Oscar De Marcos “No One Expected Us To Be Fighting For Europe At This Stage Of The Season”
Oscar De Marcos has been at Athletic for nearly 10 years and this is still one of the craziest seasons he’s ever been a part of. After drowning in the relegation zone through December, the Lions have climbed all the way into 7th place and are now in position to qualify for Europe. On Thursday night the 30-year-old told Fuera de Juego that doing so would be a huge success for the Zurigorri.
“We have managed to turn around a very difficult situation. When you get into such a negative dynamic it’s difficult to change it and we have done so much that we are fighting for Europe now. After the way the season began, no one expected us to be fighting for Europe at this stage of the season. Neither did we. We struggled at the beginning of the year, but the season gets longer. In any case, we hope to get into Europe. It would be a great triumph.”
Athletic currently hold a three-point lead over Alavés with just three games left on the schedule. Every single point is crucial now and the Lions must get a positive result on Sunday when they travel to Real Valladolid. “In the last matches we have conceded more goals than we have scored”, De Marcos explained. “Sometimes you try to improve some aspects and you neglect the ones you wanted to do well from the beginning. We have to go to Valladolid well prepared and knowing what is on the line.”
Even if the season ends with Europe, not everything will be happy. The club recently announced that Ander Iturraspe and Mikel Rico will not have their contracts renewed for next year. “They aren’t just teammates, they are friends”, De Marcos said proudly. “Their departure brings great sadness. It’s a pity. Over the years you will learn from the veteran players. Then you will come across a lot of fans who see how they live this club. That’s when you realize what Athletic is all about.”
Unlike the two midfielders, Markel Susaeta could continue at Athletic next season. Rafa Alkorta revealed that the club will begin negotiations with the captain, but De Marcos also knows that he has had a tough year as well. “Susaeta hasn’t known anything until today. It has been a difficult year after all he has been for Athletic and how he has represented the club. Having uncertainty has been hard for him.”