Blessin tells Blessin: from his Genoa to the idea of ​​football

He is a charged Alexander Blessin, overwhelming for his positivity, also (and above all) in training gear and still with shoes on, the one who, shortly after lunchtime, welcomes us to Villa Rostan, the beating heart of Rossoblu everyday life (with its facade under renovation). Behind the terrace, the two sports fields of the “Signorini” sports center expanded by the works a year and a half ago. A sports center that on Saturday, after two very long years, will reopen its doors to the Rossoblu fans before the very delicate match in Verona. A symbolic rebirth to say goodbye to this pandemic.

And mister Blessin is the emblem of the rebirth of the new Genoa. The air that is breathed around Pegli is one that has not been breathed for a long time. Badelj passes by and, with a joke, from inside the elevator built outside Villa Rostan, greets us during the interview. The players leave in dribs and drabs, all in a good mood. Amiri takes some pictures at the entrance with the fans present, the staff of the rossoblu coach works even after the session. In this scenario, Mr. Blessin welcomes us, eyeglasses put on and the desire to express his genius even in front of some passer-by-fans who pass under the bridge of Villa Rostan. He looking out, them below. A scream and it’s “Come on Genoa!“.

Describe Blessin and his style of play

“I don’t want to be an open book for everyone. We have many opponents and I want to play with high intensity, with a good mentality in front of the ball and with courage during the match. Football is a sport of many mistakes and when you are sorry for making one, you are always in a bad position. That’s why what makes football interesting is playing with a lot of courage and saying “ok, I made a mistake”, but moving forward, fighting for the next goal. This is what I am working on ”.

Your relationship with the players?

“You should ask the players. I don’t know, but I want to have a good relationship with them, talk to them, often on the pitch. I was also a player, but not one of the best and right now what they think on the pitch is always important to me. For this reason I often go to the players to talk to them, I look them in the eye: every player at this moment is a single player ”.

Can your innovative ideas do well in this sick Italian football, which has once again come out of the World Cup?

“For my part, I watched Italy during the European Championship and it was extraordinary how they played. I have seen some games, I have followed them, and it was good to see them play. Now Italy and its fans are not at the World Cup. For me it is horrible because I thought that I could celebrate the next World Cup with the Italians, enjoy good matches. Something has gone wrong in the last two years: we won the European Championship and we didn’t qualify for the World Championship. Certainly, then, some important players have been missing in the last few games such as Bonucci, Chiellini, Chiesa. At this moment we are a bit far away, but I think there are other players of Italian football who, together with Mancini and with intelligent people to reflect on what they are doing wrong, can come back stronger than before “.

In modern football, are those who are not fast and physical excluded?

“When I look at the Champions League I see high intensity matches, also played by the top teams in England and the Premier League, and you need physical strength and power to play them. This combined with individual play leads to expression at high levels “.

The game system is relative. Are individual plays, markings, insertions, game combinations more important to you?

“The most important thing is that you see a team on the pitch. May you see the character of each player, that no one is above the team: everyone must fight for the team and give everything. This organization with respect to the ball, as I said, is very important. When we talk about compactness, how to play individually and creatively, clearly these moments are needed to score goals. Combining them takes you, I think, to a high level ”.

Are the players’ schemes more important? Or not?

“I think that when you have individual qualities like those of Ronaldo or Messi, they can certainly solve matches for you. But when you work with the whole team, the chance of you winning the game, through this organization, is higher than by relying on just one person. I think that by placing a responsibility on more shoulders than on those of a single quality player, the chances of winning a game are higher. They are taller acting as a team ”.

What is the best coach? The one that makes the most of what he has in the squad or the one who knows how to best adapt what he has in the squad to his tactical creed?

“A great question. I am looking for the answer. I think that those who are successful, who are good, are successful when they win games, develop young players and bring them to a high level. Football is a very fast business: to be honest, when you lose ten games in a row, you can’t work well with the boys and you get sacked. Football is a sport of results. I think one is a good coach when he combines everything. For me it has always been like this: I like to work with young players because in many cases they are open-minded, but for me in this case I really like to work with experienced players too because you always get a response from working with them. When you are available, it is very pleasant to have the experience of talking to them about this: the main discussion is always not to talk about young or old players, but about good players or bad players. If there is a willingness to bring one’s quality to the pitch, then it doesn’t matter if a player is old or young. When it comes to young players, they are more open to news and when it comes to training intensity and recovery. Young players can quickly adapt to the new situations they can often find in a club ”.

Mister Blessin, what is it the secret of the regeneration of almost absent players in the previous 22 games played?

“For sure, when we talk about intensity of play, always playing with a full tank is not possible, no one can run 15 kilometers in a match. There is a need for recovery stages. In these cases, you have to recover with the ball. You have to find a good combination between this power kick and these recovery phases. At this particular moment we don’t have to do slow races just to recover: I always want high intensity with or without the ball. Then you have to find moments of the match in which to recover ”.

You and your staff you are true team tactics professionals, have you prepared eight tactically perfect races on the strengths and weaknesses of the opponents?

“It’s never just my job, but everyone’s job, from players to staff, from match analysts to collaborators up to Spors. When we get together, we have the same vision on how to play. And in a club it is very important to have the same way of thinking about how you want to play football. This is the first thing. We have eight games and we are certainly in a good position now to achieve something. A few weeks ago no one thought we could achieve this, now we are in the situation of saying “ok, good”. We now have eight games to play and a good chance of staying in Serie A, this is our mission. We got three points, but we didn’t achieve anything. We have to work hard to get this goal closer. A tie is always too little. Right now, when we watch every match, we see that we have had a chance to win each one, created chances and maintained a good organization. The victory against Torino was like this: points with other teams now have a little more value than before. We scored seven points in seven races, maybe others didn’t score points but got three points. We need to work on this aspect. The guys are doing a great job right now because they’re trying to bring our kind of play to the pitch. This is why they played well. But it’s never just my job, it’s the whole group’s job. There are still eight races to go ”.

For me you use Rinus Michel’s Dutch totalpressing more than German Gegenpressing. What is the difference?

“I think we have to compare them. Pressing is when I want to attack the ball first, but counterpressing (gegenpressing) is when I lose the ball. It’s how I react when I lose the ball. Some teams want to stay very narrow, lower to secure the door. And there are others who want to press immediately: and this is gegenpressing ”.

You made players and fans fall in love, but also someone like Capello …

“If this is Capello, this is me (Blessin shows with his hands the position in which he thinks Capello is in relation to him, ed). I like him as a coach, I am honored. He’s a legend and it’s hard to talk about someone like him. My job is that of a whole group and for me it is important to reach the goal, which is to stay in Serie A. It was certainly good. It sure is better than when they tell you that you are stupid (smiles, ed) or something like that. It’s always nice when you hear such things ”.

What is Genoa for Blessin?

“The feeling of having earned a second home. Normally it can be said that football is an extremely difficult activity, but I spent 8 eight years at Leipzig and it was a good time. Then I spent a year and a half at Ostenda, my first experience outside the youth sector coaching a professional club. Normally, when you arrive in one club, you don’t think that in the next one you will have the same feelings. But it all happens so quickly, I feel so welcome. At the beginning, after losing the match against Fiorentina, morale was really low. An unknown German technician arrives and everyone says: “Great misery”. Is a German coach coming to help Genoa? a big problem. But for me everything was ok and what we received from the fans in the stands, the twelfth man on the pitch, was absolutely extraordinary. It’s really nice to be able to work here ”.

Could the Spors-Blessin duo be the new duo of Italian football? Now the Genoa fans are singing “Gente di Mare”, but soon they could sing “The Most Beautiful Couple in the World” by Adriano Celentano …

“Nothing is ever bigger than the club. I love working here, but the club is always bigger than everything else. For me it’s nice to train in this great club, but don’t see me in such a great position, I’m not that important “.

Almost 2000 fans on Monday at 6pm in Verona. What message do you want to send to Genoa fans not only for the present, but also for the future?

“I’m proud. In a short period of time they bought many tickets and a second sector was opened for them to come. It is extraordinary. Come and celebrate the next game with us. The boys will give everything and try to reach the three points. Having the fans behind us, in our situation, is the most important thing “.


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