Javier Aguirre was on pre-match press duties as we face CD Tenerife in the Copa del Rey. Find out what he had to say below:
On the team’s condition: We are tired because we ran a lot. We'll try to move the team around a bit. Muriqi, Martin [Valjent] and Jaume [Costa] are not here yet. Maffeo is not coming either because the doctor prefers a second opinion in Barcelona and we'll wait and see. We're a bit tired, but that's no excuse because there are good hours of recovery. We have to refresh the team a bit.
On Pablo Maffeo: I can't confirm that he's going to be operated on. How will I do it for LaLiga? The hope for LaLiga is that Martin arrives. For tomorrow David Lopez or Gio Gonzalez will probably play. It's a setback not to have Maffeo. Let's see how the story ends. Gio is suspended for Villarreal, although I don't want to anticipate because we have to respect Tenerife and the Copa, but we have a problem to solve.
On playing in the Copa del Rey: Yes, we will change. It's another competition, another story. We haven't done anything yet. It's a final. There will be eight of us left alive. It's 90 minutes and it's kill or be killed. CD Tenerife will be highly motivated, they are doing things well, they have come back in the league... We are warned. We have to understand that it's a tough competition and that it's going to be very strong.
On a possible operation for Maffeo: The decision depends on the doctor. For me, let him play until the end of the season, but the best doctor is the player himself. The knee was swollen and that's why the doctor had some doubts. Today he will have a third MRI to see if the knee can hold up until the end. That is one option. The other option is to open up and clean up that history. Dr. Cugat will give his opinion and our doctor will decide.
On the point against Celta Vigo: Yes, but in the second half of the season everything gets tighter. The second half of the season is going to be competitive. The point, which was too little, gives us a margin, but we have to improve. It is true that we have only lost one game at home, but we have to get more points.
On playing in Tenerife: I've been playing in Tenerife for 20 years and I've never played in Tenerife. I will greet Ángel [Rodríguez], whom I appreciate, Asier [Garitano], who we both managed Leganés at different stages. I'll know the stadium and it's a difficult place. We're going to try to get through the round, with the utmost respect, to see if we get a home game. The stadium was beautiful the other day. I really liked the atmosphere, but we didn't fill it. I told my wife that I felt bad.
On Vedat Muriqi: Today he did something more than other days. For Villarreal it is not enough. For Betis at home on the 27th he will be there. Bench on the 27th or he won't play until February.
On experience in the Copa del Rey: I was fortunate to be in a final and a semi final with Osasuna. It's fantastic for the team, for the city, for the atmosphere.... But we have to go step by step and knockout round by knockout round. Tenerife has the same chances of going through as we do. From there, there is a lot of illusion. I see that the players are excited and we are looking forward to it.
On CD Tenerife: They will have a full stadium and it's a good time, I think there will be a good atmosphere. They have been in the First Division for many years, they have players who have played in the First Division. I think it's a Second Division team that can compete against mid-table/lower First Division teams in a league. They have good players, the coach has a lot of experience, the team is well worked. I hope that my team continues its upward trend in terms of play, conduct, commitment. That is what I ask for: to be a recognisable, serious team. We made mistakes in the areas, but otherwise, I think the team has been good in the last six/seven games and I hope we continue in the same line.
On the January market: We had an issue with the defense. If Martin's injury had been of longer duration, I would have asked for a right back, but I think he will be ready against Villarreal. I have already ruled out that possibility. Alfonso commented that there was a surplus, but for the moment, waiting for Maffeo, I'm happy. I have not asked for anyone to leave.
On the squad: There is no "B unit" in this team. I have 18/20 players of a very similar level. I am very calm no matter who plays. I had my doubts about David Lopez, but he confirmed that he is a guaranteed centre-back. I would like him to stay, but it's not up to me to decide. His greatest virtue is that he wants to learn. He knows how to be and he will be professional.
On Saudi Arabia: I understand that this is a business. The Supercopa was a return leg, before starting LaLiga and maybe there was no money. With this format, however, I believe there is money for the clubs' coffers. Everything points to that: that the football industry is a business. As long as it doesn't affect my work, I have to understand that these are the current times. If you have to go to Arabia it will be because that's where the money is. Maybe the fans are the ones who are not happy, but if the team reinvests that money in players and the fans are happy with it, in the end it is a circle that is forming for the growth of Spanish football.
On Sergi Darder: I talk to everyone.It's true that we have an application with questions like "how are you", "how did you sleep", "how is your mood.” Then Pol [Lorente] or Miquel [Artigues] tell me to talk to the player. With Sergi it hasn't been necessary. I haven't given him the minutes that I suppose he would like, like all players, but football-wise he's much better.It's up to me to see how I fit the bobbins so that the team does a good job in League and Cup. With Sergi there is no problem.