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22.08.2008 11:03

Pascual: “We are candidates for everything”

Carles Cascante

A new era has begun for Barcelona’s basketball, and Xavi Pascual is thrilled to be in charge. Having made some major signings, he feels the team is now ambitious enough “to be a candidate for everything”.

The 2008/09 season will be the first that Xavi Pascual has started as the FC Barcelona manager. With the experience behind him of the latter half of the last campaign, Pascual feels, as he said in an interview given to Barça TV, that a good job has been done in the offices and he is satisfied with the first few days of work. The United States tour was another subject to come up. The Barça manager said “it is an honour to take Barça around the world”.

First sensations

baloncesto_14.JPG“The preseason has raised expectations and keenness to work, but these are very early sessions. As for getting into physical shape and for initiating concepts, there is plenty of enthusiasm in every department, both from the youngsters that have joined our team and among the other members of the squad.”

Unusual preseason

“Yes, there are a lot of players that are a proper part of the first team, but we also decided to include a large number of younger players in these early sessions. The truth is that they are with us so we can see how they are and for them to get a sense of what this project is all about.”

Three new players

QM3D1334.jpg“The early days with the new three have been highly satisfactory. The qualities for which we signed them have been evident in our training sessions, although there are others in the team that we have not had the chance to see yet.”

Three centres

“These are players that not only play as centres, but can also run the perimeter. In modern basketball, the classic ‘number one’ position has disappeared and so these are exterior players that can all play together. They are also players that can sometimes play as a ‘two’ and that can complement each other. They are exterior players.”

Joan Creus

QM3D9653.jpg“For the time being I only have words of admiration. I am not sure how things have gone for him this summer, but they seem to have gone quite well, and I admire his dedication and work. He has put in a lot of summer hours here. There were even times when he was here into the small hours of the night... and the truth is that our professional relationships have followed very similar lines. We see basketball in a very similar way and that also helps. And both of us are determined to get along well. And so, in that respect, I only have words of satisfaction.”

ACB: the usual suspects

“Starting with the defending league champion, TAU, followed by Real Madrid, who were champions two years ago, and Unicaja and DKV Joventut, these teams will all be going out as favourites along with ourselves. I don’t think there will be any changes in that respect.”

Is the Super Cup a good test?

“I think it comes too early because we have important players that will be joining us later, some maybe for the Catalan League though I am sure they won’t be ready to play. So it’s bit premature. When you start a season well, it does not always mean it will end well, so in that sense, it’s too early. But we will be fighting as hard as we can to win both the Super Cup and the Catalan League.”

Spectacular Euroleague

QM3D1652.jpg“I think our group is very hard and evenly matched and this new tournament system gives you no chance to relax in the first phase, while before you could afford to make some mistakes. Now you have to be careful from day one and for us the first game will be coming after our trip to the United States and will be a frankly important game. That first game in France could determine a lot of the Euroleague for us.”

“Next season’s Euroleague will be spectacular given the level of some of the players taking part. We will have to see how each of these players fit into their respective teams. But individually, there are certainly a number of top level players that will make both the ACB and the Euroleague top class competitions.”

Message to the fans

“I want our fans and members to feel enthusiastic and calm, and to know they have a team that is working to win every game. Sometimes getting things right or wrong can win or lose a close game. But you will always have a team that works hard to win, to get things right, and then... there are a lot of teams with the same objectives and there is very little margin between winning or losing, but we will be candidates in all the competitions we play in. Sure.”

Pascual: “We are candidates for everything”

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The US tour
“This is a chance to take our club to a world level, to play against outstanding players that have a lot of media presence, such as Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, or to play against Phil Jackson, a coach with nine NBA rings, and on the LA Lakers court, and all that that means. So it is an honour to take our club crest and our colours to the United States, and I am sure that from our point of view, this will be very welcome.”

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