Saturday, November 11, 2006

Balague's View On Rafa & Spanish Football

Saw this article on ESPN Soccernet which is an interview with Sky Sports' Spanish football expert, Giullem Balague. The interview was on Rafa, English football and Spanish football. He's a Liverpool fan too!

Q. What do you think it will take for Liverpool to challenge for the Premiership title in the near future? And has Rafa heaped the pressure on himself by winning the Champions League in his first season with the club?
A. Winning the Champions League has won him time more than added pressure. After that (and consider the lineup he had on that day), he has had time to build a side that combined style and power. But money has been an issue and the job is still half done. I predict a big clearout next summer while he finds the right combination. Internally, this was the year they thought they would fight for the title, but I still think Liverpool will be closer to the top than last year

Q. Liverpool have struggled recently, with many in the media blaming Rafa's rotation policy. What do you make of his choice to change the team around so much? Is it something he used to do a lot at Valencia?
A. He used to do that at Valencia and received certain criticisms but not as much as here. The main reason for this is that it did work well at Valencia. In a match against Sevilla, where a victory would give him the title, he left Ruben Baraja and Pablo Aimar out of the side! People should forget about 'the best eleven' and rubbish like that. Football has changed and rotation is the new rule! Everybody is doing it.

Q. Are they missing a player like Michael Owen? Why do you think Rafa declined the chance to re-sign him?
A. All is revealed in the update of the book! But a clue - Owen was badly advised and he cried when he realized he couldn't go to Liverpool.

More at ESPN Soccernet

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