Mikel San José “We Know That Nothing Is Impossible In Football”
Athletic Club will try to shock Sevilla on Wednesday night and overcome a 3-1 deficit in the second leg of the Copa del Rey. Midfielder Mikel San José is expected to be in the starting lineup with other players rested and the 29-year-old told Fuera de Juego that the team is aware of the challenge they are facing. It won’t be easy to score three goals on the road, but that won’t keep Athletic from trying.
“We know that it will be very complicated, not only because of the previous result, but also because of who our opponent is, but we know that nothing is impossible in football. The Cup is a big illusion and we are all very excited. It’s worth leaving your soul in the game tomorrow. We will go for the comeback. Why not? We are able to do it. We missed a couple of points to finish the first half of the season as predicted. When everything went wrong it seemed like we were never going to win a game.”
San José is playing much better football under Gaizka Garitano who has asked him to play a much more familiar role that utilizes his strengths. The Lezama graduate stated that the focus of the new manager has been organization and that the team has performed so well that there is no reason to change the lineup or alter the system.
“After the game against Levante we all saw that wasn’t the way. We needed to be a team with more order, to not take so many risks with the ball and to be more compact to concede fewer goals. Garitano and Berizzo have a totally different ideas. With Berizzo we were tremendously daring, with Garitano we are tremendously organized. I started the season with Berizzo without playing many minutes. He gave me his confidence, he wanted me in the team but he asked me for things that maybe I wasn’t physically able to do. When I was ready, he trusted me. Gaizka knows us. He has a clear idea. He is trusting other players and for the moment the results and the performances of the team don’t require changes.”
Unsurprisingly, San José was asked about the possible return of Fernando Llorente but was quick to point out that the decision is up to the club. Still, he would welcome back his former teammate with open arms and believes that the 33-year-old could help the team in he comes back to the San Mamés.
“I am not the one to make that decision, but he is a great player and he was a good teammate. If he comes we know that he will score many goals and that he will help us at all times. We are doing well, but any help that can come is welcome and more so in the case of Llorente, who is someone we want and know. The team has always supported Williams. We never felt that we did not trust in him and we never had any doubts. It’s always been very much the opposite.”
Having won two league games in a row Athletic are now 3 points clear of the relegation zone and 4 points away from the final European spot in the La Liga table. Sunday’s match against Villarreal will give the Zurigorri the chance to climb even higher, but the players are refusing to look past Wednesday’s Copa del Rey second leg. It is going to be extremely difficult to flip the 3-1 result from last week but that’s exactly what Athletic will try to do.