Javi Gracia: I am delighted to be at this great club

Al-Sadd’s new head coach Javi Gracia expressed his happiness after taking charge of the team, and spoke of his desire to improve the team and win trophies.

Speaking to the club’s official website in his first interview, Gracia said: “I am delighted to be in this great club. I think it is a good chance for me to improve the team and try to help improve the level of the players, in a special year for the club and for Qatari football.”

“I want to try to live through this experience, with the objective of winning.”

On the negotiations with Al-Sadd’s management, the coach said: “If I can describe it using one word, it was ‘easy’.. because both parties really wanted to reach an agreement. I was very motivated from the first day and it was the main reason I’m here, because I really wanted to be here.”

Gracia admitted that he did not know much about the club or football in Qatar previously, but added he has studied the team and the players in the past few days.

“To be honest, not too much before I came,” he remarked. “But when I knew of the opportunity to come here, I tried to study the team and tried to watch all the games of the club this season, and the national team as well. Now I can say I have enough information to start working and to be ready for the next game.”

The Spanish tactician also spoke of his philosophy in coaching, saying: “The philosophy always is to try to win. You can play really well but if you don’t win, the supporters won’t be happy. You have to win with a good offensive style. But you need a balance too to win games, and I will try to find that balance as soon as possible. Being offensive and trying to play in the opponent’s half is what we want, but we also want to have a good defence.”

With several players away with the Qatar national team in the ongoing Arab Cup, Gracia faces a challenge while preparing his team in first few training sessions. “Now, in the next few training sessions in this week, it will not be easy because we don’t have the full squad with us,” he said.

“We have to spend time with the players that we have to know more about them. After the national team players come back next week, we will have more players and will be able to prepare well for the next game.”

Finally, the coach sent out a message to Al-Sadd fans, saying: “My message to the fans is full of optimism and I want to tell them that we always need them. Together we are stronger, and we will try to work hard and do our best. I hope they will feel proud of all of us.”