The three towns in Wuhan won the third-class league in the past three years, and Spanish coach Pedro was the hero. He won the first and second championships in the Super League.
Pedro is not a high-profile coach, but his coaching is quite rational and pragmatic. He brings together players with strong personal abilities to form a team, and players give full play to their advantages in their respective positions, which is the key to the steady progress of the three towns in Wuhan.
In the three towns of Wuhan, Pedro’s experience is rich, from the youth training director of the club to the temporary coach, to the righting, leading the team to the Super League. He conquered everyone with a serious work attitude. Leading the team through one checkpoint after another is behind three years of hard work. He admits that leading the three towns to win the Super League championship is the most brilliant stroke in his coaching career and a very important day in his life. He lamented that he was very lucky and happy.
◆ Football: This season is finally over. What kind of experience is it for you?
Pedro: We have had a very long season and a very wonderful season. Our club has a short history, and it is just a start-up club. We just entered the Super League in the first year. While maintaining humility, we are constantly fighting to maintain our competitiveness. Of course, we have encountered many difficulties, including injuries, but our players have always maintained a relatively high level of competition. No matter whether they are the main players or the substitutes, they all go all out to fight on the court. This season, we won the honor of the Super League champion, which is an impressive season.
◆ As a newly-promoted horse, Wuhan Strike-out Team was the first to train, and started early in all aspects. Are you determined to do something big this season?
We made all the preparations before the start of the season. As a newly promoted horse, we completed the task of League A at the end of December 2021 and began to prepare for the new season’s Super League in January 2022. Our initial goal was just to gain a foothold and play one game at a time. Of course, I believe that every team has goals and dreams, and we are no exception.
We need to accumulate experience bit by bit in the competition. Looking back, we experienced many difficulties after a game. Especially in the second stage, our points ranked first, and many teams were in a state of 200% when facing us, so we played hard in many games, but everyone resisted the pressure. Of course, at the beginning of the season, I want to see where we can finally go. This dream is there.
◆ Many domestic players in the team have won the championship. They get along with each other day and night. Can you feel their desire for achievement? What kind of football spiritual world do you think they have?
Our club enriched its lineup at the beginning of the season, and many players with super league experience joined us. Their experience is very helpful to the newly promoted club. I believe we can win this league title, which is also an indelible experience in their career. As a team that has just overtaken, we still have many difficulties to overcome if we really want to win the championship. I have always stressed that we are the protagonists on the court. The champion kicks out with his own feet and speaks with real strength. This is our player.
◆ The road to winning the championship in the three towns seems to be steady, but in fact it is full of twists and turns. What do you think of the bottlenecks in some periods?
This season is definitely not easy, and the road to customs clearance is full of difficulties and obstacles. A newly promoted horse made great efforts to recruit players this year. It is still very difficult to quickly integrate these players and twist them into a rope at the competitive level. Secondly, this season is also intermittent. The first stage is the tournament system, and the second stage is also intermittent, which is a challenge to all teams. In the first stage, we may not know much about the club and the team at first, so when the opponent faces us, we still have some mystery. But after the second stage, especially when we are at the top of the standings most of the time, we will study us more and try to stop us when we play again. This requires us to be more capable and stronger inside.
◆ When the team was in temporary difficulties, what was the proudest moment you saw?
Actually, there are many. First of all, during the period after the first stage, we suddenly encountered great difficulties. We don’t know when the second phase will start. The club is also discussing with foreign aid whether it will go back to China to rest. But in this way, we will face the situation of being isolated, and we are afraid that the state of the players cannot be guaranteed.
Later, we had a serious injury problem, with eight or nine main players injured intermittently before and after. Fortunately, our substitute players have always maintained a very good competitive state in the case of less appearances, and are always ready to work hard for the team. Including the game in Cangzhou, we are all in a backward state. Even if the team is short of generals, we have been trying to equalize the score as much as possible. We also grabbed positions in the following games, some won and some didn’t win. Players have always been my pride.
The last three games are the most unforgettable one for me this season. First of all, I played away games in Dalian. Many members of the team are ill because of force majeure. Fourteen players were absent from the game, and some players who played were ill. You see, they are all in a state of despair, and they are still under the home of Dalian Devil. Many objective factors have brought us great challenges, but we still won and the score moved forward.
The second away game, we face Chengdu Rongcheng. The situation is very similar. Some players are ill and can’t take part in the game. Some of them are sick, and they also face the devil’s home of more than 30 thousand people. The opponent is strong and tenacious, and the game is very anxious. Although we lost in the end, I think the performance of our players was excellent.
Finally, in the face of the Zhejiang team’s game, the state of our players is that they have just experienced two fierce guest wars, their bodies have not recovered yet, and their mental pressure is great. But even under such heavy pressure, the players still go all out to win. Maybe we have many highlights this season, but this game against Zhejiang is one of our best games this season.
◆ This team is a newly promoted horse. It won the championship the first time it participated in the Super League. As a head coach, is this the highlight of your coaching career?
For me personally, this is of course a very colorful stroke and a key part of my coaching. First of all, thank the club for giving me the opportunity to coach the team in the year of Chongchao. After arriving at the Super League platform, I also chose to continue to trust me and let me lead the team to the present. The overall feeling is that this is a hard-won achievement. Because behind us, there are many behind-the-scenes workers, and all departments of the first team, including the translation team and the team doctor team, have made very arduous contributions. These memories are also very valuable to me.
◆ “Football”: This season, the three towns left many unforgettable moments for everyone, such as various forms of victories and many technical goals. What impressed you the most?
Pedro: I have been impressed by too many times this season, including two crucial battles against Shanghai in the first stage, and then we won the home and away games against Beijing Guoan, as well as the champion rivals Shandong Taishan Team and Henan Songshan Longmen Team. They were very strong all season. These games seem to be our breakthrough, and now they all flash in my mind like film. I’m glad to see that the players can effectively implement my tactical thoughts and intentions on the court, complete the game well, and achieve good results at the same time. This is of course a very good memory.
You have many excellent players, and the cooperation of several foreign players, including domestic players, is unforgettable. How do you bring their characteristics to the extreme?
It’s really hard to get the whole team together. Especially when we have a lofty goal, we have done a lot of work to make the players unite and forge ahead towards a goal and let them play football in a way. Throughout the season, the club has given us great support in management. Because it is difficult for all the players in the team to reach a satisfactory state after a whole season. After all, only 11 players play, and some players may play less, which happens to every team. Especially when you have so many excellent players, it is even more difficult to choose. This is where I am very happy. All our players can unite and finish so many games in a good season. At the end of last season, our players faced so much pressure and so many difficulties, and they were able to carry out everything as planned. I am really proud of them.
Everyone has his own unique skills, such as Marcand’s singles ability, Stanciu’s set-piece skills, Davidson’s footwork skills and so on. Do you feel that you are the happiest coach in the Super League for a moment?
I see that our club has signed so many new players, including so many good players in our hands, which is of course a great thing. What I need to consider later is how to make these players play their respective advantages, including how to arrange their positions on the court. This is a key thing for a coach to do, and it is also difficult to make them play in a unified way.
Malkin really scored a lot of beautiful goals, and he naturally won the honor of Golden Boot. Stanciu had many wonderful performances on the court, and Davidson worked very hard and diligently. All the players have given a lot of support to these foreign AIDS on the court, so that they can shine in their own positions. This is the result of our whole team cooperation. Not all teams can achieve this effect after having some good players.
In fact, we didn’t intend to win the Super League championship at the beginning of the year, but through a whole season, we groped for progress and accumulated bit by bit, and gradually approached this goal. Our players try their best on the field, and the team behind us includes the coaching staff. Through our work, they can unite as much as possible and maximize their energy.
Let me give you an example. Like Liu Dianzuo, he has conceded few goals this season. If I remember correctly, he should be the second from the bottom. At present, he is one of the best goalkeepers in China. His few goals are inseparable from the efforts of the defenders in front, so we can win this championship because of the efforts of the whole team. As a coach, I am naturally happy to have them.
◆ There was a time this season when you and Taishan’s points went hand in hand. What was your mental state during that time?
I am always in a relatively calm state. I have worked in the football circle or the football industry for so many years, and I have developed a calm and rational attitude to deal with whatever situation I face. A team may have high tide or low tide in the long league season, which is a wave-like ups and downs.
Even the world’s top teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona will have them, and it’s not just our three towns in Wuhan. Therefore, I am relatively able to cope with various States calmly. As a coach, my most important job is to maintain the stability of a team. No matter where we are or under what circumstances, behind-the-scenes work is absolutely indispensable. Every night after I go to bed, I think, I can’t do anything today. I think only in this state.
◆ In the middle and late season, the club really shouted the slogan of winning the championship. What do you think is the point?
Of course, it was quite normal for us to announce that our goal was to win the championship. Because there are still eight or nine rounds in the league, we were in that position at that time, and we will have a pre-judgment on whether the immediate goal can be achieved. Maybe only Shandong team was close to our score at that time, and other teams may still have a little distance.
Of course, as our direct rivals for the championship, Shandong team was the champion of the Super League last season. At the same time, they have more super league experience, and there are many powerful and experienced players in the team. Of course, we should go all out to fight, no matter what our opponent is. At that time, there were still eight or nine rounds left, and we saw such a potential possibility of reaching the championship trophy. So why don’t we try our best at this time? From the management of our club, to the coaching staff and then to the players, since we have unified our thinking and shared a common goal, let’s take a serious shot.
◆ When the championship competition is fierce, there is almost no fault tolerance rate. What did you emphasize most to the players during that time?
In the final stage, what I told the players was the reality we faced later. All teams will come up with 200% status when they meet us. After all, any team will have strong excitement and enthusiasm when facing a team that has occupied the top position in the league for a long time. I think we players should first prepare ourselves, and each of our opponents is extremely fierce.
◆ The three towns can achieve such results this season. What strength do you think they can bring to the football environment in China?
We may not dare to say that we can do as much positive guidance behind the scenes as possible to help the team win the championship successfully. If we can have a positive impact on China football, we will be very happy. You know, the clubs in three towns in Wuhan started with our youth training. Our investor, Mr. Liu, also supported the youth training in the early stage, and gradually we had the first team.
For our football in China, youth training is the foundation of football, and it is very important for our football in China to have a bright future. At present, we also have many outstanding young talents emerging, who may be able to represent the development trend of China football in the coming years. I hope that the construction and development of youth training can persist. Only by laying a good foundation in the youth training stage will the development of football in China get better and better.
◆ “Football”: You led the team to win the Super League and the Super League. What is the biggest difference between the two?
Pedro: It must be the difference in the quality of the league, including the ability and competitive level of the players. Of course, winning two league titles is a hard process, and no trophy can be easily won.
Judging from your teaching experience, your previous experience is not very rich. What do you think is the secret of your success in the three towns?
If there is a secret to success, it should be to mobilize the whole team to pay behind the scenes. First of all, we go all out to deal with every game, and everyone in the team is fully committed to their work. Of course, the most important thing is to make our players believe and implement the established policies and complete the competition tasks. These are the two most critical secrets.
◆ This season, the team produced beautiful data, such as the total number of goals scored by the team and the data of players in various rankings. Do you think your report card has reached your expectations?
In fact, it exceeded expectations, including that we also saw these data and the performance of our players. Of course, the success of this victory depends on our players showing very good competitive state and bringing good ideas to the court.
◆ We have noticed that the first sentence after each victory, whether in the competition system or after the home and away games, is to dedicate the victory to the fans.
The most important and beautiful part of the football world is that fans can always support us. This season, for some objective reasons, our fans can’t always come to the scene to support us, but I can feel that they are always with us. So after every game, I hope to dedicate the victory to them and let the fans enjoy the fruits of victory and the wonderful game process with us. It was the same when I was in Spain. I hope to keep a good relationship with my fans. Now that we are a new club, we need more fans to support us, which is an important part of the growth of our team and club.