Oscar Pareja, Nigel Clough, Paul Bravo
Courtesy Derby County

Pareja praises Derby and Arsenal managers on return from England

Commerce City, Colo. - Oscar Pareja and Paul Bravo jumped right back into work less than 16 hours after arriving from a 10 day trip to England. Pareja was back at his office at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Wednesday morning, while Bravo flew straight to Arizona to attend the adidas MiCoach seminar for MLS Technical staffs.

"First, I want to say acknowledge how grateful we are for the professionalism and the manner in which the staff at Derby County treated not only myself and Paul, but also our players," Pareja told ColoradoRapids.com. "(Manager) Nigel (Clough) and (executive) David (Leatt) and the entire club were maginificent with us. And the same with Arsenal. We spoke for some time with (Manager) Arsene (Wenger) and (Chief Executive) Ivan (Gazidis), and they were great."

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Pareja and Bravo took full advantage of the 10 days to attend either training sessions or matches every day they were in England, including Derby's rivaly match against Leeds United and the Manchester United versus Manchester City clash.

"We saw a lot of football, observed many training sessions, and were able to engage in conversation with the managers that run those clubs," he said. "It was a very special visit."

Players often comment how they always keep learning, regardless of what they've achieved. The same is true for coaches.

"We as managers live the same pressures, the same challenges, and the same difficulties," Pareja said of his discussions with Clough and Wenger. "It doesn't matter if it's in England, or South America, in MLS, or first or second division. Coaches live a constant pressure in finding ways to get our teams ahead."

"There, I was able to see how they manage their training sessions and their teams. With Nigel, I really liked the freshness with which he manages his group and his practices. With Arsene, I was impressed with his openess towards us. We talked about the different aspects of his club, maybe spending a bit more time talking about the midfield play and such."

Entering his second year at the helm of Colorado, Pareja has high praise both managers he met.

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"These are coaches that have been doing this for some time, so it was really nice to see how open they are to discussing their teams and methodologies," Pareja said.

Wenger has been Arsenal's manager since 1996. Cough, 46, followed his father's footsteps in leading Derby County. where he's been manager since 2008.

Pareja said the Derby staff was also impressed with the four Rapids players - Andre Akpan, Tony Cascio, Chris Klute, and Martin Rivero - who had a simultanous training stint with the Rams while Pareja was in England.

"They worked very hard," Pareja said of the quartet. "The commentaries we received were that the four adapted very well. I think it was a great experience for all of them."

Pareja also said that he and Bravo interviewed a few players that might be options for the 2013 Rapids, though he wouldn't reveal names. He said he is optimistic that the positive relationship with Derby and Arsenal can potentially lead to more.

"I hope that we can possibly work something out with some type of exchange in the future."