Gianni De Biasi has become the new manager of Alaves. He has taken the job when the club was at the very bottom of La Liga's table, with six defeats in the first six matches. The last experience of the Italian manager was on the bench of Albania national team, whom he took to their memorable qualification to Euro 2016, the highest goal ever reached by the Eagles.
I have interviewed De Biasi in exclusive for Tribal Football.
How did the move to Alaves come about? Was it an easy decision to accept?
No, it wasn't an easy decision, because they are in a complicated table position, in a league that is really competitive. But what has pushed me to accept this appointment is the appeal of La Liga and the fact that, despite not being a top class club, Alaves have a very big potential. They have a very important management: their owner is the same who owns the Baskonia basket club, a side that almost every year is able to reach the last stages in Euro League.
How has the reaction been from your friends and family in Italy to taking the job?
Maybe they expected some opportunity with a bigger name, but at the same time they knew well that I didn't want to stay still anymore and that I really wanted to start again and to prove myself with a new challenge.
How has been your first days on the training pitch been with the players? How is there confidence and form?
Here at Alaves they have a very good structure, a really amazing organisation. You can have everything you could need to do your job at the best. Moreover, they are building a new sport centre, because the one we already have is getting old and the owner is planning to invest €25m for it. In football, it happens often that things don't go in the right way, in the way you have planned, but here we don't lack organisation and the will of doing well from today and on. The players were coming from six defeats in a row, so they weren't so happy, but since the first days of our work together they have been really available to work hard and they do very much on the training pitch. We have started with the right foot, winning an away match, that is the best way to start.
How important is it having Marco Veronese and Alberto Bellè with you?
They are people I know very well, I don't need even to tell anything because they already know what to do. This is a big edge, because I have mountains of things to do here!
You have some cracking young players to work with: which are your thoughts on Munir and Bojan?
Unfortunately, Bojan is injured so I haven't had the chance to see him on the pitch, yet. Talking about Munir, he is a very talented boy, as I have many in this roster. They are all relatively young players, with many room for improvement; but, at the same time, I have to be careful because they could even suffer in a situation like the one we are living.
Have you seen Enzo Zidane play before? Have you had any early thoughts about where he can best play in your team? Is there any pressure given he's the son of Zizou?
As I've said before, Zidane is another guy with very big potential. He used to play in second division the last season and now he's at his really first experience in La Liga. He has talent, a good athletic shape and I'm sure he can have good chances all over the current season. Of course he will pay a duty at the beginning, but he has will, he's a really serious boy and I think that, at the end, he will be able to find an important place in our team.
Looking at the current squad, what is your target for the season?
Currently the fourth from last position is our important target. I can't fly on the wings of fantasy,but I only have to get the best out from my players. In this period it's not easy, because La Liga is a competition where you can lose against every opponent; the quality of the championship has really improved.
Did you discuss the January market with the directors before taking the job? Is there plans underway to improve the squad during the winter?
I think that first it's much more important to me to make an assessment on the players I have in the roster, then I have to try to understand if their strip of defeats have, in some way, afflicted their own skills. We have much time in front of us before the winter transfer window will come.
Could you sign a player from your Albanian squad to help?
In this moment we don't have taken into consideration any of these strategies of market. Now I have a group of 29 players, so they are already really many. You can't bring 23 players with you in each match here, as it is in Italy, but just 18. So, every time I have to leave many of them at home and it's not a nice task. One thing I regret about my job is leaving players out.
Will you be staying on social media to keep Alaves fans up to date? What do you think about media on football?
Here at Alaves we have a extraordinary structure of the social media. We have a battalion of people working on media. We have even an office that follows every day the media for China! Media are important for us, they are what make us leaving the contemporaneity in an almost direct way. Social media could be useful if used well. But if you put yourself into it 24 hours out of 24, I think it could be a disaster.