Interview with Manolo González, Espanyol coach: “They called me a bus driver in a derogatory tone; I am a hard worker, no one has given me anything”

Interview with Manolo González, Espanyol coach: “They called me a bus driver in a derogatory tone; I am a hard worker, no one has given me anything”

He arrived on the bench on March 12, replacing the reviled Ramis. He had never trained in the professional category, but the dynamic of the group soon changed. Optimistic, winning and convincing like few others, he sealed the goal this Sunday. He led Espanyol to Primera and caused the ecstasy of all the parakeets, who now ask for a continuity that seems complicated. Hours after success, Manolo Gonzalez (Folgoso do Caurel, Lugo, 45 years old) talks openly from his home in Mataró with EL PERIÓDICO.

How are you handling the hangover? The occasion deserved a good party.

Nothing, I’m very relaxed. I’ve already retired from these things. I’ve already cut my ponytail. He was busted after the game. It was crazy, a stupid day, a crazy thing. Everything went very quickly, I’m still processing it.

How many messages have you received? Has anyone made you particularly excited?

My phone is bursting at the seams. I will have received about 500 WhatsApp messages and calls. And those who keep coming. I was very amused by a congratulation from Ander Garitano. Also from Unai Emery, Gerard Moreno, Mariano (the former Madrid striker)… Good people.

“It has been three months of great suffering. The pressure to climb has been terrible, I am now vaccinated forever”

This Sunday he celebrated 104 days on the parakeet bench, just over three months. There have been 16 games with 6 wins, 9 draws and one loss. What is he left with?

They have been three very demanding months, with a lot of suffering, with trips to complicated fields and a terrible calendar. I remember, for example, the game in Burgos, which was very tough. The pressure to go up has been terrible, I am now vaccinated forever. The Second League is very hard, but also very intense. Everything has gone very quickly, but it has been very nice and gives me a huge plus for the future.

Manolo González celebrates the promotion at the Perico stadium. / ETS

Has it been more difficult to climb than you expected?

I expected to go straight up, a little more calmly, but I knew the road could be long. In the end we achieved it, but I still haven’t gotten the team to play 100% the way I want. I knew I was running out of time, but I ended up happy. Rested. I will remember the afternoon-night of the ascent all my life. It is the day in capital letters, with all the letters. No one is going to take that away from me, I’m going to have it for myself until I die.

“I know I don’t come from Bayern Munich, but they called me ‘mediocre’. It hurt me a lot, it’s something I would never say to anyone”

Has any type of criticism hurt you?

Yes. I’ll be clear. Whether they tell me ‘Manolo, you’re very bad’ or ‘Manolo, you don’t understand’ doesn’t matter to me. What bothered me was the word “mediocre.” It’s very derogatory, it’s something I would never say to anyone. It is a very brutal lack of respect. In the end, time puts everyone in their place and that’s how it has been. I understand that people complain, but I don’t tolerate disrespect. I know I don’t come from Bayern Munich, but they called me mediocre. That hurt me a lot.

Who told you that?

I don’t have social networks, for me it is the worst thing that could have happened to football and to life. I don’t want to know anything about them. A friend of mine, who was assistant coach with me a long time ago, warned me about that. He told me that he had read it on the internet, it bothered him a lot and he told me so. Disrespect today is too authorized. They should not be allowed, they should be reportable. Or at least if there is a person who insults you, know who it is.

What channels do you use to get information?

Believe me or not, during these three months I even told people at home not to tell me anything that was said about me. Not on the radio, not in the press, not on Twitter. I didn’t want to know anything, I knew that it could condition me, that it could poison me. Everything I know is from friends’ comments.

“I don’t have social networks nor do I want to know anything about them. It’s the worst thing that could have happened to football. And to life”

Did it bother you that they doubted you because of your lack of experience?

Unfortunately, Spain is a country of stereotypes and this also happens in football. There are First RFEF players and coaches who, if given the opportunity to be in Second A or even First, would perform. Look at Fermín at Barça. But there is always a tendency to play it safe, which doesn’t always work. I defend performance, life is performance, what counts is what you have done.

Manolo González, the Espanyol coach, celebrates with the Perica fans the promotion to First Division after beating Oviedo. / @RCDEspanyol

Jokes were also made about his former job as a bus driver.

Another nonsense. To earn a living you have to work, it seems like something bad, something unworthy. They called me a bus driver as something derogatory. It’s a job. I am a worker. Whoever wants to insult me ​​with that is screwed. I left it seven years ago and now I am a 100% coach. I have trained in all categories except First. Nobody has given me anything at all.

“The contract is up to now. From then on it was not said what was going to happen. Neither black nor white. I want to stay, but it is a decision of two parties. It would not make sense to return to the subsidiary”

As a footballer he also played for the Catalan national team at the age of 15.

Yes, I was a winger at Martinenc and I came to coincide with Gerard López, Gabri, De Lucas… I suffered a serious injury when I was 21, but I wouldn’t have amounted to anything, I no longer had any career path. I preferred to dedicate myself to training.

Manolo, along with his players, after eliminating Sporting in the playoff semifinals. / ETS

The players asked for his continuity during the promotion celebration. What do you feel?

That the players value your work is the most beautiful thing there is. That they love you, that they trust you. It has been three months with very little room for trial and error. It cost a lot of sacrifice, we had a very bad time in Oviedo in those 10 minutes after his goal, but in the end we achieved the goal.

Where do you see yourself next season? Have you already spoken with Garagarza?

I notice that people love me. I have to talk to the bosses this week. The contract is until now, until the end of this season. From then on it was not said what was going to happen. Neither white nor black. I want to stay, but it is a two-party decision and it has to be talked about. But it is true that it would make no sense to return to the reserve team. I don’t see myself there.

2024-06-24 17:02:46
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