Squad news

Q&A WITH NATXO GONZŃLEZ

06 Sep 2018
Natxo GonzŠlez conceded an interview to newspaper La Voz de Galicia; the coach analyzed the situation of the team after the transfer window and his ideas around football.

Q: What is your feeling after the closing of the squad?
A: Good. The goal was to have two players per position, so there could be competition and thatís what we got. Therefore, I am happy.

Q: How do you see it in relation to other teams?
A: I donít know. In the end, we can talk about names, if a team has more names or players with more trajectories, but in the end itís a matter of the day to day, take care of yourself, work well, the one that does it best in injury prevention... There are many factors. With seeing who has more names or budget, I think there arenít so many differences between teams. The difference will be marked by the day to day work, the regularity, that you donít have too many injuries. Every detail will make you better than the rival.

Q: But you assume the need and obligation to get the promotion.
A: I donít stop to think about that. I know it's like that, because I know it. But from there I know the difficulty of the league. That's all I know. What's outside doors I cannot control it. The only thing I can look for is to see our people proud of our team. Of course, I know where we are, what we are and where we came from, but I donít feel that added pressure. I donít care about being in a team that aspires to permanence. I demand the same. Iím aware of where we are and what we are going to demand, but it doesnít cause me much concern.

Q: Thereís a pressure for the goal of the promotion and another to please the stands. Do you think Deportivoís football will be liked in Riazor?
-A: Yes, Riazor will like this Depor.

-Q: That means that the team will play good football?
A: Without a doubt.

Q: -Five points after three games, satisfied?
A: Well, it's not right. Itís true that before playing you think that those are three away games and it wouldnít be bad, but, after having played them, I think we should have added more. We were very close to winning in Albacete and very close in Tenerife. So, you have that bittersweet taste.

Q: What do you like and donít like about what you have done?
A: The team still has many things to improve. The team knows what it wants. It is a recognizable team, one of the objectives that we set, taking into account that we have conceded after a penalty, a distant foul with an unusual error and another from outside the area. In the general calculation we are quite defensively reliable. Then, offensively it will cost us more. It is costing us more, because this is a way of acting that requires time, understanding of the game, because in that area of creation, both Vicente and Didier have joined us not long ago and it will cost more.

Q: Two draws in the last minutes alert you of something?
A: Yes. The other day I was surprised by the lack of response to how Tenerife came out in the second half. It squeezed us higher. They advanced their pressing line a few meters and there I was surprised by the response. I expected more, because we anticipated that situation. I was surprised in a bad sense. I expected better response at the collective and individual level of players who supposedly have the level to respond to that. Knowing that Tenerife is always going to press you, we cannot fall on that.

Q: Why does the team defends so delayed on the pitch?
-A: Of course, it isnít a slogan. We never talk about that. Quite the opposite. On Saturday, the goal at half-time was to get the second goal, because we knew that they had no choice but to squeeze and the match could slip out of their hands. A little goes in relation to see everything working, the automatisms...

Q: Dani Gimťnez gave security in the last three games, but made a big mistake. Will he pay the bill?
A: No man. I cannot condemn anyone for an error. What happens is that the keeper is highly noticed. Prior to this action there were two or three errors that is to grab anyone by the ears and... But that isnít noticed so much.

Q: At what point is the squad ready?
A: I donít know. How do I measure it? What is the limit of this squad? Perfection doesnít exist. There is a lot left, but I donít know how much remains. In addition, evolution is not progressive. Tomorrow we can be at 80% and within a month go down to 60%. There are always moments of stagnation and setback.

Q: Was it needed a so drastic change in the squad?
A: When you suffer something like that, there is something inside. To a greater or lesser extent there is a contamination. The more you decontaminate it, the better. We must try not to leave too many remains for the future, because something has happened there. The goal of this summer was to decontaminate a bit the changing room after the relegation. And, when I started working, I didnít find those remains. I found people who have left, but in the day to day we have had mutual respect, and, from there, in the new players, apart from the football aspect, we have looked at many other things so that we are a good group, a good team, because that gives points in the end.

Q: To what extent has it been possible to put personal values before football issues?
A: I think the first thing is to try to have good players and the rest... You can have a good guy, but if he doesnít know how to play football... You have to give priority to football, and this has been done, but you also have to know what type of person you are going to find.

Q: On Sunday, you face the first match in Riazor, with the stadium under construction and without almost strikers.
A: Of course, it is not the dream start. But we are going to be before our people and we have to respond. The other day, beyond the points, the match took its toll. It's a problem, yes.

Q: Have you considered changing the system with so many casualties in attack?
A: What I'm thinking about right now is who I'll be able to play... We will see with Carles [Gil], Quique is impossible, we will see with Borja [Valle], Fede let's see how he responds ... Itís all in attack. We're going to have to wait and see who will be available. But we have a major problem.

Is Carlos Fernandez ready?
A: Yes, but he has not played any minute. He had been with the group for three weeks but hasnít competed. Of course, he is not ready for ninety minutes.

Q: Have you come to ask the Venezuelan federation to keep Christian Santos?
A: Well ... No. No. No. It's just that you didnít expect what happened. If everything would have been normal in Tenerife... Then it was too late, because it was Sunday afternoon or Monday.

Q: How is Natxo GonzŠlez as a coach? What references does he have?
A: Pep Guardiola, without a doubt. Yes Yes Yes. Besides, I have a good relationship with him. But my admiration for him goes beyond the type of football. Because, as he says, to play as he plays he has to have good footballers, so you... More than that, it is how he transmits things.

Q: Whatís it for you to play good football?
A: There are many things. I'm not one of those who only believe in one type of football. Everything seems respectable. The famous Barca of Pep Guardiola, but also the counterattack of an English club. For being who we are, I like that the team has the ball more than the opposite and see if we get the performance of each of the players we have. Itís a team that is designed for that type of football. In these matchdays there have been bursts of finding that. But, mainly, being aware that it is not a league in which one day you are going to have eighty percent of possession, you have control of the game through the ball. Looking to hurt, not having it just because you have it. But I like to go home satisfied and thinking that my team played well. That you are able to impose what you want to impose. Let them play what you want. The control of the game doesnít have to be only with the ball. You can give it to the opponent to take advantage of the counterattack. There is the result but then you are satisfied. What you work every day must be seen in the field.

Q: You say that your referent is Guardiola and that you like to take control of the game with the ball possession. So, why do you think you have the fame of been a defensive coach?
A: Well, I donít know and it's funny, because you can ask any player and they will say no. Maybe they say I'm defensive because we have good numbers in defense. I invite people to watch Zaragoza or Reus matches. It is the only way to test whether I am defensive or not.  In addition, a coach in his life is taking steps, having experiences... My teams have been the least beaten ones. Then it depends... In Reus, we couldnít have top players that cost a fortune. When you donít have that, you have to be good defensively. And from there we move up adding. It depends on the squads you have. But, no. That label doesnít correspond with me.

Q: You bet on a 4-3-1-2 with a diamond figure at midfield. Are you very rigid with the system?
A: I'm not so rigid. Within a typical distribution, there are many variants. In Albacete I played with three centre-backs. The other day when the opposing team plays with two strikers, you look for an exit, if you play with one, you look for another exit... There are variants depending on the opponent. I donít consider myself rigid. In addition, for experiences that I have... Last year, with Zaragoza, in some games that we took the lead, I modified and we ended up tying two or three times. The other day, in Tenerife, we could have said "I take three centre-back, leave Borja up front and letís pray ". Another is "I keep two attackers and a one playmaker to look for the second goal". You are in that balance, which sometimes goes well or badly. I donít consider myself so rigid.

Q: Do you like to have a fixed starting eleven?
A: No. Usually the minutes are very spread out. Itís good that there is competition for people to be awake. That shows with facts that they deserve to play. Then, as the season progresses, each one is having their opportunities and each one is marking their future.

Q: You said that, once the transfer market was closed and you knew with what squad will be inscribed, you will announce the captains. That day has arrived.
A: But I donít have it yet. This week will be done, but it isnít decided yet. They will decide one pair and I the other two, but I already tell you that there is usually quite a coincidence between those who come out in the voting and those that the coach usually has in mind. At the end of the week you will know.

Q: Were you calm in the hours before the market closed or did you keep the fingers crossed?
A: There are hours in which anything can happen, because until the referee doesnít whistle the end... Our perception was that no, except for a specific case, but you cannot trust. When the bell rang, well yes, you have the feeling that you finally have the team.

Q: All years it is said that there will be a short squad to look towards Fabril. And this year it happens again. Twenty-four players. Isnít the door closed to the lads?
A: One thing doesnít remove the other. Look, we have Caballo and Edu Expůsito, who last year were with Fabril. It isnít a bad average if each year the first team promotes two lads. There's no reason not to look down. We will do it. If we see that there is someone who stands out and can help us, it will help us. I, personally, will be on top of Fabril, because I like and believe in grassroots football. So, there will room for them. The seasons are long, there are injuries, spikes... I donít mind having 24 and that will not stop me from looking down.

Q: What is the explanation of defending the set-pieces with the team so delayed?
A: In football, sometimes, everything goes a little bit by tendencies. Here, suddenly, it was said that we had to defend 45 meters from the line, because Guardiola said it. And I defended like that... But when I had problems defending too far from the goalkeeper, I've thought about it again. The pitcher has a clearer reference: put the ball between the defense and the goalkeeper. For the pitcher it is easier. If you see the goals, the lateral free-kicks that you have, the forward goes towards the goal and the defender goes backwards. It is difficult to coordinate holding the line there, there are always two that get stuck... I've seen countless goals sending the ball to the back of the defense and getting there the forward. On the other hand, when the pitcher meets a team like us, thatís locked behind, he has many doubts. He doesnít know where to put the ball. And then I think you defend better by being able to attack the ball frontally than going backwards. Experience tells me that by defending set-pieces face to face, you prevent players from getting stuck and making the pitcher doubt.

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