Joan Plaza: Coaches from Spain dream of working in Lithuania
Zalgiris Kaunas new head coach Joan Plaza last night has arrived in Lithuania.
Confident-looking Spaniard will take over Lithuanian champions, who
have big goals for the next season.
After his arrival to Lithuania the coach shared some of his thoughts
with local media.
“Right now I think only of how good season will be and that I will be
able to show my best as a coach. I make one more step forward in my
career. Coaches from Spain dream of working in Lithuania – I reached
that and really believe that I will be able to develop together with
the team”, – said coach.
- What does it mean for you to work in Zalgiris Kaunas team?
- Many players in Spain came there right from Lithuania, from
Zalgiris. Those players always looked interesting for me. I will tell
you honestly: I had never thought that I will be able to work in a
team, which I was always enchanted by. I have spoken with some players
who played for Zalgiris before.
- Were you following the Olympics? Many players from Zalgiris played
in Lithuanian national team. What opinion have you made about them?
- I think that Lithuania would have reached much better results with
Robertas Javtokas in the team. In my opinion, he is one of best
defensive players in Europe and whole world. I also noticed that after
Olympic Qualification Tournament players are little exhausted. Other
teams looked more fresh.
- Your opinion was very imporant while collecting players for the next
season. What were the reasons for you decisions?
- In team of Kaunas I will have few players that I always wanted in
last few seasons. All these things we were doing together with
Zalgiris’ sports director. We tried to sign the best players that we
could. I know for Zalgiris it is very important what role in the team
do Lithuanian players have. I agree with that. It is a big honor for
me to coach team which pays attention to things like that. However, we
have to understand that it is not easy to reach because Lithuanians
are very wanted in the market of whole Europe. I am happy with our
roster because we managed to gather very good players. When I just had
came to Lithuania, club’s management told me about the plans to sign
Sarunas Jasikevicius. I will confess: when Spaniards heard that, they
were calling me to ask “you must be kidding?” When I was working in
Real Madrid, I tried to get Jasikevicius. Back then my try was not
successful. Right now I tried it once again, but this time with
Zalgiris, but he chose my homeland Barcelona. I am not angry about
that because I think that player should want to play in our team, not
we. That is the secret of successful team.
- What is the most important in the team for you?
- The most important thing is to be unbeatable in our home court. It
is very normal in Spain – there for losses at the home you are not
forgiven. We will try do this thing here, but at first I want to get
to know players and see their eyes. I want to see in them hunger of
victories. For me the atmosphere in the team is very important. It is
the first step to reach victories. I will try to create good
atmosphere here. Zalgiris impressed me because they pay a lot of
attention to young players. It matches my style. I think that season
is successful, if at the end of it young players play better than at
the start. I am not crazy for trophies, for me it is important to see
young players developing. Of course, let’s not forget to fight for
some trophies, too.