Spanish Red interviews Luis Garcia
In the latter part of the 2004-2005 season Spanish Red interviewed Luis Garcia on several occasions and posted on RAWK.
1. What is your favourite position? Right midfielder, just behind the striker?
My favourite position is just behind centre forward, since in that position I can move around more and try to do many things. Also in that position I am nearer the penalty area, so nearer the goal.
2. What aspects of your game have you been told to work on most by the coaching staff since arriving? What aspect of the game do you feel is your strongest part?
I have always been a player who understands what the trainer wants and with respect to tactical subjects I haven't had to work on much. It has instead been the technical areas. For example the coaches have stressed to me that I must play simpler football, not to always try the spectacular play or the pretty thing, since it means I lose simple balls sometimes.
I think that what always has been more natural to me is goal scoring. I think I have the luck to have that gift, the knowledge, as to where the ball is going to go depending on the moment. Like for example the goal against the Everton, in that moment I knew that if the ball did not go into the net it was possible it would hit the bar so I would have my opportunity.
3. Do you put our poor away form down to mentality?
Yes I agree. I think we struggle a lot to play away since we don't have the home support of the fans. I personally feel discomfort playing away.
In Spain I have always scored more goals away than home games, since a side when playing at home go on the attack with many of his players and leaves spaces, but here in England this I find it hard to adapt to the away games.
I hope next year that knowing what has happened this season, to improve in this aspect. I think that all the team knows that we must change that mentality if we want to fight for the title.
4. Rafa nearly always comes across as a pretty cool customer during a game, and in interviews, but does he have a dark side? Does he rant and rave after a disappointing result, or poor performance from player/s?
He's not a trainer who usually loses his temper and begins to shout. I know him and I know when he is getting angry or not and he demonstrates it by working hard on the aspect of our game that was a problem in a poor match. Of course like all managers there are some occasions he shouts and has some disagreements but this not a common thing.
5. What do you feel you can do as a player now that you couldn't do two years ago?
Two years gives you time to improve many things, as much personally technical as tactical, but what I think that I have improved is approaching the bad moments in a season. It's very difficult to be at the same level throughout one season, there are good and bad moments and when I was in a bad run of form and everything went badly, that used to cost me a lot of time to recover that confidence. Now at those bad moments I attempt to maintain a level of 5, an average level, until regaining all the confidence and returning to give the 9.
6. Which Liverpool players have impressed you in a special way so far? And from reserves?
Obviously Steve Gerrard. I was not surprised by how good a player he is, but if there is a player to say he has surprised me, it has been Steve Finnan. When I arrived and he was playing in right midfield I didn't know much of him and in fact I thought he couldn't contribute much to the team. As the days passed he started to surprise me, and every day he continues surprising me. He is a player who gives all each match, contributes with things in attack and is difficult to beat in defence. I am very pleased playing with him behind me, because that gives security to me. Of the reserve team I think that Steve Warnock and Darren Potter are both doing big things, and they are players with a great future.
7. Is being two footed something that is encouraged in Spain from an early age or is it just natural? Which is your better foot to shooting?
I really can't remember that. But I think that it isn't trained. I am left-handed, but most of the control and dribbling I do better with the right foot. However I would take a penalty more confortably with my left foot.
8. How does it feel to be 'targetted' by big physical defenders, maybe battered by "dogs of war" teams twice in one week (Blackburn, Everton - it was clear to us that their managers told defenders to target you)? Is it much worse than Spain?
It's something that I am trying to take in the best possible way. I'm not a strong player to be able to easily hold off the opponent and in England it is harder than in Spain. The referees allow too much of that contact and it is therefore more dangerous for the players. Each game I must remember psychologically that the match is going to be very hard, because there is not a match in which I don't take a blow.
9. When you anticipate a chance coming your way, but have little time to assess the situation, do you rely on instinct, guessing where the goalkeeper is going to be or do you prefer to look up and outwit the keeper, or like Baros do you have a favourite corner?
When you are in front of goal in a clear situation, a thousand things pass through your head, a thousand movements to do. I normally attempt to do the first that crosses my mind. I think that is always the correct one, since if you stop yourself to think about some of the other possibilities, the keeper will probably be so near to you that you can no longer do anything.
10. How many new first team players do the current squad think are going to join the club over the summer? One or two, or far more than that?
I think more than two or three players. This season we have had many injuries and we have to be prepared in case it happens again. If we consider that furthermore there are players who are out of contract and players who might be leaving, I think there will be between three or four.
11. You obviously have a lot of respect for and knowledge of Rafael Benitez due to previous working relationships, and he has quickly established himself as an iconic figure in Liverpool fans' eyes. Having worked under a fair few managers, what is it that sets Rafa apart from all of the others ?
Rafa is a trainer who works on all the aspects of football. That means that he doesn't work just on the technical and tactical but furthermore the psychological aspect: the good atmosphere in dressing room, and the wellbeing of the player. What do I mean by that? Simply that he worries about the player and that he doesn't have any problems that can make them lose concentration when playing.
12. Who's the best player you've played with? Why?
Ronaldinho, is the player who has 10/10 for excellence. He has everything, quality, goalscoring, a very good physical aspect and his head totally OK. With this I mean, that he knows that much people pay attention to him as example and as such he must have an exemplary behaviour on and off the field, and he does this.
13. What did you say to Rio Ferdinand after that foul?
Hahahaha. Nothing! Rio Ferdinand said nothing to me, it was an invention of the press. Simply I said that it looked like meaning that to me cause of the way that he looked at me after the foul, but he did not say anything to me.
14. What is the team spirit like - comparing when you first arrived to now?
I think that the team, bit by bit, has realised that we can beat any rival, and that looking to next season this is going to be very important, because it is going to give us the force to win more away, that is what we have needed this year to fight for the title.
15. What do you think are the main things our players need to improve on for next season? What things has Rafa said we need to improve on? What should supporters look for in games?
The first aspect, I think that would be the subject of the winning mentality. That is to go to away games and feel the same confidence as at home, with which you have to think, if I cannot win, I can not lose. This year we have not drawn many matches, and in the end we need those points. Mister (Rafa) insists much on that aspect. Against Manchester City for example it should not have been possible to lose, and even less in injury time. Things like those are in which the fans must notice a change; not to be sad for one game lost or drawn but to say, we have not played well, but we took a point.
16. Are Rafa's tactics complicated or difficult to understand?
It is not complicated, but he is very meticulous at working at them. He knows that it is the day to day work that produces a team that ends up playing automatically from memory. For that reason we work almost every day on them.
17. How do Rafa and his coaching staff analyse matches?
They have an spectacular system. They have a database in which when playing the video file of a game, they analyse each player with a thousand aspects. How many metres you ran in each half, how many balls you lose, how many you recovered, the distance that you run sprinting, how many sprints you make, everything, all in detail. To do this they record the match from different points in the ground. I think they have 8 cameras to record all movements of players.
18. How does the tactical and training regime differ here from Barcelona?
Well it is very different work, since Barcelona is a place where the image of football differs totally from the rest of the teams. In Barcelona the treatment of ball is the most important when working. The ball is present in all the sessions of training. The tactical aspect almost becomes secondary. Here the ball also is important, but the positioning, movements and knowledge of the plays have a main part.
19. What language(s) does Rafa use in the changing room to him, Nando, Nunez, Xabi?
Always English. He doesn't like to speak Spanish there nor between us (the Spaniards). He wants a single group, not 3 or 4 groups. I think you can understand me.
ABOUT LFC & THE CITY OF LIVERPOOL
1. How does hearing the Kop roar compare to the atmosphere at the Camp Nou, and do you understand all of the songs yet?
It´s very different since in Barcelona it is really rare to hear songs towards the players. And, yes, I understand all songs. Some that were difficult for me I asked my team mates for the words.
2. Who are your best friends in the squad and how have they helped you settle into the country/city/team/climate?
Well I have good relations with many of them. Right now it is with Fernando Morientes whom I spend most time, but previously with Nuñez or Riise, they were the ones I spent most time in training or outside.
3. What do you like most about the City?
People are very educated on the streets. They salute to you and they wave to you, and that is very good because in this way you do not have to be locked up in the house. The city has something of everything, and to me and my wife it enchants to us to go to take coffee or tea in the coffee-shops in the city centre.
4. What has been your favourite moment since joining Liverpool in August? The worst?
My best moment was when I scored my first goal at Anfield, it was very special for me. And my worst moment it was the day that I got injured against Monaco just two minutes from the beginning of the match. It was a very long day.
5. Have your family settled in, as I can imagine it to be even harder for your wife with your little son?
Now we begin to feel more comfortable and better in the city. In the beginning it was very difficult for her, having to come with a baby recently born to a foreign country, with no knowledge of the language and just with me to support her to take care of the baby. They were a very hard moments but that we were able to pass them was thanks to the fact that the decision to come to Liverpool was what we both determined and knowing that this (living in a new country) will be very good for the future of the baby, knowing another language and a different culture. And that is very important for us.
6. Do the Spaniards stick together in the changing room, seeing as there are so many of you?
In fact no. There are many people in the changing rooms so most of the time we are are not together. There are many times that I do not see some of them until just before beginning the training, because some of them have breakfast while others are in the gymnasium or treating some injury and we are all together just when coming out onto the pitch.
7. What do you think of fickle fans who jump on your back as soon as you have an average game?
Well, there are people who react in different way than others and those things can happen. Luckily, and as I have commented before, that behaviour is unusual, and is the reason why it is easy to live with such people. Anyway I hope that they value the season as a whole, not only the bad moments, so that these good present moments help to raise me in the particular esteem of those more critical fans.
8. What is your favourite meeting with a supporter?
Hahaha. There have been many meetings with supporters, and now it´s really very difficult for me to choose one of them. People are very graceful when they greet you in the street. I can remember at the start of the season, after my third match, a fan stopped me in the street. He kneels down and he worships to me! I was very surprised with this in the middle of the street! In truth that was very graceful and straight away very rewarding.
9. Do you think your move to Liverpool has helped with your international prospects?
It is undeniable that to be in Liverpool, and the good moments we have now (mainly in the Champions League), cause the people in Spain to look at you playing, since the English League is followed closely by the football fans and professionals. But it was not the first time that they have called me up to play with Spain, it was my third. Although in the previous ones, playing for Atlético de Madrid and then for FC Barcelona, I wasn't able to make my debut because of groin injuries both times. Bad luck certainly, but in the end I made my debut this season and enjoyed
ABOUT LUIS HIMSELF
1. Who was your footballing idol as you grew up and does you model yourself, the way you play on that idol?
One of the players who I always admired was Michael Laudrup. A player who fascinated me with the way he played, with regards to both beautiful football and simultaneously being effective.
2. What song do you like that you think we could sing to him? Anything from Spain, a favourite tune? Or maybe something by your favourite band/musician?
It doesn't matter to me what type of music you can sing for me, nor if you decide simply to shout only my name, it is just something that I have liked listening to this year.
3. Have you found yourself a house to live in yet or are you still living in the Hope Street hotel?
Yes I have found a house in the town of Woolton. The truth is that I am very pleased in the City. I have always liked the American lifestyle and in certain things here is very similar.
4. What's the favourite goal that you have scored?
I think that the best goal this year was against juventus, although I also liked very much the goal that I scored against Blackburn Rovers with the right foot, from a long distance.
5. What scouse phrases have you picked up since you joined the club?
I have to admit, I am not very good but there is the one that im using a lot
6. Do you spend any time with other players in the squad who aren't Spanish? Have you guys been out together yet?
Yes, we have been out several times together, and I even organized a supper for all the boys in a Spanish restaurant, the same day that Man Utd played versus Chelsea.
7. How's your car after that bump you had outside Melwood a few weeks ago?
Hahahaha. It´s good, but the truth is that sometimes people must be careful; two boys rushed out to request an autograph from me and I had to do a quick manoeuvre to avoid running over them, and I bumped the car on my left.
8. Whats the banter between yourself and Morientes and Nunez like, being ex- Barca and Madrid lads ... did you watch the game together the other night?
We have a very good relationship, and usually we see the La Liga matches together. Morientes home and mine are very close and we are practically every day together. The rivalry between our former teams doesn't affect our good relationship.
9. If you were to describe yourself as a car, what car would you be and why?
Hahaha. A hard question! I have always liked the Mercedes; probably a SL500 is my favourite car. It is a fast car, that will hardly stop working or stop responding
10. Who's better on guitar, you or Xabi?
Hahaha. Of course me! I have for many years played the guitar, I like music a lot, the thing with me and Xabi was just a joke for the Radio media.
11. Did the birth of his baby/wife being in Spain affect his mind late 2004 which saw a dip in form after his excellent start ?
This year has been many changes: to leave my country, the team of all my life, the birth of my first baby, different language, culture, teammates, etc ... I do not like to think that outside influences can affect my play, but sometimes this can happen and perhaps it could influence something.
1. Any funny dressing room stories to tell?
Hahaha. Always there are some stories in the dressing room, but there is always a code of respect too, and everything that happens there, good or bad, stays there. I'm sorry guys!
2. Luis, how have your everyday life around Liverpool city been?
Nothing outside the normal thing. I like to go to the city to eat and try different restaurants. We like (my wife and me) to go walking around and to take tea while we give the dinner to Joel.
3. Luis, how do you feel now with the team in the CL Final, having scored the winning goals against Leverkusen, Juventus and Chelsea?!
As you can imagine I'm very happy with this spot for the team. But this history hasn't ended yet. Personally it has been a great season, for my first season here in England, and we are all sure that LFC is going in the right way for the next season. This season we all thought that to take LFC to Quarter Final was a big success for a team under construction, but now ...... we are in the Final and we want to achieve the top success as a present for our fans and for the history of LFC. After 20 years, we are here again.
Copyright - Spanish Red for RAWK