06/01/2021 at 7:19 PM CEST
Quique Cárcel, Girona’s sports director, has once again built a team to fight until the end to be in LaLiga Santander. One promotion and four promotions in the last seven years. For this year, as he relates in an interview with EFE, they arrive “at a very good time & rdquor; and feels that rivals “respect them & rdquor; for their experience and staff.
This Wednesday starts the first tie against Almería, which has an old acquaintance as a coach. Joan Francesc Ferrer ‘Rubi’. “He’s going to be a much tougher opponent with him,” he says. A Quique Cárcel who trusts in being able to count on his great reference, the Argentine Cristhian Stuani despite coming out of injury, although “not for the whole game & rdquor ;.
It has a bottom from the last ascent that gives off great energy. I imagine it illustrates the atmosphere in the city these days.
Yes, it represents the illusion that we are living, as it is repeating a feat like the one we did three years ago. The truth is that I want to relive it again. We have been working hard for many years, close to the goal of getting back up. It will be a very competitive playoff with rivals with large squads and it will be very tough, but we have that point of experience, we arrived at a good time and that makes us optimistic.
Cristhian Stuani is a cornerstone of the project, but he arrives after an injury. How is it going?
I think it will come to compete, but not for the whole game. He is already training in the group and he will be able to have his moment. He is a very important player. Since he arrived, he has shown his ability, goals and especially charisma at the dressing room level. He is a person who is very sorry for the project and is eager to vindicate again for the end he had last year with Elche that ended with the expulsion. He really wants to be there again to help us and to be in First again.
There is also the issue of the national teams with Stuani, for Uruguay, and Bárcenas, for Panama. How is the situation?
Sometimes you think how can the national teams be in the middle of a promotion playoff & mldr; look at the importance that Stuani has for us, or Bárcenas who is holding. And it also happens to other teams. It’s hard for players who are important in the squad to come to a moment of truth and they have to go through the national team.
The situation of Bárcenas, we have spoken with Panama and we have asked that he could play the first game; They have accepted him, he will play and then he will have to play for his country because he has important qualifying rounds in his country.
Regarding ‘Cris’, it is a very difficult issue because the injury he has suffered has caught him in the middle of a stressful session with Uruguay having qualifying matches for Qatar 2022 and then the Copa América. We have options that he can stay, with this injury it is probable and we hope so because he is a fundamental player for us.
I was looking at the media in other cities and they are given as favorites to go up because of the dynamics that you carry.
It is very interesting, it is good to know how they see us, Obviously we arrived at a very good time, the numbers support it. Of the last eight games, winning seven and drawing one gives you a good time. Now, as favorites, I think it is a reality in the aspect that they respect us as a team because we have a certain experience in these playoffs and because of our squad. It makes you feel like they are respecting you. But we also have them towards them because we are facing some of the toughest ‘playoffs’ I remember.
A great level of Girona that, obviously, is also the coach’s fault, although there is not much talk about him. How important has Francisco been?
He is very much to blame for everything that is happening. He took the team last year when the team was in a bit of doubt and got them through to the playoffs well. It led us to dream until the last minute, when they scored the goal for us.
And this year, with all the difficulties because we ended on August 24 and the League started on September 12, he has had the ability to be a super-optimistic and super-positive coach; without getting nervous despite the difficulties, without feeling overwhelmed, and I place a lot of value on this. As a coach he shows you human capacities that are important. Without Stuani or Juanpe in the first round, he has never complained, he has had the team in the middle zone all season and has had an exceptional second round getting the best of the squad.
One of the keys to this great final has been on defense, with two goals conceded in eight games and one against Cartagena with nothing at stake. How does this strength arise?
There was a moment of the season in which he switched to a defense of three centrals after taking out a boy like Arnau who has the capacity of a winger and a central defender, and Bueno who adapts very well to that line of three to go quickly to the cuts in band. The team has been found much more comfortable and with a different ball output; football style improved a lot. The work capacity of a young staff with a great mentality also matters. And the good job of the goalkeeper. Juan Carlos has had a magnificent season and in the end he has been brilliant.
Against Almería you face an old man known as Rubi, now coach of the Andalusian team. Will it be harder for it?
He knows the club very well, our squad and has already shown his level of mastering many aspects. It will be a much tougher rival with him. It has arrived recently and I suppose they are still working on the concepts to be better, but obviously it is going to be a very difficult tie.
Going up to LaLiga Santander is not easy, but it is time to show that Girona is always there, right?
People are getting used to it badly, when it comes to experiencing important things every year, and that is a very good sign. The Girona of the last seven years has a direct promotion and four playoffs to go up to the First Division and we must give credit to the image that we have created at the institution level. The club has grown a lot, we have owners who are investing and wanting to do things well. You have to give it a lot of value, obviously the important thing is the final objective, which is to move up, but they are very beautiful things and there are very great teams, very great squads and cities with a brutal history that are experiencing a moment of great difficulty. Now we are living a good moment and we must know how to take advantage of it. A great example is Villarreal, who 25 years ago was not known and today we were talking about a champion of the Europa League; that’s where the beauty of football lies and we have to think about continuing to grow.