Palencia: "We are excited to finish like a shot"

The Leganés side sees a dressing room "excited to end the season like a shot." He recognizes that in case of promotion he wants to stay.

Palencia:-"We-are-excited-to-finish-like-a-shot"

Dialogue with Sergi Palencia (Badalona, 25 years old) is to turn time into sand between your fingers. Without knowing how, it runs smoothly until it disappears. All very fast. All very simple. Because this right-back from Leganés, forged in the lower ranks of Barça, is a born dialog. A "football geek" (Palencia dixit) with which to link debate after debate without looking at the clock. From the methods of 'Garitanismo' to his duels against Mbappé in France to the rivalry against Espanyol.

A parrots should be measured next Sunday if not for a muscular ailment that will prevent them from playing one of the games "that had marked on the calendar." This former captain of Barça B was excited to be able to attack Espanyolista territory and, why not, dream of an epic comeback towards direct promotion ... or whatever. "This dressing room is excited to reach the end of the course like a shot," he says emphatically shortly before admitting that Garitano is squeezing them or that, between Mbappé and Haaland, he would sign the Norwegian for his Barça, a team in which he admits that Maybe he could have played if he had coincided with the current Barcelona anxiety. "The youth players are forged in times of crisis. Yes ... maybe I could have played, but I don't think about that much. I'm happy at Leganés and I would love to stay if the team is promoted to First Division", he acknowledges.

It turns out that he will not play against Espanyol. Are you injured ...

Yes, a shame ...

This week his absence caught us by surprise ...

And me too (Laughter)

Explain ...

In Almería I had discomfort. I thought it was an overload ... typical. That's why they replaced me at rest. But from there I was looking worse. That it did not improve. Let's see ... I think that for next week, when the inflammation and pain go down, things will go well and I'll be with the team soon.

You weren't being much injured ...

Knock on wood, knock on wood… You have to be lucky. It is true that in general I have always been stable when it comes to injuries. A couple of ankle problems from traumatic bumps. Nothing serious.

What is serious is missing a visit to Espanyol, with how great you are.

Yes, yes ... it was a match that had been marked on the calendar since the beginning of the year. I was excited against Espanyol, in their field, they being leaders… Also, that we have good memories of the first round match. I wanted to repeat that game.

What about the Barça-Espanyol pique, is it as fat as they say there?

Yes, yes, the truth is that he is very fat. Since we were kids. Those of us who are Barça youth players, spend all the categories fighting for the titles with Espanyol. That, whether you like it or not, the rivalry is huge. And that carries over to the first team. That they do not fight for the same thing there, but the rivalry remains.

Is there a Espanyol player that you measured in the lower ranks?

(Silence) In Juveniles I think we coincide with Melendo. Let's see ... from those years I did play against Marc Roca. Also against Pedrosa, but of the generation of 96 little more.

Few have made it to the first team. Of his own and of parakeets.

It all depends on the needs of the first team. Look at this year at Barça: a year of minimums, without many transfers. There has been no extensive staff and young people have had to be drawn. I always say it: the homegrown players appear because of the crises.

I like the phrase…

It is so. When things go super, super good, it is very rare that greats like Barça, Real Madrid, Atlético, all these clubs that have money to spend, it is difficult for them to bet on a youth squad there.

Portfolio before quarry ...

Sure. You go for the De Jong on duty, the Hazard on duty ... you go for these types of people. My time? Well, Barça worked better, there was no such need. Also, none of us broke down the door to ask to be indisputable.

Yes, but if the door is armored, no one is going to push to pull it ...

Exactly… Exactly. Things go a bit there.

So you, having been at Barça B in these times of crisis, you did see yourself making the leap ...

Look, I don't even want to think about it. Now is another time, another time ... I'm not going to live with that nailed down. I am happy being at Leganés and I am happy to have spent the two years I have spent in France. They may have been better or worse years, but they have served me well.

But a canterano culé never gives up the slightest hope of returning, right?

Well, of course, of course. Let's see, I don't think about that, but if one day I reached the level of a club like Barça demands, let's go ... without hesitation ... I'm a culé, I'd be delighted. But it is that Barça is a level is difficult even to consider it ... 444 444

Now in Leganés he is untouchable. Did you expect it?

I'm surprised, I'm honest with you. We all trust ourselves and yes, you have faith that we will play… but I never thought at this level. It's that he came to compete against Rosales, who is a guy of a great level. Or Bustinza, yes, he can be central, but on top of that he is a type of club, captain, one of those who puts his leg anywhere ...

In a mincer, if necessary ...

I am a bit like this too… If I have convinced many players it has been by commitment, by impetus… but Bustinza is insurmountable in that…

So there was no headline.

No, that's it, I saw myself wanting to contribute, with some hope ... but not playing so much.

Well, seen like this, his decision to sign for Leganés was risky. From the French First to the Second and with a lot of competition ...

Yes, yes, of course it could have happened that I had not played. But Rodrigo Tarín is important here…

Let's be done!

It is that Rodri is important in this equation. It took me a lot to have him here, to play by his side again, being one of my best friends.

Did he call you a lot to convince you to come?

There was a bit of both. We both talked. Txema Indias also called me a lot, who had known me for years. In addition, between the fact that Bustinza was perhaps going to go more as a central defender and that Rosales was going to have 3-4 calls with Venezuela ... a little around there I saw an option ... And I took a risk.

Let's see, Leganés is also a promotion project ...

That's a nice project, to go back to Primera. I saw that they were signing Borja Bastón, Róber Ibáñez, that if Rubén Pérez, Tarín, Bustinza stay ... there you say ... oysters ... here is something serious. I want to be part of this.

Let's go to the most important question: are you lateral or inside?

(Laughter)

It is that at the beginning of the season we were somewhat dizzy ...

My ideal position is to be a winger in a line of four. I have always played there. To be interior or extreme you have to have more one against one… and I have not developed that. Maybe to do it Cucurella style, because maybe I would feel comfortable ... I dare with everything.

What has changed with Garitano?

I would approach it with the mentality of many. When a new coach comes there is always that demand. Of new air. Those who did not play plugged in and those who played, too. More with Asier…

Why?

Because in the first three games I think he used almost the entire starting squad. We all saw ourselves with options to play at the beginning. Your adrenaline rises and you get tremendous ambition.

But that usually does not last long ...

It is true, it almost always lasts two weeks, and then relaxation comes, but with Asier, now it tightens much more than before. When he knows you, he already knows what they can demand of you and he squeezes you much more out there. Theme of shape, weight ...

In that Miguel Pérez, the physical trainer, is the master of the hunger games ...

The hunger games that some of us are going through… some of us are with a little yogurt at night… It is true that Asier and Miguel believe in that a lot, but that makes sense. By pure logic it is easier to run without a two-three kilo weight than with that weight attached to the body. Well this is the same ...

Seen like this ...

Sure. If you take off 2-3 kilos, you will be more resistant, faster, you will be more lucid with the ball ... the physical data are essential. Look, it will be a coincidence or not, but all the matches that we have won are those in which we have been superior to the rival in terms of kilometers, high intensity, sprints ... They are very heavy with this, but because it gives results.

Speaking of results, after the last setbacks a huge pessimism has been unleashed in Leganés. Does the locker room get?

Yes, yes ... I would say yes. In the end, in this world practically everyone watches social networks. Some of us may not be so, so pending… others are. And you see the comments.

And with empty stands, even more ...

Of course, because with the audience in front you feel the hunch there, but when it is not there .. you are looking for opinions…

But that can be dangerous. Social networks are not the whole public ...

Exactly. You have to relativize a lot. We already know that the 20 who think are surely not the predominant voice of the voice of Leganés, but you get an idea. And now when you comment on it in the dressing room, there is a certain pessimism.

Do you understand?

You can understand it, because we have always been very close to direct promotion and we have a very interesting team. Surely at the beginning of the season we could say we were favorites to be there, but now we have to live this and ... damn, we are very well.

Is the wardrobe excited?

Yes, yes ... we are excited to finish the season well and arrive like guns where we have to go. Direct promotion is difficult, but we are going to go to Cornellá to win, for example ...

Last year that game was the one of eviction and it was the one that began the almost comeback of salvation ...

Missed a goal and a hand… that's the way it is… in football you can never give up anything for lost. Of course, before that direct ascent area was looked at with more enthusiasm ... you were making speculations with Almería and Mallorca ... that has now been lowered. There is no need to get frustrated, but we are going to win every game. We want to arrive like bulls at the end. If we have to play the play-off, we have to give it up.

If Leganés is promoted, what would you like?

I've already said it, I'd love to stay. I am super comfortable here. My girlfriend too. I like the dressing room, I like the facilities, I like the people at the club… I am delighted. Respecting the club with which I have a contract, of course. It would be necessary to speak and see what formulas. And Leganés, of course, if you agree with me staying ... but personally I want to stay at Leganés.

You belong to Saint-Ettiene. In France he played against Mbappé… is he as good as he appears from the outside?

Yes, yes, of course I do. Impress. In the sense of the ability it has to run 50 meters, those rides into space ... it does it to you in nothing. In five strides he is planted in the area and you don't even know ...

So better not cross it.

I tell you. Look, we had a center-back, Fofana, who is now at Leicester. It is very fast. We all had him on the team as the guy you could never play for because he beat you all.

But he ran into Mbappé ...

That's it. Mbappé ate it in a couple of actions for speed. And that's when you say ... watch out ... watch out, this guy on a physical level is tremendous ... On a technical level he has more little things than he thinks, but to stop him, you have to make him feel uncomfortable.

And how is that done?

If you reduce spaces, there I think it has pending subjects ...

Okay, for your Barça, who would you sign? Haaland or Mbappé?

I would sign Haaland: 100%. For the needs of Barça he adapts more. There is no pure 9. A guy like him could wreak havoc, more with Messi behind ... I tell you for Barça as for any team, really.

Yes?

Yes, yes ... I'm very freaky, I really like to watch football and I watch everything ... and it has me in love. The thing about this guy seems very strong to me. I think it can be adapted to any team. It's amazing.



Photos from as.com
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