Angel Rangel: I owe it all to Roberto Martinez
ANGEL Rangel welcomes his “football father” back to the Liberty today insisting reports of disharmony have made the Swansea City family stronger.
Roberto Martinez again returns to Swansea more than three years after his acrimonious departure to Wigan.
Tempers have cooled in the time since that switch as the seed Martinez planted continues to grow.
Swansea improved on their Championship position under Paul Sousa before Brendan Rodgers led them into the top flight.
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With the dust settled, rage has largely turned to respect as many recognise Swansea’s push for the Premier League was built on the foundations Martinez laid.
For Rangel, there was never any bitterness as the man who kick-started the right-back’s football career was also granted an opportunity to progress.
“I wasn’t angry, I just had doubts,” said the defender.
“I didn’t know who was going to come in or if I would be in his plans.
“Luckily, I have been in everyone’s plans.
“I wasn’t angry because probably I would have done the same as the manager.
“If you have the chance to improve your career and go into the Premier League, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.”
Martinez plucked Rangel from the Spanish lower leagues, offering him a crack at the full-time game.
It was an opportunity the former Terrassa man grasped with both hands, making the right-back berth his own as Swansea began to rise.
“Roberto has been my football father,” said Rangel.
“He signed me when I was in the lower divisions in Spain and for that I will always be grateful.
“He is a football man, he loves the game, and in his career as a manager he is doing great.
“So many players like him because of the way he manages.
“He was great at Swansea and I enjoyed working with him so much.”
Rangel arrived along with Guillem Bauza and Andrea Orlandi who were dubbed Swansea’s three amigos.
The trio were moving to a new league in a foreign country, but Martinez helped them adjust.
“When I first came here I didn’t really speak any English and Roberto helped me in any way he could,” Rangel remembers.
“As a manager he was very busy, but he always had a bit of time for me if I needed anything.
“He and Bussy (Bauza) made things very easy for me.
“On the pitch I didn’t have a problem, I settled very quickly, but off the pitch both of them were great.
“When you know a manager believes in you and trusts you 100 per cent, it makes things easier.”
Swansea fans travelled in their thousands for their side’s first meeting with Wigan following Martinez’s defection.
Brendan Rodgers’s side lost a League Cup tie at the DW Stadium two years ago.
The man who had captained the Swansea side that narrowly escaped relegation from the Football League was subjected to boos and hostile chanting that evening.
And from supporters that used to sing his name.
“I think Roberto did great things for Swansea,” said Rangel.
“If Swansea do well the manager will go, that’s just what happens.
“Football is like that. Some managers will stay and some will go, but we are enjoying some of the best times in Swansea’s history.
“You have to be grateful for that.”
Swansea have been fending off allegations of disharmony this week after claims some players do not see eye to eye with new boss Michael Lauderup.
Rangel insists that is not the case and reckons such suggestions have brought the squad closer together.
“There is nothing wrong within the squad,” said the 29-year-old.
“Everyone is happy. If we were playing bad football and were bottom of the table I would understand, but we’re not.
“We will stick together and look forward to the next game.
“I have never seen any signs that there is not unity within the squad.
“Everyone has always been together, but this will make us stronger.
“We all know that a win on Saturday will show everyone that these things are wrong. Hopefully that will be the case.”
Swansea face a Wigan side that have collected just five points so far and sit below them in the table.
The Latics also trailed behind Rodgers’s side at the end of the last campaign.
Gylfi Sigurdsson scored twice as Swansea won the clubs’ last encounter, and Rangel reckons there is little to choose between the teams.
“Even though they have been in the Premier League longer than us, I think this is a game we can win,” he said. “Both teams are in the same league, we are fighting against relegation and it’s a game we must not lose.
“People think it’s Wigan and we’re going to beat them, but last season it was 0-0 down here.
“They play a system with five at the back so it’s not going to be easy.
“We’re all very hungry to play at home and win at home, then hopefully all the talk of a bad mood in the camp will be gone.”
Swansea will be especially keen to pick up points as they face a run of games against Premier League heavyweights after Wigan’s visit.
Next up is a trip to play champions Manchester City before Chelsea visit the Liberty after a Capital One Cup visit to Liverpool.
Key to their chances will be shoring up a defence that has proved porous in recent weeks.
Swansea have conceded 11 goals in their last five league games and scored only four at the other end.
“We all said that Reading and Wigan were the games we had to take points from,” added Rangel.
“When you play against the top teams you have to have an amazing game and even then sometimes you don’t win.
“You don’t concede goals because the defenders are playing badly just as you don’t score goals because the strikers are playing well.
“We are a team and sometimes we have been unfortunate with individual mistakes.
“Hopefully we won’t give so many chances away and at the other end we have to score.
“We have to work on keeping clean sheets now because that is very important.”