The international break may be in full swing, but Athletic Club has been hard at work preparing for their next league match. The Lions currently trail Villarreal and Real Sociedad by four points for the 5th place spot in the league with only 10 games left to play. Inigo Lekue took the time to address the media on Tuesday and began by discussing his joy of playing for the first team after growing up at Lezama.
“It’s the dream of every kid who is in the Cantera to reach the first team and do well. I hope to be here for many years. I am aware of the difficulty of being in the team. There is a lot of competition and I hope to continue competing this way. It will always be difficult to be in the lineup.”
Lekue then moved on to the 2-1 loss to Real Madrid last weekend. The 23-year-old said his side played a great game, but that it can’t be looked at that way because they didn’t take away any points.
“We know how these matches are. I feel like we played well, but the sad part is we deserved more. It wasn’t a good game because our goal was to win. Our fans were great against Real Madrid. We will take each game one at a time now because we have the goal of returning to Europe so we need to climb the table. Our goal is to at least finish fifth. I don’t count anyone out of the fight for Europe at this point. We will fight for Europe, Athletic deserves it. Now is the time to rest and come back stronger for Osasuna.”
In closing, Lekue highlighted Athletic’s desire to return to European competition, while also discussing the injuries to Sabin Merino and Alex Remiro. The right-back spent a lot of time with both players during their time at Lezama and Bilbao Athletic.
“It was touch to accept [the loss to APOEL]. It just wasn’t meant to be and we couldn’t turn it around. The goal of returning to Europe is something Athletic deserves every year. Sabin’s injuries? I’m looking forward to him closing out the season. It has been difficult for him, but he is a great player. He’s feeling well again and he will help us in the final matches. Remiro coming back from injury? It is definitely something to be careful with, we have to be calm and patient with him.”
Athletic Club will be back in action on 1 April when they travel to El Sadar to take on Osasuna. A win could bring them to within one point of 5th place, depending on how other matches around La Liga pan out. The Lions are undefeated in Basque Derbies this season, but have also struggled heavily on the road.