Markel Susaeta “We Are Motivated To Turn Things Around”
Athletic Club are currently preparing for Saturday’s match against Atlético Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano. On Thursday Captain Markel Susaeta addressed the media and immediately made it clear that the team is not afraid of being so far down the La Liga table. Everyone is focused on improving the situation and the players are standing behind their manager, Eduardo Berizzo.
“I don’t know what the word is to describe how you feel when you see yourself so far down the table. It’s a situation that no one wants but the team isn’t afraid. When you have fear you aren’t able to improve. We are motivated the reverse the situation and I see that desire from all of my teammates. Berizzo is our coach. We have to adapt to every situation that the game gives us. We are trying to control every match, although we haven’t achieved that every time. The goal is to be intense and pressure our opponents. The style is clear, but the execution needs to be better.”
Raúl García suffered a sprained left ankle during Monday’s match against Espanyol and originally looked set to miss Saturday’s game. However, Susaeta revealed that the 32-year-old was able to return to training on Thursday and he’s hopeful that his teammate will be cleared to play.
“Raúl [García] trained with everyone today and we hope he will be available for Saturday. He’s motivated and contributes a lot to the team. Character, goals, good performances…he’s very important to us. He’s had an issue with his ankle but we are hoping that he will be in the best possible condition to play this weekend.”
Susaeta is aware of the fact that Athletic have struggled against Atlético in recent years. That being said, he said that the team has high expectations and are focused on picking up points in every match. It certainly won’t be easy, but the Basques are preparing for a very difficult fixture.
“Atlético have had a great team over the last few years. They do a spectacular job defensively and they’ve made it difficult for us to score goals. It’s not going to be easy to get something positive in Madrid. We are not in a good place in the table and we have to give everything to try to earn three points at a tough field. The important thing is to work our way up the table and get away from the bottom. The team has very high expectations so it is difficult when the results aren’t there.”
In closing Susaeta took a moment to address the fact that President Josu Urrutia will not be running in the December elections. The 30-year-old believes that the last eight years have been a good time for the club and is thankful to have served under Urrutia. As a Socio, Susaeta will now participate in the voting process, but says that the players have to be focused on their matches first.
“I want to thank Josu Urrutia for everything he has done for the club. He and his board have made the decision not to run for re-election, but they have done a great job managing the club. Many of us players are Socio and we are worried about happens at the club. We will talk about it [voting in the elections] but the priority is to get points right now and climb higher up the table. I don’t know if the elections will benefit us or harm us. Right now we are focused on winning every game and we have to be better.”
This weekend’s match poses a real problem for Athletic. The Lions are desperate for points and have struggled to score goals, but will have to face off with the best defense in La Liga. Berizzo will also be without Dani García, who is suspended, and Yeray who is currently recovery from a muscle strain in his left leg. Athletic will definitely have to be at their best if they want to take something away from the game.