With Maccabi Tel Aviv not claiming a Premier League championship since the
2002/03 season, you can hardly blame the yellow-and-blue faithful for getting
excited about their team’s current position atop of the
However, Maccabi coach Oscar Garcia’s approach is far more
focused on the short-term.
He didn’t even utter the word championship
during an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
arch-rival Hapoel Tel Aviv on goal difference after 12 matches, with both teams
winning nine games and losing three.
But Oscar claimed he has only got
the team’s next practice and match in mind rather than bigger distant
“I want to think only of the next practice,” he said. “In the end
we will see where the football puts the team in the table. We are where we are
because we are always only focusing on the next few days. If we don’t do this we
will have problems.”
Despite the encouraging start to the season, Oscar
is far from content with his team’s performances.
“Always we can play
better,” he said.
“I’m not satisfied with any game because always I can
find some things I want to do better. But I’m happy the way we are going. We
want to improve on last season. Maccabi finished last season in sixth position
and I think we can improve on that.”
The expectations from the yellowand-
blue are far greater than the way Oscar portrayed it, but the 39-year-old
Spaniard insisted that should not be the case considering Maccabi’s recent title
“The history of the last 10 years says another thing,” Oscar
noted in his Spanish-accented English. “This is my first year here and when you
have a foreign coach the team and the coach need time to understand each other
so I am happy because we started very well.
However, we have to continue
Oscar claimed that one of his team’s biggest issues is its
lack of consistency.
“One of the things I want is for my team to play 90
minutes at the same level,” he said. “Not 45 minutes at a very good level and
then 30 minutes in a worse level.”
Oscar spent the last two years
coaching the Barcelona youth team after a successful playing career which saw
him score 21 goals in 69 league appearances for the Blaugrana, as well as play
for the likes of Valencia and Espanyol.
However, he is guiding a senior
team for the first time in his career and admitted on Wednesday that it has been
a real learning experience.
“I wanted to take this step. I think that if
I want to be a good coach I had to take this step and start to train
professional players and this is a very good team to start with,” he
“The problems of the youth and senior players are different and
this is the most important change. The young players have easy problems, but
professional players have family, they are earning money and if they don’t play
it is difficult for them.
“But I want to have this experience and for
sure I am improving very much as a coach. I’ve learned a lot and I hope and
expect the players are learning a lot to.”
Oscar said he is really
enjoying his stay in Israel and that Tel Aviv is a great city, though he could
have done without the rocket sirens during Operation Pillar of Defense last
“The first time I heard the siren I was worried like all the
players, but after I saw that all the people here were calm I didn’t worry,”
explained Oscar, whose family has stayed in Spain.
“The last thing that
worried me was the bus explosion, but a few hours later there was a ceasefire
and everything was calm.”
Oscar found himself embroiled in controversy
last month after he flew to Belgium to meet representatives from Club Brugge,
which was interested in his services.
He claimed that he never considered
leaving the yellow-and-blue and reiterated that point on Wednesday.
think the fans are proud to have a coach which many teams want,” he
“I have a contract for two years and I want to coach Maccabi in
Europe next season. That is all I can say. This is my personal objective, but I
think the way to achieve this target is to think of the practice tomorrow and
the next game against Betar Jerusalem. This is the way.