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Pascual: My biggest challenge is always the next game

Pascual: My biggest challenge is always the next game

Here is our very special interview with FC Barcelona Coach Xavi Pascual…

Haberin Tarihi: 8 Mart 2015

HENTBOLHABER.NET / SPECIAL – Hentbolhaber.Net made an interview with FC Barcelona coach Xavi Pascual in İstanbul before VELUX EHF Champions League Group B game against Besiktas Mogaz HT.

It was a productive conversation. We have talked about  various subjects such as FC Barcelona’s motto, Bundesliga, improvement of handball and effects of financial crisis.

As a coach with more than twenty titles including Champions League, Xavi Pascual gave hints of success. But not only in sports but in life.

Xavi Pascual Fuertes was born in Barcelona on 8 March 1968. Happy birthday coach! Wish you all the best…

Enjoy our interview with this influential sports man.


Hentbolhaber.Net: There are a lot of questions. But first of all, why Karabatic is not here?

Xaxi Pascual Fuertes: It has an easy answer. I think during the season, especially recently, there are excessively games for my players. It is impossbile to maintain the level for all the players. My players like Niko, Cedric, Raul, Victor (Nikola Karabatić, Cedric Sorhaindo, Raul Entrerrios, Victor Thomas), they played in Qatar, the final, the semifinal. And after their return form World championship, we played one game in King’s Cup (Copa del Rey). It is impossible to maintain the same level, the physical condition. We need to rest the players. Because for us it is very very important to arrive to the finale of the season in the highest level. If the players during the season don’t have rest this would be impossible. This is the reason.

Pascual_hentbol Hentbolhaber.Net: Barcelona is a great team. You played for Barça. And now you’re coaching Barça.. Your team always had good players as it is now. What is it like to manage a team full of stars?

Xavi Pascual Fuertes: This is a collective sport. We need to put collective rules. It is very difficult to unite these kind of players. Because they are geniuses. You have to create the “collective state of mind” enviroment for them. And I agree we have a great team but there are other great teams in Europe. I think when people talk about us, say our name “Barça”, the name is very important but after you see the games in EHF, you can watch teams in the same level or more… Kiel, Vezsprem… It is not possible to win each game. And never to forget that there are other teams can defeat you.

Hentbolhaber.Net: FC Barcelona is an all time favorite. So always aim for the final. But a surprise happened last year which called Miracle of Cologne. What is your opinion for this season, can another team surprise us?

Xavi Pascual Fuertes: Sure. It is very difficult to play Final 4 in Germany. Espeacially for us, semi final and final… Always difficult. And these surprises… If you know the level of Bundesliga, you know Flensburg can win, Rhein Neckar can win, Kiel can win, Hamburg can win. This is normal. And in addition it is very important for me to play in Palau. I woud like to play Final 4 in Palau Blaugrana.

Hentbolhaber.Net: What is the difference between Liga Asobal and Bundesliga?

Xavi Pascual Fuertes: The difference is big today. The budgets in Asobal are relatively smaller. Financial crisis in our country normally effected sports and handball was not an exception. Today, Bundesliga and French league is very good.


Hentbolhaber.Net: Asobal, Bundesliga are the most known brands of handball. The highest level. What do you think?

Xavi Pascual Fuertes: I think the highest level is Bundesliga and then French league. Asobal is one or two steps behind them. For example Naturhouse La Rioja entered the Last 16. Three years ago Atletico Madrid, Atletico Real was great teams. And they are not in Champions League now. Effects of the crisis can be seen with these samples.

Hentbolhaber.Net: As an handball team, how do you benefit from being a member of a big club?

Xavi Pascual Fuertes: Barcelona is a multisport club. Football is our sponsor. And not only handball. It’s sponsor of basketball, football indoor, hockey. Barça can be champion in EHF Champions League, in Euroleague, in UEFA Champions League and in hockey, in indoor football. To know their club is in the top level in all sports is a very important gratification for our members. Barcelona is more than a club. This is the most important thing for our members.

Hentbolhaber.Net: What do you think about Turkish handball?

Xavi Pascual Fuertes: Turkish handball is stepping forward. Handball should be very important for a country like Turkey. You can reach high levels in handball. It is not easy I know. For example when I watch basketball games, spectators are incredible. And I think to myself why don’t we have this in handball. In handball I think we don’t know to boost ourseleves. Handball is a spectacular sport and this must be told to crowds. In Turkey, you need to act wisely, carefully, take two or three steps more for now but not running a lot. It is better to take cautious steps. Do it seriously. If you run excessively fast, in two or three years it is possible that handball would be in the same place as it is now. It will be incredible and pleasing to have more and more strong teams in European challenge.

And Beşiktaş, I think they will be more stronger in Europe next season. Beşiktaş played good games in this season. This is an improvement.

Hentbolhaber.Net: You won so many titles. Asobal, Super Globe, Champions League… What is your next target?

Xavi Pascual Fuertes: The next game… My biggest challenge always only the next game. For me it is the uniqe way to arrive the final. Step by step. It is true there are ascendants say that finals are only for winning. For us the important thing is to reach the final. The next game is the final. If you see that way you can reach the top. This is our mentality and mentality of our club.

Spectators is the part of the show. Away teams has to accept their pressure. As coaches and players, we are all proffessionals.


Interviewers: Fırat Beyde, Zeynur Pehlivan, Altay Atlı

Text:  Fulya Öktem

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