Paco Gallardo spoke to the club's media on Tuesday to discuss his return to the pitch alongside Joaquín Caparrós. To start, he spoke about his time working alongside the Director of Football: 'It was a great experience. I consider it a positive time and an amazing learning process for me as I saw how everything is done on the inside. It was really good to see that there are truly skilled and talented people managing the club. That's really satisfying and a relief for me as a Sevillista. It was a really positive step for me and it brought me a lot.'
GALLARDO: 'THE GOAL IS THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE AND THAT'S WHAT JOAQUÍN IS GETTING THROUGH TO US'
In a space of hours, Gallardo went from office work to the pitch: 'It was a massive change. One moment you're in a suit in a hotel waiting to go to the UEFA draw and then you've got your tracksuit on. That's football and the only thing I know is what I'm going to do in a few hours time and that's prepare today's training session.' He says the group is very motivated: 'The team is in a good place. We were close to the squad so the move hasn't been too much of a culture shock. The win helped smooth things over.'
'We were close to the squad so the move hasn't been too much of a culture shock'
It has been a smooth transition for the coaches: 'We wanted the coaching team to be mixed, with in-house coaches to whom we have to keep giving chances just like we do to youth players. Our intention with Machín, after previous experiences, was that the manager would bring his team but that there would also be some of our own guys as well. Juanjo del Ojo, José Luis Silva, Ramón Vázquez and Carlos Otero are still here. It's been easy because we knew what we had and they have been able to fill us in on anything we didn't know.'
'Joaquín has his style of play and the team is familiar with it due to the end of last season. They have adapted quickly and we have great players who quickly respond to any changes. His idea is what we're all familiar with, but this isn't the same Joaquín I played under in 2000. He has adapted and is always ready to listen to new ideas and advances. His style has come on a lot, his 4-4-2 based on strong defending, but he is always prepared to listen to the young and talented coaches we have here.'
'Joaquín, with his principles and style, has been able to adapt and is always ready to listen to new ideas'
The international break can be a break but it's not so simple in a squad with so many internationals: 'We haven't been able to prepare anything until Thursday because there are 10 internationals and it's hard to work on tactics, positioning or set-pieces when you're missing them all. We don't have them all back until tomorrow afternoon although we have been working on the changes Joaquín wants to see in the team with the players we have had at our disposal. Joaquín, after 500 matches in the first division, deserves to manage a squad like this, it's full of quality players. It's hard to get a squad together or the starting XI and have to leave out some players. We knew just how good the squad was but we value it even more in this situation.' There are ten matches to go and the goal remains very clear: 'It's what Joaquín says and transmits to us. The objective is to be in the Champions League and we must fight for the fourth spot.'
To finish, he singled out two names: 'Gonalons is a top player. He had never been injured like that until he came here and then he gets two crazy injuries which have prevented us from enjoying him. I think he will help us a lot like he did against Espanyol... Jesús is an example for all his teammates and the academy players. Iker Casillas cited him as an example for returning to the Spanish team; he looks after himself, he keeps improving and we have to tell him to cool down at times. He deserves this reward of being called up again but he still has ten games to help us in this season. Beyond individual players, I would like to highlight the team. If we go for it all together, we can achieve anything.'