Ander Capa “You Have To Fight And Work Hard Against Barcelona”
After a rollercoaster debut season at Athletic, Ander Capa is ready to take another step forward and be a key player in the team this year. The 27-year-old will once again act as the starting right-back and has looked strong throughout the preseason. Capa recently spoke with the media ahead of Friday’s league opener against Barcelona and explained that going through a muscle injury last season made things very difficult.
“Preseasons are always tough at the beginning. I see the team well, strong as ever. We’re looking forward to starting the league. I took my time to recover during the vacation. I had never had a muscle injury before and last season I suffered one. I went a month without playing and returned for two weeks before being injured again. It had never happened to me, it was a bit weird. Gaizka knows me very well and even asked what was happening. When I returned from the relapse there were three games left and I wasn’t at my best like before.”
Turning the attention to Barcelona, Capa shared that even without Lionel Messi the Catalans will be very difficult to beat. The right-back would be satisfied with a draw but says that the Lions will play for a victory and look to take advantage of the support at San Mamés.
“They have reinforced very well and, in the end, it’s Barcelona the best team in the world. They are very good. Barcelona has a spectacular lineup and other great players on the bench. The bar is set very high, but we must make our intentions clear from the moment the ball starts rolling. You have to fight and work hard against Barcelona. We are a very strong team at home and we hope that continues. Messi is injured and isn’t playing. If we can catch them unfocused now then that would be better. Right now I would sign for a victory or a draw.”
A poor start saw the Lions battling relegation early last season. It was an extremely difficult situation but Athletic have learned from their mistakes. Capa says that the team wants to build on the improvements made under Gaizka Garitano and fight for a place in Europe this season.
“Last season we went a long time without winning and were at the bottom of the table. We didn’t win, we didn’t score, and we conceded a lot of goals. There was a lot of uncertainty. We always wanted to give the best to the fans and it wasn’t happening. The fans are always with us but the pressure is also on Athletic and it shows. We finished the season with a thorn in our side from the Sevilla game. Now we have to pull it out and try to enter those European positions this year.”
Ander Capa and the rest of the Athletic defense will have to be at their best to slow down the Barcelona attack on Friday night. It won’t be easy but the Zurigorri are confident that they can shock the reigning champions at San Mamés.