Jorge Sampaoli at his press conference
First team

SAMPAOLI: "WE HAVE TO BE A MORE SOLID SIDE"

27/01/2023
Entradilla
The coach expects Elche to try to "take advantage of our wear and tear" this Saturday at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán.
Cuerpo Superior

Jorge Sampaoli's pre-match press conference prior to the clash with Elche CF was very extensive. On the lack of rest after being knocked out of the cup, the coach commented, "normally, after 48 hours you feel the game more. Tomorrow, with a few more hours, we'll be a little better. We have worked very little on physical volume to optimise recovery and we will try to use the players who are in the best condition."

He says about Elche that "they are a team that should have more points than they have. They can play more freely because of that and will try to take advantage of our fatigue. They'll try to press in different places on the pitch and we'll have to see how fresh we are to keep up the pace of the last game. It will all come down to tomorrow.

On his side's busy schedule, he commented that "there are physiological things that have no solution and we have to optimise each position and save energy by having the ball, without running after it so much. We also have to see which players are in top condition for a match that is very important for us. The team developed well collectively in the last game, but we will have to change parts because there are players who have played a lot of minutes". He also referred to the need to be decisive:

"We have to improve in the penalty areas because it's no use dominating a lot of chances if we're not decisive there. The other day we didn't have the clarity to win despite so much dominance and the few that our opponents had, they converted. That's where games are won and lost and we have to keep working to be more decisive in our own area and to be able to look for a player with more finishing ability to make us more attacking in the opposing area".

"We have to improve in the penalty areas because it's no use dominating a lot of chances if we're not decisive there"

In that respect, he acknowledged that "it's about being a solid team in terms of strength. That has to do with players who can deal with things that happen in their own area. Osasuna were a very forceful team defensively and withstood a lot of our attacks in a decisive way. We have to improve, with the time we have, on what I don't think is lack of concentration. It's a matter of organisation. Losing a ball in midfield can't immediately allow the opposition to score. We have to work to minimise that.

Sometimes players can win a match on their own. It's not just the striker, it would be unfair to think that. There are many factors that make the team attack more efficiently, that they generate more and that they share the responsibility of attacking, putting them in areas where they can finish. It's a collective process, not just a qualitative approach. It is also about positional and numerical advantage. The team is looking, but they can't find what they're looking for, and they end up paying for it in games that we could have won and ended up losing. That's where we have to improve."

The manager also spoke about Reine-Adelaide: "It seemed as if it would happen but his fitness is not down to me. I am not the one who assesses this. I work with the players that I have, I keep on integrating those who have been inactive because of injury."

He also addressed the possibility of potential outgoings from the club: "I do not know about this. I don't control what happens in the market and all of the names that have been subject to rumours, such rumours have not come to fruition. Regarding En-Nesyri, Papu, I don't know the extent to which these rumours are true. I turn up every day, I train the players here and if I am told tomorrow that one player has left, I will be ready. There is no point in me having an opinion because I do not intervene in the market." 

"We don't have many players and we have to get them all involved"

Asked about Suso's contribution to the side, Sampaoli highlighted how the playmaker had assisted the last two goals for the team and had several efforts on goal: "For me, he played well the other day. He is a quality footballer who needs to get match-fit and he is doing that. He is a player that creates chances. He was doing well in the preseason, got injured and is now trying to get back to his best."

On Delaney, he updated us that: "he is coming off the back of a lengthy injury, like Papu. They are training a bit with the group and their fitness is not ideal, it is the same with Lucas. They are players who we will use out of necessity. We don't have many players and we have to get them all involved." 

After acknowledging that he hopes to be able to count on Acuña, he spoke about Bryan Gil: "He fits my profile because I called him personally last year in Marseille. He seems to me to be a player who could give us another option on the wing, but it is a situation that, from expressing desire to the real possibility, I don't take part in." He finished by talking about his sending off against Cádiz, which will prevent him from coaching tomorrow: "It's something I'll have to deal with. It's an inconvenience for me, but it's my responsibility and we'll try to make sure it doesn't happen again in the future."