Olympic Football Tournaments Athens 2004 - Men

Olympic Football Tournaments Athens 2004 - Men

11 August - 28 August 2004

Olympic Football Tournaments 2004 - Men

Bielsa: "In football there can be pleasure as well as pain"

After the criticism Marcelo Bielsa received following Argentina's shock first-round exit at the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ few would argue that he must be pretty thick-skinned. But although the studious coach claimed he did not cry when the albiceleste won their first ever Gold at the Olympic Football Tournament, the South American was visibly moved when answering questions in the post-match press conference.

On whether he cried:

No (pause) but I'm very happy, and my joy is proportional to the importance of this event. To be Olympic champion is something huge. I've been criticised before, but it's part of professional football. Today, I'm just enjoying the moment.

On goals and future glory:

With the number of chances we had, we should definitely have scored more goals today.  We have the team to play an attacking system and through the finals, our average was nearly three goals per game - and that's quite satisfying!

I don't know if this team will be the one for 2006, that World Cup is still far away and I can't make any prediction about the future. But talking of the present, this success is important for the Argentinian people and we're proud to bring them back the gold medal and to give them a little bit of joy in their lives.

On the 10am kick off:

I was not disappointed by the kick-off time, but I don't really understand how such a big game can be played then. The human being is not used to make efforts at 10am and I told the authorities I was not happy because it's also my job to protect players. Today it was not a major factor in the game but everybody knows it's a bad thing for our sport.

On South American victory, Copa America:South America is doing well simply because we have lots of talented players. But I think it's also a question of generation. A few years ago, Africa was doing well in youth categories and now it's our turn.

I was not on the podium because the medals are for the players. But I want to share this victory with all the players, including the ones who played in the Copa America. My thoughts are with them now.

On the future and the past:

No, it's not a turning point in my career. It's an important moment, but I think you have to look forward, not in the past. Of course this victory will have positive consequences, but we still have to look forward.

The failure at the World Cup is part of the pitfalls of the game. In football there's pain but also pleasure. Today, I'm happy but in order to be in control you have to do hold your emotions.

On their performances in general during the tournament:

I think we played well against Serbia and Tunisia. It was tough against Australia. We played nice football against Costa Rica and I believe we'll remember the game against Italy for a long time. Apart from a spell in the middle of the game today, we played pretty well most of the time.

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