Five minutes before the talk begins, Miroslav Djukic and José Ángel Ziganda talk happily, in an “off the record” that is being broadcast by the Youtube channel of the Asturian Committee of Soccer Coaches (CAEF). The two speak closely, after more than one battle fought on the playing fields back in the 90s. Ziganda, pure battering ram; Djukic, defense with criteria. The one from Oviedo tells his counterpart that he had his wife and daughters visiting just when the confinement began and that they are making the wait more pleasant. The Serbian is with his wife, his children are still in Valencia.
The coaches from Oviedo and Sporting see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, hoping to return to what they like best: the routine of two coaches who follow a path with similarities in the two historic Asturian clubs. In the talk, moderated by the journalist José Ramón Rodríguez and in which Juanjo Corujo (CAEF president) also participates, the two agree that they long for a return to routine. “The sun is beginning to rise,” says Ziganda.
Good cheer in confinement. The two coaches take things with philosophy. None are comfortable with the situation, far from home and unable to carry out their work, but they have no choice but to wait. “Nobody likes to be locked up at home, but it is important to follow the rules. You try to do things to make the day more enjoyable,” says Djukic. Ziganda continues: “In the discomfort of the situation we are fine. The day is closer when we can all go out.” In such a circumstance, the psychic factor influences. “The psychological aspect seems very important to me,” says Djukic; “You have to lose your fear. It is the norm that we have fears and uncertainty, but the most important thing is that football take the leading role.” Ziganda underpins: “Negativity increases with confinement, in a harsh environment to be able to make your profession with the best conditions. But we will find meaning in what is happening.”
The importance of injuries on the return.With the competition closer after the deadlines dictated by the government, the League will be compressed in a short time frame. 11 days in just a month and a half, at best. A doubt flies over the world of football: Will injuries multiply with the accumulation of games? “You have to take precautions, go little by little. They have trained on a different surface and now you have to adapt to the grass. I have told the physical trainer that it is better to stay short and that with the games we take the form that we rush and go over,” Djukic exposes. “Injuries can be decisive. The minimum contraction or pull influences. The teams will suffer because there is little time to recover. The coaches are obliged to trust the squads,” said Ziganda.
To ease the burden, a proposal: expand substitutions to five. “Everything that helps to manage this situation, to distribute the effort, seems ideal to me. Perfect for me,” says the Sporting coach. For Ziganda, the five changes “would be appropriate. We will be fair in preparation and it’s a good idea.” It only puts one nuance: “That the rules are set before playing. And that it is not used to waste time, that it is not chaos, that it is out of necessity. Coaches will be responsible for its proper use.”
Playing without an audience, a necessary evil.Little is known about the return. Just some insights. And an indisputable truth: it will be without the presence of followers in the stands. “It is a setback to play without your people. But now you have to end the season, it is the most important thing, and you take a lot of risk if you play with fans. For a fair League the most important thing is to finish the 11 days, even if there is no public”, Djukic indicates. Ziganda embraces the idea: “We will have to prepare to play without an audience because it will be strange. It will resemble a game on Thursday. For me, the fairest thing is to play what remains of the competition, even if it is without an audience.”
Attentive to the derby. There are still phases to cover. First, individual workouts. Then in a group. The preparation ends with all the staff in sports cities. That will give way to the League. And in the competition, a date marked in red: the derby between Sporting and Oviedo that will take place in a Molinón closed to the public within three days. “We all look at each other and talk about the derby,” concedes the rojiblanco coach. “People experience the derby, you can see that it is important. There are no favorites and it will be tough,” he adds. Ziganda surprises with his reflection: “I would prefer to play the derby with the public. It favors us that there is not, but I say from my heart that if I could choose it would be with people in the stands.”
Trust in the youth squads. Sporting and Oviedo are two clubs that, although they have gone through different phases, have always had an eye on the kids at home. Djukic and Ziganda seem to take communion with this idea of betting on their own talent. And although the conditions of the competition are not ideal (the two sail far from the positions for which they were configured), both technicians throw the glove at the quarry players. “I have formed in Osasuna and Athletic, two clubs that traditionally bet on their youth squads. When you manage those teams, you are obliged to believe in the youth team. The idea there is that the youth team is an obligation. club. But that requires time and trust, “he theorized in the Carbayón coach. “Working with young people is rewarding. Because they come forward, they pay attention. They have to be trusted,” says Djukic.
Achievable goals and uncertain future. “We are 5 points from the play-off, 6 to go down. Everything is open.” Djukic pulls math when asked about the target. Later, he clarifies: “The competition will tell us what we are capable of doing, but we do not give up anything. We will go out to win every game. It is a big club, which is not where we wanted, but my obligation is to look up.” Ziganda is clear: “Due to the league situation we must go to fire in every game.”
The two technicians end their contracts on June 30. In the case of the oviedista, the future is easy to guess: if he saves the team, he will continue. Djukic offers himself so that his stage does not end with the end of the season: “I do my job and continuing at Sporting does not depend on me, it is a matter of the club, which will value my work.”