Jordi Vinyals, Youth A team coach. FOTO: Àlex Caparrós / FCB
Jordi Vinyals’ Youth A team play their first game of the season on Wednesday at 20.00 in the Mini Estadi (live on www.fcbarcelona.cat), when they play Anderlecht, who they beat in the last tournament in Otten,Holland, in the NextGen competition. The Barça coach is enthusiastic about the tournament, explaining: “it’s a very good idea. It’s true that we will have a lot of games until December and we may notice that, but the idea that the boys get to experience playing on Sunday and Wednesday – and in this competition – is really good. We’ll be going to top grounds and that is a useful experience for them”.
Team enjoying good form
The team go into the game in good form, having won the two pre-season tournaments they’ve been involved in and with the added boost of knowing they beat Anderlecht just last week: “the team is playing well and we are improving and growing. I thing we’ve made progress and that is important. We are getting to know each other better and bringing it all together is very much an objective of this pre-season. We are gradually getting to the level we need to start the season and start this competition”, explained Vinyals.
Even so, the coach is cautious: “each game is different and though they might not yet be at their best, they have some very good players and a style of play that could do us harm if we aren’t on our toes and dominating possession”.
For Vinyals, the key to success – both on Wednesday and throughout the season – is: “concentration, being tactically aware and knowing what to do when we don’t have the ball and to be more consistent, that’s the most important thing. We have the talent, but it’s hard to maintain that concentration throughout the 90 minutes. Those are the kind of small details we have to keep improving if we are to produce great players later on”.
The coach also reckons that the experience of this competition will be useful for the youngsters who are aiming to make the first team: “it’s demanding for them to know that if they are up here at the top, they have to be ready to play twice a week and they have to learn to switch from one competition to another. Playing against such good teams will also help them improve and progress”.
Excited about start
The game will be Jordi Vinyals’ first official game in charge and he is excited about the task ahead: “when I was offered the job, I maybe wasn’t that sure, but now I am really loving it and I think I can enjoy myself a lot with all the boys and the technical staff”.
Brian Oliván is out of the game with a twisted ankle, whilst Carlos Julio felt a twinge in his knee in training and is also doubtful for the game against Anderlecht, a team Vinyals warns will be: “fast, good on the counter and with some very dangerous players –they are a team to be wary of”.