Joaquín Caparrós “It’s An Attitude Of Athletic Fans To Be Demanding”
In terms of Spanish football, there aren’t many coaches who are as highly respected as Joaquín Caparrós. The current Armenia coach knows La Liga well having managed Villarreal, Deportivo, Mallorca, Levante, Granada, and Osasuna but is most well-known for his time at Sevilla and Athletic Club. From 2007-2011 Caparrós took Athletic to another level and paved the way for his successor, Marcelo Bielsa, to continue the success.
Today Caparrós is coaching on the international level, but still keeps a close eye on his former clubs. Speaking with Jon Zubieta of Mundo Deportivo, Caparrós praised Athletic’s season under Gaizka Garitano and emphasized that fans should be pleased with the direction that the team is heading.
“Athletic has gotten into the final in their competition and were about get into Europe with players from home. It’s something to reflect on and must be analyzed. We have left with honey on our lips, but I think the season was good because players have come out who are going to have a long journey. This year it couldn’t be, but I insist that we must analyze it and be happy with the season that Garitano and the whole team have had.”
Fans have been highly critical of Garitano’s defensive style of football, among other things, and Caparrós agrees that there should be a demand for success. However, he also believes that the fans have to recognize the good things as well.
“It’s an attitude of Athletic fans to be demanding. You have to be demanding. It’s good, but then you have to make reflections from a place of tranquility. Athletic has players with a lot of projections. The focus is always on the coaches, but they have done a magnificent job and transmitted the Athletic DNA.”
At the same time, Caparrós was impressed with Bilbao Athletic’s campaign. “Bilbao Athletic played well and reached the promotional playoffs with Joseba having a magnificent season,” he said. “That is the important thing to analyze.”
Caparrós still has a very close friendship with Manolo Delgado and explained that he’s been told great things about the current state of Lezama. In his opinion, fans should have faith in the way Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta is leading the academy.
“Rafa Alkorta transmits a seriousness and very clear ideas of what he wants. I talk a lot with Manolo Delgado and he conveys all that to me. I know that Lezama is working well. That is where all the fans have to be calm and trust Athletic, because the management from above is doing well.”
When asked about the best young players at the club, Caparrós was quick to point out three. Unai Simón has already established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in La Liga, while the former manager has also seen good things from Iñigo Córdoba and Oihan Sancet.
“The goalkeeper position has been consolidated with Simón, there’s also Córdoba. Then there’s the other player who has come out, Sancet, who looks spectacular. He looks very good. It’s a good sign that every year a player who catches your attention has consolidated his place in the team. Above all, the important thing is that things are being done well.”
Like everyone else Caparrós is eagerly looking forward to the Copa del Rey final between Athletic and Real Sociedad. He was quick to praise the two clubs for valuing fans over everything else, but admits that he’d like to see Athletic lift the trophy.
“Hopefully it will be played with fans and hopefully Athletic will win, because I believe that they deserve a title. The message that the two clubs sent to the rest of football in a difficult economic situation, of waiting to play with fans, is a message for those of us who love this sport. We are going to hope that the final is played with an audience, that it can be a party, because La Cartuja is a spectacular stadium and the city of Seville as well. Hopefully we will see a magnificent show.”
The Copa del Rey final has yet to be rescheduled as it’s still unsure when fans will be allowed back in stadiums. At the moment, the Spanish Football Federation is considering holding the historic final sometime around Christmas, but it all depends on whether or not fans will be able to attend the match.