Delhi Dynamos find themselves at the bottom of the Indian Super League (ISL) table after suffering four consecutive defeats. They started their campaign with a 3-2 away win against FC Pune City but since then, everything has only gone downhill.
Injuries to important players coupled with individual errors has come to hurt them. In an interview with Goal, coach Miguel Angel Portugal explains why the club only chose to sign seven foreign players as opposed to eight and which are the Indian players who have caught his attention.
Having coached some of the top talents such as Esteban Cambiasso, Mista, Kiko Casilla, Filipe Luis, Alvaro Arbeloa, Alvaro Negredo, Roberto Soldado, Borja Valero and many more, what do you make of the Indian talent?
There are some good young players and to keep progressing, they need to make the jump to some of the big European leagues. Nevertheless it would still take time, (better) infrastructure and competitions for the youth.
If you have to pick one player who really caught your attention as a coach, who would it be?
There are a few but to mention some – Udanta (Singh), Dheeraj Singh, Vinit (Rai), (Lallianzuala) Chhangte and Nanda (Nandakumar) have a big potential to improve and go to a bigger league.
As a player, you have won the La Liga and Copa Del Rey with Real Madrid playing alongside the likes of Vicente Del Bosque and Camacho. Could you share some anecdotes on Del Bosque and how football has changed over the last two or three decades?
Speed has changed but not just on an individual level but also the reading of the game. Training methodology also has (been) experimented and has (seen) a huge transformation. About anecdotes we wanted to win everything, we even wanted to be first to take the lift!
Delhi started their season on a positive note with an away win. However, since then the results have gone south. What do you make of the results?
We have paid a very high price for the individual mistakes, and in spite of driving the game in our style, we didn’t know how to finish our chances.
You have mentioned that injuries have played a vital role but do you think that the club has been over dependent on Matias Mirabaje or Sena Ralte?
For any coach, any injury is key when it comes to their key players. These injuries you are mentioning have the same impact in Delhi as Cristiano for Real Madrid or Messi for Barcelona.
Any particular reason why the club chose to sign only seven foreign players and only two strikers in the squad?
The club thought about leaving one free position for the winter transfer window.
You have worked as a sporting director or technical director at a couple of clubs. Does the know-how of that role also help you negotiate better and pick the players you want?
There is always a key parameter when signing - the clubs budget. So it says a lot about the kind of player one can sign. Definitely, your knowledge helps you to identify and decide how and where to categorize players.