Rafa Benítez is aware, since he arrived in Vigo, that he will have to manage the countdown of Iago Aspas in professional football. The moañés turned 36 on January 1 and the Madrid coach already has a plan to dose the efforts of the celtic captainwho last year seemed too long and could not fight for the Zarra trophy for the top Spanish scorer in LaLiga in recent days.
Benítez took advantage of an interview published yesterday by the Danz channel to send a message to the idol of Celticism: “You have to give us a lot of quality, and the more the better, but don’t be obsessed with quantity”, said the coach of the celestial team in reference to the number of games that Aspas will have to assume so that his game continues to be decisive in Celta. “’It’s that I have to play 40 games.’ No. I’m going to play very well whoever I have to play to make a difference and for the team to win”, Benítez added in relation to an alleged response from the moañés. The Celtic captain renewed his contract until June 2025, but the last year is subject to the number of games he plays this season. In that case, Benítez has to find the formula so that his plan does not interfere with the interests of the best player in the club’s history.
The vertigo of a sunset
“Aspas is a kid who likes football, here he is an idol and he can bring us that quality. I send you a message: you have to be smart and take advantage of quality moments, not think about quantity”, Benítez explained in an interview in which he also spoke about Gabri Veiga, the reasons that led him to sign for Celta or the sporting ambitions of the Vigo team since his arrival.
“Rafa Benítez, a champion facing a new challenge”, is the title of the interview that Miguel Ángel Ferrer, Mista, conducted with him in Afouteza, one of the footballers who achieved the double at Valencia with Benítez. After revealing the dosing plan for Aspas, the Celta coach spoke of the potential of Veiga, another of the team’s important players for this course if his transfer is frustrated: “Gabri has all the potential to be an important player. He has been this past season but so that he is also one for the future ”.
“It is a pride to coach Celta in the centenary”
Benítez, who acknowledges that he had four offers to lead national teams on different continents, feels happy for having chosen Celta. “I think we have a good work environment. In that sense, it is early but I think we have made the right decision in that we can do a job seriously, with professionalism, as we like to do”.
He is even surprised that they ask him for more than to achieve a quiet stay in the First Division. “When I arrived they said: ‘Well, we are not going to suffer, we are going to build’. Then, when they see that the team is organized, they go and say: ‘We are going to win the Cup’. I think we have to go step by step and be clear that we must not rush, but we do have to be ambitious”.
In this sense, Benítez talks about the characteristics he wants in his new team: “I want Celta to be a competitive team and to come to the matches without fear. And if you are competitive and things are going well for you, confidence grows and then you can aspire to more things. Obviously, in a three-year project, the idea is not: tomorrow we have to win”.
The man from Madrid, who popularized the “game by game” during his triumphant stage in Mestalla (“They stole it from me, I was from Valencia,” he jokes). With a week to go before LaLiga starts, Benítez continues insisting on the need for signings: “The players are getting the message and we have to continue working to find reinforcements. But we have to be patient and know that we have to keep looking for players to reinforce the squad”. At the moment, four have arrived (Carles Pérez, Bamba, Manu Sánchez and Carlos Dotor).
And he is grateful for the good atmosphere and the means that he found in the Afouteza sports city: “There was a bit of that feeling that ‘we’ve had a bad time, that we barely managed to stay on,’ but a very good attitude, work. We have good facilities and the group works very well. There are many things that can be improved, of course, but there are positive things and we have to build the project on that”, he added.
“Orderly, not defensive”
“In principle, order, but many people confuse order with being defensive. I like my teams to attack and score goals, but I like them to defend well, to know how to counterattack and press when we lose the ball. And if you are able to find that balance, you will be more competitive and succeed. My hallmarks will be order and little by little we will see more of him loosening up in attack and adjusting more defensively”, Benítez responds to a question from Mista about how Celta will differ from Benítez. The man from Madrid elaborates on his working method with the players: “I think the key is to explain things naturally and, a little with my facet as a teacher, try to do it. If you have a good work group and people support you, you can grow. It is sending a coherent message and then there are players who are not interested and there are environments, I would not say too demanding but rather they are in too much of a hurry, they do not help you and in the end you get into a dynamic that is difficult to change. But in the places where they support you or where they have supported us, we have usually been successful”. In Vigo, they already talk to him about winning the Copa del Rey when he has barely been working for a month.
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