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Valladolid goalkeeper Thomas Svensson prepares for the game against Schaffhausen.

»EHF CL Channel »2010-11 Men's News

Focus on the next game

42 year old Swede Thomas Svensson is one of the most experienced players of the current VELUX EHF Champions League. In an interview with prior to the game against Schaffhausen, he explained that he’s still looking to improve. What’s your secret for playing in a top club such as Cuatro Rayas BM Valladolid?

Svensson: That’s easy to answer: I enjoy playing handball very much! My dreams concerning handball become reality and this is a very strong motivation. Through the support of the Valladolid fans I have had a marvellous time last season. In 2009 I switched clubs, moving from Pamplona to Valladolid. The move wasn’t easy, but I was highly motivated, and I wanted to present myself in the best possible way. What shape is Cuatro Rayas in prior to the trip to Switzerland?

Svensson: We are doing very well. People might think that the draw against Chekhovskie Medvedi in Valladolid was a coincidence but I think it was positive to secure a point. The Russian team was part of last year`s EHF FINAL4 and this group is very equal. We hope to achieve first or second place in the group to avoid a hard clash in the drop-out phase among the best 16. Last year, we had to play against Rhein-Neckar Löwen, which was very difficult, and they eliminated us. Is a visit to Kadetten a complicated next step?

Svensson: Every game at home or as a visitor is difficult, it’s the EHF Champions League! All of the teams want to progress to the next phase. We have to give our best and minimalize our mistakes. You can not relax even for a second, as opponents will use every opportunity to score. Which do you consider to be the favourite team in your group?

Svensson: Chekhov was in the semi-final last season, so I see them as clear favourite. There appeared only four teams in the EHF FINAL4, so each of them is very strong. The team of Maximov is like the reinforced Russian national team. Also, I feel the group is very equal. Of course, it is not the “Group of Death”. That has to be Group A with Kiel, Barcelona, Celje, Rhein-Neckar, Kielce and Chambery. All those teams are strong and two of them appeared at the EHF FINAL4 in 2010 in Cologne. What is the objective of Cuatro Rayas BM Valladolid for this edition of the VELUX EHF Champions League?

Svensson: I like the working methods and planning of our coach, Pastor: he focuses on the next game exclusively. We are an ambitious team, but we cannot set it as a goal that we´ll be part of the VELUX EHF FINAL4. There are many other clubs with bigger budgets than ours. It could be an objective for us to improve on our performance of last season. Among the best 16, we lost the first game on home soil, last year, against Rhein-Neckar Löwen, so to win these kind of matches is an objective for this season. How do you feel at the beginning of the season?

Svensson: I’m doing okay, but I didn’t have so much playing time and I wasn’t playing that well during the chances I had. I know that I will improve with hard work during the season. My goalkeeper colleague Mendez Sierra is better than me now, but I know my role in the team at the moment. The year lasts long and I can promise that I’ll always be there to help my team-mates.

TEXT: Fernando Urra Goñi