Mikel San José “This Team Is Much Better And We Will Prove It”
Mikel San José has always been an optimist. Despite the poor results this season he still believes that Athletic have the ability to turn things around. He was recently a guest on Radio Popular and said that the entire team understands the situation and are calm in their positivity. He also believes that Eduardo Berizzo has done a great job and is working diligently to right the ship.
“This is a team. The locker room is calm and optimistic, although we understand the situation. There is relative tranquility despite knowing the difficulty of the situation. It’s not the one we want to be in, but we are working every day to turn it around. I see Berizzo very well. He’s committed to everything we do; the idea of how to play, the environment we create every day, and he’s confident in turning it around. What has cost us the most points has been individual errors and we have been gradually correcting that area.”
Going so long without a win in the league, 12 games to be exact, can cause doubt to set in. After last year’s struggles fans think that issues have simply continued, but San José doesn’t believe that is the case. He told Radio Popular that this is a very different team and pointed out that fans thought the same thing before the season began. The midfielder says that Athletic will prove that they are better than the results have suggested.
“People want everything now and the demand we have is fine. The situation isn’t the best, but it isn’t as alarming as it seems. Going so long without a victory makes the doubts grow, but the league is competitive and a good run can get you much higher in the table. Last year wasn’t good and this year there is a belief that it has continued. That isn’t the case because many things have changed. The team is much better and we will prove it. At first, most agreed that the team was new and better and there was feelings of excitement. That has been forgotten a bit due to not winning, but there are still positive feelings.”
San José is happy with Berizzo’s style of play and believes that it can lead to great results. When asked if the manager is in danger of losing his job the 29-year-old was quick to say that he hopes that isn’t the case. It’s up to the players to respond.
“I will always think that playing well, in our opponent’s side of the field with intensity and control, brings you victory, even though at times it can cost us points due to mistakes and failures. We have adapted well to the idea of the coach. We like it a lot and it is an idea that brings us closer to victory. Is Berizzo in danger? I don’t think so and I hope not. It is the team’s job to react well.”
Going into Monday night’s game against Levante San José said that fans will see a brave Athletic come to play. The Lions want to be aggressive at the Estate Ciutat de Valencia and pick up an important three points. On a personal note, the midfielder is enjoying regular minutes, but his ultimate focus is helping the team.
“You will see a brave Athletic. We will come out with the clear idea of taking control of the ball and using it well when we have it. We want to be aggressive in attack like we were against Huesca. Lately, yes, I’m playing more and the manager has a lot to choose from because there are many who can play at a high level. Sometimes I will play more and other times less. I started with few chances and now I have played four or five games in a row. I’m trying to enjoy it and help the team, which is the most important thing. We are all aware of the great level of goalkeepers we have here. Day by day i think they are showing their merits. The performance of Unai Simón against Huesca was great and so was Iago Herrerín’s against Getafe.”
In closing, the Lezama product praised teammate Iker Muniain who recently signed a contract renewal that does not contain a release clause. San José admitted that he would have no problems doing the same and that he believes many others in the squad would also be willing to sign a deal without a clause.
“His renewal is great and we all wanted him to continue here. It’s great news for the club, the squad, and the fans. Not including a release clause is a positive thing and demonstrates his clear intentions of loyalty to the club. Everyone in the locker room has that same loyalty because we want to be here. When I review my contract it will have to be something that I talk about with the club. I’ve never had a problem wanting to be here or saying that I don’t want to leave, regardless of the clause. I would sign a contract without a clause with no problems. Many of us would do that.”
Athletic’s upcoming match against Levante is already under the microscope. The Zurigorri have gone 12 games without a win in the league and are currently sitting in the relegation zone. After a big 4-0 win over Huesca in the Copa del Rey they have started to build confidence and are hoping to get their season back on track with a statement victory against Levante.