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22.04.2016, 13:10
Carlos Viver: “We have to dream”
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FEATURE: Coach Carlos Viver talks all things Fraikin BM. Granollers as the team prepare for their first EHF Cup Quarter-final berth in 20 years.
 

Carlos Viver: “We have to dream”

It has been 20 years since Fraikin BM. Granollers last reached the EHF Cup Quarter-finals. Led by team captain Carlos Viver the Spanish side won two consecutive titles in 1995 and 1996, and now Viver again prepares to guide the team through the quarter-finals – this time as head coach.

“We reached the quarter-finals, which fills us with satisfaction because it was a hard group and we were in first position until the last second of the last game,” says Viver. “We are enjoying it a lot. It’s a satisfaction that allows us to dream.”

A completely new era
 
The EHF Cup Quarter-finals may be familiar ground for Viver, but the 43-year old says it feels very different compared with two decades ago.

“Nowadays it's a totally different era. When I was a player we felt that we were always better than the rest of the teams and we were sure to reach the final stages. But this competition changed a lot, as has the Asobal league. The Spanish league is not like years before when those teams dominated European competitions every year.”

BM. Granollers has a long history as one of the most important teams in Spain and Europe. Along with their two EHF Cup titles they have won one EHF Cup Winners' Cup, in 1976.

The Catalan club survived a difficult economic situation four years ago when they were in a state of insolvency, but circumstances have improved. The main consequence is a low budget, low salaries for coaches and players, and limited opportunity to sign new handball stars.

“The situation has been variable, but now we have stabilised the club financially and athletically. In the EHF Cup the team is competitive, but we know that we can’t compete in the best conditions. We are playing with very young players, and many of them have little experience in European competitions,” says Viver.

“Sometimes, our players are only 20-21 years old on average. The rest are Brazilian players with a lot of experience in their country, but not here. Moreover, we have a lot of players from the young Granollers teams.”

“European clubs are professionals and we have to fight with different weapons. In this way, the team were able to take full advantage in the group phase. Last year we were very close to qualifying and this year we have reached it,” says Viver.

“We will fight these quarter-finals to the death. These two games against Silkeborg will be very hard, but if we play two complete games we will have our options. We have to dream.”    

“I always believed it”

Until the last second of their last group phase game, against Aalborg, Granollers had the chance to finish in first position, but were also very close to being eliminated. Viver says he remained confident even in the tense final minutes when a nerve-wracking comeback qualified the Spanish team for the next round:

“We are a team that we have played in many situations this season, as in the last game against Aalborg. Last year we had to win at Sporting Lisbon in the last second to qualify for the group phase.

“In the last time-out I told the players that a tie would be a good result for us and we had a minute to achieve it. I didn’t think that we didn’t have options to come back, I always believed it.”

Granollers_Figueras_565

Both Granollers and their quarter-final opponent Silkeborg will enter the most important matches of the season on the back of tough domestic games. Granollers will arrive at the quarter-finals after three difficult games, against Huesca, Ademar León and Guadalajara in the Asobal league, while Silkeborg will play Holstebro immediately prior to the crucial matches.

Viver points to attack as the most important aspect of Granollers’ game to help their chances against Silkeborg, before making a promise for how he will celebrate finals qualification:

“We need the offensive line to play well, because our defence is always good. This year we are playing better in attack and it’s important that we keep that. We are tactically well-prepared and have to use our tactics very well to beat Silkeborg.

“If we want to qualify for the finals we have to play as a team and not as individuals. They have more quality – for that reason we need to be a better collective.

“If we’ll reach the finals, I’ll get my hair shaved off. We will have to celebrate it and show it to the people and our supporters.”


TEXT: Adrià Barrio / cg
 
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