Athletic Club is currently enjoying the international break with only three players away on duty. Following Wednesday’s training session, Mikel San Jose took the stage to speak to the press and was immediately asked if he feels like the Lions are heavy favorites in their upcoming game against Osasuna.
“No, not at all. Nowadays many things are taken for granted and then you lose to APOEL. Like with APOEL we have to give respect to every opponent, especially Osasuna who will always be up for this game. They are also in a difficult situation and need points from every game. Teams that think wins are guaranteed often don’t prepare well or perform well. We are four points away from fifth so we must keep adding points to reach the same goals as last year.”
Moving on, the midfielder said that the team is feeling much better and are happy with how they have been playing. However, San Jose believes that he can play better than he has this season.
“The feeling lately, especially on the road, have been much better and have given us optimism. We played a great game against Real Madrid and deserved something from it. We are getting more points and playing better away from home. We are aware of what things have been like and the win two weeks ago was big. It was very important for us to win at the Anoeta. We weren’t obsessed with getting a road win, everyone wants to win on the road. Maybe the team is better now too. I don’t not think I played a bad level during the season, but I do know that I can do better.”
In closing, San Jose was asked about the possibility of manager Ernesto Valverde leaving when the season concludes. He admitted that it is Valverde’s decision to make and that he will continue to strive for the same goals at Athletic regardless of the decision.
“We want him to stay, but it is his decision. If he leaves I would still come to Lezama every day to train and prepare the same for games. The goal would be the same. It’s the coaches’ personal decision to make.”
San Jose trained with his teammates on Wednesday for the first half of practice then with Aritz Aduriz and trainer Javier Clemente for the second half. The midfielder had been dealing with some ligament damage and the club is taking things easy with him while the international breaks gives them the time to be cautious.