The 47-year-old tactician talked about himself, his challenges, his latest project and more.
After a string of dismal performance in the 2018-19 season of the I-League, Mohun Bagan have already started to rebuild their squad for next season. The Mariners have already brought in a new head coach in Spaniard Kibu Vicuna, who will have a massive task of taking Mohun Bagan back to their glory days.
In a recent exclusive chat with Mohun Bagan media, Vicuna talked about himself, his challenges, his recent project and more. Here are the excerpts to the interview:
First of all, let us extend a warm welcome to you from Mohun Bagan & our fans. Even a few years ago, Spanish coaches were rare in Indian football. However, with Spain’s dominance in international football, more Spanish coaches are now becoming part of Indian clubs. What inspired you to take on the challenge of I-league & Mohun Bagan ?
Vicuña: I read a lot about Indian football. Last season there were a lot of Spanish players and coaches in your country. I had other possibilities but I felt that I had to take up this big challenge in the biggest club in India, Mohun Bagan.
You have worked as an assistant with Jan Urban in some of the biggest clubs in Poland. How much of an influence has he been over you?
Vicuña : He is a fantastic coach and he was a very successful player in Spanish League. He also played the World Cup in Mexico ’86 with Poland. We made the UEFA Pro license together and we have a very similar point of view about football. He was the best influence for me.
Other than Urban, have you worked with or attended coaching courses under any other coach?
Vicuña: Yes, I attended a lot of Spanish courses. For example, in the last two UEFA Pro Courses in Spanish Football Federation, we had conferences with Pep Guardiola and his staff. Other names are Mauricio Pochettino, Unai Emery, Marcelo Bielsa, Diego Simeone, Julen Lopetegui, Vicente Del Bosque.
I think you are aware of this that last year was not great for Mohun Bagan. What will be your initial planning to change the football status from that of a losing team to a winning team?
Vicuña : First, we have to build a good team in order to get the best results. We are working on it. I would like to build a strong team tactically and also to have an offensive style team which be able to control the tempo of the games.
Do you have any preferred formation or playing style?
Vicuña : In the last two clubs we played with 4-3-3 shape, but more than the shapes we have to build our own style and model of play. I would like to have Mohun Bagan play good offensive football. This is our objective.
What steps will you take to improve the overall grades of Indian players?
Vicuña : First we have to train the team and know the players’ abilities. Then, we have to meet with them in order to know their strengths and their weaknesses. I also like to train individually with the players in order to help them to improve their quality. I also want to have a look at the young players of the club.
What is your plan to build a good supporting staff team?
Vicuña : The staff is very important. We have to work together and hard in order to get the best results. We have to work coordinated. Second coach, assistant coach, physical coach and goalkeeper coach, we have a lot of work: improve our team, record the training sessions, give the players video feedback, make analysis of our team matches, analysis of our opponents, improve tactically as a team, make the players improve individually.
As you are quite new to Indian football what is your plan about selecting the Indian players of squad?
Vicuña : We are working with the club in order to get the better players. I am watching the games of last season. I gave the club my opinion about the players and I gave suggestions about what we need to improve. I also gave the names of some Indian players who play in other teams. Also, I want to see the young players of Mohun Bagan youth teams.
Kolkata is a football crazy city and Mohun Bagan has the biggest fan base in India. What do you expect from the fans and what should the fans expect from you?
Vicuña: I expect a lot of support from them. We have to work together (fans, management, players and staff) in order to get the best results.
The first tournament you will be participating with Mohun Bagan is Calcutta Football League. This traditionally takes place during monsoon in Kolkata. The playing turf often becomes sticky & muddy after rains. Do you think this will in any way hamper the style you prefer?
Vicuña: We have to be ready to face everything. We are a professional team and we have to be prepared. We are going to prepare for Calcutta Football League as best as possible.
You must have heard about the great rivalry between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal which is one of the keenly contested derbies of Asia . Have you got any such experience before and how did you manage the pressure of derby?
Vicuña: Yes, I heard about it. In Poland also I have seen the rivalry between Legia Waraw and Polonia Warszawa, Lech Poznan and Polonia Warszawa. In all countries there are a lot of football rivalries.
Mohun Bagan and East Bengal are the rival clubs of Bengal. Last year East Bengal have appointed another Spanish coach Alejandro Menéndez. Do you know him? If yes, what is your thoughts on him?
Vicuña: I don’t know him personally. He is a good coach but our aim is to make Mohun Bagan play better than them and obtain better results than them.
Who is your favourite coach?
Vicuña: Pep Guardiola. I also like Bielsa, Lopetegui, Simeone and Klopp.
At present who do you think the best footballer?
Vicuña: Lionel Messi.
Do you have any special message for the supporters?
Vicuña: We need your support because together we have to build a very strong team. I want every Mohun Bagan supporter to be proud of his team in this season. We are working hard in order to get the best team possible. Thank you for your support and see you soon!