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First team


The head coach was excited by long-term absentees returning to the squad, but is cautious of the threat posed by Almería
Cuerpo Superior

Quique Sánchez Flores spoke to the media today and touched on what he expects from tomorrow's game in Almería: "A very difficult and complex game, because we've followed Almería's record and we've seen that they compete very well, that when they lose they do so by small margins and at intimidating grounds like the Bernabéu or Mestalla. Others have not been able to beat them, such as Girona and Athletic. They're a team that will compete very well. We have to treat them with the utmost respect and put in maximum effort to pick up the points we need".  

There will be additions in the squad, but the coach is committed to taking it slowly when it comes to players returning from the sidelines: "They won't be at 100% because they've been out with long-term injuries, but they are training well. It's been a week in which we've been happy to see people who have been away for a while training well with the group. It's the most satisfaction we've had in a while; there are several players who are going to be included in the squad and it's fantastic news for the team. "The fundamental idea for us has to be that the best players are on the pitch. Obviously, the guys who have been out for months are great players, but at the moment they are not at their best. So the idea of a radical change is not in my head right now. We've found some stability and competing well, with some consistency in terms of scoring goals and doing things well. We have to double down on this in this next match. Athletes' minds can change in a short time and now, in a positive moment, we are going to keep pushing to maintain that dynamic".

Quique also addressed the different expectations as we reach the closing stages of this season: "The big pressure is to go out and play without knowing what is going to happen. It was a bit like that when I arrived, going into every game knowing what the opposition is going to do but not you, but things have moved on since then.  Now we need to score points, to compete, to be ambitious, to fulfil our objectives, to grow, to feel better and better.... That's what we feel at the moment, because we understand that we are all heading in the same direction. That's what gives us a certain peace of mind, although it doesn't distract us from the fact that we'll have some very difficult games like tomorrow's".

"We're builiding up confidence, but being over confident in a league like this would be foolish"

The coach emphasised that although our situation has improved, it is key not to relax: "We are in the process of consolidating our tactics. I don't think we have made tremendous progress just yet. The team is going through the motions, having gone through a rough patch. In some ways, we are a little bit firmer in terms of being able to build this confidence, but to be overly confident at an elite level is a huge mistake. We mustn't let anything slip. We have to be work smart, but at the same time be disciplined, knowing what it means to compete. Competing means having ideas, ambition, desire and knowing how to transmit it. I think we are on the right track, but not because I say so. It is being confirmed by the people receiving our instructions, as well as our fans. Now we're seeing them more and more happy and connected with us, which tells us what we need to know."

Asked about Marcão, he made clear his point of view on the player: "He is a player with great hunger. Sometimes I make a distinction between those who want something and those who don't. Those who want to, move forward and improve over time. When they're knocked down, they don't give up. Then there are those who are less resilient. We want players like Marcão, who beyond their experience in important teams and in difficult environments, want to be part of this club and want to improve. Above all, his mood has always been great. He has always made a good impression."

On Cádiz's victory yesterday, he clarified that "we all play in the same league, but the most important part of it is the role we ourselves play. If we are good at what we do,  and we don't go against our gameplan, whatever happens doesn't have to affect us. To keep improving, to compete better and better so we can have the satisfaction of knowing that, when we finish, we have given our all. That way, we'll be close to the result because we have good players". Finally, he dismissed talk about his future: "I don't bat an eyelid. I'm in the office, I arrive at the hotel and I'm only focused on work. The contract is in a drawer since I signed it and the only thing you need to know is that my mentality is very simple. I want to constantly improve and work with  great players. That's all."