Squad news

Q&A WITH MANUEL PABLO

09 Apr 2014
Ten years after the big success before AC Milan in Champions League, Manuel Pablo, the only survivor that remains at Depor, explained to newspaper La Opinión A Coruña how the team faced that impossible challenge.

Q: That was a real challenge for Depor.
A: It was for the quarterfinals in Champions League, before a powerful Milan and with a very negative result that we had to overcome. It demanded everything from you, absolutely everything since the kick-off.

Q: Was the main objective to score the 1-0 as soon as possible?
A: Before the match the faces at the changing room were of concentration and each player was envisioning how we wanted the game to be. Jabo's pre-match talk was similar to many others, neither effusive nor different. We knew it was important to make an early goal and we got it.

Q: Did you went out fully convinced or were believing as the goals were falling?
A: We were all convinced, knowing the difficulty of the task and that the game required us to have confidence and score a quick goal to get us even more in the tie. After the 4-1 of the first-leg, the first hours were tough, because you realize that you've lost an opportunity, but on the next day you get up and listen the coach and the oldest people, and you see that you can get it. We left crestfallen, but were getting up and at the moment of the second-leg. Our awareness was different, we were positive, thinking like winners, so we tried and eventually we succeeded. We faced the second-leg with this common belief that it was possible. The players went out highly focused, knowing we cannot afford any mismatch and that we had to go for the game from the first minute. We went out highly focused. It was a total commitment for the comeback.

Q: Did Fran, Mauro Silva and other veterans help to promote that faith?
A: During the week both the veterans and the coach were pulling the fans and also ourselves. Each passing hour, each minute, the conviction was greater.

Q: Was it a miracle?
A: No. I say epic, There was no miracle. Miracles are already more difficult. We were all convinced and things started to happen, so this conviction was growing with the passage of the minutes.



Manuel Pablo during the interview

Q: With the 3-0 at the break, were you sure that the task wasn’t going to escape?
A: For me there is a very significant image, which was the eleven players of Depor running to the changing room, as if we didn’t want to reach the rest. We were so deeply involved in the game that if we would have continued playing then we wouldn’t have noticed it. We went into the changing room all excited, as if we wanted to keep playing. We settled down a bit, but thinking that if we would have locked ourselves at the back or if we would have downed the arms, then they could have passed the round as they only needed a goal. Milan was a great team and in the second half they created some problems, maybe not as many as you can expect from a Milan, but they had more control than in the first half, though they barely reached our goal.

Q: Nesta, Maldini, Pirlo, Kaka, Shevchenko... How did the stars at Milan take it?
A: That image at half-time is significant: we concentrated as a group and they looking a bit like saying, 'What's going on here, how is it possible?'. We surprised them as they surprised us in the first game.

Q: It was a perfect match?
A: Yes. I think so. You had to create opportunities and have a high confidence to materialize them, and then to be strong defensively to avoid any harm. And so it was. The game demanded everything, to be alert and physically prepared for the whole 90 minutes.

Q: Was that Deportivo the best one in which you have played?
A: I don’t know. In those years there were great squads, for example with Roy Makaay, a Golden Boot. Some came here, others left, but the success was always to maintain a competitive squad to face several challenges at once.

Q: The challenge of the promotion is more important than that comeback?
A: In a club level, yes it is more important. That feat brought us a name, it gave us everything, but if we have failed then nothing would have happened. We had already other opportunities and we could not pass. Now everyone knows what the situation at Deportivo is and to play at Primera is a relief, a breath for the club that, at that time, it didn’t matter.

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