Jienense Juan Cortés takes 11 Deportivo from the basement to the rooftop

Juan Cortés (Jaén, 1983) is one of those Spanish coaches who think that the end justifies the means. That's why he never thought twice about packing. He has worked in Spain, Thailand, Mexico, Paraguay, Japan, Vietnam and El Salvador, where after a bitter stage in Independiente de San Vicente he has achieved the desire of every technician: the reins of a project. After finishing the opening opening, 11 Sports He gave him the bench. The Andalusian made more than a dozen signings and three months later he is leader of the Clausura.

“Nobody imagined that after 10 days we could go first, but we have gone from being surprise to reality. Being a surprise lasts two or three games, but 10? We have already played against all the greats and we are still leaders. We are going to make a great tournament“, Cortes admits to AS. The first position, the Spanish recognizes,” is the reward for all the work done. “Juan Cortés prioritized the sports section over the economic one. A condition? Create a template in his image and likeness: “We arrived at a team with 20 players who had made 14 points. They weren't bad, but we had to change the costumes. In two or three weeks we formed a young and quality team. “

“The townspeople say they haven't seen the stadium like this since 1996, when they reached the semifinals”

Juan Cortés

When the Clausura started, 11 Deportivo had five points of disadvantage in the accumulated table -the descent is decided by adding the points of the two short tournaments-. He currently sees the red lantern in the rearview mirror and dreams of playing the play-offs for the title. “Now we feel the pressure, but there is also a lot of enthusiasm. The townspeople say that they didn't see the stadium like this since 1996, when they reached the semifinals. We have aroused their interest in football, it is something that shows when you take a walk. No they leave you. They stop you and invite you to barbecues, but I can no longer meet so many requests, “jokes Cortes, who they insist on comparing with Guardiola:”Everyone wants to hear that I look at Pep, but it's a lie. I like its methodology, but I also try to learn from Mourinho, from Klopp … I take what interests me most from each coach and try to adapt it to my needs. “

The Andalusian, who chain 13 years working outside of Spain, recognizes that being alone more than 8,000 kilometers from home allows him to “dedicate 24 hours a day to football.” “My family here is my coaching staff,” adds Juan Cortés, to whom living with Salvadorans, Argentines and Mexicans has changed the accent: “You have to change the intonation of words. My family no longer recognizes me when I speak.” The Spanish equals the level of soccer in Salvador “to that of a large Second B team”: “They need to improve the tactical part, but they have surprised me positively.” Missing, yes, improve infrastructure. “There are stadiums that do not have the necessary lighting for television and have to play the games at three in the afternoon. The heat at that time is hellish,” he says.