The first part of the Luis Garcia RAWK interview: the Football

Posted by Spanish-Red on April 15, 2005, 02:41:48 AM

First all excuse me for the translation. I'm sure that it is a poor translation but I think you can understand everything. It's a mixed translation between google and me ...  anyway I hope you enjoy it!

Luis was writing Thursday afternoon for an hour or more. I was filtering and translating for two and a half hours so, here is the first part:

FOOTBALL

1. What is your favourite position? Right midfielder, just behind the striker?

My favourite position is just behind centre forward, since in that position I can move around more and try to do many things. Also in that position I am nearer the penalty area, so nearer the goal.

2. What aspects of your game have you been told to work on most by the coaching staff since arriving? What aspect of the game do you feel is your strongest part?

I have always been a player who understands what the trainer wants and with respect to tactical subjects I haven't had to work on much. It has instead been the technical areas. For example the coaches have stressed to me that I must play simpler football, not to always try the spectacular play or the pretty thing, since it means I lose simple balls sometimes.

I think that what always has been more natural to me is goal scoring. I think I have the luck to have that gift, the knowledge, as to where the ball is going to go depending on the moment. Like for example the goal against the Everton, in that moment I knew that if the ball did not go into the net it was possible it would hit the bar so I would have my opportunity.

3. Do you put our poor away form down to mentality?

Yes I agree. I think we struggle a lot  to play away since we don't have the home support of the fans. I personally feel discomfort playing away.

In Spain I have always scored more goals away than home games, since a side when playing at home go on the attack with many of his players  and leaves spaces, but here in England this I find it hard to adapt to the away games.

I hope next year that knowing what has happened this season, to improve in this aspect. I think that all the team knows that we must change that mentality if we want to fight for the title.

4. Rafa nearly always comes across as a pretty cool customer during a game, and in interviews, but does he have a dark side?  Does he rant and rave after a disappointing result, or poor performance from player/s?

He's not a trainer who usually loses his temper and begins to shout.  I know him and I know when he is getting angry or not and he demonstrates it by working hard on the aspect of our game that was a problem in a poor match. Of course like all managers there are some occasions he shouts and has some disagreements but this not a common thing.

5. What do you feel you can do as a player now that you couldn't do two years ago?

Two years gives you time to improve many things, as much personally technical as tactical, but what I think that I have improved is approaching the bad moments in a season.  It's very difficult to be at the same level throughout one season, there are good and bad moments and when I was in a bad run of form and everything went badly, that used to cost me a lot of time to recover that confidence. Now at those bad moments I attempt to maintain a level of 5, an average level, until regaining all the confidence and returning to give the 9.

6. Which Liverpool players have impressed you in a special way so far? And from reserves?

Obviously Steve Gerrard. I was not surprised by how good a player he is, but if there is a player to say he has surprised me, it has been Steve Finnan. When I arrived and he was playing in right midfield I didn't know much of him and in fact I thought he couldn't contribute much to the team. As the days passed he started to surprise me, and every day he continues surprising me. He is a player who gives all each match, contributes with things in attack and is difficult to beat in defence. I am very pleased playing with him behind me, because that gives security to me. Of the reserve team I think that Steve Warnock and Darren Potter are both doing big things, and they are players with a great future.

7. Is being two footed something that is encouraged in Spain from an early age or is it just natural? Which is your better foot to shooting?

I really can't remember that. But I think that it isn't trained. I am left-handed, but most of the control and dribbling I do better with the right foot. However I would take a penalty more confortably with my left foot.

8. How does it feel to be 'targetted'  by big physical defenders, maybe battered  by  "dogs of war" teams  twice in one week (Blackburn, Everton - it was clear to us that their managers told defenders to target you)? Is it much worse than Spain?

It's something that I am trying to take in the best possible way. I'm not a strong player to be able to easily hold off the opponent and in England it is harder than in Spain. The referees allow too much of that contact and it is therefore more dangerous for the players. Each game I must remember psychologically that the match is going to be very hard, because there is not a match in which I don't take a blow.

9. When you anticipate a chance coming your way, but have little time to assess the situation, do you rely on instinct, guessing where the goalkeeper is going to be or do you prefer to look up and outwit the keeper, or like Baros do you have a favourite corner?

When you are in front of goal in a clear situation, a thousand things pass through your head, a thousand movements to do. I normally attempt to do the first that crosses my mind. I think that is always the correct one, since if you stop yourself to think about some of the other possibilities, the keeper will probably be so near to you that you can no longer do anything.

10. How many new first team players do the current squad think are going to join the club over the summer? One or two, or far more than that?

I think more than two or three players. This season we have had many injuries and we have to be prepared in case it happens again. If we consider that furthermore there are players who are out of contract and players who might be leaving, I think there will be between three or four.

11. You obviously have a lot of respect for and knowledge of Rafael Benitez due to previous working relationships, and he has quickly established himself as an iconic figure in Liverpool fans' eyes. Having worked under a fair few managers, what is it that sets Rafa apart from all of the others ?

Rafa is a trainer who works on all the aspects of football. That means that he doesn't work just on the technical and tactical but furthermore the psychological aspect: the good atmosphere in dressing room, and the wellbeing of the player.  What do I mean by that? Simply that he worries about the player and that he doesn't have any problems that can make them lose concentration when playing.

12. Who's the best player you've played with? Why?

Ronaldinho, is the player who has 10/10 for excellence.  He has everything, quality, goalscoring, a very good physical aspect and his head totally OK. With this I mean, that he knows that much people pay attention to him as example and as such he must have an exemplary behaviour on and off the field, and he does this.

13. What did you say to Rio Ferdinand after that foul?

Hahahaha.  Nothing! Rio Ferdinand said nothing to me, it was an invention of the press. Simply I said that it looked like meaning that to me cause of the way that he looked at me after the foul, but he did not say anything to me.

14. What is the team spirit like - comparing when you first arrived to now?

I think that the team, bit by bit, has realised that we can beat any rival, and that looking to next season this is going to be very important, because it is going to give us the force to win more away, that is what we have needed this year to fight for the title.

15. What do you think are the main things our players need to improve on for next season?  What things has Rafa said we need to improve on? What should supporters look for in games?

The first aspect, I think that would be the subject of the winning mentality. That is to go to away games and feel the same confidence as at home, with which you have to think, if I cannot win, I can not lose. This year we have not drawn many matches, and in the end we need those points. Mister (Rafa) insists much on that aspect. Against Manchester City for example it should not have been possible to lose, and even less in injury time. Things like those are in which the fans must notice a change; not to be sad for one game lost or drawn but to say, we have not played well, but we took a point.

16. Are Rafa's tactics complicated or difficult to understand?

It is not complicated, but he is very meticulous at working at them. He knows that it is the day to day work that produces a team that ends up playing automatically from memory. For that reason we work almost every day on them.

17. How do Rafa and his coaching staff analyse matches?

They have an spectacular system. They have a database in which when playing the video file of a game, they analyse each player with a thousand aspects. How many  metres you ran in each half, how many balls you lose, how many you recovered, the distance that you run sprinting, how many sprints you make, everything, all in detail.  To do this they record the match from different points in the ground. I think they have 8 cameras to record all movements of players.

18. How does the tactical and training regime differ here from Barcelona?

Well it is very different work, since Barcelona is a place where the image of football differs totally from the rest of the teams. In Barcelona the treatment of ball is the most important when working. The ball is present in all the sessions of training. The tactical aspect almost becomes secondary.  Here the ball also is important, but the positioning, movements and knowledge of the plays have a main part.

19. What language(s) does Rafa use in the changing room to him, Nando, Nunez, Xabi?

Always English. He doesn't like to speak Spanish there nor between us (the Spaniards). He wants a single group, not 3 or 4 groups. I think you can understand me.

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As soon as it is possible (for him and for me!) I'll post the next section of replies to your questions.

thanks mates

© Spanish Red 2005

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