Jozabed: “We have improved a lot and the club is more stable”

Why is the equipment so reliable at home and wrecks abroad?

These are things that usually happen a lot in football and one tries to find an explanation. And it does not find him. I think that the team always tries to play the same way inside and outside. At home we have good results and outside we do not. Last year it was the opposite and we asked ourselves the same question.

At home you can see the fans.

Of course yes. As a rule, there are more home victories than away victories. In that sense, we have an advantage over most teams because the atmosphere that is generated at home is seen in few stadiums in the category.

With everything and with this, Malaga has had a chance of victory. Goal annulled in Huesca by the VAR, Antoñín’s post in Oviedo with 1-1 …

There is always something that tips the balance against. The other day (in Cartagena) there was not much going on either and a very dubious penalty… in the end everything that happens outside is misfortune.

The VAR brings them to you.

It is a tool that I think is very good. I am a supporter, but the use that is given to it can be greatly improved. Every game there are many plays in which I think he should decide differently and he doesn’t. You have to live with it.

It seems that it is costing him more than the account to consolidate in the starting eleven.

It has only been in these last two games, in the previous ones I have been playing practically everything. These are things that happen in football. The coach always tries to find the best eleven for each day and in this one I had to start from the bench. You have to take it as naturally as it requires because we are a very long squad. To continue working so that when the opportunity comes to play again from the beginning, which will come, take advantage of it.

This coach makes them work very hard.

My stage at Rayo with Paco Jémez, without the ball, was very similar. Ha had played this way and he runs quite a bit without the ball. It is not the same to wait in the opponent’s field than to go looking for the opposite. You need many more meters and it shows. You finish the games much more worn than if you wait in the rival field. I prefer this way of playing.

In which position are you most comfortable? Midfielder? Organizer? Second front?

Where he plays… We all want to play and position matters little. What I want is to be in the starting eleven. I have always said that throughout my career I feel more comfortable playing as ‘8’, ’10’ or in the double pivot. In the middle point I participate more in the completion of the team.

The year of Rayo he scored 10 goals and was the most accomplished midfielder in the major European leagues.

It is hard to forget. I had a very good season at the scorer level but it was a shame that the team dropped.

That was the step to Fulham that was not so positive.

Maybe it was more my fault because mentally I was not prepared to be there. Remember that that year Fulham was in the Championship (second category in England). It was not Premier. I believed that that year I had made merits in Spain at Rayo to continue in the First Division. I had to go there and it was Second Division. I did not know how to accept that very well on a mental level and I always went with that handicap. That’s why at the first exchange in January, when a team emerged that wanted a loan, I came (to Celta). I was only there for five months.

Is it true that there were options with Betis or Sevilla?

No. If there had been options in Spain I would have stayed in the First Division. I went there because it was the only real option I had. There is always talk of options but in the end it is only interest. The clubs that come with all of the law, at that time, that had to pay the termination clause, four million euros, it was only Fulham.

And from there, to Celta.

I got several proposals in Spain and Celta at that time was playing the Europa League. One of the seven or eight best clubs in Spain at that time. I went there. Super happy with the decision I made because it went very well for me. After the transfer they exercised the purchase option and I was able to play in the First Division.

How much did they pay?

The same. The English had paid four million and wanted to get it back.

In Vigo he lived through everything.

There were good and less good moments. The best, the first six months. As they say, I fell on my feet in Vigo. That year we made the semifinals in the Copa del Rey and Europa League and the coach (Berizzo) counted on me in all the games. Things turned out very well for me and thanks to that the club considered exercising the purchase option. Then in the following two years with Unzué I had a normal year and then a very complicated one (there were three coaches; Antonio Mohamed, Miguel Cardoso and Fran Escribá) because we were hanging around with the descent and we achieved a salvation on the last day. The team was not for that. Then came the injuries.

Do you have contact with Unzué?

I also agreed with Unzué at Girona. I always had a very good relationship with him and when the bad news came out (that he had ALS) I wrote him a message and his son who was on the coaching staff.

We discovered you in Jaén, 2013-14 season in Segunda in that damn game against Alavés that changed the history of the people from Jaén for the worse, and that of the Vitorians for the better.

That’s how it is. As it is. When you end up descending it is because you have not done things well. The team was very few days in relegation places. We went there in the last two days, we went down and we had a very bitter taste. So many things happened in that last minute… Alavés saved us to Second B. On a personal level it was a very beautiful year because it was my first year in professional football. The bad thing is that since then Jaén has always gotten worse. It is a pity. I have some friendship around the city and they tell you.

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It was forged in the quarry of Seville with Luis Alberto or Alberto Moreno, among others.

I entered at the age of nine and went through all the teams in the quarry until I bequeathed the subsidiary. There I met good players who today are at the highest level and are international. That first year was very good. Luis Alberto and Alberto Moreno are having a first-rate career. Moreno has won the Champions League and Luis Alberto in Serie A in Italy.

Why did you agree to come to Malaga despite your problems?

Leaving aside the economic issue, I have always believed that within the category there are few clubs of the magnitude of Malaga. It is true that he had very delicate moments due to bad management, but at an entity level I was always clear that playing for Malaga is not the same as playing for another team in the category.

Was it difficult for you to terminate the year of your contract with Celta?

In negotiations there is always a tug of war. There is always a middle ground and what I could not do was spend a year in Vigo in the stands if we had not reached an agreement. It was not difficult because both parties had a predisposition.

And you were clear about it …

Malaga was my first option for everything. Closeness to Seville after having been away from home for so many years. It was easy. The club is beginning to recover and playing every Sunday with more than 15,000 people at La Rosaleda is not very common.

Manolo Gaspar convinces everyone.

Last year when the championship was extended (due to the pandemic) doubts could be raised because everything was uncertainty around the club in case players could not be registered. At the time I had the word from Manolo that everything was going to be done and that he just had to wait. I was always calm.

A receivership runs the club.

I think it is the first time that an ERE has been done in a sports entity and also the first time that the club is directed by a judicial administrator. When people want to work and always go straight ahead with sacrifice, humility, work, things tend to work out.

The objective according to Manolo Gaspar is to improve what happened last year.

Everyone’s goal should be not to settle for what we did last year. Just by the number of chips. Last year there were games in which for Pelli (Sergio Pellicer, the previous coach) it was a puzzle to make alignments because there could be an improper alignment and this year 23 professional chips. We have improved a lot and the club is much more stable. There are all the conditions to make a better year than last. Where are we going to get to? Today it is difficult to know. The competition will put us on our site.

The quarry, to power.

Very young players with a lot of self-confidence to play. And that’s not easy being so young. They are in the ideal club to be able to settle in professional football. They are with us, they enter calls and play every Sunday.

Kevin gets good sticks.

Soccer brings that with it. I can tell you little. Are occupational hazards.

Which player did he usually fixate on?

I have been lucky enough to experience the best period of Spanish football and I always paid attention to Xavi and Iniesta because of the position in which they play. They have always been two references for me.

It stands out for its long-distance shots.

When I have a chance … it is true that I do not speak much lately because I have not had a ball in good position to hit the goal.

His best goal?

One that I did to Vilarreal with the Ray. It was a goal from outside the area but a bit heeled. A throw-in, I let her in and heeled at the peak of the large area, I hit her with a boat soon and she crossed the other squad.

When you check one like this we will remember this interview.

What I want is to mark. As if it is with the ass (laughs). At the end of the year they do not look at whether the goal has been beautiful but how many you have made or how many games you have played, not the beauty of the goals.

How difficult it is for Malaga to score goals!

Especially at home we have generated many scoring chances and we have not managed to materialize them. And in the end in the matches we have ended up suffering with short results. It is a facet where we must all improve and each one contribute our grain of sand.

It is difficult to close the games at home.

Except for the game against Girona, the rest we have won by a single goal advantage. We have been a lot better at the game and created a lot of chances, but we haven’t gotten them. And as long as you don’t put it in, anything can happen. Against Lugo we had three very clear and in the last play they almost tied us. These are things that need to be improved.

How do you see Sekou and Chavarría?

Pablo’s injury is a shame. Many times when you come from long injuries it is normal to have small relapses. The important thing is that something small. Sekou was unlucky enough to get injured as soon as he arrived. I hope we have them at the highest level as soon as possible.

And on Monday, Tenerife.

It is one of the strongest teams in the category. You can prove it in the friendly match we played this summer. It seemed to me a very serious team in all facets of the game. As a block they do things very well. They are generous in effort and are always orderly on the field. They leave few spaces to play and upstairs they have important people with a goal and who make you suffer in any play, It will be a very complicated game. We are very strong at home and we have to continue the same and make the game very difficult for them.

Signed until 2023. Do you see more years here?

Of course yes. If I am comfortable in one place I look many more years old. You never know in football, but as of today I am very happy with everything here in Malaga. In the future, I would be very happy to continue here ”.

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