Last night was a great night for Real Madrid Castilla, as the Whites secured three points at home against Almería before the next two matches, which will be played away, including one against Xérez --another team fighting to get out of the relegation zone.
I'm not one to criticize the referees out loud normally, but I have to say that, last night, the refs were completely out of line with Castilla. Almería got the most yellow cards, but there were several really questionable calls against our boys, starting with a penalty which gave Almería the advantage only 6 minutes into the match. So I did mention it in my postmatch interviews with Pedro Mosquera and Juanfran Moreno; it was too obvious not to talk about it. We also discussed the upcoming challenges, the unfolding of the match, Casemiro and Juanfran's future, as we've known for a long time that our beloved Captain would part ways with the Whites at the end of the season.
Scroll down to the bottom of this page to view the slideshow of pictures (close-ups, action shots and celebrations).
And without further ado, each video followed by its English translation!
First up, midfielder and freekick expert Pedro Mosquera:
A match that got very complicated at the very beginning. You weren't so close to the action that led to the penalty, were you?
Well, I wasn't that far either, I saw it and I don't believe it was a penalty, but that was the referee's call, so no need to go on about it, we had the right reaction, we turned the match around, which is what we had to do, and that's how we earned the three points.
How important was it to get three points before playing two matches away?
Very important, because before this match we were in the relegation zone --although we had played one less match, but even so nobody likes to be there. So we put all we had into the match, we showed how good a team we are, and we showed that if we manage to play the seconds halves as well as we do the first halves --we always play better during the first halves-- we'll end up winning.
The freekick you took is the one that led to Jesé scoring the equalizer. Were you happy that it was a successful freekick?
Yes, well, it was a lateral tense freekick, and fortunately the clearance sent the ball straight to Jesé, whose talent managed to put it into the corner of the goal, so yeah, very good.
A few words about the next opponent?
In this division, and especially in the second half of the season, there's a great deal at stake for all the teams. I think Xérez will be very strong playing at home, but we always aim for the three points. As I was saying to your fellow journalist before, we are really looking forward to achieving two wins in a row and get it off our backs, and I'm sure we'll win.
And now, Captain Juanfran:
A match that got very complicated again. What's your take on that penalty? It looked very questionable to me.
I was very close and it's clear that... I mean, it's true there was contact, but you can't knock down a guy who weighs 80 kilos like that. Football is a contact sport in which people get hit. The refereeing is very lenient for some teams and very harsh for others. I think they're being a bit unfair to us, but we are managing to overcome adversities, and it even benefitted us because the team deployed a great game, so we can almost be thankful to the Referee.
Three points that mean a lot going into two matches that will be played away. It was important to get points and to feel confident, right?
Yes, it's important because these three points mean five positions. Seeing yourself ranking where we were ranking before this match is a very different feeling from seeing yourself after you've moved 5 positions upwards. In a situation that wasn't comfortable, I think the team played its best match this season --in terms of full matches, 90 minutes-- because it was a tough opponent. We'll face Xérez next, which means 6 points, not just 3, since they're ranking at the bottom of the table --3 points you earn that they don't. It's critical now, because we'll be playing Xérez, Sabadell and Guadalajara, and we need to try and get three points out of each of these three matches in order to keep moving up and reach the position where we deserve to be.
How would you describe the several phases of today's match? Would you say each goal started a different phase?
We dominated the match through and through, we had absolute control, while they were simply sending passes forward, a few headers too, but we were having full control. Our work brought about the goals. Denis' substitution took us by surprise, because he was playing at a very high level, but look what happened --the Míster is the one in charge and the one who knows--, Jesé took the left wing and the second goal happened. So we'll listen to him [Toril], because it looks like he knows what he's doing! [laughing]
That's exactly what I was about to ask you, so perfect, you've already answered! Now, about Jesé, how did it go? [Note: Jesé played on the right wing and Juanfran as a right back for most of the match]. You guys seem to combine very well...
Yes, playing with Jesé is very easy. Everything is very easy when you play alongside him. It reminds me a lot of last season, when I was playing with Carvajal, with whom it was very easy to combine. Jesé is first team material, he plays at another level, he'll have a very successful football career and I'm sure he'll make us fans happy on many occasions
I don't remember which one of you, but you guys tend to say it a lot anyway, said that you focus on your game, not on the opponent. Does it mean you always play the same, regardless of the opponent? Isn't there anything you customize depending on the team you play?
You can make some changes in the way you defend maybe, in the way you put pressure, in the way you defend when they have the ball, but our game when we have the ball is the same regardless of the opponent. I think our level and quality enable us to hold our own against any team in this division, and I'm sure that no team is looking forward to facing Castilla at the moment.
I imagine you felt good about the fans' ovation [Note: Juanfran was subbed 5 minutes before the end of the extra time]...
Yes. Honestly, I feel proud because my parents and my wife are in the stands and they feel proud of me and I'm very happy for them.
Your future won't be with Castilla, right?
No, I mean, I'm already 24, my contract expires this summer unfortunately. It's the end of a chapter and I want to end it as splendidly as possible, which means without being relegated and having a good season.
Last question: what can you tell us about your new teammate Casemiro?
I'm not very familiar with him, because I don't follow the Brazilian league much. Fabio had very flattering words about him. Maybe he's at a standstill right now, because it's not normal for a player of his level to come to play with Castilla. I think that, if he's smart and is here to contribute to the team, he can achieve great successes. But anyway, if he's watched tonight's match and he's seen Omar, he knows it won't be easy!