”In Haro are the best memories of my childhood.
I left there at the age of 15 to sign for Athletic”, recalls Luis de la Fuente (61 years old), the new Spanish coach after the non-renewal of Luis Enrique.
“I am a good conversationalist, but above all my father taught me to be a good
I like to listen to people talk about life, about their experiences.
I was the youngest of five brothers, of my squad and of the Athletic squad, I had many wise men to listen to”, says a man who does not miss his appointment with the weights every day and who is passionate about historical or fictional readings. about Rome.
A myth like Piru Gainza brings to Athletic.
A relative told him about me.
So you did a test, you played all that day, it went well and they bet on me.
He had read a lot about Piru and knew that he was a myth.
That he came to tell you: “Kid, you are going to sign for Athletic”, he imposed.
It was your father who put the Athletic poison into you.
He was a merchant marine, at that time a very hard life, he sailed for nine months and had a month of vacation.
You tried to do everything you hadn't done in the year in that month and one of the things we used to do was go to San Mamés to see Athletic.
There were holidays that coincided with the season, others not, and times when I was on board for 17 months.
That not being of my father made us very close.
My house was totally matriarchal, my mother managed everything.
At Athletic you are directed by Iñaki Sáez and Clemente.
Iñaki was a teacher, learning was constant, he cared a lot about teaching you small details, he was a father to everyone.
With him I made my debut in the First Division and with him I return to Athletic after Sevilla.
With Clemente I lived the best years of my professional stage, I won titles.
But I also lived very well in Seville.
There I got to know the professional world, I went from being in a very familiar environment, as boys who came up from the quarry, to a locker room with foreign players, Rinat Dassaev, the first player to leave the Soviet Union, Zamorano, Bengoechea... There was only Three weekly flights to Bilbao and by road were 1,000 km farther than before, crossing Despeñaperros on a two-way highway... It was going from north to south, totally different.
Clemente said: "Luis is going to fit in well in Seville."
And it was true
Luis Enrique absorbed from Clemente attracting the spotlight to protect the players.
Do you also have that shield man profile?
There are many types of leadership.
I try to lead by attacking intelligence, reflecting... Strong hand?
When you have to have it, yes, but what is it to have a heavy hand?
What I want is to be able to look someone in the eye and tell them what I think and for them to tell me looking into my eyes too.
"No one knows the present and the future of Spanish football better than I do," he said in his presentation to vindicate himself in the face of the doubts generated by his inexperience on professional benches.
Are you so sure?
I don't want to seem pretentious, I'm just stating a reality.
There will be people who can know him like me, but because of my job I had to be perfectly informed of who were the best players in the last 10 generations.
Luis de la Fuente.MOEH ATITAR
Are there any physical midfielders?
I think we have them.
Mikel Merino, Saúl, Fabián Ruiz... What makes me optimistic and bet on winning with these players is that we can be a very versatile team, with a world-renowned model such as possession, but I also bet on the depth, by the ruptures, attack by the bands.
What I want is to give the team a versatile tone, so that we can counteract the opponent in different ways and not be predictable.
Since Del Bosque's departure, all the coaches said that the model had to evolve, but in Russia and Qatar, Spain fell with more than 1,000 passes.
I have a baggage.
Without being pretentious, you have to look at how the sub-21s have played.
We have been able to beat different teams with different builds.
I will try to set up a team with players of different profiles so that, at any given moment, I have to change the rhythm of the game or the style of play.
Pressure was one of the great hallmarks of Luis Enrique's Spain, is he going to maintain it?
We are the team that best pressures in the world, we must maintain what we are strong at and, if we can improve it, we will do it.
Winning 1-0, will you see your Spain withdraw?
Retracting, having the possibility of playing on the counterattack, is a virtue, an exercise in football intelligence.
The problem would be withdrawing, maintaining possession and not progressing.
If you're able to get players to counter attack and make quick transitions, counter-punching is a smart approach.
Are there players for quick transitions?
Yes, Ansu, Nico Williams, Olmo, Asensio... There are players to play counterattack.
In the European under-21 we beat Germany and France and of the four goals we scored two for the Germans in transition, and France, of the two, one.
Are you going to maintain Luis Enrique's 4-3-3?
I am more interested in maintaining the model, more in those nuances that I am talking about, than in the system.
It will depend on the players.
It is not the same to play with Pedri than with Mikel Merino or Fabián Ruiz, or Busquets or Rodri.
Do you contemplate the double pivot?
I have used it.
My bet is a reference midfielder, Busquets is the best in the world and Rodri is another
That figure in the midfielder who maintains balance, who covers the team's back when he is attacking, who makes the triangle with the central defenders to get the ball out, is very important to me.
Does Busquets have a substitute?
There is Rodri, who has a stratospheric level, Zubimendi, Marc Roca... We have very good players in all demarcations and that is why I am calm.
To simplify I speak of numbers.
The 8 and 10 have more arrival, I like that the interiors arrive and the 6 is the figure of that player who stays to put out the fires that can be created in a rival counterattack.
How do you see Pedri and Gavi?
Pedri seems to me a player from another level, he is touched by that wand of God, he will be a reference in football.
I haven't had the luck to train Gavi, he seems like a fantastic footballer to me, at that age the benefits he offers and the potential that you see...
At what point do you see Ansu Fati?
He needs to regain confidence, feel like a top-level footballer again.
From the outside it gives the feeling that he lacks to be the Ansu that we all want to see.
I am sure that we will see him and I hope that it will be this season to have him.
It will be the Ansu that we have known and better, because we are not even seeing the best version of the Gavi, Pedri or Ferran.
They are all going to be much better players because they are very young and have a lot of potential.
Luis de la Fuente, at the headquarters of EL PAÍS, in Madrid.MOEH ATITAR
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