In the changing room tunnel of El Sadar it smells like wet grass, freshly cut.
Jagoba Arrasate (Berriatua, Bizkaia, 44 years old) appears there, friendly, close, smiling.
He has been on the Club Atlético Osasuna bench for four years, and has become the second rojillo coach with the most games behind him.
He has ousted Pepe Alzate and only Pedro Mari Zabalza, an institution, remains ahead.
The Biscayan coach is on his way to becoming another.
You are an endangered species.
There are already few coaches who sit face to face to grant an interview.
Well, I do not know.
It is true that this world is heading towards that.
In the end, the clubs do not know if it is to protect, or why, the product is almost ready.
That has been lost a bit, but I, personally, have always been one to follow journalism.
I like these things, but I understand that for journalists it is increasingly difficult.
You and four others think so.
It is because we value their work, and furthermore, if they give you the finished product, it is not like face to face, because they give it to you canned and there is little margin left.
As long as football is talked about in a respectful way, I think it's good for both parties.
You are from Biscay but more of the Gipuzkoan school, perhaps because it was easier to get to Gipuzkoa from your town?
I am from Berriatua, from the border, but my father is from Mutriku, and when I was six years old he already signed me up for the Deba beach tournaments, I played in the Mutriku teams, and I have had more of a football life in Gipuzkoa than in Bizkaia , but I am from Biscay and to much honor.
Is there something that differentiates Basque coaches from those of the rest of Spain?
I don't know, they have asked me more than once.
It is true that we are many and the truth is, I don't know why.
It will be because of the passion we have for football, because of the rigor as well, but within the Basque coaches, there are also very different people.
I think that those of us who have worked in the north, like Mendilibar, or the two Garitanos, or Imanol, or Ernesto Valverde too, have a similar profile, but Emery has traveled all over the world, he has been in big teams, Lopetegui also;
Eder Sarabia comes from another school.
Sure we have things in common, but in football we are different.
You fell in Pamplona on your feet, it's been four years now.
Do you see the limit?
They received me well, yes, but you never know, football is very changeable, but it is true that from the first day things have gone well.
We knew Osasuna, we knew where we came from, Navarrese society too, and that helps.
In the end it's like you're on firm ground, and for us that was an advantage.
Then things have been going well, so I'm delighted to be here for so long.
It's a good sign.
That the club put up a poster in the middle of the city to announce its renovation is unusual, also with the motto "Berritua", which means "renewed", almost like the name of its town.
That was a shame for me, because they notified me a day or two before and there was no margin for anything.
It was a hit, a bilbainada, and I already told you that it was from Berriatua, and not from Bilbao, but look: I keep it at home.
It was an unusual thing.
The important thing is why it is done, and if it is to announce a renewal, it is a good sign.
They trusted you, like when the club endured after chaining thirteen consecutive games without winning.
When it is said that Osasauna is different, it is not just words.
It was in that process that I noticed the confidence of the club, and you notice it when the sports director goes to a press conference and is so blunt when he says that he trusts me.
Then from there, things started to get better.
When you have been in a club for a long time, you also have bad streaks.
We also have a family in the locker room, who in bad times know how to pitch in to get things going, so I'm proud to belong to this club and to this locker room.
Why do so many Navarrese players come out?
The last one is Aimar Oroz.
I don't know, I suppose it will be a compendium of things, because it is not that Navarra is a very populated community, but the Navarrese, in sports, and you can see it in the ball, is a very competitive person, very rigorous, to pay close attention to what the coaches say.
Let's say that makes them bring out the best in each other.
Then they also have talent, but not only that.
It is no coincidence that there are so many Navarrese footballers in the elite, and not only now, but historically.
The fact that you are a teacher, does it have something to do with your way of training and explaining what you want to your players?
For me, pedagogy is a way of life, so when it comes to making decisions or managing, I think it's important.
For me, school was something vocational, I was teaching for ten years.
He had to get the most out of the child and now the player.
They do have many things in common and I believe a lot in pedagogy.
You asked for a leave of absence to train, do you still remember?
At first you ask for a leave of absence because you don't know how long football is going to last, because we already know that this world is very unstable, but that is over for me, and now I enjoy the coaching profession, and if one day I have to return to teaching, I will gladly do it too.
Did you feel undervalued when you took the reins of Real, in your first appearance in the elite?
Not at all, no.
I came from being in Phillipe Montanier's coaching staff, and suddenly, the year you are going to play in the Champions League, you are the coach.
I can understand that people were surprised, or that he did not have the background to be able to train Real, but I did not feel undervalued.
I made the most of that experience.
The first year was very good and the second we started badly, and the coach was changed.
I give normality to all that.
I enjoyed, I also suffered, things as they are, but that made me a better coach and person.
Did you learn a lot from Montanier?
Yes, a lot.
Precisely, this summer we coincided because we played a friendly and I have a special affection for him because he behaved very well with me, apart from the fact that it was a fantastic year, where we came fourth, and I also learned from a different school like the French one, more analytical, less tactical but also more technical and I was there with all five senses on, and that allowed me to have a broader vision of football.
Your second experience was Numancia.
What did he learn there?
It was a very important decision after leaving Real.
I spent three years in Soria, some fantastic years.
I needed a quiet place, in quotes, a settled team to work, improve, where I would feel respected.
In that aspect, the Numancia was a very important turning point, because there was also everything.
I improved as a coach and also at a family level, it was the first time we left home, that step was important.
And in the end, Pamplona, and this Osasuna season has started well, what are your expectations?
In First you have to respect the category.
Here you can spend two months without winning, this is very demanding.
The expectations are to continue growing as a club, to stay in the First Division.
We have a beautiful stadium, a crowd that vibrates with the team and we must give continuity to that.
We don't set limits, but we know that the club's stability depends on permanence.
From there, to be as high as possible, to go as far in the Copa del Rey, but respecting the category and giving value to what we have done in recent years.
Without doing crazy things?
In Osasuna they don't do crazy things, starting with the sports management.
Little has been signed but well, in the economic aspect the club had a bad time, but it has been channeled in recent times.
Here sanity prevails, and sanity can be combined with illusion.
What do you think when you listen to the coaches of the big teams who ask for more signings?
Do you know what happens? We know where we are and when the market closes we always think we have the best squad we can have.
Our work is based on getting the best performance out of what we have.
I know that we all want more, that the big clubs surely want more, the coaches want more, but here we are not asking, but trying to make the most of what we have.
The next step is the Bernabéu and last year they tied.
What do you think can happen this time?
To those fields you always have to go with a plan that can come out.
If you go with fear, bad;
if you go with respect, bad;
if you are going to see them coming, bad;
if you are suicidal, bad.
There are very few assets, right?
Yes, there are very few assets.
They ask me if it's the best time to go, but I don't think there's a good time to play against Real Madrid.
They have won all the games they have played, they are in great form and what we have to do is set the bar very high, bring out the best version of Osasuna and if they later exceed that bar we will congratulate them.
If we are at our best level, we are a difficult team for the rival.
How is the dressing room for the match after fifteen days without playing?
The last defeat against Getafe was a little disappointing because winning would have put us in a very good position, but we took advantage of the break to play a friendly, to unwind over the weekend and now we're looking forward to it again, because we didn't stop until the World Cup .
Many games come in a row and you have to take the rest to reach that break of a month and a half with the maximum possible points.
With all the work that is being done now to analyze the rival, what do you have about Real Madrid, an encyclopedia?
You have to filter, because if you start analyzing everything, you don't have time.
It's very simple: we all know how Madrid plays, what their strengths are, but the hard part is countering them.
That is the greatness of football.
If with the analyzes we were able to minimize Madrid, everything would be simpler, but it is not possible.
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