Laso, 735 partidos

Laso: “Coaching Real Madrid requires me to improve every day”

NEWS | 10/02/2021

Tomorrow, the coach from Vitoria will have led the most games in the history of the club: 735. "I'm very happy because it's recognition for a job well done".
Pablo Laso has no limits with Real Madrid and against Valencia Basket, in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey (Thursday, 9pm CET), he will break an all-time record for the basketball team. He will become the coach who has been in charge of the most games, with 735, beating the record set by Lolo Sainz 31 years ago. Laso, who has won 20 titles in 10 seasons (2 Euroleagues, 1 Intercontinental Cup, 5 Leagues, 6 Copa del Rey and 6 Supercups), spoke about this new milestone on Realmadrid TV and Realmadrid.com: "Reaching a milestone like this says a lot about the work we do. I'm very proud to coach this team but I have great professionals by my side. The whole club is pushing to make this happen and I'm lucky to be at Real Madrid. It's the team that's out there working day-to-day but without the fans, the directors and everyone pushing, this would not be possible.

"There's not just one secret to staying at a club as demanding as Real Madrid for so long. The daily work, the continuity, an understanding of the team, of the game, of how to do things that are interrupted by situations such as injuries, signings, etc. Results are important and this team always wants to win everything. But that day to day work is what makes the team competitive and that's what everyone appreciates".

In the ideal place
"I'm just another link in the chain. Starting with the efforts of the president to ensure that we have good facilities, good players, that the players want to come to Real Madrid, to having a good working group.... These are the things that see Real Madrid playing at the highest level. And that means being able to be at our best every day for a club that also supports you going forward. The coach is obliged to improve every day. I've been a player and I've always had the aim to be better every day, not settling, and that's something I try to transmit to the group. Real Madrid has to always improve, the players too, and of course the coach. Coaching Real Madrid requires me to do that".

Two references in Lolo Sainz and Pedro Ferrándiz
"I don't like to compare myself with Lolo Sainz and Pedro Ferrándiz, who have been two people i look up to and are importnat for the history of Real Madrid. Their careers are more than recognised and without them none of us would be here. I'm very happy because it's recognition for a job well done".

Comparison with other eras
"Every era is different. I was lucky enough to play under Lolo in the national team. He trained me there but it was a different situation. There were fewer games and more time to recover and to be able to train, but there is something that unites us and that is being at Real Madrid, which requires you to do things to the highest standard and to want to improve. He was a great transmitter of that over time and for me he has been a role model. It's difficult to compare eras. Now it's very difficult and the calendar is tough for us. Lolo had the same pressure and demand at the time and he transmits that very well".

The President
"He is the driving force behind everything as president. If there wasn't a president who pushed us, it wouldn't have been possible to enjoy this success. I always recount when we won the Copa del Rey in Barcelona and he congratulated me, he told me what we had done, that we should enjoy it, that he was very happy but now we had to go and win the league. That level of demand is what the fans want. We're lucky that he encourages all of us and makes this possible. I can only thank him for that".

The fans
"The Real Madrid fans are very demanding, of course. But they are demanding when it comes to effort. They want their team to fight and work. Every fan wants their team to win and Real Madrid fans want to watch their team and recognise them. They're very important to us and we miss them even more in this situation".

The whole club is working hard so that this can happen and I'm lucky to be at Real Madrid.

"My big challenge is to coach well in the next training session. My focus is on making the team better every day and to be competitive. It would be easy to say I want to win the Euroleague again, who wouldn't. I want to win everything".

Lolo Sainz: "Laso has kept the philosophy of play and what this club demands".
"Pablo has achieved in 10 seasons what I achieved in 14. The coach has to succeed in building a team and in following the philosophy of the club. Laso has fulfilled expectations very well. Not only has he been here for 10 years, but he's also managed an amazing record of wins. Laso has kept the philosophy of play and what this club demands. Madrid is a very demanding club and Pablo has taken on board these high standards very well and has passed them on to the players".

Reyes: "He's made us stronger and more competitive"
"We've improved a lot since he arrived. He's made us stronger and more competitive as a team, he's given us the chance to fight for every titles and a big  part of our success is thanks to him. We have to thank him for that because he's a big factor in that. It's very difficult for a coach to manage a team like Real Madrid for so long. The fact that he's been in charge for so many years is because he's done things well and the work he's doing is to be praised".

Llull: "He changed the history and mentality of the team"
"He came to Real Madrid after a period without winning titles and brought that fresh air that we needed. During these 10 years we've won lots of titles. He's been a very influential coach, not only for the players, but also for the club. He put a lot of trust in me playing as a point guard, he taught me to read the games better and he's been a very important figure in my growth as a player. He changed the mentality of the team, the history, because when he arrived he gave us the confidence we needed to make a leap in quality. His career speaks for itself and I hope we can enjoy many more years with him".

Rudy: "He brings the best out of every player"
"He changed the previous mentality. He knew the club very well because he'd played here and he knew the impact you always have when you play for this team. He took it as a challenge in his career and he has proved himself by winning titles and continuing with this positive dynamic. He's instilled that mentality in the players and demonstrated his ability to tackle every season with a different team. He's been helped me mentally. I've played for him for 10 years and I've always tried to give what he's asked of me out on the court. Laso's main strength is to get the best out of every player. He is a very approachable coach".

Carroll: "We've had a fantastic decade"
"He's been very successful, or he wouldn't have been here for so many years. It's an incredible achievement and he should be proud of what he's done. I've been lucky enough to be alongside him all this time. We arrived at the same time and we've had a fantastic decade. I liked his style from the start, playing with a lot of rhythm, an entertaining style. Laso has made me a better player by giving me confidence at important moments and then he's given me the chance to win titles with Real Madrid. But it wouldn't be possible if it weren't for him and the teams we've had".

The opinion of his assistants
Chus Mateo, Paco Redondo and Lolo Calín form part of his coaching staff and are the three authorised voices to speak about the coach from Vitoria. Mateo says: "If I had to highlight something about Laso that is different to other coaches that I've worked with, it would be the way he manages the dressing room and how he's able to maintain a positive chemistry for so many years. There's one thing about him that really stands out to me and that's the way he deals with difficult moments. He has a sense of optimism that really helps to get us through the rough patches".

According to Redondo, "having a coach of this level is a daily master's degree, a wealth of experience in team management. You realise that this period of success that Real Madrid is going through is no coincidence. In some match situations he has a flash of brilliance and he's capable of changing things. He never takes the easy route, he gets on with it in a more complex way and gives it his personal touch. These things make him different. And Calín states: "He always manages to make sure that everyone has their role, he leaves a lot of freedom to work and that generates total confidence in you. He makes you feel that your contribution is as important as anyone else's".