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20.11.2007 12:21

“Barça will eventually start winning away”

Jesús Carrillo

Víctor Muñoz will be on the Recreativo bench at the Camp Nou on Saturday. The former Barça player feels Frank Rijkaard’s side’s away form can only improve.

Recreativo Huelva is the third team to visit the Camp Nou with Víctor Muñoz as manager. He also returned to his former club as boss of Villarreal and Zaragoza.

The current manager of Spain’s oldest surviving football club, Víctor Muñoz, spoke to www.fcbarcelona.cat about Saturday’s match, the way the league has gone so far for his side, his life in Huelva and his opinions regarding FC Barcelona.

How is this season going, after your time in Greece, in charge of a team that did so well last season?

“Coaching Recre has been a huge challenge for me. Last season they did very well, they got some great results. The players that left, like Uche, Mario and Cazorla, are doing well at their new clubs. Recre clearly need more points to stay up, which I’d like to make clear is the main and only target.”

Is the game with Barcelona the hardest away trip for getting any of those points?

victor14s6munoz.jpg“Barcelona will be a very difficult game. It is a game where we have very little to lose. We have a lot of respect for the opposition but we will try to play well, and why not go in the hope of creating an upset and becoming the first team to take any points away from the Camp Nou?”

From afar, what do you think is the difference between Barça at home and away?

“These are things that happen, but I think Barça can start winning away at any time, but never as comfortably as they do at home. Barça have very good football parameters. The thing is the results aren’t coming away from home. Over the whole season, it won’t always be like that.”

Have the opposition worked Barça out?

I don’t think so. It is always hard to counter Barça. Teams have to be more aggressive and play at a different pace, but that will change. Barça,
like I say, will end up winning away from home too.

What about Ronaldinho?

“It is easy to speak from afar. I won’t do that. If anything is happening, I don’t know what it is. All I know is that since he arrived he has always maintained a very high level, and that’s not easy. I don’t know the details of his life, or what he does in training. He sets standards and it is only logical that his level sometimes drops. But he still makes a big difference and will continue to make one.”

On Saturday at the Camp Nou, will Recre play it tight or will they match Barça man to man?

victor_frames1.jpg“Due to our obligations and our place in the table, we need points. We can’t forget our style but in much of the game we will need to adapt things to Barça. We have certain variables in our favour, but there is no way we can lose our style.”

The first third of the league is almost over. What do you think of what’s going on at the top of the table?

“I’d say Real Madrid is the team that has surprised me most. For one specific reason. They are not very balanced in defence, they are missing a lot at the back, but they still win games and don’t let in many goals. They are having difficulties, their football isn’t that nice, but they are top. Barça, once they can get their away form sorted, are a serious candidate for the title, no doubt, while Villarreal are currently the surprise package of the season. They have matured interestingly. They’re doing well. And I’ll end with Atlético Madrid, who I think have matured a lot and this year could finally be among the leaders and get their chance.”

And Recreativo?

“We have to fight very hard with eight, I reckon, maybe nine, teams to achieve our target, which is staying up. It would be the first time Recreativo has stayed up for two consecutive seasons, and we are really keen to make that happen.”

How do you like it in Huelva?

img.05334_taaa.jpg“I have been pleasantly surprised. Huelva was not on my football map until last year. I never imagined I’d be managing Recreativo. I have met some lovely football minded people, and Recre means a lot to the city. Life in Huelva is very different; the people have a different lifestyle. It is not like the Andalusia you find in Seville, for example.”

Finally, who have you noticed between the start of the season and now?

“Well, at Barça, no doubt, Bojan Krkic. He is different, exciting, so much mobility, speed and skill in one player is extraordinary. Iniesta’s maturity is also very good. Outside of Barça, I’d pick Valencia’s Silva”.
“Barça will eventually start winning away”

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El Tel’s championship
Víctor Muñoz’s finest hours as a footballer came early in his career. He has especially fond memories of the 1984-85 league won under Terry Venables, in which he was an active member of Barça’s impressive side. His worst memory came the year after in Seville. Victor feels that Barça lost because they went to Seville simply to collect the European Cup trophy, and not to play the final, and that was their big mistake. They thought they had won the match before they had played it.

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