Pablo Laso and first-team players Deck and Causeur previewed Real Madrid’s EuroLeague opener against Baskonia (Friday, 9pm CET). The Whites’ coach had the following to say about the match-up: “We’re raring to play in the EuroLeague. Unfortunately, it was stopped when we were at the Palacio for our match against Crvena zvezda. We’re back again after six months and embarking on a new competition that’s very attractive for the fans and we hope that the supporters will soon be able to return to the arenas”.
“That’ll be important. We all have this feeling of uncertainty. It’s a general issue, but we’ll be trying to focus on tomorrow’s game and the fact that I’ve got three players who won’t be able to play. I’m not looking any further forward than that. I’m going to focus on the day to day and prepare for the game in the best possible manner”.
“I’ve got some different and versatile players. It’s difficult to replace Tavares because he’s got a very well-defined role. Garuba is a number 4 but can play in the number 5 role. His development involves firstly being a good number 4. In terms of Llull’s position, he’s playing as more of a shooting guard. I’ve got another three point guards for that position. I think that, given his attributes, we can make better use of him in the number 2 role. But if I have to play him as a point guard, I wouldn’t have any problem with that”.
“They’re very aggressive in defense, press when you have the ball and are strong in open court. They’ve got two very dangerous players in pick-and-roll situations in the shape of Henry and Vildoza, as well as good shooters in Peters and Giedraitis. Polonara gives them a lot of energy and they’re well covered in the center position. They’re a tough, difficult team and we’re going to have to be very focused throughout the 40 minutes and our game against them in pre-season will be completely different to tomorrow’s match-up”.
Thompkins & Laprovittola
“Thompkins is very good in and around the basket and defensively he’s the player who can help us out the most in the number 5 position. We have to balance the fact that he can play in the two inside positions. As for Laprovittola, he had a good season last time out. It’s not easy for a point guard to come and join Real Madrid. I’ve always been happy with his work and I want my players to improve”.
Fans in attendance at some arenas
“I don’t think it’s fair because everyone should play under the same conditions, but that’s not something I can control. The fairest thing would be for everyone to play in front of supporters or nobody to do so. I would like all of the games to be played in front of fans”.
“It’d be very limiting to just set ourselves one objective at the start of the season. Right from day one, we set ourselves the target of competing in each competition we’re involved in. The first one was the Super Cup and the EuroLeague is a special competition for us. We want to compete with the best teams in Europe, but we’re not just competing to win one trophy”.
“You always get your surprises, but there are some very strong teams who have recruited very well: Efes, Barcelona, Milan and CSKA, although I think that all the teams are very competitive. I always say that there’s no such thing as an easy game in the EuroLeague and the levels of competitiveness couldn’t be any higher”.
Deck: “We go into it with real excitement”
“After having been unable to finish last season’s competition, we head into this year’s edition with real excitement and hope to finish it in the best possible fashion. It’s a very long season with a lot of tough competitions along the way, but we need to try and work hard. Wins always help you out and we need to keep on going. I think that we’re on the right track. On a personal level, I always try to help the team and give my all day in, day out”.
Keys to the game
“We’ll have to be focused and play to a high intensity for the 40 minutes against what are very tough opponents in Baskonia. We have to just concentrate on ourselves. They’re extremely tough, tight games and it all comes down to the final few minutes. We need to produce a performance that’s worthy of the game and give our all. For me, it’d be really great to win the trophy with this group of players”
Causeur: “We’re on a good run”
“Just like every year, we begin the competition with great excitement and raring to play in this competition again. We’re doing really well in the league. We know it’s going to be a tough game but we want to show that the team is firing on all cylinders. We made a very good start by winning the Super Cup in Tenerife and we’re on a very good run. Having such strength in depth in the roster means that we have a lot of options for what lies ahead”.