With the winter break well underway, we took the time to catch up with Mons Calpe and Gibraltar U21 midfielder Graeme Torrilla to get his thoughts on the season so far for club and country.
Mons Calpe have underperformed this year, finding themselves eighth after nine games, with only four points separating them and the bottom two sides. We asked Torrilla to assess the season for both his time and himself individually: “I don’t think we got off to the best of starts as a team and weren’t able to perform to the best of our abilities. On a personal note I feel like I am improving each game and look forward to the rest of the season. Also hoping the team can achieve more in the 2nd part of the season.”
Despite being eighth, the competitiveness of the league across most of the teams means that they are only six points off third, which would potentially seal a Europa League spot, while they start their Rock Cup run against Lions next month. The Gib U21 captain fancies his sides chances of pushing for Europe under new management in the second half of the season: “I think we can definitely push for a European spot. Not only because there are many games left but because we have the squad to do so.”
Speaking of new management, Mons parted company with Albert Ferri, after just the nine games. In the time since doing this interview, he was replaced by experienced Argentinian manager Luis Manuel Blanco, who has 27 years’ experience across three continents. Torrilla was honest about his old manager and why it perhaps didn’t work for him: “I think there could be several reasons for things not working out for him. Apart from the team underperforming it could also be the way he wanted to work which didn’t suit both the league and the players in which he worked with.”
The Mons Calpe midfielder made news both in Gib and abroad, as he captained and scored the winner for the U21’s against Macedonia, Gibraltar’s first competitive football win at any level. The U21’s play their next two qualifiers in March, but with the added bonus of playing at the Victoria Stadium and not in the Algarve, albeit where they secured their win last year. Torrilla agrees with the positives of returning home: “After our win vs Macedonia I believe we will only be looking to achieve the same, if not more. Not in terms of results even though it would be brilliant to win other games, but the performances we give as a team. To be playing in the Victoria is also a massive positive for us as we will have a lot more support and feel more comfortable playing in our home nation.”