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Tena: “We need to be brave”
Tena: “We need to be brave”

The Villarreal CF director of football will lead the first team against Atlético de Madrid

Villarreal CF director of football, Miguel Ángel Tena, will be in charge of the first team against Atlético de Madrid at the Cívitas Metropolitano (9pm CET). Tena spoke to the media before the game and the first thing he wanted to do was to send an affectionate message to Pacheta: “I think that the most important thing before the professional aspect is the personal aspect and Pacheta is an example. He has behaved very professionally. He is one of those people you like to meet in life. I hope he has good luck in the future because he deserves it.”

As for the analysis of the team, Tena is clear that there are several determining factors: “In the end things have not turned out as we expected. The reality is that we have several factors that are penalising us. We are not a team used to this type of situation, quite the opposite. At the moment the team has not started well. Since pre-season the feelings have not been positive and that has really affected the group. The physical condition has also had a big influence, with injuries to important players. And finally, as a third factor, the team has not been able to balance the defensive and offensive phases. All of this has led to the team being where it is. In life you have to be positive and brave. Situations like this happen in the world of football. You have to try to look for solutions by being self-critical.”

Tena is optimistic and shows the way forward: “The feeling I have is positive. The squad is more than capable of having a great season. I have full confidence in the players. I know them, although it’s true that things aren’t working out. The squad is very well balanced. We are very happy and we trust the players. We are sure that we are going to change the current situation. The most important thing about tomorrow’s game is that I have the advantage of knowing the players. I know how each one thinks. I have a very professional relationship with them and that makes me detect what we have to work on for the match. I want to convey to them that we are going to be a brave team. We know that we will have a big rival like Atlético de Madrid in front of us, but we also have good players. We’re going to try to be true to our style, being brave on the ball. From there, we’ll try to find a balance between attack and defence. The players are looking forward to executing that plan in the game.”

In terms of analysing the opposition, Tena warned of their potential: “We’ll be up against an opponent who won’t give up. Atlético are very ambitious. The atmosphere will be very good in their stadium. Atletico are strong in end-to-end matches. They have a lot of speed in transitions. What we have to do is counter it with our game. I think the psychological factor will be very important throughout the game. We have to have a game plan and we mustn’t get unsettled by the opposition’s shots. We are going to try to compete better than we are doing.”

Finally, Tena stressed that he is a club man: “I am lucky to be at a great club. Villarreal is my home. I’ve been head coach of the U19s, with whom we won the Copa del Rey with Filip, Baena… I’ve also been a youth player who was proud to make his debut with the first team. Today I’m director of football and it’s a huge source of pride. I feel that I am a club person and that I have to be ready for whatever the ownership decides. I always try to be positive and self-critical, looking for solutions. I am very strong, very prepared and at the club’s disposal for whatever it needs.”