Squad news


16 Dec 2008
Deportivo searches the pass to the round of 32 in the UEFA Cup, a draw could be enough but only a victory will secure the ticket. Lotina keeps using his ?European rotations’ as Colotto and Valer??n returns to the starting formation. At Nancy, coach Correa his basing the possibilities of the squad in a strong defence.

Deportivo has played 18 times against French teams in European competitions, and the balance is negative since it lost eight of those encounters, three of them at the Riazor, including the 0-5 Vs Monaco in the Champions League 2005/2006, painful result that meant Depor’s worst ever European defeat at home. Curiously that was Deportivo’s last defeat at the Riazor playing in Europe, since then the Galicians have been undefeated in the last eight matches. Meanwhile Nancy arrives to this encounter after a 2-0 win against Grenoble Foot 38 in Ligue 1, result that has left the French side in mid-table, eight points above the relegation.

Since this is the last matchday in the group stage, at the end of the day it will be know the names of the other two teams that will join CSKA Moscow in the round of 32. Three clubs are fighting for those two spots: Deportivo, Nancy and Lech Poznan. The Polish team needs to defeat Feyenoord Rotterdam at the Feijenoord Stadion by any score, but always scoring two or more goals. If they don’t fulfill the mission, then Deportivo and Nancy will qualify no matter the result at the Riazor.

But if Lech Poznan achieves the necessary result, then the game in La Coru?a will be crucial. Nancy will only need a draw to advance, while Deportivo will simply need to win the encounter. A thing to have in mind is that only three clubs have survived the Riazor on this season after Depor has played twelve official matches there: Hajduk Split (0-0), Mallorca (0-0) and Sporting Gij??n (0-3). But Nancy is unbeaten in their last three European away games. In this edition of the UEFA Cup, they defeated Motherwell at the Fir Park (2-0), while they drew with Lech Poznan at the Miejski stadium.

Coach Miguel Angel Lotina will keep the base of the squad that has been competing in Europe, though he will continue introducing some specific rotations in some positions. In the game at Lech Poznan the Basque coach rested Manuel Pablo and Juan Rodr?guez, now it’s the turn of De Guzm??n and Mista, men that weren’t picked for this match. In a general sense, Lotina will make three modifications compared to the squad that drew in Poland a fortnight ago.

The first one is the return of Manuel Pablo to the right-back position, place that was taken by Piscu at the Miejski Stadium. The second modification is the presence of Antonio Tom??s in midfield, the Cantabrian will take the spot of De Guzm??n. The final change is occurring in the striking position, with Mista rested, the place will be for Riki or Omar Bravo. Any of them will lead the attacks of Depor, but Lotina hasn’t revealed yet who will be the chosen one.

The rest of the squad will be the normal one that has been competing in the UEFA Cup, Aranzubia will be the starting goalkeeper, Lopo and Diego Colotto, the Pichichi in Europe, will conform the centre of the defence, while Filipe Luis will continue on the left side. Sergio will play alongside Antonio Tom??s in midfield, Cristian will appear on the right wing, Guardado on the left, and Juan Carlos Valer??n will return is order to lead the offensive zone, the Canarian is the playmaker in the formation. It’s a very offensive scheme, a 4-2-3-1 without defensive midfielders, keeping two wingers and the figure of the playmaker.

Ex-Depor keeper Jacques Songo’o, who also played in France, is aware of the characteristics of Nancy, that’s why he warned about the potential of the French side ?They have several inexperienced people, because in France they trust a lot in young players. I think that anything can happen in this game, Depor is the favourite for been playing at home, but they must be focused because they will meet a tough rival. I guess that Nancy will plan a 0-0 game and since that point, they will wait to see the pass of the minutes and later will search for a counterattack. They have discipline and it’s difficult to score a goal against them. What Depor must do is to go out and have the ball possession. It’s important to go out and not been in a hurry in order to win the game. They must have patience and not been nervous, because the goal can came at any moment.? Analysis he made at newspaper La Opini??n.

Captain Manuel Pablo, who is returning after resting in the game against Lech Poznan, was appointing that Deportivo must go out to the pitch thinking only of the victory  ?No matter the draw could be good for us, we should go out and win the match. They also play for the qualification and I’m sure it is going to be complicated.?

Juan Carlos Valer??n talked after the last training of the squad, he was analysing the work done so far in the group stage ?Before starting the round, we knew we will play for everything in the final match. We have done our homework. We won at home, drew outside and we lost against the favourite team. The qualification is at our hands and if we don’t achieve the pass, it’s because we don’t deserve it. To not pass the round would be a disappointment.?

Another novelty for the game is that Rodolfo Bodipo is returning to the list of picked players after surpassing the knee sprain that he sustained in the liga game against Athletic Bilbao. In this way Pablo Amo remains as the lonely player at the injury room. Together with Mista and De Guzm??n, right-back Laure is the other man that wasn’t picked up for the match, while Dudu Aouate and Gustavo Mun??a still sidelined by Lotina.

List of called players (18): Aranzubia, Fabricio (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Z? Castro, Colotto, Lopo, Filipe, Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’ (defenders); Sergio, Juan Rodr?guez, Antonio Tom??s, Lafita, Guardado, Cristian, Verd??, Pablo ?lvarez, Valer??n (midfielders), Bodipo, Omar Bravo and Riki (forwards).

There are several similarities between Deportivo and AS Nancy-Lorraine, starting with the fact that the French side is strong in defence but barely scores a goal at Ligue 1. And it’s that after 18 matchdays at French top division league, Nancy has only scored 15 goals (the 7th worst mark in the league), but has only allowed 19 (the 7th best record in France). A very similar behaviour to the one had by Depor in the Spanish La Liga.

Another thing in common is that Uruguayan coach Pablo Correa likes to make rotations in his European formations, as the examples of midfielder Alfred N'Diaye and striker Monsef Zerka, men that aren’t normal participants in Ligue 1, but that have played in all the five games in UEFA, similar cases to Valer??n and Colotto at Deportivo.

But the similarity that’s worrying Depor’s coaches is Nancy’s faculty of basing its game in a strong defence and the counterattack. As Jos? ?ngel Franganillo (Depor’s physical trainer) was explaining, ?For the characteristics of its players, it’s a team that can harm you when they find open spaces. Its stronger point is the collective spirit. Everybody works for the team, their players are incisive, especially in defence. They know how to defend and are very quick in attack. But we must think they will not only defend, they will play with the lines very closed and will have solidarity between them, always without forgetting the goal of Aranzubia.?

A curious thing at Nancy is marked by the presence of Moroccan attacker Youssouf Hadji, brother of ex-Depor man Mustapha Hadji. Youssouf is the ?Pichichi’ in Ligue 1 for Nancy’s squad with three goals, but he has only played once in the UEFA Cup. Correa will make two modifications compared to the team that was defeated by CSKA Moscow in the past matchday (3-4), the first one is a forced change since midfielder Landry N'Guemo is injured (kneecap), his place will be taken by 21-year-old Basile Camerling.

The other change is the appearance of French-Moroccan defender Micha?l Chr?tien Basser to replace Jean Calv? at the right-back position, the ex-Le Mans wasn’t picked for this match. The rest will be a 4-2-3-1 formation. In defence captain Gennaro Bracigliano will be the goalkeeper, the couple at the centre is South-American: Brazilian Andr? Luiz and Uruguayan Dami??n Macaluso, while the left flank will be covered by Jonathan Brison.

The pivote duo is conformed by two young players, because 21-year old Camerling will be joined in the job by 18-year-old Senegalese Alfred N'Diaye. Julien F?ret will cover the left wing, French Guyana-born Marc-Antoine Fortun? will perform in the playmaking function, Senegalese Issiar Dia will play at the left wing, and French-Moroccan Monsef Zerka will be the only reference in attack. Zerka is the current European top scorer at the squad with three goals in his account.

Left –back Jonathan Brison has a clear idea about how the game will be developed, as he talked before the travel to La Coru?a, "A draw is not enough for Deportivo. The Spaniards should attack and rely on their highly technical style with great quickness and short game. We will respond with our physical qualities, our commitment and we will enjoy of the open spaces that will be created. ?

List of called players (18): Bracigliano, Gregorini (goalkeepers); Chr?tien, Helder, Adjet, Biancalani, Andr? Luiz, Macaluso, Berenguer (defenders); Gavanon, Alfred N'Diaye, Brison, Youssouf Hadji, F?ret (midfielders); Dia, Zerka, Marc-Antoine Fortun?, Camerling (strikers).

Deportivo: Aranzubia - Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Colotto, Filipe - Sergio, Antonio Tom??s - Cristian, Valer??n, Guardado – Riki or Omar Bravo.
Nancy: Bracigliano – Chr?tien, Andre Luiz, Macaluso, Brison – N’Diaye, Camerling – F?ret, Fortun?, Dia - Zerka
Referee: Michael Weiner (GER)
Kick-off: 20h45 (Riazor)


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