Juande Ramos: A serious student who knows how to make his point

Juande Ramos's former goalkeeper at Seville, Andres Palop, tells Pete Jenson Spurs can expect a calm communicator well-versed in English game
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The Independent Football

When Juande Ramos turned up at Seville two-and-a-half seasons ago, dressing-room rituals were already well in place – the players used to shout together at the top of their voices just before taking to the pitch.

Ramos's former goalkeeper at Seville, Andres Palop, revealed that he did not attempt to change the practice, despite the fact that it might not have appealed to the manager's sense of calm and order.

Instead, Ramos let the players have their primal scream but made sure they had received an in-depth, one-to-one briefing before-hand so that the team knew what they had to do once they were out on the pitch.

"Every club has its own habits and customs," Palop said. "When he arrived here the players already had our pre-match preparation. We would have a group shout to get everyone fired-up before we went out to face the opposition,

"He came in and he respected that, but he also made sure he did his thing, which is to talk to the players. He talks a lot in the dressing room. He talks both before the players go out to warm up and before the game.

"He talks with each individual player about what they need to be doing on the pitch," Palop added. "He tries to let each individual know exactly what they are going to come up against during the match. And he knows what they are likely to come up against because he has studied every single team."

Palop's insight into the man who turned Spanish football on its head by winning five trophies in 15 months reveals a good communicator and a serious student of the game.

Whether his ability to get his point across and to pick up knowledge on some of the Premier League's lesser-known outposts will bring success at White Hart Lane remains in question, but Palop believes it will not be a problem.

He said: "He is going to know the English league perfectly well because he has seen so many games already. He likes the idiosyncrasies of the English game, he likes the way they play the game in England and how the people follow the game there.

"He had English football at home and we would always talk about the English games that were going to be on the television and how he was going to be at home to watch them. And he will also have a network of people who will help him with any difficulties he might have."

According to Palop, provided they embrace his obsession with attacking football, the Tottenham players will have no problems working with the new man. Even Palop himself got on to the scoresheet under Ramos with a last-minute header from a corner in a Uefa Cup game against Shakhtar Donetsk in March.

The keeper added: "For all his knowledge of the opposition he knows that if we play the way he wants us to play, the opposition are going to end up a lot more worried about us than we are of them – so he doesn't dwell on their strengths.

"He normally tells us the four main 'virtues' that the other side has and we try to make sure that they don't do us any harm with any of these, but the emphasis is on us to stamp our identity on the game and play to our strengths."

To judge by Spurs' position in the league, Ramos needs to make drastic changes, as Palop admits. "He arrives with the team in a bad way – they are not winning games. They need a radical improvement.

"But he is a coach who never looks to be the protagonist – he is happy to leave that to the players. He prefers to concentrate on studying and analysing the game and he reads matches very well. Have patience with him, give him some support and I am sure that Tottenham will very soon be fighting for major honours.

"If they let him build a team that he wants to build, then with the infrastructure that Tottenham have, he can have them competing at the highest level and that means in the Champions League."

Spanish steps: Ramos's progress to White Hart Lane

* 1954 25 September – Born Juan de la Cruz Ramos in Pedro Munoz, Ciudad Real, Spain.

* 1993 After an unspectacular playing career, during which time he played for Elche, Ramos gets his first coaching role at Alcoyano. Has spells with Levante, Logrones, Barcelona's B side and Lleida.

* 1998 Moves to Rayo Vallecano and takes them into La Liga a year later. In charge for three years, reaching the quarter-finals of the Uefa Cup in 2001.

* 2001 Becomes coach of Seville giants Real Betis but lasts less than a year. After a stint with Espanyol, resurrects his career with Malaga, guiding them to 10th place in La Liga.

* 2005 Takes over at Seviile. Wins the Uefa Cup, beating Middlesbrough 4-0 in the final, in his first season. Also wins European Super Cup.

* 2007 Seville retain the Uefa Cup, beating Espanyol. They finish third in La Liga and win Copa del Rey and Spanish Supercopa.