The coach of Real Madrid, Pablo Laso, was “happy” to be in the Euroleague final, which they will play this Saturday against Anadolu Efes, after a long and complicated season in which he never doubted his team, to reach ” in a good physical and mental moment” to the option of lifting the eleventh crown for the club.

“I’ve never doubted the team. We’ve had problems, of course. It’s a very long season. I would have liked to have everyone well, but nothing in life is easy or the way you want it to be. Now we’re here, in a great position and I’m happy. I’m not talking about the past because it’s already been. We’re here,” he said at a press conference.

The Basque coach stated in the run-up to the final that he will not be able to count on Nigel Williams-Goss, his starting point guard, who was injured in the first minute of the semi-final against Barça. “Losing Nigel at the start of the match was difficult, but other players stepped up to fill that position. It always hurts to lose an important player and he won’t be able to be in the final,” he said, lamenting the player’s bad luck and a noticeable drop.

Laso, who did not rule out having a Thomas Heurtel out of the rotation last month, explained that the joy of reaching the final at the expense of Barça has to be left behind with Efes in mind. “If my players don’t understand that they only won one game yesterday and there’s another game to play tomorrow, I’ll tell them they’re stupid,” he said.

“They have told me about the legacy and tradition of what Real Madrid means. It is a historic team. As a coach I am very proud that history is written every day, not just one day. I am lucky enough to train great players but that story is what pushes us to be better,” he added.

The Whites’ coach referred to the competitive gene of his team and his way of understanding the game. “The people behind us want to win but they feel more proud of how their team works and what it transmits and that is something that makes me proud and pushes us to do things better. I am lucky to be in a great club , of being in a great team and having great players under my responsibility”, he pointed out.

“I don’t have a magic formula. I believe in the team’s work, that you have to understand each situation, things in September can be useful later on, in an important game or in a final. I believe in the evolution of the team. These games are easy for the coach, there is no need to motivate. We have to understand what we want to convey”, he added.

Laso urged them to recover their legs and prepare for the final against an Efes team that is much more than Larkin and Micic. “The first thing is to recover from yesterday’s effort. It’s normal in a Final Four. We have to see how the team is today and quickly change the chip, because you play against a different rival. I see the team well. Not today, I see it well working all season. We have arrived at a good physical and mental moment”, he affirmed.

“Efes is a great team beyond individualities. We agree that Micic and Larkin are differentials. If I put two defenders on each one, they are so good that they will find another. Last year in the fifth game of the playoff their best player was Singleton and the important triple was scored by Simon. They are one of the best players in the Euroleague but what makes them good is the attention they generate”, he concluded.