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Guillem Balagué | 26/12/2012
AS spoke to the former Real Madrid midfielder, who is currently plying his trade in the Premier League with Queens Park Rangers.
In your first experience in England you have been thrown into a relegation dogfight. Have you had to work differently?
I've not seen many changes in our training sessions: they are very intense, we use the ball a lot and everyone is keen to work. QPR are not a typical English team, we like to have the ball, and if we can get out of the situation we are in, we have the quality to aspire to greater heights.
English football is no longer what it used to be...
It has clearly changed a lot, teams like to build from the back now. But it's vital that the Premier League retains the essence that makes it great. The intensity and pace of the game makes the football here purer and more exciting for the spectator. The arrival of lots of foreign players, of lots of Spaniards, has meant that the football is technical as well as quick.
Is the team suffering due to its insistence on having the ball?
It's not about possession, but rather about the choices you make with the ball. It's never good to take anything to extremes, and it's possible to combine a direct style of play with a more controlled style. For example, it's wrong to say that Madrid's style is the opposite to Barcelona's. Madrid can play any way they want and the way they play is the one that helps them win more games. That's how they won the league last year. Barcelona are also developing new ways of attacking, and sometimes they are more direct. At QPR we try and use both styles to make things harder for the opposition. The ideal style is the only that helps you win.
Did you learn anything in Madrid's academy which has helped you play abroad?
There are some very good coaches at Madrid who improve your potential and mould your character. It's not easy to get into the first team, nor should it be. Sometimes you have to go to another team or go abroad, but you learn from every experience you have.