of the group and not just in myself.

Q: One thing is to be pressured by the media, the public and even the players, but from inside the club?
A: The president has never pressured me. Not directly.

Q: But from the inside you have been pushed to play with Valerůn.
A: I donít know anything about that. I have never felt ant pressure coming from the president. He never said anything and I've been feeling comfortable with him.

Q: But you should agree that, from the inside, the pressure is done by others.
A: Well, everyone says what they want, what they think; I wonít talk of that, because it doesnít bother me.

Q: What about Adrian?
 "He's a player that, for me isnít seizing the fifty percent of his conditions. I compare him with... his character is like Benzema. What he is capable can be done by him ten times in a game and not just twice.

What do you mean?
A: That he is getting older. He has to make a step forward. When will he make it? Surely, there will be a season in which he will amaze everyone.

Q: Guardado.
A: Heís a complete footballer, with character, the typical player that you would take to your team.

Q: But it isnít so clear what he has done on here.
A: He had a slump and was affected by the injuries. Also, he was affected by the exit of Lafita, his friend.

Q: Antonio TomŠs, the one who you continuously protect.
A: He has many good things. And you will see as on next season he will have offers. I advised the club to renew him. He is a balanced midfielder with a good short game, good sense to be well positioned on the pitch, and also has character.

Q: Is Lassad a player of Primera Divisiůn?
A: Yes. He is able to play between the lines. He has a change of pace; sometimes he seems slow, but not at all. He is great when he has the ball. Without doubt is a player of Primera.

Q: Is he also like Benzema?
A: Maybe, heís cold, yes.

Q: Letís move on to Xisco.
A: I like him more now than when he left.

Q: Michel
A: The injury affected him. Heís better of what he has showed on here.

Q: Aythami.
A: He has a lot of character. I think he will be a reference at the centre of the defense for the coming years.

Q: Juan DomŪnguez
A: He had very good games and others, especially playing away from home, in which he has been absent. I still think that he is a good player for Primera Divisiůn. He didnít have the needed continuity, in other kind of situation we might have provided him of that continuity.

Q: What is the role of Valerůn in this last stage of the season?
A:  Juan Carlos needs to be fine, fresh, and to not do a lot of defensive work, and for me in Malaga he did more of what was necessary. The best thing is, besides provide us of his football, to give passes and bring comfort to his team mates.

Q: How many points are necessary to achieve the permanence?
A: Our goal is the 43 or 44 points. Among the irregularities that we have had all year long, I donít know if for having all the players available, or for the impression left within the last two games, but I see the team much better now. However, I say this from the analysis of the last two games. Having all the players available gives us some comfort [He said this before knowing that Riki was injured again]. I hope that against Racing we can make a step forward, it would be important towards the goal.

Q: I see you are pretty optimistic, but the reality is that in the last two meetings we also saw old problems, like the first half against Mallorca or the poor offensive game against Malaga.
A: But my optimism comes from the attitude of the players and our people. We realized of the situation and that's good to go ahead. The public also realized of the situation. There are teams in which these issues arenít so critical, but in this team it is like this. We need the encouragement from the fans, because it transforms us, it encourages the players and makes them increase their performance.

Q: The last two matchdays against Barcelona and Valencia, you said you like it, but it's a double edged sword that could suggest that Depor must resolve the issue of the permanence before arriving to both games.
A: Let's see... when I was talking on the second round I thought it was logical that both teams would already have achieved the goals at that point of the season. We do not know yet, but it is logical to think in that way. Selfishly, I think we are interested in seeing Real Madrid beating Barcelona this Saturday, because it will force Barcelona to continue competing until the very end, not until the end. In this way, Real Madrid will have to win games while they could have a mathematical chance to win the title. We are interested in seeing Barcelona clinched the title just before our game, but not much earlier.

Q: Do the players at the team frequently ask you if you will leave at the end of this season?
A: Yes, several of them have asked me. I have some confidence with some of them. Aranzubia asked me at the time, when he renewed, if I was going to stay here any longer. But this year I have not been able to say anything, because I really donít know what I'm going to do. I told them to do whatever they thing is correct. I do not know what I will do. This past week, two clubs phoned me asking about players that will be free during the summer. I gave my professional report, what I thought of those players in a personal and professional sense. Later I phoned Ernesto Bello and told him about the previous call and that I gave my opinion. I didnít talk to the players, because I think it isnít legal.

You often hear the comments on the street. What do they say now?
A: Anyone that hates me doesnít say anything bad, but you can realize what they are thinking looking at their faces. I also notice gratitude and many people thanked me, and I still donít know why. I've done things right and wrong things, but above all I have defended the club and I feel committed. I think the gratitude comes from there, rather than because the team wins or loses.

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