Joaquin Caparros: ''Our team is a real family''
Joaquin Caparros on the performance of Armenian national team, expectations from upcoming friendlies, leaders in the dressing room and his attitude to Yerevan. FFA official site spoke to Armenian national team head coach.
- Mr. Caparros, you have an impressive experience as a coach with a record of countless victories. Still, were you expecting such a successful start as coach of Armenian national team taking first place in our group at the Nations League and 3 consecutive victories in the qualifiers?
- The first message to our football players was about being a real team. I can state, we did it. It was the key factor towards achieving many things. We didn’t need to set long-term goals, all we needed to do was to take one step at a time focusing on each upcoming match. We also needed to form a strong mentality of a team. In this process, we get to know each player and their ideas. I think we are accomplishing our goals although we still have a long way to go. We need to be a national team, but as one, we need to act as a collective of real team players.
- Nonetheless, what accounted for the five consecutive victories and no losses in 8 consecutive games?
- Thanks to this mentality and the attitude of the players we succeed in being like a real family. I was telling our coaches that we have an advantage over other teams around the world; that being the sense of patriotism. Not all teams have that. It should have accounted for one of our advantages. On top of that, the mentality of a team was adding faith in the work done, it was strengthening that faith and confidence.
- Is the language barrier, the fact that you do not speak Armenian and the players do not speak Spanish, an obstacle for you? What words have you learned in Armenian so far?
- Armenian words (laughing)? “Hangist” (easy), “lava” (good), ''arag'' (quick) and a few others. I have to honestly confess, at the beginning, I thought the language barrier would be an issue, but I turned out wrong. There is quite a deal of non-verbal communication here; people simply look into each others’ eyes and embrace each other. Often, this is more powerful, more honest and frank than words addressed to a collective.
- In June, the national team will play two friendlies, the first match is against World Cup runner up Croatia, the second match is against Sweden, one of the strongest teams in Europe. What is the significance of playing against the strongest teams in friendly games? Was this your request? What are you going to test during these matches?
- First, there are no friendlies for national teams. We have to acknowledge this. When you wear the national team jersey, you no longer are in a friendly game, your whole country is behind your back and you need to win the trust of your fans. In this regard, we need to change our philosophy towards friendlies and we are going to start to do this in our games against the teams of Croatia and Sweden. It is possible, a new player joins our team, but I reinstate that we need to strengthen and improve our strategy. This is the reason why we do not view the matches as friendlies, this is the mentality we put behind preparations for these matches.
- You are known as a coach discovering young talents. Are you going to continue to engage young players in the upcoming matches and can you name a few at the moment?
- I am not going to name anyone now. We will give a chance to one or another player according to our philosophy and expediency. The age of the player does not guarantee his right to be in the national team. Only being in a good shape matters. If we see that a player is talented and can be an asset to the team, we will decide accordingly. For the upcoming matches, we will most likely call up players that have already been playing in the recent games.