Luis Helguera: "Pepe Mel is doing really well"

In his unveiling today, Luis Helguera, UD Las Palmas’ new sports director, said that manager Pepe Mel “is doing really well. The president told me he was an important manager for the club. He needs to have more time to make the project successful". General manager Patricio Viñayo accompanied Helguera during the question and answer session. Helguera is at UD Las Palmas for a second spell after his previous 3-year stint when the club were in the First Division, with notable success.


05/03/2020 12:03

"This is a three year plan. I met up with the president a month ago but nothing was decided. Then when Rocco Maiorino resigned, with whom I have a good relationship, everything moved quickly. We are looking to set up a strong sports management team. The club needs to grow through its scouting, new technology and hard work. I have always felt at home working at UD Las Palmas. I don’t think we should go mad over gaining promotion, but the club should always seek to achieve the best it can", he stated. Helguera is convinced the team will finish the season strongly. "The manager is happy with his squad. I can see the team are good and the players are keen to prove themselves".

Regarding the continuity of Toni Otero as technical secretary, he said: "We met each other through football, but I have never worked with him. We will get together, assess his work and then decide". The new sports director also pointed out: "Nobody should be pressured. We will be assessing the squad and see what we need for next season".

As for the youth system, Helguera stated: "When you need reinforcements you always look downwards. I have a close working relationship with Manuel Rodríguez Tonono, and we will continue to be in close contact. The idea is to carry on promoting youth players to the first team squad".

As for the possible return of Toni Cruz, he said: "He is a friend, a benchmark and has been an important influence in my career. It is not up to me whether he returns to the club. I would like him to", he admitted. Luis Helguera reiterated that "you learn from your mistakes" when questioned about previous signings who were unsuccessful with the club in the First Division. 

"I am still in touch with those players from before. I have no problems with Aythami Artiles. He is an influential member of the squad and is important for the team both on and off the pitch, thanks to his great personality".