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INTERVIEW: Pick Szeged coach Juan Carlos Pastor brings his team into the EHF Cup Finals in top shape and fully focused on challenging the hosts in Berlin

Taking each game as it comes

Ahead of the EHF Cup Finals, Juan Carlos Pastor, the Spanish coach who won the World Championship title with Spain in 2005 and who now leads Hungarian team Pick Szeged, speaks about his team’s chances in Berlin.

eurohandball.com: How are your preparations for the EHF Cup Finals looking?

Juan Carlos Pastor: We’re very lucky to still be in a very competitive part of the season here in Hungary.

We played two games against Veszprem in the finals of the Hungarian league (two defeats) which has kept the players in very good shape before Berlin.

eurohandball.com: How do you feel about your opponents and the fact that they all played in qualification for this season’s VELUX EHF Champions league?

Juan Carlos Pastor: When I noticed this I said to Marko Krivokapic (Pastor’s assistant coach) that this event this is like a ‘B Champions League’ (smiling). In any case it clearly shows the high level of this edition.

eurohandball.com: Considering that it is the first big event for many players, Jonas Källman injured and Szeged is playing against the hosts (Füchse Berlin), what are your expectations for the event?

Juan Carlos Pastor: We’ll take each game as it comes, and for us this is already a final.

You must give everything you have without hiding anything for the next day as there might not be another chance…

Of course, we cannot overlook many things in this first match that may be against us, but we need to be focused and concentrate on what we know and what we can do well.

There is a distance of around 1,000 km from our city to Berlin but I know we will have fans travelling there and we must give our best for them.

Finally, missing Jonas is bad news (he was operated on very recently) as he balances the team both in defence and in attack. But we are a team and we need to play as a team.

eurohandball.com: You reached the EHF Cup Finals and the final knock-out round of the Hungarian League, can we call this a good season for you and for your team?

Juan Carlos Pastor: I am in a team that is willing to grow in the next few years and we are making all necessary preparations to do so.

So far we have achieved what we wanted at the beginning of the season, but there are still some matches to be played...

TEXT: Francisco Javier Miranda Lasheras / cor