Sánchez Vera: “Alba Redondo has found emotional balance”

José Luis Sánchez Vera (Madrid, 1983) has returned Levante to the Champions League. The coach returned to women’s football with a major challenge and has managed to put together a great team and bring out the best version of players like Alba Redondo and Mayra. League and Super Cup champion with Atlético, he now leads a EuroLevante that wants to conquer Di Stéfano even if he can no longer access the runner-up. Before visiting the white temple, the Madrid coach went through ASTV’s women’s soccer program, Area F, to talk about his EuroLevante.

-The ‘EuroLevante’ is a reality, what were the keys?

-I don’t like losing even when I play at home just imagining games, I’m self-competitive. That winning gene or belief of being able to compete in every game from day one hit the players. They thought that it could be done, they got into that dynamic and I think something changed. He is not someone who says we can, we go day by day and we will see where we are able to win. We are going to play every game, and that personal conviction that by isolating everything and sticking with going game by game we are going to see what pieces we were able to put into the gear and it was what made them gain self-esteem. We have taken many of them out of that bracket, there were better footballers with the performance they were giving and we have been able little by little to remove the labels from them. I laugh a lot because I told them that we had to turn you into tall, blonde and pretty footballers and little by little they have done it. In the last photos in the locker room it was that, they told us mister that you see us tall, blonde and pretty. And then things about the game that we each have our nuances. We have put in a structure that favored the development of players like Leire, Tatiana, Paula, Alba, Mayra… they have all been comfortable and have been able to give their best version.

-How was your signing for Levante forged and why did you choose the granota project?

-He had been very close several times. He had always shown interest. We have had a couple of occasions where we have been very close. With the covid and the death of my father at the end on the two occasions at the last minute I was the one who could not go. The accompaniment of those two occasions and how they have faced things made me feel that I had a duty before a club that I consider one of the historic ones in women’s football. When they congratulated me the other day I told them that when I get out of here I will be able to say that I have worked in Levante, it will be on my resume. The women’s Levante is the history of women’s football as has been Espanyol, Athletic or Rayo. I am very mystical, I like those kinds of situations. When they approach us, the profile of soccer players who had and had signed such as Carol, Paula, Leire, Alba… many of them play inside, which is something that is the root of the structures that are later seen on the field in my teams. If emotionally there were links and in sports there were things that I could develop, those were the two points that made me opt for this project.

-What is clear is that Levante is committed to the women’s…

The club has shown it. Here they are very clear that the reference for all the big clubs, especially those in professional football, are the first men’s teams. Especially because of the economic movement behind it, it is the livelihood of all. Clubs are companies. But Levante has that transversal situation that is also a brand image and today the image of both teams can generate many positive synergies beyond the economic movement that the head team can give you, which would be the men’s team. In a transversal way, it continues to insist and reinforce providing, within a small club that has nothing to do with a large structure like Real Madrid, Atlético or Barcelona, ​​to generate that feeling of equity and give it what it deserves, without skimping on that situation. That to be able to promote a project on a day-to-day basis knowing what you have is important. Not that when the season ends they have instability, now they take you away… it depends on the promotion of the first team, we know what we have, it’s never less, if it goes up it could be more. That gives you a balance and balance that gives you the option to put things together for the long-term future.

-And as second coach you have chosen a legend of Spanish women’s soccer like Érika Vázquez, what is it like to work with her?

-When I bet on Eri, I was playing a winning horse. It was an important point, I had been after it for a long time because through the training agency I had taken several methodology and analysis courses and I usually review, for that I have aces up my sleeve in my portfolio. I knew of her competitive gene of her to face her, her option was always on the table and this summer in which she returned to train after that year of impassioned We were clear that if something was given, my right hand would be Eri because she gave me many things. I believe in the formative period and she was going to complete many things that I did not reach. A coach who is highly prepared to direct professional football, that bond that she could have in the locker room with the footballers, a young team that has the reference of Erika Vázquez, in what has been our women’s football, especially when it comes to individualizing messages. You say that this Levante is not understood without Sánchez Vera, I do not understand Sánchez Vera without Erika Vázquez.


-One of the revelations of the season is Maya Ramírez, who has already left things behind at Sporting Huelva. What do you think this evolution is due to?

-There is a game situation that is important, especially space. Mayra played for La Orden at Sporting, which was small. She is a player who needs spaces and the ability to move. With Antonio, she normally played on the right wing and I think the starting options limited her. By centralizing it and playing with two wingers, with Alba having an exit on one side and other more interior corridors has benefited her, having her natural grass has helped her. And on an emotional and maturational level, she is jumping at an enormous rate. The model and her emotional content, plus being surrounded by great professionals who demand of her have made Mayra one of the most important soccer players in Europe right now.

-How has the management been in the goal? Tarazona from the youth squad has responded very well to a difficult situation with Paraluta and Valenzuela’s cross breaks…

It was an important stick. We were in the last phase of recovering with Maria Valenzuela in preseason. We started with Paraluta in goal and just the session before the first league game in Alhama fell into a bad gesture. In sports and in football there are athletes who have light, I think Tarazona has it. He has been on D-day at H hour at M minute and his ability has meant that he has fully taken advantage of the opportunity that had come his way, his performance has been spectacular.

-Other proper names of this Levante are round dawn. His scoring ability this season has surprised him, he is signing the best numbers of his career.

-He has worked a lot on everything that is external to what will be his day-to-day life as a footballer. He has found an important emotional and personal balance. She is very special, with an ability to grow and be one of the important players at the national level, but she had not quite found that balance. At the beginning of the season I remember that when she scored the first goals, she had been around seven or eight, they told me it’s the top for Alba, she’s two or three months old puch, we all thought the same thing, but… the challenge was that, that it be five, six, seven… if Alba is able to find that regularity, she can become one of the most important forwards at the national level today. She has maintained it, she has been fine in front of goal and that has made her find herself as a strong and important footballer that she has been for this lift.

-We have seen you again, thrown to the band… what do you think is your best position?

-It doesn’t have an ideal position, it depends on the context you want to give the game. He plays more on the second line, I have also seen him as an open winger and attacking spaces through side corridors. It is the context of how you are able to find Alba in the last third. She is a footballer who has to be profiled laterally to play forward, although her natural leg is right-handed, she handles the left-handed profile better and her body looking inward because she comes out of control well to the left, contrary to the naturalness she gives to the game. She has that first control. Maria and she have used that central right ball a lot using the left profile lane. She can fix, she goes well into spaces, with associative capacity… More than the position is how you are able to find Alba in the last third: she will lateralize and separate from the mark, if you find her there she is a very decisive player.

-How much football does Sánchez Vera watch?

A lot and being in Valencia alone away from the family… My hours are spent like this busy and what better way to occupy them with soccer.

-You once said that if you had a blank check, you would sign Aitana, do you keep it?

-Yes, they asked me which footballer on the international scene I would sign, so as not to break my answer I will keep it if I have a blank check and Barcelona trembles that we are going for it.

-After the derby against Valencia you were seen celebrating and asking your players to do it in a big way, how was the party?

-Those of us who are fortunate enough to dedicate ourselves to football as a profession must have moments to enjoy. We gave them a surprise in the dressing room before entering with friends and family, we wanted to have a small sample of what our year had been like. The other day was a day of emotions, after the game we also had catering in the box. He hadn’t made it to the press conference and there was already someone with two beers in hand. We shared a little while and after a certain hour we retired and gave room for the night and I hope you enjoyed it because you will remember that moment more.

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