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Getafe manager talks Barcelona, Xavi, Cruyff, Guardiola, Ilaix Moriba: “Don’t think Pep’s shadow weighs on them”

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Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

On Matchday 26 of La Liga, Barcelona take on Getafe on the grasses of Montjuic. It will be a tricky fixture for the Catalans, who have struggled against Getafe Azulones in recent games and have won only one of their last four encounters.

With the likes of Athletic Club, Atletico Madrid and Napoli coming up on their calendar in the coming weeks, Xavi will be put to a stern test not only in terms of his team’s clash performance but also his man management.

Speaking to SPORT ahead of Getafe’s clash against Barcelona at Estadi Olimpic de Lluis Companys, Getafe manager Jose Bordalas discussed several topics including his coaching style, Xavi Hernandez and Barcelona. He began by making a revelation, stating that Johan Cruyff was his inspiration from a managerial sense.

“I have always been a ‘cruyffista‘. He has been a reference, as a player and as a manager, a person who changed the idea of the game. What happens is that you can’t always interpret soccer as you would like because you have to adapt to what you have.”

“The coaches survive with results and I try to get the most out of my players based on the level they have and adapt my philosophy, which cannot always be used 100%,” he added, signifying why his brand of football does not necessarily match with the Cruyffian ideology.

He then spoke on the one occasion where he actually met the Dutch legend and went on to narrate the entire anecdote.

“I was friends with Marcial Pina, a fellow player of Johan. They had a great relationship. During a Barça match in Alicante, we visited the Hotel Melià. He introduced him (Cruyff) to me and we were chatting for a whole afternoon, they played at night.”

“It was a pleasure and I remember a phrase that shocked me. I had just done the coaching course and he told me: “Do you want to train?” I told him yes. He answered me: “If you don’t have good players, forget… (laughs),” he added.

Barcelona have won only one of their last four clashes against Getafe and have historically struggled against Bordalas’ closed idea of football. Speaking on the Catalans’ difficulty in conquering his sides, the manager took a diplomatic stance.

“In a League there are difficulties, we are verifying that the competition is very complex for everyone. The big ones a few seasons ago won with some ease and now everything is difficult. The teams have improved at all levels. It’s difficult for anyone, not just for Barça.”

Commenting on the fact that the Catalans have only scored once against Getafe in the last four games, Bordalas said,

“They are only statistics. They speak well, but no one lives from the past in soccer. I’m proud of the job, but it’s a motto I have. I don’t stop to think about the results of the first round or last season.”

The manager was then asked if it was easier to face Barcelona or Real Madrid in the current day scenario, a relevant question given the two teams’ contrasting form.

“We are talking about teams with an incredible and impeccable history. It’s always a bad time. You never know if it’s good when they come from a good streak, from a bad streak, from playing European competition etc.”

Xavi will leave at the end of the season. (Photo by CARLO HERMANN/AFP via Getty Images)

Bordalas then went on to extend his sympathy to Xavi, who announced his decision to leave Barcelona earlier this year after coming under immense pressure for the team’s lacklustre performances.

“We coaches have a lot of pressure and I have a great respect for everyone. I know the difficulties that this profession entails. If Xavi has decided that he should not continue for the sake of the club and I respect him 100%.”

The Getafe manager went on to speak about whether or not Barcelona were still judged by the high standards set by Pep Guardiola’s side or not.

“I don’t think Pep Guardiola’s shadow weighs. There are moments in the clubs. Xavi has won a League and a Super Cup at a time of maximum economic difficulty at the club. We have to put it in value. It is not comparable to Guardiola, he was in a sweet moment with some unrepeatable players.”

Finally, Bordalas spoke about Ilaix Moriba, a player who was once considered La Masia’s next big talent but who opted to sign a lucrative contract and leave his boyhood club. Four years and three teams later, he is currently at Getafe on loan from RB Leipzig.

“Ilaix is a special boy that we have to take care of and help. We are doing it. I met him at Valencia. I ended up very happy with his performance. He also came from a delicate situation. He has very good conditions and we are going to try to get him back.”

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