7m - Manolo Cadenas: “I'm open to handball, and my goal is always to win“

Manolo Cadenas

Meshkov Brest coach Manolo Cadenas is the guest of our newest 7m interview. He shared with us his opinion about the League, coaching career and a bit more...

In recent years in club handball, coaches from Spain became popular and successful. They are everywhere, from Vive Kielce, Telekom Veszprém, PSG, Vardar, Pick Szeged... What is the secret behind the success and dominance of Spanish coaches?
When we talk about Spanish coaches and their success across Europe we have to start from the time when there was a financial crisis in Spain and many people went abroad. Then more and more coaches started to leave and started working in other clubs outside of Spain. We had a very good school for coaches, and many good teachers. This is due to the fact that at one point in Spain, we had the best world players, playing. The competition among the clubs was rising and everyone wanted to be the best. We took what was good from other handball schools from the Balkans, from Russia, Sweden, Belarus and we analysed that and we tried to improve it.

Do you communicate with other coaches and help each other with information, since there is almost no league without a Spanish coach?
The great characteristic of Spanish coaches is the analysis. We want to perfect it to the maximum, so we have a lot of time we spend watching videos, preparing for the opponents and pay attention to very fine details. And of course we communicate with each other and exchange experiences.

How much time do you need to prepare for a match?
Depends on the opponent. For example, if we play against Vardar then it is easier because you will play against a top team, they know the sport, so when you have such an opponent it is always easier to prepare because you know what players know and how they would react in a situation. And of course, it takes a lot of time to analyse the team, the individuals, their behaviour.

How satisfied are you with what Meshkov Brest have done so far? You've played with a lot of oscillations, but now you have a good series?
I'm not happy, because it's hard to ever be happy, especially when you lose a lot of matches. But now we are still in competition and we are alive, so we have worked well. This is my first season in Brest. And of course, it takes time. We could have played better. We started well in the preparations, and at the start of the EHF Champions League, but then the defeats came. Now I think we are in a better situation. For example, we play with Flensburg in 1/8 finals and have a chance. In the SEHA - Gazprom League we are also close to the Final 4, and the same in the domestic championship.

How difficult is it to motivate the players and the team in the situation when playing in the home championship where you dominate, then in the Champions League and the SEHA – Gazprom League?
This was a new experience for me. In the home championship we play with teams that are much weaker than us, in the SEHA - Gazprom League and in the Champions League with teams that are sometimes even stronger than us. That's why we have 25 players. We need to be ready for SEHA and Champions League. We have to play many matches. Players often change because they need to be combined for all the competitions we play in. And these frequent changes sometimes do not allow us to make progress.

You have players from different countries. How difficult is it to build a good mosaic and make a team that will work? Having different cultures and different mentalities in mind.
It's harder than ever. It's always a challenge for me to fit this, but if you choose the team then it's easier. In a situation where you do not select the team then it's harder. You have a different mentality, many languages, a difficult way of communication. But now we are playing much better.

Sports and coaching life is marvellous. Have you ever thought that you would be a coach in Belarus?
I'm open to handball, and my goal is always to win. I love handball, and it's always interesting. Now I'm in Belarus. This situation helps me to get better. It's interesting to me how to achieve good results in a different way.

How much did you know about the SEHA - Gazprom League before coming to Meshkov?
I knew quite a lot because I watched the matches and I had my former players. When I was in Argentina because of the time difference, I could watch many games on TV. I knew a lot, and this league is interesting and has very strong teams.

You're close to qualifying for the Final 4 of the SEHA – Gazprom League. Meshkov Brest are constantly among the four teams, have but never won it. What is the missing piece for the team to become champions?
There were always good players in the team. First, we need to qualify. It's not easy, especially playing against the likes of PPD Zagreb, Vardar, NEXE. I think Tatran Presov have a chance, but it's still open. The favourites are Vardar, but others are not far away.

Now, four seasons in a row Meshkov Brest qualified for the Top 16 of the Champions League. Do you think you can make a breakthrough?
Of course. This season we have a chance. Last year we also played in the Top 16, but now we have to try to make a breakthrough. Last year we were eliminated by Nantes, now we play with Flensburg. Our focus should be fully on that match with Flensburg.