Riga: I’ll prove the doubters wrong

Blackpool boss Jose Riga
Blackpool boss Jose Riga
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Jose Riga has broken his silence by pledging to defy the odds and keep Blackpool in the Championship this season.

It’s been a traumatic summer for the club with an extended manager search, battles battles between the manager and chairman Karl Oyston and fan protests.

But with the big kick-off just one day away, Riga has slowly but surely managed to put together a squad he feels can compete.

And after a summer of silence, the 57-year-old says the way the footballing world have written off his team actually suits him.

“We will stay up this season, I believe that,” he said.

“I know the expectations about us our poor and everyone thinks we will be relegated, but I like that.

“This makes me stronger.

“It will be difficult at the beginning, but I’ve never been relegated as a coach and I don’t intend to here.

“I’d rather win trophies.

“I know this is a long journey and will be tough, but we can’t be afraid of that.”

Riga has spent the summer battling with chairman Oyston over transfer policy and had just eight players two weeks ago.

Despite building bridges recently, relations between the pair are far from perfect.

And the manager says he’s more concerned about the club’s supporters.

Saying: “It’s just like any relationship between and manager and a chairman.

“He has his own view and I have mine.

“I just hope that in the end the club, and most of all the fans, get what they deserve.

“My main focus is to give the fans what they deserve.

“Blackpool were in the Premier League four years ago and that shows the potential here.

“I’d like to build something for the fans and for the club.”

Riga’s men travel to Nottingham Forest tomorrow for the opening day of the Championship season.

As it stands they should have a squad of 18, although doubts remain about the availability of the likes of Jose Miguel Cubero and midfielder Andrea Orlandi.

And while Riga feels they can get a result, he’s warned fans they may have to be patient at the start.

“We have eleven for the weekend, maybe even 18,” he said.

“People know the situation, I don’t have the targets I was maybe hoping for but we will start.

“We aren’t maybe in the best condition as every manager would want a normal pre-season, but we didn’t have that.

“The Championship is a long season.

“Although we may not be at our best early in the season, the most important thing is to build consistency and a team which is able to compete.

“In six weeks everything can change quickly.

“Our recruitment is far from finished, we are still looking for players.

“I go into every game thinking we can win it.

“It’s step-by-step for us now.

“We’ve had to build a new staff and squad, everything has been built from nothing.

“This isn’t the ideal situation but I have to manage it and we will try to be competitive.

“I didn’t know it would be so difficult, but I’m here to work hard and find a solution.”

Riga will have to wait another week before his Bloomfield Road home debut against Blackburn.

The Seasiders travel to Shrewsbury on Tuesday before finally playing in front of their home supporters a week tomorrow.

And the boss hopes to make Bloomfield Road a tough place to come.

He said: “We may not have the biggest stadium here, but it can be a place which is tough for opponents to come and win.

“I hope we can once again create this sort of atmosphere.

“I want a relationship between the team and the fans.”