Confined at home, Girona’s top sports manager is in constant contact with the coach and the players. All the details are important for the restart and Quique Cárcel is clear that the team has prepared well, despite the limitations, for the outcome of the League. Ambitious of sorts, it does not discard anything although it is clear that the way of the play-off is the most realistic. Looking to the future, he’s already working on next season though with a pile of questions he doesn’t know when they’ll be resolved.
It looks like in a month the ball will roll again. Content?
We are living an exceptional time and the people of football understand and know the reality that society lives in many aspects. Especially in the field of health because many people have lost relatives. Also in the economic because many companies are going through very difficult times. Our intention to get off to a good start was to end the season. It’s really what we all want because an unfinished season wouldn’t make much sense.
France, Belgium and the Netherlands have suspended the leagues but Portugal, Germany, England and here it looks like it will be played. Do you understand the most drastic postures?
I respect the decisions of all governments. What I feel is that the season has to end because otherwise there would be harmful words. There is the issue of economics as well as performance, because things have to be won on the field. The best thing for everyone is to finish.
Will playing again help society?
What will help is to lower the cases and return to normal. For there to be one, normally, people need to see it as soon as possible. Not just with football, but with jobs and on the street. Football doesn’t have to be any different. Just as a lot of people are already working, football needs to start too. It will help yes, in the sense that it is entertainment and people enjoy it.
Have you been in touch with the players? How are you feeling?
It’s been 8 weeks of confinement and everyone has gone through it as best they could. Many are far from home and alone. I perceived a great professionalism, a great dynamic of group and work in spite of the conditions. We are happy because everyone has seen that it was a stalemate and they have taken great care to be prepared for this phase.
Eleven games are coming plus a hypothetical one play-off at the peak of summer. If it’s too hot it can be terrible.
It is an exceptional situation. We have to adapt to it. Heat influences performance, yes. There are always League precautions in the summer and it will be followed along the same lines. The difference with summer friendlies is that there will now be a great mental demand.
Will it cost to plug in the players again to motivate them towards the goal?
They know what we are playing as a club and they as professionals. We trust them.
Without the heat of the public will it cost more?
Football has always been lived with an audience. It won’t be the same and it will be a weird feeling. Full fields are noticeable for footballers. We will have to adapt to it and hope that soon we can see the full stadiums again, which is the most beautiful.
Will Martí have much more work on the mental side?
It’s a challenge for him. We will play very important things and the mental issue will influence. Whoever knows how to compete well in these 11 matches will have an advantage. However, it is the footballers who will mentalize and will have to take a step forward. It is a global job but the master is our leader and he will have to be very attentive to everything.
Have you been talking about it? How do you see it?
We have been in touch every week. He has done a very important job with the technical body creating many links to work together electronically. They have done group meetings and training by video conference. We have not stopped in this regard.
Could the stop have been good for a player to clear his head?
All the clubs have been busy looking to see if we have done well or not. Yes I do have the feeling that there are players who may not be doing the season they would like or that we were expecting and who will take a step forward. It’s like they start from scratch. They must feel that it is an opportunity to vindicate themselves and end up in a different, better way. Some player will surprise us and give us important performance.
Do you think there may be surprises in these remaining 11 days?
Many games have been played, almost three quarters of the league. The crux of the matter is how the 11 matches will face each other. Maybe some were in very good shape and with their audience they were a very difficult team to win and now who knows if they will not have the same strength. It can happen. It is difficult for the classification to change much but there will surely be some surprises.
Did they think about signing a replacement for the injured Brandon?
It’s a major drop, yes. Now it made no sense to fit into the situation we are in. We have a long and competitive workforce, there is income that will not come in and in addition agreements have been reached with people to make an effort. It was common sense not to do that.
Will Zeballos, who arrived the week of confinement, have to take responsibility for an attack that may not belong to him?
No. He is one more player and will have no added responsibility or pressure. There are many others who have been on the team for a long time and are trained to take on an important role.
Was Pol Llonch the first option in January to bolster the team?
We worked many names like every year but in the end there are situations that make some unviable. We thought it was a profile that could provide what we were looking for. The conditions, however, were not what we could and we did not arrive safely.
Morilla, Víctor, Ilyas, Turmo and Kebe have been registered in the League to strengthen the first team in this section. How come they didn’t have Carlos Martinez, who had already made his debut and scored with the first team?
It’s a club and coach decision. Contract ends in June. If we renew it it will no longer be under 23 and should stay in the first squad. It has a very good future but decisions have to be made. Still, at no point did we tell him no. With the first team we are covered and we have also brought young dwarfs who have progression and future to the club.
How do you plan the upcoming season with this scenario full of unknowns?
Football is always very uncertain. Every year teams that do not have the goals achieved have uncertainties but this year more. Last year for example we already knew that we would compete in Second A. We have not stopped to think about what can happen with both situations but when it comes to making decisions it is difficult because we do not know what budget we will have. Also, it looks like next season’s budgets aren’t clear. What we do know is where we want to go in one place or another.
Will you make the Girona 2020-21 squad?
Who is thinking and making it is me, but whether I will do it will depend on how it all ends, the goals and many things. It’s a thing of the future.
Is your future tied to promotion?
I have a two year contract. If nothing strange happens …
Have you started talking about renewals or improvements with any player?
We have a lot of people on contract and once we know where we will be, then we will make decisions to continue or not. At the moment, it’s time to think about competing at the highest level in the 11 matches.
Are there any reductions in the budget for the first team next year?
A budget in First is not the same as in Second. There are new negotiations with the televisions and we will see how much revenue comes in. It is also necessary to see how it is done with the season tickets. We are working on it.
You can only aspire to the play-off? Is direct ascent impossible?
We have to be so ambitious and try to add up the maximum points and see what happens. However, we know that there are two teams that give us an important advantage. It’s time to think about winning in Las Palmas and we’ll see where we are later.