NEWS | 21/12/2019 | Javier Vázquez | PHOTOGRAPHER: Víctor Carretero"Athletic are having a great season, since the beginning and we know what we'll be up against," he added.
"We're going to play the game and then we're going to rest. We'll have a few days rest and come back stronger. I don't think it's going to change anything. They play in other places, but not here".
"We're at the level we wanted to be, not just physically. We've worked on it a lot with the people in charge, but on all levels. We’re very good at the minute, we’ve been constant. We had a difficult start to the season, but we had to be patient and put into practice what we were doing on the pitch. Not only in terms of results, but also in terms of our game. And that's the most important thing for me".
"I'm not going to say that I'm sick of people thinking that. I think it's a little awkward that we have to show our work all the time. The important thing in football is to be consistent and we're getting there. Our playing identity when we have the ball has to be offensive and when we don't, we defend very well. Tactically, they might say that there are people better than me, but maybe I don't see it like other people".
"For me, tactics is a state of form, of mind. For me it's the ambition and the desire that the players put in. Honestly, we don't play with a 4-4-2, I say that for people who talk about it and say we only play like that. That shows that everyone has their own way of thinking. We want to play and that's how we do it".
"James is coming on. He's slowly working his way up, he's had a bad injury. He's getting better every day now, you'll see the squad. We want James back, this is very clear, I don't know when and I don't know how, but he is in his recovery process".
"It's because he's always on form. He always trains to try and play and be good for the team. He has a lot of personality, he is a player who we know what he can give to the team and it’s all down to him and his work. It's because of what he's doing".
Valverde and Pogba
"What I can tell you is about my players and all the means I have. They are involved, it is difficult for me to pick the teams and that’s a good thing. Fede (Valverde) is an asset to the club and we're happy that he's with us".
Comparison with last season
"The priority for us is the day-to-day. The league is the day to day and the idea at this club is to fight for everything until the end and see what happens. That's what we're going to do, play. The important thing for us is to work well every day. We're working very well and we're going to continue next year the same way, because this is the last match of the year".
"I'm not here to judge people. Outside people can have their say. What I want to do is be where I am, at the best club in the world and I'm lucky enough to get up every day and work in my passion, that's what makes me happy every day. I can't control what happens on the outside. I'm proud to coach this team and the players because of the way they train. We are ready, we are Real Madrid and we know the responsibility each one of us has and what we want to do".
His time as a coach
"I don't know, it depends on what I feel, because I do it with how I feel inside. Maybe I'm an atypical coach, different. We talked a lot when I left here and it can happen because what interests me is the day to day, how I am with the people who work with me and all that. I'm sure I'm not going to be coaching until I’m 70. As a player, I don't think so. It's different, but I've enjoyed playing football. I like training but I've enjoyed playing football. What I tell them a lot is to take advantage of playing football because then it's over".
Changes since the match in Paris
"There's a lot of work. We had to be patient but, above all, we were on the inside because we didn't control the outside. We can work hard, well, together and that's what we want to keep doing because that's what will lead us to achieve good things this year. We don't control the rest".
"Yes, I like him because I played against him many times as a player and I respect him a lot. I respect him as a player and as a coach because I think he is the best coach in the world. He has shown that throughout his career and of course I like to play against him and play a game against his team. Not just me, but the whole team".
"No, I’ll answer that clearly. You are there to look for things and the other day it is true that we lacked goals, but I think it was in this particular game. We have room for improvement, but it was only in this match because when you look at the others, we have scored a lot of goals".
Shots from distance
"Yes, we work hard on it because we have players who have a good shot from outside the area that can hurt any opponent. That's one of the weapons we have to use".
"The past is past. VAR is important, it's technology, it's a bonus for football and you have to look at it that way. Can it be improved, of course. I think everyone wants it to improve and we have to be in favour of that. Everyone in their own lives and in their own things can fail".
"No. What I'm interested in is tomorrow's game. The past is the past and what matters to us players, coaches, club and staff of this club is only tomorrow's game. All our energy has to go into tomorrow's game".
Do you believe in VAR?
"Yes. I'm going to say the same thing. I have a lot of room for improvement as a coach, everyone in life lives to make things better, as a family too. I'm talking about this to say we can always make things better. And I can also tell you as a player that I left football at the age of 34 at Real Madrid and until the last day I was improving things. If you think, that you are not going to improve as a coach or as a person...