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Laso: “We've managed to play in the four finals of the four competitions. That speaks volumes of this team”

NEWS STORY. 19/06/2022

“We have a mental toughness that is impossible for other teams to match“, said Chus Mateo. 

Pablo Laso and his assistant coach, Chus Mateo, spoke in the press room at the WiZink Center after the club secured its 36th league title . The madridista said: “It's extremely difficult, in a 10-month season, for bad things not to happen. We've managed to play in the four finals of the four competitions. That speaks volumes of this team. I think the work done by the guys during the whole season deserves a lot of praise. Of course, also for my coaching staff and the people who work with me every day".

"This is the team's greatest achievement. I feel very proud of all the people I've coached this season and how much they've contributed. Without Juan Trapero, our fitness coach, we would be nothing. And how can we not mention Chus, Paco and Lolo? They enjoy it when they win and suffer when they lose as much as my players do”.

“It's been a tricky few days for me, but I'm feeling very well. It was hard for me to lift the Cup, but that's because it weighs a load. I'm delighted with the way the team's worked this season. There're years when you win everything and you aren't so proud. But this year, when we haven't won everything, I'm so proud. Today the season ends with a smile”.

Chus Mateo: “We’re a first-class team”
"It’s been a tough year, we've endured a lot and we're delighted to lift this trophy, the effort and hard work has paid off. We kept playing with the same intensity. Today we weren't as accurate and it was difficult not to think that if we won we’d be league champions. It has been a very tough league season. We lost other finals in the last moments and there've been things that have been hard to overcome on a personal level for a lot of people. Serious injuries such as those to Alocén and Randolph. They're extraordinary guys who have endured a lot".

“And at the last minute, we had the scare of Pablo's heart attack, who, as you can see, is doing really well, and that reassured us a lot. We made an effort to pick ourselves up on many occasions, we've been consistent and persevering when we lost along the way. We lost two finals and this season would 've been like the perfect 2015 season if it had ended with different results, but that's the way basketball is”.

Values in life
“We should be proud of how the team's managed to pick itself up from those defeats. We've played poorly at times during the year, but we've kept working hard. We've been really serious and professional, and everyone knew that if we kept working we'd find a payoff. We've never wavered in the face of adversity. These are values of sport but also of life”.

“We're delighted with our efforts and we're extremely proud of the work we've put in. We're a first-class team, we've been very close and we've been united even more through adversity. What I had to deal with was a real burden, but it's ended pretty well. In the coaching team, we've been able to overcome a tricky moment so that Madrid can win yet another league under Pablo Laso's leadership".

Hanga’s role
“I'm very pleased for him and for the rest. Leaving Barça at the time wasn't easy for him. It was a treat for us to get him. He's brought with him a wealth of experience, he knows how to play in all the outside positions. It was something we had in our minds, at a particular moment to put him at point guard. We discovered a player who taught us a about character, in playing basketball, in understanding it better than anyone else. He's worked extremely hard and the minutes he's played he's shown a lot of intensity and that's something to be very proud of”.

“Our team began really well. Barça are a top team and it was tough to take the home advantage away from them. But we have a winning mentality and when we get our sights set on something we go for it. We've reached two finals that have hurt us a lot but we managed to get up and beat a great team. In my opinion, because we have a mental toughness that's impossible for every team to achieve”.

Evolution against Barça
“They've beaten us during the season but we knew we had to improve and we've been working on our game plan. We did a good job tactically. The first match was crucial for us and we went there with knives between our teeth. In the second we came so close. The third was a display of energy. Today’s was a game that we had to reach the end with a chance to win and it's something we should be proud of with this team”.

Managing the team
“It was my turn to step forward when Laso got COVID and to bear this responsibility. It's not something that's new to me. I’ve got a lot of experience in professional basketball. I've been in it for 22 years. There's no question about it. Laso is the team's head coach and the team plays the way he wants it to play. This is Pablo Laso's league triumph. We're his assistants, we've been by his side and we've contributed. He's won 22 trophies and that's a lot. It’s not easy. I’m delighted to be working by his side”.

“Sport, sometimes, if you believe in it and show fight, gives you these surprises. It was extremely difficult to win this league because Barcelona had home-court advantage and they're top team. We had a lot of injuries, people with serious and long-term injuries. We came into it like this, but we don't like to make excuses in case something happens that we don't want. This is the beauty of sport and of Real Madrid. Not everyone knows how to fight when you're behind and here we know how to fight”.