He has led Watford to his best league standings (11th) and an FA Cup final (today against Manchester City, 6pm, DAZN). However, Javi Gracia (Pamplona, 49 years old) treats the final as one more match. He is a scrupulous trainer who bases everything on his daily work. -Now that you are in a final, do you remember your beginnings in Cádiz, Villarreal and Almería? -The coach is in a process of continuous learning. I always want to improve. But in the end I'm still the same in terms of enthusiasm for the profession and with the same desire to do well, that does not change. -What are the pillars of your training method? -The basis of a coach is your job and then the rest may vary. For me, the relationship with your players is very important. We work with people and we are managers of a group.
– At the Watford there are 15 nationalities, how is this template managed? – When you arrive at a place like this you have to know in which part you want to be firm to your way of being and when you have to adapt to the environment. Finding that balance is a big part of success. What is normal for a player with another culture or religion may not be. You have to adapt and find the point where all the players are comfortable and identify with your idea. Thus they go from being a group of players to being a team.
-Is it easy to do this task in English? -With the language theme I came with the experience of Russia, where we used translators and there was a very difficult and slow conversation. Here we all assume that the language is English. Each one speaks his way and we understand each other. In my case there is much to improve, but it serves me for day to day. I give a lot of importance to learning English, but I prioritize football work.
He started as leader of the Premier, but it was an impossible dream. It is best to treat all moments naturally. Knowing that the basis is training, preparation and ambition to compete. There will be good and bad times and they will be more bearable taking this into account. We have an environment in which we are very comfortable, which invites us to be ambitious.
-What is the appearance of English football from the inside? -The results are the result of things that are done well. At the level of the Premier every week we see the difficulty of playing against one of the "Big Six" and it is almost impossible to take a position. Now it is also being demonstrated in Europe with four finalists. At the level of selection I am sure that the results will be improved. It is a good time for the competition, with many foreign players and coaches raising the level.
-With such a variety of equipment and styles, is it more difficult to train in the Premier? The preparation of each game is very demanding. There are teams with many alternatives, game systems, players, physical power … At the end of a Premier match are many matches in one.
-In the final, City, is it the best team in Europe? –This is personal. It is a very good team, but for me the best in Europe is the one that wins the Champions League. This is soccer, the results rule.
-What do you think of Guardiola? -Spectacular. He has won in different teams and competitions and continues to surprise. It is very complicated to have such a hardworking and dominating team.
-How long does it take to prepare a final? -We'll prepare it like any other party. Always with great enthusiasm. If I told you otherwise, it would be demeaning to all the previous matches.
What would it mean for the club to win the title? -I do not know. It is something that has never happened. I see my fans enjoy every game and for them it would be something exceptional. We will see what happens. Now it's time to enjoy the moment.
(tagsToTranslate) premier league