Escriba ‘surprised but excited’

Fran Escriba could not hide his delight after being introduced as new Villarreal boss in place of Marcelino.

The former Elche and Getafe chief has penned a one-year deal at El Madrigal and took his first training session on Thursday evening, after which he met the media.

“This is a great opportunity. It was a surprise but I’m very excited with the idea of helping this club,” beamed the 51-year-old, who in the past has also worked as assistant Coach to current Espanyol boss Quique Sanchez Flores at Benfica and Atletico Madrid.

“This is a club that does things very well, so it’s our ambition to have a great year and continue to achieve great success.

“When a team like Villarreal calls it is very difficult to say no and it is a very important challenge.

“Anyone with half a brain cannot say no to this club. This was an opportunity that was unthinkable a few days ago.”

Valencia-born Escriba insisted his football philosophy is comparable to that of Villarreal, developed in recent seasons under Marcelino, whilst also touching upon the forthcoming Champions League qualifier against Monaco.

“We are going to try and improve this team, but the concept is similar to what has been done here for several years. The idea is to continue this project. The bottom line is to take advantage of all the good things.

“I’ve always liked the way Villarreal play. They have always been an organised side and I like that because they know their own game.

“I’m here to bring things that I believe we can improve upon. My ideas go well with what is already here.

 “We have a balanced squad with several players in each position. Yes, we are aware of unexpected injuries up front, but I’m delighted with the group.

“It’s very important for the club to be in the Champions League, but I’ve not seen any anxiety about that. The feeling in the dressing room is very good.

 “It’s true we only have one striker available but we won’t be experimenting. It’s important for the players we have to adapt. I’m sure what I ask of them they will do well.

“Despite the injuries, I think we have enough to get through this play-off against Monaco,” he concluded.

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