How are you, Coach?
Overall well, given the situation. One has to adapt to the containment measures. I am trying to organize my time in a useful way. This period should last 15 days, but this can of course change. Of course, I am also remaining very attentive to news from Spain, France, and Italy.
How have you been living these last days, since the last group training on Friday?
With lots of new information every day! From Friday, when we decided to give players two days off while waiting to see how the situation evolved, we started to analyze all of the possible situations and prepared work plans. We worked on Saturday and Sunday, in close contact with Oleg (Petrov, the Vice President and General Manager) in order to be ready starting Monday in case what was decided happened, in order to put the players in the best conditions despite the situation.
How did you design the individual player programs?
From the start, Juanjo (Del Ojo), our physical trainer, and his team started working on individual plans. This was all done in coordination with Doctor Lluis Til and Juanjo Morillas, the team’s nutritionist. We have thought about the needs for each player: if they have a gym or they don’t, the equipment that could be provided, his dietary needs etc. All of this has led us to create a tailor-made program for everyone.
In this program, we have also integrated tactical information to allow players to deepen the work that we have already done together in that area.
Finally, you have to make sure that the players are in the best possible condition to be able to concentrate fully on their work. Marc (Sellares), our psychologist, and Bernard (Veronico), the team manager, take care of it.
What is the key to properly managing this special period?
The goal is to make the most of a situation that we unfortunately cannot control: keeping the players in good shape and taking advantage of the time spent at home to work on aspects that, when we are playing a lot of matches, are not obvious.
We have to manage this period well, stay focused on our work and be ready to return to competition when the authorities decide.
Technology can be useful in this particular context. During this period, you provided the players with an application. Is it also a way to keep the notion of play in the group?
Technology is fundamental to today’s football. Even more so in a situation like this. To allow players to find the necessary motivation, we make sure that everyone can keep track of themselves, but also their teammates; all while keeping a playful spirit.
Technology allows us to have daily contact with the players, in different ways, to allow them to work better. And it works well because players are very attentive to their condition, and very receptive to these tools.
No one is prepared for this situation – how do you live in it?
It is a particular context with uncertainties, and without too much information. You must follow the instructions, it is important to help get out of this situation. Being alone, without my family, makes things a little more difficult, but fortunately, new technologies also help in this case, and I’m positive by nature. I take this opportunity to work and analyze what we have done so far with the team, to properly prepare for the return to competition.
How do you consult with the other members of the staff?
Thanks to the IT department, we have a lot of resources to communicate together. We call each other regularly and thanks to video calls, we can also communicate in groups and share information. I think it’s also important on a personal level. In this particular period of confinement, we can continue to see each other. From a distance, of course, but it is important!
Did you send a specific message to the players?
From day one, I asked them to take care of themselves and lead by example. A lot of people are watching us, this is a situation where everyone has to make the necessary efforts and follow the recommendations of the authorities, us first. One has to stay professional. And for those who can do so, be with family. It’s important to be with your family right now.
A thought for the fans?
We of course hope to return to the field as soon as possible to fight and allow them to experience joy. This will mean that we have won the “match” against the coronavirus! We are all part of the same team and we must all remain united, each staying home, to listen to the experts and beat this common adversary. See you soon !