Paul pezzolano (April 25, 1983, Montevideo) has a month and a half in Valladolid and have already experienced honeys of victories and praise and the poison of defeats and criticsbut now face the duel before him barca like a final, like all games, in search of salvation that has become complicated again after the latest results.
How do you change the chip of the hard defeat in Cádiz to face a vital match against champion Barcelona?
We want the players to feel comfortable on the field, that they know how to fight, not just talk about it, but that they feel it, that they really live in each duel, in each action. We don’t have to talk, we have to do. We have to fight until the last minute of the championship. Hard times are coming and we have to face Barcelona and then two more direct rivals. We have to improve psychologically to win it.
Did you expect the five losses conceded?
We came for this; Since they called us to come we knew that the finals were coming at the last dates. Anyone who thought that Real Valladolid was going to save themselves before, unfortunately, was wrong. We were lucky to get those points in the starting sequence and now comes reality. We didn’t expect to lose in Cádiz, but we have to be calm and keep working to move it forward.
You said that you liked this of risking salvation with your direct rivals (Valladolid still has to face Almería and Getafe)…
Yes, definitely. It’s a kill-kill. You have to know how to play those games. It’s them or us. There is nothing more beautiful. It depends on you. We will get what we deserve.
You have been involved in many arbitration controversies… expelled in Villarreal, a dispute has been opened for you file for their statements After the uncalled handball against Atleti, the disallowed goal against Sevilla… did you expect refereeing to be so decisive in Spain?
No, I didn’t expect it to be like that, but it is also true that you have to understand that they are human, although they must take care that the clubs, the players, the coaches, the cities, pay dearly for their mistakes. But not only to stay in the First Division, to play in Europe. Simply, to continue working because we all depend on the results.
How much of Pezzolano has already been established at Real Valladolid?
There are moments in which I already feel very identified and there are moments in which I feel that things are missing that I would like to see done in a different way. That takes time, it’s not an overnight thing. This team had been with a coach for a year and a half and has some habits, which I’m not saying are bad, but that I like others. There are moments that I like that rebellion that we have and others in which we do not arrive. What I like about the squad is their courage, their desire and their commitment.
Doesn’t the team get very long in some phases of the matches and that creates many spaces between the lines?
Yes, it can happen. That requires work time, it is not from one day to the next. Since I arrived I am adding details, I cannot change everything at once. I would like the team to be shorter, but for that you need speed, the goalkeeper is shorter, you need the profiles, knowing how the opponent plays, when to press and when not… Now the most important thing is to understand the plan of the game, of the match, understand the opponent’s abilities and weaknesses and take advantage of them. What I would like is to take better advantage of our chances because we are having clear chances, but we don’t score.
You played in Uruguay, in Mexico, in Brazil, in Spain, in China… when did you understand that your future lay through the benches?
When I returned to play in Uruguay, at the age of 29, I took the course for two years, then I took the sports director course. I am a person who looks forward a lot. I always drive in the future, in the after, I barely enjoy the present. When I was 31-32 years old, I wondered what else I can do as a player and that’s when the proposal came to me (from Torque, from the City group, where I played) and a door opened for me. When you open the angle and see football from another perspective it is completely different.
You came to Spain, to Mallorca, where you had Gregorio Manzano as a coach, with whom we were a few weeks ago. He said he was shy and observant… do you see yourself reflected in that description?
Yes, it was the moment. I came to a great team, with a great coach. I only had him for a year, but he was a technician, a psychologist…he always observed the peace with which he spoke. I participated in 15 games and it was crazy with my teammates around me: Aduriz, Webo, Julio Álvarez, Casadesus, Chory… We finished fifth and we were fighting to get into the Champions League until the last second. It was also hard to play because of the change from South America to Europe… then the contest came, the opportunity to go to China arose and I went there. From Gregorio, the best memories, great coach.
Another of the coaches who has marked him is Lothar Matthaus, who had him at Atlético Paranaense, in Brazil…
He was very German, I loved his demand. He was with us for two or three months, then he had to return for a family matter. His was the extreme demand. You were doing finishing work or crossing and they had to be perfect, in training, because he said that if we weren’t capable of doing well in training, how could he imagine that we would do well in the game. If you lost the ball he would go crazy and live it to the fullest. He played 14 games and we didn’t lose any.
Was it the one that marked you the most?
In those details, yes, but they all leave you something. He was very much enjoyed. The career as a player is the most beautiful thing there is, you value it much more when it ends. Players live in a bubble, if we saw what we do and valued it, every second, we would all be higher. It is what I look for in my players now. I had a very nice career with great coaches.
Another coach who marked him in his training is Guardiola and his Barça…
Guardiola marks a before and after, he is a coach that I had never seen in my life and I was lucky to experience it and see it on television. If you review those games, he was barely inferior in any match. It’s hard to prove it outside of the result. He lost matches, yes, but was he inferior to his rival? I always saw him superior to all his rivals, overwhelming with a ball, the way out to look for spaces. They said it was very boring because he had a lot of the ball, but Guardiola was looking for movement inside, outside, width with the wingers or with the wings. He had a tactical wealth that he had never seen in my life. Guardiola has a head that is another world. He marked me a lot because he sees things that others don’t see.
You are a lover of the game of position, more than possession… that is, always keep your back so that your teammates dare to do things…
We are still not doing it 100% because that takes time, it takes work. From then on, I like an intense team so that if my partner loses the ball, he can recover it quickly. Intensity to play fast if there are spaces, how to occupy the spaces and when to do it. That takes time and your understanding. Now I am looking for a figure in which the team is more comfortable within the tools we have. We add details to improve, always based on what they have been doing to have more chances to score and so they don’t believe so many of us. They are generating a lot of us. We are looking for the best way to find the points, now I am interested in adding points.
How is the team physically?
It all depends on the coaches and what they look for. I am of intensity, looking for spaces, being more vertical and going for the goal, but that takes time and I have to adapt to how the squad is now. With a preseason ahead, you can talk about a thousand other things, but now I’m looking for points, I can’t be so selfish as to say that I’ve come to implement a style and I don’t care about the result. We need to win to stay in First Division. We miss a player like Amallah, a “box to box”.
The Barça arrives after celebrate the league title And almost on vacation, does that benefit Real Valladolid?
Despite having everything done… it’s Barça. They have a lot of quality. Sevilla came here between the Juve tie, but with three world champions on the field, with a tremendous squad. Of course there will be times when if we take advantage of it we can have our options. We have to seize our moments. They have reached their goals, but they want to keep adding points. Nobody gives you anything. Barcelona is a great team, but we depend on what we do.
Speaking of Barcelona… Vitor Roque is playing to strengthen him next year and you had him at Cruzeiro… what can you tell us about this player?
He is a great player, with me he was a starter at Cruzeiro at the age of 17. Very powerful, very fast, he has a goal, he goes well above despite not being very tall, they are players who are genetically spectacular, they are cracks. Brazilians, with that physique, are different. He has tremendous quality. A player to take into account, with a very good head, very professional.
Does the fact that Brazilians come to Europe so soon harm or benefit them?
Vitor Roque is already playing Libertadores at Atlético Paranaense. He comes from playing all year starting in Brazil. The Brasileirao is top, with impressive national team players, for me the most competitive in the world. You have 13 big teams, something that doesn’t happen in any other country in the world. Having 13 classics is outrageous. They come with that filming, knowing how to play with pressure, they have things that not many have. Although he is young, he has already gone through hard times and if he comes he will be very mature.
Tell me one positive and one negative thing about your month and a half in Spain…
Positive… the players, we are enjoying the League, we are in Valladolid, a beautiful city with an impressive standard of living, we are in a historic club… The positive is that we are going to depend on ourselves until the last date. The negative? This streak of games we lost now.