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08.02.2011, 09:30◄ last page     

Renovalia Ciudad Real returns to several competitions with a tight schedule.

Cañellas: “February – a very hard month”

After the World Championships in Sweden, last year’s EHF FINAL4 participant Ciudad Real returns to the VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League with a new face and the same challenges.

The tall Ukrainian line player Olexandr Shevelev has arrived to Spain from the Russian team Zarya Kaspiya to replace Egor Evdokimov, who left the Quijote Arena some weeks ago.

The atmosphere at Renovalia Ciudad Real is good. The Frenchmen Luc Abalo and Didier Dinart returned very happy after becoming World Champions, also the Spanish national team players came back satisfied with their bronze medals.

Swedish national team player Jonas Källman returned injured from the tournament in his home country. Coach Talant Dujshebaev will not be able to count on his left winger for the next month.

Renovalia Ciudad Real’s first game this year was very hard, the reigning Spanish champions suffered to beat Antequera in the ASOBAL league. On Wednesday they return to the VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League where they play host to St. Petersburg HC (RUS) in a postponed game. ehfCL.com talked to back court player Joan Cañellas about the upcoming match.

ehfCL.com: The World Championship is over and a complicated month awaits your team. How does that feel?

Joan Cañellas: It is hard to come back. For several weeks we were concentrating on the national team and in the end we reached our objective. We were very tired but very happy. After a situation like that it is difficult to just return to the ordinary life. In the club we have different challenges, different work, different systems. Adapting to that is complicated, but it is our job.

ehfCL.com: Why did you have to fight so hard for the victory in the ASOBAL match against Antequera?

Joan Cañellas: It is true, we suffered more than expected. Antequera is a complicated team to play. They had a very good game, but in second half we established a good level. We were aware that there is no place for mistakes in this competition, and we did not fail.

ehfCL.com: The VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League is back. What are your thoughts about the next game against St. Petersburg?

Joan Cañellas: We must win this game, because we want first place in Group D. The game is a home game for us, which is very positive, as we are quite tired of travelling. Also our fans will support us. In our first encounter in Russia, we managed to beat them, so this game can help us to improve.

ehfCL.com: February looks like a hard month for Renovalia Ciudad Real…

Joan Cañellas: It is a very hard month for us. We face quite some travel and very important games. Those will be decisive to stay in every competition. We will have a hard game in Flensburg soon. That match could already enable qualification to the next round on the first place. Due to the tight schedule, we can’t think a lot ahead into the future, we need to go step by step.

ehfCL.com: How would you describe your new team-mate Olexandr Shevelev?

Joan Cañellas: He is really motivated and happy. For him it is a difficult situation because he neither speaks Spanish nor English. Coach Dujshebaev can communicate with him in Russian but for us it is not so easy. We try to make sure that he is very happy, so that he will work very hard. He is a strong defender and I am sure that he will give important game input in the future when he has adapted to his new club.

VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League 2010/11, Group Phase, Round 7
Wednesday 09 February 2011, 20:00 hrs (local time)
Renovalia Ciudad Real (ESP) vs. St. Petersburg HC (RUS)

TEXT: Fernando Urra Goñi

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