YOKOHAMA—Liga de Quito’s Argentine coach Edgardo Bauza announced that he was quitting the club at the end of the Club World Cup. While Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Manchester United in the final came as a disappointment, the former Argentina national team player nevertheless had an exceptional year with the club, steering it to a first-ever Copa Libertadores win for an Ecuadorian side.
Following are excerpts from his final Bandarq press conference as Liga de Quito boss:
Q: Despite the loss are you proud of your team?
A: I mentioned earlier that I didn’t know what would happen tonight. I am very proud of my players. Both teams came to Japan to win. We were defeated and it’s sad. We’re depressed but we know we were the underdogs. We are very happy to have come so far. It took about 20 minutes for us to get used to Manchester and the atmosphere. Some of our players played very well in the first half and overall I consider it a draw.
United went down a man and we were unable to take advantage of it. Our counterattack wasn’t effective.
Q: Did you feel you didn’t take enough risks?
A: We wanted to. I changed from four defenders to three when I brought off defender Paul Ambrosi. In the last 10 minutes we had two or three chances to score and we didn’t capitalize. I wanted speedier movement on the flanks and I changed to three defenders, which is the pattern of attack that I prefer.
Q: Your team played very bravely today and you showed that you were equal with United in many respects.
A: I think we have to analyze the game. Were we equal? I don’t think so. Our players were looking for opportunities and couldn’t. We tried to impose our style but couldn’t because of the greatness of our opponent.
Q: What was your overall strategy for today’s match?
A: Actually, our strategy was to try not to retreat too much because United, when they have the ball, always have the ability to score. In the second half I told my players to move the backline higher, but United were using three forwards and Park Ji-sung was there as well so we couldn’t do what we wanted on the pitch. I used (attacking midfielder Alejandro) Manso more in the second half to produce more of an attack.
Q: Was your team nervous today?
A: No, for the first 15 minutes we tried to stop United’s passing. They created two great opportunities to score. We had to be patient early but we struggled even harder than we expected and had a poor first half. But I thought we had more possession as the game progressed.
Q: What do you say to the people in Ecuador?
A: It’s a little complex. First, I am really satisfied to be a part of this team and to represent Ecuador here. It is really important for my career and this experience will remain with all of us. We are sad that we didn’t have enough power to win, and I thought we could make United struggle more. They are a great team and we are proud to have played them. I have finished a cycle here and am glad to end my time with the club on this note. I hope the people of Ecuador are happy with our performance.