mopoz: "We are able to give the people the Movistar Riders that they want"
After advancing from the IEM Cologne Play-in with a stunning victory over Vitality, Movistar Riders' Alejandro "mopoz" Fernández-Quejo Cano spoke to HLTV about the Spaniards' inspired run in the past week.
Just last weekend, ESL Challenger Valencia saw its home team, Movistar Riders, take the competition by surprise. Beating Outsiders in the grand final after a closely-contested series, the pride of Spanish Counter-Strike became the first from their country to win an international event of that stature, replicating the sort of peak that saw them go 5-0 in ESL Pro League earlier this year.
Just two days later the Riders turned up at IEM Cologne with the momentum behind them, and they've kept up an impressive level in the Play-in stage. With wins over MIBR and Vitality, featuring some big comebacks on the CT side in both series and a dominant Overpass display against the world's No. 5 team, the Spaniards have advanced to the group stage and look to keep up that form moving forward.
After the successful first day in Germany, mopoz gave an interview to HLTV, talking about the team's sudden upswing, finally getting a big win against Outsiders, and the dominant defensive halves Movistar Riders put together on their journey to the main phase in Cologne.
I wanted to go back to your win in Valencia. Not only doing it on home soil but also becoming the first Spanish team to win an international event, how much did that mean to you?
It means a lot because we have been fighting for this all of our lives, we are fighting for it and reaching the goals that we wanted for this year. We didn't expect to win the tournament, to be honest. We knew that, if we are confident and play our game, sometimes everything clicks and we're capable of doing those things, but we didn't expect to do that. Being the first Spanish team to win an international event means we are on the map, that people need to know we are a really good team. I hope that in the future we are going to have more talents in Spain to create a better environment and other teams that could be playing in tier three-two tournaments. Right now it's difficult, but I think we are capable of doing it.
After your run at ESL Pro League you dipped in results, especially when going up against the tier-one teams, is that why you didn't feel confident that you could win in Valencia? How important was it to get that result to see you can still do it?
It was really, really important. We're getting used to playing tier-one teams. In the past, we were fighting against them just a couple of times, but nowadays we are facing them almost every single week. We were struggling a lot because we're not used to it, but right now we're confident. Like I told you, in Pro League something clicked and we just went 5-0, we are able to do it if everything works and goes well.
After you had struggled against them previously, what did you think about getting that win against Outsiders at the end of that run?
It was super beautiful, very beautiful, because as you said we lost a lot of different times against them, and we were saying like 'okay, guys, this is going to be the final, we are in front of our own crowd, and we have to do right now.' Every time we faced them it was like 16-14, something like that, and we knew we could do it, and since YEKINDAR was not there anymore, because he's a monster, we got the chance to do it. We wanted to make them lose.
How much did it do for your confidence? Coming here, you just seem like a different team again.
Yeah (laughs). When we are confident we just play the same way we play while we are practicing. To be honest, when we're at home, chilling and just playing practice, we just smash almost every single team. That's why we play in the same way and everything works for us. We are able to give the people the Movistar Riders that they want, the one that can fight for the titles, and the one that can fight to reach playoffs.
It's been thanks to a few big CT sides that you've seen success here again, on Ancient against MIBR earlier today, and of course on both Vertigo and Overpass against Vitality. What is it about your CT sides, that you're so good there but often fall behind on the T side?
It's because we have lot of things on the CT sides to fight against the Ts. Whatever they do we have a solution for it, so it's usually our best side because we have solutions for almost everything. As T, it's a moment where you have to take a lot of risks, take a lot of initiative, and in that way it's hard because that is where the experience is super important. We're trying to get it right now, so I think in the future we are going to be performing better on the T sides, but maybe we're going to struggle a little bit more on CT sides. The CS is always the same, when you reinforce the T side you are going to struggle on the CT, and the opposite, but if we just find the balance it's going to be really good for us.
Did you expect such a big win on Overpass against Vitality, historically not your biggest strength in the map pool?
To be honest, yeah, we were super confident about that. As I told you, for example Overpass is the map where it doesn't matter what happens, in practice we are always getting 12 or 13 rounds as CT. And in the last tournaments that we've played we were getting like six, seven, eight, and we're like 'guys, it's super difficult, this side, we need to play the same way, we need to get the 12 rounds we always do.' And today we got it, so we were super happy with that.
Heading into the rest of the event, it's a new stage, a different level of competition again, how confident are you that you can make it deep?
It depends on the opponents, of course (laughs). If we just play one of the best teams in the world, it's going to be super hard, but anyway we're going to focus game by game, round by round, and give everything that we have just to make people enjoy our games and support us even more.