Venables: El Clasico is money against education

 

Few in English football understand the pressures of El Clasico better than Terry Venables. Having spent three years managing Barcelona, in which he won a title and a league cup, he has not just navigated his way through, but triumphed in, Barcelona's unique culture.

But the hardest thing in football is to sustain success: Venables' one title came in his first year at the Nou Camp (1984-85), although the following season his side lost the European Cup final. This season, Barcelona's push for a fourth straight Spanish title is faltering. They are already three points behind Real Madrid, having played one game more. Lose tomorrow, and they could be nine points behind at Christmas.

Venables' lesson is that title-winning teams cannot lose focus in the next year. "You've constantly got to be on top of it because otherwise it slips away from you," he told The Independent.

Venables' Barcelona team were re-seeded from the club's famous youth system, having sold Diego Maradona to Napoli before the title win. "We had a lot of the boys who came through the ranks then I brought through, like Ramon Caldere, and Juan Carlos Rojo, and one or two of the others," he said. "They came through very young but also within two or three months they were playing for Spain, very quickly."

An important injury undermined Venables' second season, as they failed to retain the title but also lost the European Cup final to Steaua Bucharest. "We were unlucky," Venables explained. "Rojo, in my first year most likely the best player in the side for us, got a bad injury and that put us back."

That famous youth system has been at the heart of Barcelona's recent successes, and Venables identified it as being the heart of the difference between Barcelona and Real Madrid. "They do it differently from Real Madrid," he said. "Real Madrid just spend money on it, which is very handy until you run out of money and then you're in trouble. Every time they lose they spend £25m."

The "galactico" approach is in stark contrast to Barcelona's own method. "It's the money against the education," he said. "Big money shortcuts a lot of work; instead of working, and having coaches working for you, following the same principles [you spend money]. They've shown people, Barcelona, they don't have to spend fortunes to actually be successful. They've invested their money in the coaching teams: it's the teachers teaching the players. And when you teach them from a young age, they've shown it's like a conveyer belt for football excellence."

Venables is unworried about his former team's slow start. "It's no good just saying they've had a blip and that they're six points behind," he said. "It's more important who wins this game, to win the league. This game is going to be very, very important."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?