The ride is set to begin and another roller coaster of a season will kick off today for Manchester Futsal Club as they take on European contenders London Helvecia in their opening game this afternoon.
Manchester will be looking for that illusive victory as they make the 200+ mile trip to the reigning Super League champions.
First team coach Sergi Saldana goes into tomorrow’s game after a very busy and action packed pre-season which has seen the team overcome some tricky fixtures.
Saldana was not shy about his frustrations throughout the pre-season period.
“We have a long way to go and this is just the beginning. Unfortunately we haven't trained everything I would have liked and most of the players have trained no more than 6 days. Against a team as Helvecia, I know that it's gonna be difficult because they already have a team made and we are still growing and the players are trying to understand new defensive and offensive concepts and this takes time. Also, we are going to go with many casualties because we still have Doug [Reed] and Raducio [King] in India, some players are ill or not available and we are waiting the clearance of a new Spanish player that neither can play. We will play with some players of the academy team but for me this are not excuses. So my intention for this first game is do it the best possible, compete and see if we can obtain a positive result.”
Despite the problems Sergi and his coaching staff faced during the transitional period, the Spaniard remains very upbeat going into tomorrow’s game.
“After the friendlies, we can see what are our main problems and now we are trying to correct them. We have very good players with a lot of potential and it is just a matter of time to see the team playing the way that we want. The players are training hard but it's being difficult because this year is a big change at all levels. Despite of all, I trust in my players and I trust to improve day by day, match to match. We have a great margin of improvement but the idea is to try to compete from the first day.
“My expectations are to go step by step. The final aim will depend of how the players can adapt to this change. The potential for a great season ahead is there but will depend on our attitude and commitment to keep improving and the players and my own adaptations.”
Captain Sam Richardson has noted that there is an ever increasing buzz within the camp and that they cannot wait to get their season underway.
“The squad is still coming together and not quite finalised, but there's an increasing buzz as we can slowly see the qualities of the group emerging and the strength of Sergi's philosophy and methodology. We know we need more time together to gel and really pin down what we are working towards. Tomorrow will be a great test for us, but make no mistake, all the players are looking forward to the challenge.”
The Manchester Futsal Club skipper has been very impressed with Saldana’s philosophies and coaching approaches through the last couple of weeks and admits it will be a challenge for some players but all in all will improve the overall quality to the team as a whole.
“Sergi already has extensive experience of coaching futsal prior to us, whereas the majority of other coaches have been in their first main role in futsal. This shows in his preparation, how he delivers and explains concepts to the team, because he has tried and tested methods of getting these across to different players. It also allows him to be very comfortable when being asked questions and this ensures clarity. He is very aware that there are building blocks and stages within the process of learning that are necessary to get to a certain place, even if they initially prove challenging for the group.”
The opening game will be taking place at the Leyton Score Centre in London and kick off will be at 13:30. If you can’t make the trip down south then make sure to tune into our live stream online.