Paolo Montero: “We are aware that the people of Rio de la Plata are going to the result”

“The main person responsible for what happened is me. There are points for improvement. After such a performance there is little to say. “Thus, without grandstanding or excuses, Paolo Montero, coach of San Lorenzo, expressed himself after the 4-0 win against Unión, in Santa Fe. The former defender, who played a decade in Juventus and was present at the World Cup Korea Japan 2002 with the Uruguayan team, he works intensely to find the functioning of San Lorenzo and to recover before Talleres the semblance of his first matches. Because until last Saturday the son of the remembered Julio Montero Castillo did not know defeat on the crow bank.

The 49-year-old from Montevideo – who took his first steps as a coach in the Peñarol youth teams, who in Argentina directed Boca Unidos, Colón and Central and in Italy the Sambenedettese of Serie C – analyzed together with Libero the present of a team that occupies the 11th position after having added two wins, two draws and one fall.

-The Buenos Aires legislature approved the Rezoning Law and the club was authorized to build its new stadium on Avenida La Plata. Are you aware of this?

-I saw it on television. We honestly did not talk to any player on the subject, but I imagine the importance of this that was achieved and that has been going on for a long time. I followed San Lorenzo after the year I played here, because I was a supporter. For the fan, more than anything for the veteran, for everything he experienced and for the important teams of that time that played in the old stadium, it must be an enormous joy.

-You mentioned the year you played in San Lorenzo, which was in the 2005-2006 season. After your return, fifteen years later, how did you find the club?

-I found the club much better. Growth is natural, 15 years have passed and I was happy, beyond some economic problems. At the infrastructure level, a lot has been improved. The gym, the locker room and everything is generated to support the player. The public does not see it, but from the inside you can see what is available at the medical level, from the headquarters and the equipment. In that we have grown and we have to continue advancing, always respecting the budgets, to what is the football of Europe.

-Is there material to support what was shown at the start of the championship?

-Must be maintained. This is the way it should be in the big clubs. For that it is essential that everyone is available to be able to change, because there will be games during the week. Taking out Torrico and Néstor (Ortigoza) who were in all the games, there was a lack of players who give you experience and peace of mind in the critical moments of a game. Now it only remains to recover Nicolás Fernández, Franco Di Santo is already with us, like (Alejandro) Donatti and (Cristian) Zapata. Thus the internal competition rises and that leads to a good individual and group level. Then it depends on the decisions of the coach and the courage to put the player in the best condition, beyond the name. We also know that there are players who with charisma supplant the physical.

Montero and the face-to-face dialogue with Romero.

-How did you take the departure of Juan Ramírez when the championship started?

-What happens is that we – and I’m going to talk about Uruguay, not Argentina or Italy – take it much more sentimental. On the other hand, in Europe it is normal. It is not taken as a betrayal, but as a professional who decided to work in another team. The player came from the front, he said it to my face and I respect him a lot. It is a choice that he made. He also spoke with his companions. Because the most important thing is not to talk to the coach but to face the group and tell them what you feel and think. It did not appeal to me badly, at all, but I am aware that for us it was a significant loss. He is a valuable player and in these games in Boca he has shown it.

-In case it could be floated, would you accept Di Santo’s departure to Boca?

-Before assuming, Mauro (Cetto, manager of the club) told us who could be the players with chances of leaving. Obviously he knows that for us, as coaches and for the management of the squad, there are players who give a lot of category and prestige. Franco is one of those. I already told Mauro what my idea is and we are very hopeful that he will stay. I see him very happy, we count on him and we know that with Franco, as was also the case with Juan (Ramírez), the ambitious goals that the leaders set for us to be able to fight for important things can be achieved.

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-The Romero brothers argued with Diego Monarriz, played little with Diego Dabove and had some interdictions with colleagues. From the bond you had with them until now, how did you see them?

-From the first day I said that everyone asked me, I always listen but I draw my conclusions. And at all times, from what I’ve seen since they arrived after the Copa América, I see them integrated. The other day there was a beautiful day and when the practice ended, 15 or 16 players sat for a long time talking, laughing and they were there. One of the things that caught my attention is the professionalism of the players who arrive an hour and a half before training and carry out their physical routines after having breakfast. They are always with the group at that time. At no point do I see them looking for special, star treatment. Not at all. We are very happy with them, they are important players who always love her at critical moments. The group is doing well and that as a coaching staff gives us a lot of joy and pride.

-In his stage as a player, as a defender, he was classified as a tough, tough guy. Would you like your equipment to have those characteristics?

-What one learns as a coach is that this attitude of going to the limit, not giving a ball for lost and prevailing in duels ends up defining who wins the game. On a defensive and offensive level. I’m not saying it with a cassette, that second ball is often sacred. If you can win it, you have a high percentage of winning the game. We seek to interpret soccer the way we played, but also being aware of the Argentine soccer palate that we must try to propose. Because the Argentine in whatever sport he does, and he saw himself in the Olympic Games with rugby, basketball, volleyball or hockey, he seeks to be the protagonist despite adversity. We know that many times it will be difficult, as it can be in rugby when facing the All Blacks, but leaving everything on the field.

-Do you tell the players about your European experience at Juventus?

-I don’t talk about me. The centrals, more than anything Federico (Gattoni) and Francisco (Flores), ask. I also talked with the two Romeros from Italy, but it never comes from me. If they ask, I answer them, of course. What I notice is that they listen and are open to dialogue. In the coaching staff we give the player the chance to give his opinion, to discuss. We are former footballers who, taking advantage of the youth of the campus, seek to teach. The players have conditions to be able to take the big leap, so you tell them some way to train, to play and, mainly, I share experiences of my teammates: how they lived, how they trained and how they faced the week. These are things that helped me and that I try to handle as a coach.

-San Lorenzo has been changing technicians more and more frequently in recent years. Would you like to change this trend and make a career at the club?

-I hope it changes, that this streak is broken. I do not question the work that previous coaches have done because in football we all know each other and we know how they work. And, above all, that they are good people. That is sometimes what hurts you the most. We are very happy with the treatment of the club and the people, but we are aware that the people of the River Plate, the Latinos, are going to the result. We are in San Lorenzo and we have to win. It will not be easy because the Argentine championship is the most similar to that of Europe. It is very competitive and anyone can beat anyone. We must achieve the results that the leaders marked us to continue. And in that a minimum of dignity we have that if we do not succeed we will step aside.


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