La Volpe offers himself for América coaching post
The Argentinean says he is active and ready to return to América, but the problem is that he is currently without an agent...
Just when América’s board of directors are searching for a new technical director to lead the team in the Apertura 2023, Ricardo La Volpe steps forward to raise his hand for the job. The Argentinean has offered himself for what would be his third stint on the bench with the Azulcremas.
While in conversation with As México, La Volpe was asked whether he would be interested in taking the vacant coach’s post. His reply could not have been more direct. “Of course I would take it. We ended unbeaten in my first championship in 2016 - no team beat me over 90 minutes, we were eliminated from the Cup on penalties in the semi-finals and I lost the final against Tigres . There was no team that beat me over 90 minutes, not even Atlético Nacional; the only team that beat me was Real Madrid. After that, the team had to be strengthened but there were no reinforcements and I wasn’t offered a new contract either. They hired someone else who brought in nine new players, so if you sign nine players, you can’t turn around and blame the coach,” he said.
The 71-year-old added, “I am more active than ever, watching how teams play. There are different teams with different ways of stopping their rivals and different systems, but that is through the players. I know that we are now in another era, because directors have always come looking for me. Not even at América, when I sat down with Culebro, Romano and Peláez did I go alone, without a representative. But now without agent, it might be viewed as though I am trying to deceive them”.
América isn’t a club which coaches can turn down, especially a coach with a track record like yours?
Right now, for its fans and their needs, you would have to put a great team together to win the title. There is no other way, that’s also why I took the Boca Juniors job - you have to be a winner; as a team, you have go out and attack, knowing that your rivals are not going to face you as equals and even less so at the Azteca. You have to prepare that maintains balance, but that knows how to attack. It’s like when I was with the national team and people said were complaining about how difficult the tie was - I replied that for me it was a breeze because I knew that I was going to attack. I knew that I was going to win because the players had been showing me what they could do. At América if you are not crowned champions, it’s the coach who is at fault.
It was mentioned on social media that you could become a sports director at this stage of your career?
The background to that comment is basically as follows - I spent time at América and at Toluca, but at both clubs, the management didn’t think very much about what a hands-on sports director is. That’s the kind of the sports director that I want to be - a coach in charge of the Under-15s, the Under-20s but in contact with the first team squad. That’s way to find out how you are playing and I think it’s important that all of the lower categories, right the way through, play in the same way as the first team. Because the Under-15s will play in a different way to the Under-17s and so on. But above all because the coaches of these teams are usually young and I asked all of them, how many players manage to to get to the first team? The players need to gain experience with the senior sides, so the work of a sports director/coach is to attend training, guide the younger players, talk to them to unify criteria, because you have to know how to work together with the coach of the first team. The senior coaches have find players who can play a 4-3-3 or fir into a 4-2-3-1, or a line of five at the back or a 4-3-3. Trying to find a deep-lying forward or an attacking midfielder is not the same as looking for a holding midfielder. Because you have to take the formation into account - if you don’t work on all of the lines of the team, both the defensive and attacking lines, other teams will stop 30 metres in front of your goal wait to strike, because football today is like chess - they have to know how and when to attack.
Perhaps your image might intimidate them - both the first team coach and those below him?
Ok, look at it this way. In schools there is a headmaster and below him/her there are the teachers, it is the same thing. Who checks if the sixth grade is teaching well and the fourth grade as well? If there are complaints from the parents, who has to deal with it? In soccer it’s the same, because to become a lawyer or a doctor, you need to acquire experience, they have to learn their profession, sometimes on the job - it’s not though all of a sudden they are in their own office or their consulting room. They work alongside an experienced surgeon or a lawyer to learn from them, but it seems that in soccer they don’t use the same process. For instance, why did Argentina take Menotti? Because he works in line with a the technical director and not a businessman - it has to be someone who knows how things work out on the pitch or in training.