Mikel San José “After Playing Such An Important Game We Are All Very Motivated”
Mikel San José has been a very important player for Gaizka Garitano. The 29-tear-old is the only player who has featured in every match under the new manager and he’s done so while being used in different roles. At times he’s been a starter, an offensive midfielder, and mostly as a substitute to add defensive strength. On Monday night against Huesca he will be in the starting lineup once again and during Friday’s press conference San José did not hide the fact that they will be facing a dangerous opponent.
“Huesca are in very good form. They have adjusted their methodology in the last few games. They had to because of where they are in the table. It’s never easy to win in this league. They have made reinforcements and they are on an upward trajectory. They are not going to want to take risks. Gallego, the new striker, is working for them. They’re looking for long balls and they’re doing well. You see Huesca with a lot of confidence and strength every time they go out on the field. We’ve been through the same situation before. After playing such an important game and earning one point we are all very motivated.”
Huesca may be at the bottom of the table but that doesn’t mean this match will be easy. On the contrary, San José warned that their hosts have been playing much better football over the past few weeks and it would be a failure to leave the Estadio El Alcoraz without picking up any points.
“It’s not a free match. Those who have seen Huesca play know they are doing very well right now. We’ve played against defenses of 3 and 5. On Monday we will adapt just like we did against Betis and Sevilla. We go to Huesca for the three points. It’s true that the European positions are close to the relegation places, but we are only thinking about winning in Huesca. It will clearly be a disappointment if we don’t earn any points on Monday. The table is very tight.”
San José also took the time to praise the Athletic manager who has the team playing their best football in nearly two years. He refused to criticize the system under Eduardo Berizzo, but made it clear that the team is enjoying the new style of play which is better suited to their strengths.
“From Gaizka’s first match in Huesca it was already clear that this team was going to be more organized, without losing the shape and taking few risks. The coaching change has brought a different way of playing, but I’ll never criticize the previous ways of playing. Personally, it’s been a season that has a bit of everything. I’ve played as a starter, as a substitute, and I’ve participated in all Gaizka’s matches. The situation we are in is not what we wanted. We need to add three by three to take big steps and climb positions in the table.”
With Dani García suspended for Monday’s match it will be up to Mikel San José to play an important role alongside Beñat. He’s performed at a high level under Garitano and if he can do the same against Huesca it will give Athletic a much better chance of returning home with all three points. The La Liga table is tighter than ever and that makes each game a final.