NEWS | 22/05/2018 | Alberto Navarro | PHOTOGRAPHER: Ángel Martínez“Our experience will not give us any edge at all. It's a football match and we have to show that we want to win it”, reiterated the coach at the Open Media Day.
"We are ready for the game. How can anyone think we have less hunger than our rivals? That is not true. They are going to throw everything at us and we know that. They had a great season and things can get tricky at any time. There are no surprises and both teams know each other really well."
"they are a good team, they made it to the final and they deserve to be here just like us. We must prepare for the game, look at our opponent’s flaws and try to hurt them. It is one match and we are both playing away from home. We are ready and experience will not give us any edge at all. It's a football match and we have to show that we want to win it."
"It's a final. We both want to win the trophy. Winning last year is irrelevant and so is the fact they have not reached the final for 11 years. We want to see a great football match and we are going to give it everything."
The hard road to the final
“It is always like that. It is brilliant just to get to the final itself because it is never easy. Winning two Champions League finals was spectacular, we had to suffer. In the knockout stages, you have to play against the best in Europe and that has a certain important value, especially if you cast your memory back over the tough season we have had”.
“We are in the final and we have four days to prepare for it. The hardest part is getting into the final. It has been complicated this year and winning away from home never means the tie is dead. This time will fight to the death”.
The dressing room
“I spent 17 or 18 years as a player, worked with many coaches and some gifted players with the ego to match. I know very well how players think and that is important for a coach, but that's not the only thing. That will not win you games, you need grit and a philosophy. Tactically I'm not the best coach, the press say it themselves, but I have the drive and passion and that means a lot. It was much easier for me as a player. You all know what I do well and badly. I am so passionate about football."
"Every now and then things give me a headache but that is the life of a coach. The people on the bench are also very important. The players that do not start cannot think they will not feature at all because from the bench my players can make a real difference and be the game changer. I want everyone switched on. That's why I am not saying now who plays because that can damage a footballer."
Praise for Cristiano Ronaldo
“A player can go through some hard times, but when he does not score he does not get wound up. He knows that the next game he could maybe score two or three goals. That is what happened this year. That's what makes him the best. There are players that do not thrive under pressure but some do thrive. He is one of those that does. The more you criticise him, the more you should beware. I am a quiet person and in the end, it is better to have Cristiano Ronaldo by your side because he shows year in year out that he is top dog. He will be vital, because he is the best there is”.
"I know how things work in the dressing room and sometimes the magic doesn’t happen if they do not get along. Perhaps you can still win trophies, but to win regularly you need a good, united dressing room. My players get along well. They work very well together and just that talent alone is not enough. Without hard work, you cannot win. They have that raw talent and also the work ethic. It is not simply that it is the third final in a row. I have a group of incredible players. When I was a player I did not what being on the bench was like, but it must be hard."
The Cristiano Ronaldo-Benzema link
“I don't know what it is exactly, but I know these kinds of things don't happen all the time. You can get great players who do not link up well, but they do. When a group works hard and connects well it is a great thing. All of the work we do throughout the week is what fosters such a strong link”.
“he is doing well, he scored plenty of goals and has found real continuity, especially in terms of regular training. He did well in the run-in, scoring goals and performing well”.
"I spend every day with them but other players need opportunities because if not the message that everyone is important does not ring true. The BBC are the best by far. They have shown it countless times, but the day to day is the vital part and my ideas and what I say to the players must be followed up by what I do. The BBC played in Barcelona. Now we are all ready for this game and that is what we wanted."
"I'm not going to tell you. You’ll see soon enough. They can’t all play, some of my players are set and some are not going to play at all. That's the hardest thing: to reach the final and know that you're not going to get any game time. "
His record as a coach
"I’ve been here for almost three years. There has not been a specific moment that stands out. If I have to highlight something it is the day to day work. If you look at how we work, despite the difficulties we’ve come across, we deliver, we have the enthusiasm needed and the desire to always give it our best".
“I always remain positive. My parents taught me that. If you think you're going to fail then you most likely will. You must always stay positive”.
Praise for Klopp
“He is a great coach, he showed that at Dortmund and he continues to impress with Liverpool, which is paramount. I have loads of respect for him, he is an expert coach”.
Will the season be a failure if you lose?
“It will not be a waste. The big failure for me, as I said before, was in the Copa del Rey because we lost at home and were knocked out. That was a cruel blow for us. But that's it. Real Madrid always look to win, but you can't always count on it. The important thing for us is show our drive and ensure we don't slip up. You need setbacks in life if you want to improve”.