Laso: “The Euroleague starts with a very demanding fixture against Efes"

NEWS | 29/09/2021

"I'm really happy with how the team has started the season", said the coach.
Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso spoke ahead of the Anadolu Efes game in the first round of the Euroleague (Thursday, 8:45pm CEST): "The team is in good shape. Some players are out and some are recovering, but we have a big squad and I'm confident that we'll put out a team that knows that they're up against a top side and that we need to be at our best if we want to compete against the European champions. They have a lot of very talented players and have been playing at a very high level for a number of years. The Euroleague starts with a very demanding fixture".

"I'm very happy with how the team has performed so far and how the season has started. It would be silly to say anything else. We've won five from five official games, one title, won all three league games and although we can improve in some areas, defensively and offensively, there are others in which I think we're performing at a very good level. We must keep doing the things we're doing well and look to improve other aspects on a physical and tactical level. This is normal at this stage of the season".

"It's very difficult to talk about favourites in a league as competitive as this. I think you already know who the favourites are: Efes, Barça, CSKA, Fenerbahçe, Real Madrid...Everyone talks about those teams, thet's what this competition is about. Zenit almost knocked out Barça, Bayern came fifth in the Regular League, the playoff places were not decided until the last round of games. It's a very demanding and competitive competition which makes it very difficult to talk about who the favourites are".

What have the new signings brought to the team?
"We've added two new players at the point guard position who complement each other as well as the players we have. We've got more pick&roll play. Yabusele fills a position that we were very short in with the injuries to Randolph and Thompkins and the departure of Garuba. We knew we needed a very athletic player who could open the court up and he is a great signing. This all adds to team depth. We've also lost some other elements but I think we can get it back over time with these players".

I'm delighted that the atmosphere that we've had in recent years at the Palacio will be returning.

"In the last few years they've kept the unit together and it revolves a lot around five outside players. They complement each other very well and they can all play. They have a very dominant outside game. They also have two very powerful, top-level fours in Moerman and Singleton, and they have Dunston and Pleiss at the five. They lost Sanli and brought in Petrusev, who was one of the best players in the Adriatic League. They have a very solid unit and a very clear game plan".

Randolph and Thompkins injuries
"They're still time for them to be able play but I'd like to bring them back gradually because they've been out for a long time. It's a positive feeling for the player come back into the team dynamic. I hope that they will come back during October but they are both coming back from long-term injuries and it's more difficult for me to give an accurate timeframe. They're both progressing well and I hope to have them back as soon as possible".

"The same players may not be involved as in the last league game. I've got a player left training injured, but he's told me that he'll be fine tomorrow. Apart from Thompkins and Randolph, the rest are available. Taylor and Llull had some problems and in Euroleague we have until tomorrow afternoon to decide and we're going to give them as much chance as possible".

80% capacity from Friday
"I'm delighted that the fans are back at the courts and the atmosphere that we've had in recent years at the Palacio will be returning. We've really missed it. It's always a big factor but I don't think the player wants to try to please more regardless of whether there's more or less fans in".

Carroll's situation
"Why don't you ask him? He's not going to be playing tomorrow. He's not here. Are you going to continue to ask me about Carroll? I'm not expecting him. I've got a game tomorrow. You might ask me again on Saturday against Tenerife. I would ask Carroll".