Interview with Angel Vales

Our Spanish ‘correspondent’ Alex, aka AnotherSpanishFan, translates another interesting piece from the Spanish press, an interview with Reds coach Ángel Vales where he explains his roles at the club and praises the manager.

“Benitez is one of the best managers in the world”

The Galician reckons that the English club is not the most powerful economically in Great Britain, ‘œbut it is the most special club’

The Spanish Liverpool has its share of Galician representation. Ángel Vales (A Coruña, 1967) will soon begin working on his second season as one of Rafa Benitez’s collaborators, where he is employed as a coach for the reserves team and as the man responsible in the technical analysis department.

I assume that going from working at the Universidade da Coruña to Liverpool FC represents a massive change

– It’s a different type of work, more practical. I hope that I can use the new experiences I’m living right now and that they can be of use in the area of academics in the future.

So far, has the English adventure been worth it?

– Without a doubt.

What have you learned from Rafa Benitez?

Rafa– A lot. For example, the importance of the small details in tactical work. On a tactical level, he is one of the best managers in the world. But the best thing is that despite having been so successful he never allows himself to relax or rest on his laurels, he is just as demanding of himself today as he was on the first day. His level of self-demand is the same now as it was when I met him while he was working with Real Madrid’s youth teams. He’s always looking for ways to improve, to apply the latest technologies as a means to support performance. He is talented from a tactical analysis standpoint but besides that he has the labour and dedication. For me, being a part of his staff is a mixture of satisfaction for being alongside of the best and of responsibility, because the level of demand we set ourselves is very high.

Is he very demanding of everyone else?

– It’s clear that by demanding a lot of himself he also expects the same from the players.

What is your place in the organizational chart at Liverpool?

– Under the supervision of Rafa Benitez, I train the reserves and then I’m in charge of the analysis department.

The reserves did quite well…

– We won the league. It’s a difficult league. Our team is composed of very young lads of whom we hope to be the future of Liverpool in four years. They are international players for their countries and with great promise. This season French youngster Plessis , Argentinean Emiliano Insua and Moroccan Nabil made their debuts for the first team. This is the true aim of the reserve team, that a reasonable percentage of players end up playing for the first team; being champions is an anecdote but also a sign that Rafa Benitez wants a strong reserve team.

Do you have a certain degree of freedom to do your job?

– Yes, inside of Rafa’s parameters, I do. But we must not forget that the reserves share the dressing room with the first team and we pretty much train simultaneously. Our lads can have breakfast, for example, with Torres. And that is good.

El Nino Hat TrickBy the way, what is Fernando Torres like?

– Very good. Fernando is aware that he has many things he can improve. And he is a humble lad, which will help him do so. Besides, he is very ambitious. This year he was an important part of the team. He scored many goals and he gained the respect of the Premier. I think that Rafa has done a great job with him and Fernando has paid him back with his performances. I am sure that he won’t relax next season, he will try to improve what he did last season or at least be at the same level.

What is your analysis work like?

– There are five of us. Two travel all around England watching games, another one elaborates scouting reports of the opposing teams, there is a video editor and then myself. I coordinate and analyze our play. I try to compile all the information possible about our football so that Rafa can analyze it later and use it as he sees fit in order to increase the team’s performance, which is what it’s all about.

If anyone is more than a club, that is Liverpool?

– There are few teams at the same level, especially on a social level. We have an amazing group of supporters and a tradition and values, like sacrifice and the desire to better yourself that help us get through the rough times. The people in Liverpool are used to dealing with life’s struggles. And all of this is transmitted to the team. We may not be the most powerful club in England economically, but we are the most special club.

  • Translated from Spanish newspaper La Voz de Galicia (The Voice of Galicia), original article is here.