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Friday, January 22, 2016

Francesco Guidolin: "The Pozzo's at Watford didn't want me."

Image credit: Roberto Vicario.
Francesco Guidolin in 2011 at

A UK-based journalist for La Gazzetta dello Sport, Stefano Boldrini, conducted a concise but detailed interview with the new Swansea City boss, Francesco Guidolin. I will provide a few excerpts of key points.

Discussion Items:

1. On other opportunities during his 18-month break.
2. On his ties to the Pozzo Family and why he didn't go to Watford.
3. On if stress is his main enemy and the secret of his career.
4. On Swansea's current situation.
5. On his initial impact and approach.
6. On what he left back in Udine.

"A of period of rest didn't spoil me but the call to sport is always strong."

"Guidolin's career began once again on Monday: He signed the contract, took the ritual photographs and then at Liberty Stadium watched Swansea City versus Watford. The "Swans" won, 1 to nil. His presence brought good things even if after the match, Williams, his new captain, admitted, 'We didn't know who Guidolin was and had to Google him'."

1. On other opportunities during his 18-month break:

"I never felt abandoned by Italian football and would like to thank everyone who contacted me during this time. I, however, preferred to wait because I wanted to experience another foreign experience. At the end of day, the wait was rewarded. I knew it would not be easy because on an international level, I'm not famous. But my agent, Frank Trimboli, did a great job to find this opportunity and bring me to Swansea."

Translator's Note: Mr. Guidolin spent a season abroad with AS Monaco about 10 years ago.

2. On his ties to the Pozzo Family and why he didn't go to Watford:

"I truly don't know why. I believe that I did extraordinary work in Udine. I made it understood that I would have liked to work at Watford even if they were playing in the Championship. But they selected other managers. Seeing their results, first the promotion and now good form in the Premier League, they were proper choices."

3. On if stress is his main enemy and the secret of his career:

"It's my strength and weakness. Stress takes and also gives something to you. When you are engaged 24/7, results arrive sooner or later. And it's the secret of my career. But at the same time, it can wear you out."

4. On Swansea's current situation:

"The initial signals are encouraging. I was struck by the outpouring of support (upon his arrival). I found an extremely cordial environment. The first half versus Watford demonstrated our best football in recent times. I have been studying Swansea for over a month and I'm convinced that the basics are there to work well."

5. On his initial impact and approach:

"I don't want to come in over the top and I don't intend to upset daily routines. I trust in my sensibilities and humane qualities: Good manners, calmness, and kindness. Little by little, I'll introduce new rules, both on and off the pitch, but without producing traumatic shocks.

I'll try to introduce taking care of the details which are those that make the difference: Attention, concentration, intensity with a clear signal of good football."

6. On what he left back in Udine:

"The results have been written: Four times out of five, I took Udinese to Europe and on two occasions, we made it as far as the preliminary round of the UEFA Champions League. However, I believe my best contribution was to give something to the club that it was missing: A humane touch.

I contributed to create a more welcoming environment in a club full of foreigners. In the first season, I presented a gift of a Christmas tree that made the team's restaurant a little more intimate. The next year, I had written 'Merry Christmas'  on the windows with adhesive tape in all of the languages of our foreign players. I often hosted dinners for the footballers, above all for the single guys, to give them a taste of home. I changed the preseason training site by choosing one at a hotel in the city centre to bring the team right in the middle of its fans. These are the things of which I'm proudest of."

Italian source: La Gazzetta dello Sport: Guidolin vola in Premier con Swansea. "Il Watford dei Pozzo non m'ha voluto,",20 Gennaio 2016, Stefano Boldrini.

Steve Amoia is a freelance writer and translator based in Washington, D.C. He is the publisher of World Football Commentaries since 2006 and published The Soccer Translator from 2008 to 2015. 

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