August 19, 2019
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Paco Jémez: I want to bring Rayo back to La Liga but it depends on investment

 Paco Jémez, head coach atRayo Vallecano, speaks with Efe in Madrid, Spain, May 21, 2019. EPA-EFE/David Ramiro

Paco Jémez, head coach atRayo Vallecano, speaks with Efe in Madrid, Spain, May 21, 2019. EPA-EFE/David Ramiro

By David Ramiro

Madrid, May 21 (efe-epa).- Rayo Vallecano, a minnow compared to its cross-city neighbors Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid, tumbled from the top-flight of Spanish soccer this season having spent much of it in the relegation zone and now head coach Paco Jémez, who came in for the last 10 matches, has told Efe that the club's return to La Liga depends on radical changes and investment.

Las Palmas-born Jémez, 49, who had spells at Rayo as a player, returned to the club based in the capital city's blue-collar neighborhood of Vallecas in March, three years after leaving the post, with the intention of rescuing a team that was struggling to clamber out of the relegation zone.

In 10 matches, despite victories against Valencia and Real Madrid, Rayo did not produce a miracle and finished bottom of the table, staring into a season in Segunda.

Question: Have these 10 matchdays gone by quickly?

Answer: No, it seemed a long time for me although it's only been a month and a half. I understand that it's been a long, hard year for the fans and the team, who spent pretty much all their time in the relegation zone. I still wish I had more time to work on it.

Q: There was a feeling at Rayo that, sooner or later, you would come back.

A: Without a doubt. Beyond individual circumstances, when you are in a situation you can sense whether you'll return or not and, furthermore, I wanted to return. I wanted to be in a place where I had already made important achievements and the challenges ahead are beautiful. When I arrived, I almost looked beyond just this season.

When you arrive somewhere, you have to sell confidence and believe in any possibility, however small, but staying up is a bizarre thing. We did not speak of miracles too much, but we knew the chances were tiny.

Q: You left Rayo in May 2016 (for Granada, after Rayo were relegated) and you returned three years later. Have you noticed any changes?

A: I would have liked that but I've not seen any and that is bad. I've told the president. A club needs to develop and grow. If you don't grow you get smaller. In those three years, there were clubs that have taken huge leaps, they have better training grounds, better stadiums, better installations.

Q: Do you know what you want from next season?

A: To start, I want to change a lot of things that are not working at the club and should work better regarding the youth categories, the infrastructure and the way of doing things.

From there, with regards to the first team, I'm clear on what I would like to do, but that depends on the tools we have at our disposal. Desire on its own is not enough. To return to the top-flight you need investment, projects and developments, if you don't have that then there are issues.

We can't give ourselves an objective before we know what will be available to us. I hope my era at Rayo this time lasts a long time because it motivates me.

Q: Players like Alex Moreno or Pozo, who have La Liga credentials, are they going to leave or stick with their contracts?

A: Without naming names, because we haven't spoken to everyone, there's a bit of everything. There are players whom we'll hear nothing from, just sticking with their contract and others for which it depends on the kind of offers we get. As of today, there is no offer for Alex but we won't let him go for any old price.

Q: Are you going to miss Raúl de Tomás (on loan from Real Madrid)?

A: He's an irreplaceable player. He scored 38 goals in two years. We have to look for a player who can match those number. He's been a great player and a role model for the fans and the rest of the team. We would love him to stay but the chances of that are about as good as winning the lottery without playing it.EFE-EPA

drl/jt/hh

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