Jose Bordalás (Alicante, 1964) faces the greatest challenge of his career as a coach. He arrives at Mestalla with the maximum illusion of return a LaLiga great to his natural place. The technician is aware of the difficulty of the project, with players who have left and little money with which to face signings.
Of course, the coach is looking forward to July 7 for the squad holidays to end and to start working with the group. His mission is to instill in his players the intensity with which he has worked at Getafe. In a calm way, he attends to AS to reel off his thoughts
There is curiosity to see Valencia de Bordalás …
We all really want. We are optimistic. But step by step. With a lot of work and humility. Those of us who like green miss it. But the players need rest and we have to wait …
You are not?
Well, coaches it is difficult for us to disconnect. One season does not end and another begins. And more in a new club. Soccer is like a drug for me and I enjoy what I do.
Are you fulfilling a dream by training Valencia?
More than a dream it is a satisfaction. It is an enormous illusion to be able to lead a great team. Valencia is among the four or five best in the League on a historical level. It is a challenge. I think it was a time when I had to take on this challenge.
Were the roads of Valencia and Bordalás called to cross?
I do not know, that’s the truth. The possibility of directing Valencia is always a tremendous illusion. It is taking an important step forward. One as a professional always wants to grow and face new challenges. I do not know if we were predestined … but here we are, satisfied and we are going to enjoy that possibility that has been presented to us. I’m going to do my best for Valencia.
Are you surprised that we asked you if you thought twice about saying yes?
The truth is that it does surprise me. I am a person who does not like to talk about the past but about the present. I can understand that the Valencia fans are not happy with the last two seasons, but in football you don’t have to think about the past or the future, only about the present.
And what has been found in the club?
Optimism. I notice illusion in the leaders, in the employees, even in the fans. I am happy with how they have opened the doors for me.
The club has presented you as a leader, how do you act as a leader?
I am not very given to define myself as a professional. It fills you with satisfaction that you are classified as a leader. I always try that my teams have their identity stamp. I think I have succeeded over the years. Now facing a new challenge and trying to get Valencia to identify with his fans and the fans with his team, to enjoy again with a team that gives absolutely everything.
When Djukic came to the Mestalla bench, he said that “Valencia was a sleeping giant.” Now, after two years out of Europe, how do you wake up?
I don’t know if he’s asleep or not. I do know that we face the season with the utmost enthusiasm and we will try for Valencia to give its best performance. It is not easy, because football has changed, there is a very clear equality in the League, it is not easy for any team. But we face it with the utmost enthusiasm and responsibility. Let’s go step by step. First, the preseason. Later, when we make the template, let’s see where we can go.
What is the DNA of the Valencia you talk about so much?
That DNA is very similar to what I have as a technician. Or that’s what I believe and that’s why Valencia’s decision to hire me. The club considers that Bordalás can recover those signs of identity. I am a competitive, rigorous and demanding coach. Valencia has always been such a team. A team that has given everything, that has competed to the fullest… a team with which its fans have enjoyed beyond the result.
And how is that DNA recovered?
The day to day will be marking. Nobody has a magic wand. I am not in favor of promising absolutely nothing. Everyone who knows me knows the complicity, the commitment, how demanding I am with myself. The players I have coached know that I am very rigorous and demanding, but for their sake. Now we are going to try to get Valencia to give the highest level.
And what is the first step to take?
First we have to work with making a squad as competitive as possible and we have to recover the illusion of the player. We think that the player can improve, give more performance. They have been two difficult seasons, not only for the players but also for the coaches and society. We come from a pandemic and they have not been usual situations and nobody was used to it. We hope that football will once again be as real as possible and the public will return to Mestalla soon and we will recover football in its maximum essence.
Do you currently have a squad for the Valencia you have in mind or is it going to need a lot of tinkering?
Well, we are analyzing. We have been in for a short time. Together with Anil (Murthy) and Miguel Ángel (Corona) we are analyzing the needs and the current staff. What we consider that the team needs to improve and reinforce within a market and club circumstances that we know what they are. But we want to incorporate players who give us a leap, an improvement, that Valencia needs because of its history and its fans.
What is your concept of consensus?
The concept is dialogue. And have a clear perception of what the team needs and analyze what the last two seasons have been. Let’s say that I catalog them as less good than what Valencia is used to. The reason is analyzed and from there there is dialogue and consensus and agreement on everything, in part or nothing, but there are things, data, that are clear. For example, the team has conceded 106 goals in the last two seasons. It is impossible, impossible, for a team to be in a privileged zone if it concedes such a number of goals.
That is, the house by the foundations.
That’s how it is. I have never known in history a team that has been able to achieve great challenges being a vulnerable team on a defensive level. Teams that win big championships or fight for high areas are teams that have great consistency and are reliable. Valencia has not been in the last two seasons. That is one of the objectives to improve.
“It is impossible to be at the top conceding 106 goals in the last two seasons”
Is intensity something that a player learns or is it a virtue that one has?
In modern football and with the demands of competition, it is impossible to perform at the highest level without that level of intensity. I’ve been saying it for many seasons. Football has undergone a very striking mutation. Without intensity it is impossible to compete. All we do is try to make the team as competitive as possible.
There is talk of at least three reinforcements: a central, a pivot and a forward. But listening to him it is clear that the little or much they have to sign they will invest in the defensive system.
We cannot hold this inconsistency solely and exclusively responsible for the lack of an important player that could arrive. Those who have been also have a great responsibility. Here it is about making the most of what we have. So now it is to see what we have, what gaps there are and see how to improve.
Do you assume that until August 31 the squad will not be closed or do you work with the objective of having it sooner?
We know that the market is stopped. There is a European Championship and a Copa América in between and that paralyzes the market. We must be calm. We know that some incorporation may arrive immediately or in the month of August. Both can happen. We are calm in that sense.
What profile are you looking for: veterans who know the League?
That is an issue that we have discussed and agreed upon, but we are not going to make it public. We know almost one hundred percent that the team has certain needs, but the market will decide. There may be players with experience who can help us and are interesting and others with less experience who want to take on a challenge. It will depend on the market.
Among the names that have come out is that of Arambarri, has he told you that he wants to play with you again?
Honestly no. He is a player that I said goodbye to, a magnificent player. But I am respectful to players who do not belong to my club. It will be a decision we make, of course, but if we are interested in Valencia, it will go to the club it belongs to. Arambarri is not a priority for Valencia, far from it, because we know that he has a contract with Getafe.
Let’s talk about those who are today. Gayà revealed that you have already spoken with him and with other colleagues, what have you noticed with the players?
They have been brief conversations. With the few that I have been able to speak, it has been just a greeting. Give encouragement to those who are like Gayà in a Eurocup and others who are on vacation to rest. This is not the time to talk to them a lot on the phone. I am more about talking with the player face to face and there will be time to talk with everyone and tell them what the preseason is going to be, what I expect from each one of them. But I have noticed them with great enthusiasm. They come from two difficult, complicated seasons and now it seems that we all see the light a little and I notice a great illusion.
“If we were interested in Arambarri, Valencia would go to Getafe, now it is not a priority”
Are Gayà and Carlos Soler untouchable?
Yes. They are two players who carry the DNA of Valencia and love Valencia. The club knows it, the president knows it and they know it. Those players are only thinking about Valencia. We are going to enjoy them without any doubt… unless an irrefutable offer arrives for the club and also for the professional. But that happens in all clubs.
Do you assume that situation that you can get offers for players with whom you would like to have?
I take it on myself and practically all the coaches. We know how the international market is. Gayà and Soler are magnificent players and a club can come and pay their clauses and get their services. But in that sense we are calm. We do not think about that possibility. We have them and they are tremendously excited. What has to happen is going to happen and nobody knows. So right now we just have to think that they are Valencia players.
Does this reflection serve other players like Maxi Gómez and Guedes?
Of course. Maxi and Guedes are two magnificent players, we count on them because they have a contract. I count on them as a coach and my intention is that they regain their best status and level. I know they are thinking the same way.
He is a great goalkeeper. He has shown it and we trust him to be with us, obviously.
Do you prioritize quality or commitment?
Both are important. The commitment is non-negotiable and quality is a requirement that the player has with himself and I as a coach demand it. And more in a club like Valencia. To be a top-level player you have to gather commitment, preparation, speed, attention… they know that this is the case and the first to benefit from this requirement are the players.
Would you let Daniel Wass or another player out if asked? I give him the Danish name because he has said that he wants to return to his country.
There has been a lot of talk about the possibility of Wass returning to his country. But we have not talked about that topic. Wass has a contract. He is a magnificent player and has always shown great commitment at Valencia. I am counting on him.
Do you want a squad of 21 or 22 players?
It’s a possibility that I like, yes. But it does not depend only on me. You have to see how many players have a contract, how many can leave … it’s my opinion, a way of looking at the squad so as not to close doors to homegrown players. I am not a fan of long templates. But we’ll see how many of us started the championship with.
You have a lot of young people on your payroll. Can you build a project that meets Valencia’s demands based on young players?
The ones we have have great potential and a lot of future, but everything needs a period and our intention is for these players to continue growing and maturing to achieve Valencia’s goals.
Have you been able to speak to Peter Lim yet?
We still haven’t been able to. But I talk to Anil and Corona every day. I am sure that I will meet Peter Lim and I know that he has full confidence in the work we are doing, which is why he has opted for me as a coach. I am completely calm in that regard.