Leandro Gracián was part of Hugo Ibarra’s coaching staff (@bocajrsoficial)
Leandro Gracián was Hugo Ibarra’s field assistant when he was coach of Boca Juniors between 2022 and 2023 and told details of the process in which, although they won two titles, they were dismissed by the Football Council (CDF) of the club headed by Juan Román Riquelme. This Wednesday the former hitch spoke about that stage and what he feels when it is said that the current DT, Jorge Almirón, gave the team an idea of the game.
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“In Boca we managed to maintain an identity since we were champions. We couldn’t sustain it in the game, let it be continuous like other teams do. Sometimes you could and other times you couldn’t. Because? Because there is a rival, there are other issues that affect from the start of the game and other things appear and that is why the game belongs to the footballers. A coach can plan a match, but then what one thought doesn’t come out. Now the footballer demands more attributes from the coach so that he can function ”, he told in dialogue with Jogo Bonito (FM Late 93.1).
When asked if it affects him that it is said that now in Boca “there is a technician”, he replied that “to me, not at all. One spent nine months in Boca and we know what day-to-day is like. The emotions of the first stage. What determines the opinion is the result. We came out champions, 15 unbeaten games. Each coach has a stamp, a style, his way of playing and feeling and today Boca is finding his game again. Today the footballers are beginning to rediscover their game. That is great for the club and the players (they have) are very good. It doesn’t change anything for me to say one thing or another. Those are the rules of the game”.
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He also praised Almirón’s work: “I see it well and that it is growing. The situation is difficult because you take a team in the middle of the process and a team like Boca that plays several tournaments. Where you grow is in the time in which you download an identity with a work methodology. But Boca just doesn’t give you time and you have to adapt what you think in a short time of work. You have to be very precise when making decisions and wins give you time to work. It is growing, but like every team it has good and bad moments”.
Hugo Ibarra and Leandro Gracián (@bocajrsoficial)
While he clarified that the CDF never got in the way of his work: “Hugo Ibarra had all the decisions. Later they were a very good support in what was the day to day with issues that one is talking about and thinking or debating things that one sees. We work very comfortably with them. They never imposed on us. We saw them every day and talked about different issues about the first team, but what that entails with the professional team. The decision to put a player always depended on Ibarra. They were always helpful.”
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He was then consulted about some statements from the players who hinted that they were not given tools: “Not at all, because we are clear about what we did on a day-to-day basis. At a club like Boca, where I played, it happened to me that when you didn’t play you were unhappy on a day-to-day basis and you have to manage 25 footballers who want to play every weekend. We were clear about what we gave the footballers. We leave everything. We work many hours a day. We are calm. It is Boca and we know everything it generates ”.
Regarding why they could not direct the Reserves again, he explained that “when they offered us the renewal they told us that we had already become First Division coaches because the structure of the club is armed. When we renewed that was previously discussed. Hugo was evaluated as a Primera coach and the rules were like that. You committed to it.”
Tano Gracián in one of the training sessions (@bocajrsoficial)
In addition, he stated that the things that worked on the field were later seen in the games: “It is impossible for things not to work out and you go 15 games without losing. The team at the result level was good and at times it was strong in the areas and had players who strengthened the team. What we did not see was a sustained game idea that Boca had not had for a long time. It is not that Ibarra did not achieve it. Boca is a big club and the coaches who go have a hard time consolidating an idea. Many things came out and other things didn’t. 60/70 percent of the things that were worked on during the week were achieved. At times the team played well, it had hierarchy and personality and at others it played poorly. Then the results determined whether to continue or not”.
Although he argued that the departure of goalkeeper Agustín Rossi and Marcos Rojo’s injury affected them: “With us Rossi has been extraordinary and had terrible confidence with the coaching staff. He helped us a lot. In these processes you need shortcuts that win you tournaments and he did it in many games and that made the team strengthen. Like Luca Langoni. Marcos (Red) is a very important player for the club and there aren’t many of them in Argentina. We didn’t have him much and we did at the beginning, like in the game against River, when he played an extraordinary game ”.
He stressed that “directing the Primera de Boca is the best and the club supported us to have that possibility. I was an assistant and the coach was Hugo Ibarra, who gave me the chance to grow a lot, gave me a lot of space. I learned, I grew a lot and for me it was all a gain because I was able to work in a club”.
He recognized that “it was more difficult for me to rest as a footballer than as a coach. After a game he was detonated. As a coach I felt more pressure, on the issue of rest my head had a bit of stress, but it is part of the job we choose and we know how to deal with these issues”.
Finally, he confirmed that Ibarra was opened and that he will start with his own coaching staff: “I put together my work team. I spent a year and a half with Erviti and nine months with Ibarra. I am happy with the work team that I put together for the future and I have a lot of faith”.
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