Marcelino García Toral

‘El Míster’ visits Marcelino

The coach spoke for a long time with Álvaro Benito about his method and style of management. He reviewed the joys and disappointments that have shaped his time on the bench.

Marcelino García Toral was the second protagonist of the programme ‘El Míster’ (Movistar Plus+), hosted by Álvaro Benito. After the first episode, dedicated to Mauricio Pochettino, it was time to take a closer look at the Asturian coach’s methodology, who welcomed Álvaro to his homeland.

“I was a midfielder who could play on both wings and on the inside. I liked to play more on the inside. I was more offensive than defensive,” said Marcelino about his time as a player. As a Real Sporting player, he played against Arrigo Sacchi’s Milan in the UEFA Cup. The helplessness he felt against a team ahead of their time would serve as inspiration to develop his model.

Marcelino’s trajectory as a coach started at the Les Caleyes stadium in Villaviciosa. There, he spoke to Álvaro Benito about his difficult beginnings and his first great joy: promotion to Segunda B with CD Lealtad in 1998.

El 4-4-2 as a sign of identity

“I think it’s the system that allows you to have a correct organisation and that needs less specificity in the profiles of the players that occupy the different positions”, reasoned Marcelino when asked about the 4-4-2, the system that has marked his path through the benches. “I like dynamic football; to be balanced and at the same time, through combinative play, look for spaces to progress and finish,” he continued.

  Through a leadership based on sincere dialogue with his players, García Toral has built a path full of successes, but also dotted with some disappointments. The biggest, missing out on promotion to the first division with Sporting in 2004. He spoke about all of this in ‘El Míster’, where there was also room for self-criticism and reflection on his brief spell at Sevilla: “When you take on a new project you have to be absolutely convinced that the players and the squad you have are the right ones to make it a success”.

Thorough analysis of the opposition 

One of Marcelino’s obsessions when preparing for a match is to achieve a thorough knowledge of the opposition, in order to give the right tools to his players. Together with Álvaro, he reviewed the plan he designed against Busquets and Messi for the 2019 Copa del Rey final. Valencia would emerge victorious from that duel, as Athletic Club did from the 2021 Super Cup final against FC Barcelona.

On the negative side of the scale, the two cup finals lost with Athletic, the first of which was a particularly painful memory, against Real Sociedad. “They had that game as the game of their careers,” he declared in reference to his players.