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Pepe Mel believes that even though the squad is still incomplete, “we'll be competitive for sure”

11/08/2017 18:41

Pepe Mel gave the last press conference of Deportivo’s training camp at the Attica 21 hotel in Vilalba.

He positively summarised the squad’s recent stay in Vilalba: “We’ve covered the factors we were expecting to. It was a training camp mainly based on bonding more than anything else. Maintaining the team’s physical condition, I think we’ve done well”.

He thanked “Patricia Ramírez’s help (psychologist). I have worked with her for many years. She is a good professional. She has been here with us, and has helped us build a tight group”.

The Deportivista coach explained that “we are going to compete against groups, not teams. The teams are in the tenth place upwards. From the tenth place downwards the ones that triumph are those who are groups, united, together, compact groups like Eibar, Leganés, Alavés… They are the ones that will be competing with us”.

Mel highlighted that “here (in Vilalba), we have all tried to think the same way, have the same objectives, have the ambition to be better".

Regarding the match on Sunday, 20 August at the Estadio ABANCA-RIAZOR against Real Madrid (10:15 pm, Movistar Partidazo), he stated that Deportivo has a clear disadvantage because “when they play against us it will be their fourth official match. It has not been a normal pre-season for Real Madrid. It hasn't been your typical tours, matches. They have competed three times to win two titles. We are in disadvantage. We will try to reach the match as fit as possible and having worked everything".

About Real Madrid being the first league match, he thinks that the “Deportivismo will be hoping to begin well against a very difficult rival. We know that. So, we’re prepared not to disappoint them".

When asked about the goalkeeper, he admitted that it is a position that “we are keeping an eye on. We have to pay attention to the market. As you know we tried to sign a footballer who ended up going back to his own country. We have a spot to fill, although I still insist that if he comes I would only like to have two professional goalkeepers".

He revealed that “I never give names (to the Sporting Director. I tell them the positions that I consider we have to improve and the footballer’s characteristics that I want for that position. From there on Richard (Barral) and the Scouting Department began working and that’s when names pop up. We try to aim as high as possible and that’s what we have done. I’m happy with Fede (Valverde), Cartabia and Bakkali’s arrival. The people who have come, make us better, they make us stronger. I’m happy with Guillherme’s renewal. If Sidnei stays, he will help us. But for me, the squad is still incomplete".

With that said, Pepe Mel clarified that "we will be competitive for sure. If we completed the whole league with this, we would have guarantees. The truth is we only have one striker. We are hoping for something there".

Asked about Carles Gil’s situation, he replied: "As he wasn’t a Dépor player we couldn’t make decisions that affected him. He went on holiday. He suffers from an injury that you can have today, stop for a year, and when you return, it still hurts. It’s very complicated. Now he is here with us we are going to try and help him recover to see if he can stay with us. It’s difficult, almost impossible, that he’ll be with us against Real Madrid. After that match we’ll see if he can begin with us, or when we come back from the league break. And if it’s not possible, other decisions will have to be made which are out of my hands. But surely more aggressive ones".

He joked about Guilherme’s statement, in which he said that the aim of the team should be between the eighth and the twelfth position: “My idea is to reach first or second place. That’s professional football. I don’t compete to do alright; I compete to win the gold medal. Then everything ends where it should be. But our main goal has to be winning the first match against Real Madrid. That’s the aim we’ve marked all this week in Vilalba. We aren’t thinking further ahead from Real Madrid. We are going to pay special attention to the two matches they have left. We’re going to work hard and we’re going to make it hard for them".

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