Barcelona has already put tickets on sale for the ACB final before playing the semifinals. “I want to talk about basketball. There are people who can spend 116 euros to watch four games, six or two. This is very interesting that everyone knows, including my players. But that’s it, I don’t give it more importance.”
How do you see this tie? “The question more than if you can win them is how many games you can win them. I don’t know if there are many under normal circumstances, but it may not be normal circumstances. There is a lot of enthusiasm, they are tighter, they have to save the season, without the Euroleague or Cup, due to the level of players and coach they have to win titles. But I focus on having a good first game, a good second and a good third, which I’m sure there will be, and then see where we are. We have to focus a lot on what we have to do to be competitive against such a big team”.
unbalancing players. “Kyle Kuric was not at the best level in three other games, now he is very important, he is in his best moment, but what else can I tell you. Mirotic, Jokubaitis, Alex, Laprovittola, Tobey or Kalinic may appear. Even Nnjai and Sergi Martínez can change a game for you with their energy. There are too many things. We have to play a serious game in terms of rebounding and loss control. We don’t usually lose many, although in the last few we have lost more than necessary. They have a lot of ‘deflections’ due to their volume and size, they touch a lot of balls in defense. It is important to run and score easy points. It’s key against them.”
prolegomena. “I notice an environment similar to before traveling to Tenerife. Confident, energetic. You have talked more with them than I have about the semifinal. We have worked on the things we want to talk about, now we will watch a video, we know them very well, we have not had an impact on a mental or motivational level. We only talk about basketball, about doing some tweaking or detail like against Tenerife. I don’t believe anything in that you have to steal a game, I only think about tomorrow, this thing about going to win a game against the Palau to return 1-1… I don’t understand it. I have won the League twice and I won them 0-3. This thing about watching the first game and if you win the second… If you come back 2-0, don’t you go out and play? You have to see the first, if you have been competitive or not, touch up, see things, the same in the third. If we want to go through we have to win at the Palau, but nothing more”.
Rumors circulating about Barça. “It does not depend on us. All this noise that there is does not depend on us. How it affects them is not up to us. In the career of any athlete it is always better to win. You upgrade if you win. Whatever happens to them, they’d better win than not win. No one enters thinking of losing. Anyone is a pseudo-journalist and writes on Twitter, anyone says one thing and it becomes news just because. It should matter more to you. I don’t know if it’s true and I don’t care. It’s a basketball game, nothing more.”
Physical condition of the players. “We have a problem with Kravish, who hit his heel against Tenrife and is in a lot of pain, he couldn’t train on Tuesday, let’s see if he does something today. He will be, not 100%, but he will be “
Can Barcelona be surprised? “I don’t think about the second, but about the first, that’s what we have to do. They come from a series that is not too tough in terms of rhythm and contacts. Valencia went to zone defenses, tried to play a tactical game. We arrived at a very high cruising speed, but it doesn’t have to mean anything. On the other hand, they beat you first, you adjust 48 hours later… It’s not easy to win, even if they are a better team than us, two games in 48 hours. I couldn’t tell you statistically which one earns more. If we went to a high score I would be very happy. I don’t think we’ll go over 80 points, I don’t think so, because of the type of pace they have and their defensive level, which is very high. If we are at the level we are used to, defensively we are going to be solid and give little to our rivals. If the other thing happened, it would be good for us”.
Favorite Barcelona?? “What level does it favor? My feeling when talking to people about basketball is not that, it is not the same. I don’t know what’s the use of being favorites when it’s obvious that they are. There is less room for surprise than in a Cup game. How many games out of five can we win in a normal sequence? One or two? Three would be a lot. I don’t know, but I think we are physically prepared to play five games in 10 days and we are fine, so are they. I trust the hunger of my players and adapt to a series of five games. When they lose money, many Turks remember our mothers on Twitter. I hope they insult me again. More than what can be said, I heard Nico speak highly of us, behind the scenes, we have gained respect. We won the Copa del Rey, we eliminated Tenerife 2-0, 24 victories in ACB… I would take that team into account. I don’t know what others think.”
tactical aspects. “They play a lot of minutes with Tomas and Nico together. Beyond Kendrick, Tyson or Dario, due to volume issues, we can adjust to try to contain Tomas. There are very large quintets, with a lot of external threat. The other day they had one with Kuric, Abrines, Sanli, Mirotic and Satoransky… They all have a threat of three points and more than two meters and maybe Tomas was the least safe shooter but remember what he did to us in the league game in the Carpena. Vertical players, size, defense… Satoransky is a point guard of more than two meters. In the Cup he took Perry to the post, it’s one of the ways, they didn’t do badly until they didn’t do so well. Things are happening, you have to have proposals for the rival, some come out and others don’t. We saw that in the league game they were much more prepared, denying receptions and taking care of the indirect ones. We know each other quite well, although their tactical battery is much larger than ours, they are more unpredictable than we are. Just like I talked about Satoransky’s posting, I’m sure Saras has done a job, he’s one of the best in Europe. It also depends on there being lucidity, that there is quality in the execution, being able to identify what he gives you and what they take away… It’s our job”.