NEWS | 27/08/2021 | Edu Bueno | PHOTOGRAPHER: Helios de la Rubia“It will be essential to defend well in this game”, added the Madrid boss.
“In relation to Mbappé, it’s something that the club is handling. I’m only thinking about tomorrow’s game and so are my players. It’s a club issue that is of interest to everyone, but I can’t say any more. I’m only focussed on the game against Betis”.
On the figures of the potential signing
“I’m only thinking about preparing the team, giving instructions and managing the players accordingly. I’m only looking at issues on the pitch. Everything else is taken care of by the club”.
What would the arrival of Mbappe mean?
“He’s a great player, but we also have great players here. I hope they’re in the best condition to be able to demonstrate the quality they have. I can only say that managing Real Madrid means coaching one of the most prestigious and important clubs in the world, but it’s a massive responsibility and also a thrilling experience. That’s what I feel every day when I train at this club".
Would this be the best option in the market to complete the squad?
“I’ve got a fantastic squad and that’s what I’m focussed on. This squad has what it takes to compete with any squad in the world. Now we know who is in our Champions League group and they will all be tough games. I’ very happy with the squad I’ve got, but if it is improved then it’ll be better for everyone”.
"He’s a very important player for us who is recovering from a period out on the sidelines and he’s doing really well. He’s focussed and highly motivated. He’s a really important player for us”.
On working with Florentino Pérez and Silvio Berlusconi
“I don’t know who has changed football the most. Florentino has had a fantastic career. Real Madrid an AC Milan are the two clubs who have won the European Cup the most times and this speaks volumes about the work they’ve put in. I’m lucky enough to have been able to work with both of them and this club is fortunate to be run by this kind of person”.
“Nacho the pessimist won’t be there, but Carvajal, another pessimist, will be back. Defending is all about making sacrifices and concentrating, as opposed to defensive quality. Everyone can defend. Some players are more physical and others position themselves better. It’s not just a job for the defenders but for also for the midfielder and forwards. In today’s game you can’t just defend with seven or eight, it has to be with eleven and that’s what we’re working on”.
"He’s a first team player. He hasn’t started the first two games, but he’s come on and scored two goals. That’s what I want from the players who come on. He’s in great form and I’m assessing him. I love the fact that he’s scored three goals in one hour when he didn’t score too many last season in the league. He has the ability to score a lot of goals for us despite not being a centre forward".
Atmosphere in the changing room
“We talk and focus on the job. We have to prepare well for the training sessions and train well. Then we study the video to see what we’ve done well and badly, and we try to improve these things. We don’t speak about the (transfer) market. Some players who don’t get the chance to play much might be thinking about leaving, but the squad is focussed on preparing for the games”.
Is it easier for a coach not to select Vini Jr. than other players?
“No. It’s the same. It’s always difficult to leave a player who deserves to start on the bench. The starting line-up can sometimes be decided because of small details and it may be fair or unfair, but the coach is the one who watches the sessions. It’s the most difficult thing for a player, whether they are experienced or not, because every player wants to play”.
Competition for places in attack
“There’s a lot of competition. I’ve played Lucas (Vázquez) as a right-back and Asensio can play in the centre of midfield. We have a lot of competition in attack, but it’s a long season and I’m going to need everyone”.
On Manchester United signing Cristiano Ronaldo
“The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo is good for everyone. He returns to a team where he is loved and where he’s had a lot of success. It’s a great signing and I wish him the best. I have a good relationship with Manchester United and I like the club. But there’s an abundance of talent and quality in LaLiga too”.
On Casemiro’s contract renewal
“Perhaps Casemiro could’ve played more minutes during my first stint at the club. I’ve spoken to him about this and I told him that I may have been wrong with that. Right now he’s an essential player for this side. His contract renewal is important, because he’s a quality player and what he brings to the squad is essential. We need an intelligent player further back to prevent counter attacks and control the defensive aspect. He’s improved a lot on the ball as well”.