After a spell playing in Greece, José Verdú Nicolás 'Toché' (Murcia, 1st of January 1983) has returned to the Liga Adelante, a division he knows well having played in it for six seasons with five different clubs. Now in his seventh season in the championship, after signing for Deportivo de La Coruña in the January transfer window, the striker speaks with LFP.es about the Galician team’s ambitions and his own hopes ahead of this new chapter in his career.
LFP.es: What went through your head when you scored your first goal in Riazor?
Toché: To start with, after being out for so long, I didn’t know how I would play. I was delighted to score straight off the bat, that was a great way to get started and will help my confidence ahead of the matches to come.
LFP.es: You and Diogo Salomão, two of the recent signings, scored in your first match with almost no time to acclimatise…
Toché: The team was pretty solid to begin with and we came to reinforce it. The squad is full of good players and we have to work hard to get in the team, but we came here to do just that and above all else help the side get promoted to the Liga BBVA.
LFP.es: What are your own personal goals and the goals of Deportivo for the second half of the season?
Toché: The aim is to get automatic promotion. The fans and the club are pretty clear on that. My own objective is to score goals. The idea from here on is to be more consistent. We need three or four wins to widen the gap between us and the teams behind us, that way we can build a cushion ahead of the final stretch of the campaign.
LFP.es: What differences are there between the Liga Adelante this season and previous seasons?
Toché: The Liga Adelante has always been a tight championship, although compared to other years I don’t think there is a single team that is certain of promotion or of relegation yet this season. I think the fights for promotion and to avoid the drop will continue right up until the end of the season.
LFP.es: Deportivo is the best Liga Adelante side on the road, but the team is having more trouble to win at home. Why do you think that is? Is it something to do with tactics?
Toché: Deportivo is capable of beating any team home or away, although I think we do need to improve in our own stadium. The coach’s philosophy is to defend well in order to be able to attack. Defensively speaking the whole team is tuned in, from the forwards to the keeper. It’s really important to try and keep a clean sheet because chances will always come.
LFP.es: Who are your direct rivals to clinch promotion to the Liga BBVA?
Toché: Sporting Gijón, RCD Mallorca and us. It will be a fight between three or four teams. I’m not sure if Eibar will be there at the end of the season but they are a tough team to play against. No one can say what will happen until there are five games to go.
LFP.es: This weekend you take on Sporting, another team with an in-form striker in the shape of Stefan Šćepović.
Toché: This match comes at a time when we need to start beating our direct rivals for automatic promotion. Whoever wins will gain a lot of confidence ahead of the rest of the matches. We have the added advantage of playing at home, and will be going out to win after suffering a defeat in Murcia which left a nasty taste in our mouths. As for Stefan Šćepović, the stats speak for themselves, he is having a magnificent year and has been a great signing for Sporting. Hopefully he won’t score this weekend.