[Villarreal News]: Even though Fernando Roig is the President and face of Villarreal, his son, Fernando Roig Negueroles, is the Managing Director, and the person in charge of the day-to-day, planning, and execution of the strategic plan the President puts forth. Mediterraneo sat down with Negueroles a couple of days ago to chat about the days after the final, and here at Villarrealnews.com, we provide a curated translation of this interview so you can know what Villarreal’s boss had to say. Credit for the actual interview: Ismael Mateu, Periodico Mediterraneo
Ismael Mateu: It was time. This sport owed Villarreal a trophy. Satisfied?
Fernando Roig Negueroles: Yes, for sure. Very happy. A lot of years of work and effort. In the end, winning a title is very hard. I think we are actually the seventh team in Spain who has managed to win a European competition. Since the now extinct UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup Zaragoza won, there has not been a new Spanish team who has won a European competition. It is to be proud of, and satisfied with.
IM: And what a tournament, especially with the level of the opposition.
FRN: It is a competition that demands a lot out of each team. We have played against clubs at the top level this season. For instance, Barcelona does not have this title, even if it is because for the most part they play the Champions League. What is true is that winning a European competition of this caliber has a lot of merit.
IM: Everything is so recent that you probably haven’t digested it yet, but as the days go by, you probably will start to realize what you’ve achieved.
FRN: It’s still hard to come to terms with it, but I assume in a few days we will start to truly value all this. To do what we did is huge and not everyone can do it. We are very happy.
IM: The road wasn’t easy: Salzburg, Dinamo Kiev, Dinamo Zagreb, Arsenal, and the final against Manchester…
FRN: Yes, the road was a spectacular one. Maybe the group stage wasn’t as hard, but we still had to win the matches; in other seasons we didn’t and went through as the second team in the group.
This year, we got five matches and a draw out of it. The opposition afterwards was top quality, though. I think Salzburg, Dinamo Kiev and Dinamo Zagreb are not as well known as others, but they made things very hard for us.
Afterwards came the two big ones: Arsenal and Manchester United. Two big teams from the Premier League. Arsenal is not in its best moment, but they have a great team; and Manchester United, as second placed in the Premier League, and a top-level team. Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are perhaps the three best teams in the world.
IM: Unai Emery orchestrated this triumph. How important was his arrival?
FRN: The arrival of the manager was important, but I think we need to look at success as a whole, not just the coach. A win like this one should not be given to one person or another. What is true is that Unai has frankly done very well, and not just because he has gotten us a trophy.
It’s true that in any competition like the Europa League there are difficult moments where someone like him has the experience to overcome them, as it’s been the case on this occasion. He has experienced similar situations in teams like Valencia, Sevilla, PSG or Arsenal, and now has helped us with this great achievement.
IM: In terms of the project, did you think this was the season where you could win a title?
FRN: The club has demonstrated being able to react to specific moments throughout the season. We always try to put together a good team, and we have been able to adapt to adversity, like Alberto Moreno and Vicente Iborra’s injuries, both long term, and other players who have been mildly injured.
In global terms, the season has been a very good one, even though the seventh La Liga spot is unfair I believe; we think we deserved to have finished higher up. For different reasons, in the end we had to be satisfied with that, but winning the Europa League trophy and qualifying for the Champions League makes up for everything.
IM: After this success, it’s time to think about the future. This never stops. Which Villarreal will we see next year?
FRN: It is time to rest and enjoy. And of course, after that, start to plan next season to improve the team as much as possible, at the very least to be as competitive of a team as this one is, so we can face all competitions and challenges we have ahead.
Next year we will play in La Liga, Spanish Cup, Champions League, and European Supercup. We are going to be competitive in all four competitions, no doubt.