Just a few years ago Mikel San Jose was a fan favorite at the San Mamés and playing at such a high level that he was called up regularly to compete with the Spain National Team. Things have taken a turn since then and this season has seen the midfielder’s form take a major dip. Whether it is due to Kuko Ziganda’s system or injuries, it’s clear that the 28-year-old just hasn’t been the same. He recently gave a press conference and was quick to point out that he is an optimist and believes that Athletic still has something to play for.
“This team has earned the right to be trusted. Hope and enthusiasm will not be missing and we have to start by winning against Celta. What happens that day at the San Mamés will decide the rest of our season. We have games left to change things. We can’t erase what has been done so far, but we can improve our situation. I am an optimist and those of us here work hard with the intention of improving and putting the club in the best place. This season has not been what we wanted and the results haven’t been like the last years. We have to adapt and know that years like this can also happen.”
San Jose went on to say that he supports fans expressing their displeasure with the club and letting their feelings be known. He also said that Kuko Ziganda is still coaching with enthusiasm despite reports claiming that he will be relieved of duties at the end of the season in just a few months.
“This season is similar to the last year under Bielsa. Our position in the League was similar and it is true that we had options to rise to seventh place. We hope that it will be similar this time. The fans have every right to express themselves and let us know how they feel. There should be no problem with expressing themselves. Ziganda? He’s calm and has the same enthusiasm and energy as the first day. When your dream is to manage this team and things don’t go as you want them to, it’s clear that it is a complicated situation. He knows that we still have a lot to do and we can achieve those goals.”
With nine games remaining Athletic Club currently sit eight points off of seventh place in the La Liga table. Mathematically they can still qualify for European competition but they will need a lot of help. As San Jose said in his press conference, next weekend’s match against Celta Vigo will be the jumping off point for the rest of the season and will dictate how things will play out moving forward.