Mikel San José “I Want To Stay Here, This Is My Club And My Home”
Mikel San José made his first start of the season last week, helping guide Athletic to a scoreless draw against Villarreal. The Lions may have only secured a single point, but it was a positive result against one of the league’s top attacking teams. Chances will be hard to come by moving forward, especially with Unai López returning from injury, but San José hopes to earn more minutes.
“I felt good,” San José told reporters in Wednesday’s press conference. The midfielder was referring to the match against Villarreal and was excited about the opportunity. “Playing again and having those feeling is important because I want to do a good job for the team. I hope to always play, I want to always play. I will try to be available to the coach when needed.”
Analyzing the game as a whole, San José highlighted the fact that holding Villarreal scoreless is a very impressive accomplishment. Athletic also had chances to score and were helped by an incredible performance by goalkeeper Unai Simón.
“The ability to compete against a team that had scored 17 goals in 5 games deserves merit. Unai Simón has three or four very good saves, almost miraculous, but I also think we had some clear chances. We never felt dominated. We played our game and we both had chances. We finished the game with more possession in their area than in ours.”
This week Athletic have been preparing for Sunday’s match against Levante who are coming off of wins against Real Sociedad and Barcelona. It will certainly be yet another difficult fixture, but playing at San Mamés should give the Basques an important boost as they look to pick up another big win at home.
“Levante will be a complicated opponent. They are coming off of wins against two good teams and their confidence will be through the clouds. They are very similar to recent years and have very good players. In 10 or 15 minutes they can kill you, which is what happened to Barcelona. Sometimes they are dominated, but when they feel comfortable they can hurt you. If we do well with our pressure we can get a nice result. Beating Barcelona has to give them confidence but we also have confidence after not conceding against Espanyol or Villarreal. We are very strong at home.”
Despite the good result against Villarreal, Athletic are still having problems scoring goals. “So far we aren’t getting it right, but by the end of the season we will be scoring more goals,” San José said with confidence. “The day will come when one goals will come with many behind it. Reaching 20 points before the break would be very good and the confidence of the team would go up.”
Of course, the biggest topic of conversation surrounding San José is the 30-year-old’s future with Athletic. Currently in the final year of his contract, San José must wait until the end of the season to learn if the club intend for him to continue at San Mamés. Make no mistake about it, that’s the only plan that the midfielder has in mind.
“You have to take it naturally. I want to stay here and I emphasize that this is my club and my home, but we’ll see what happens. I have no intentions of leaving. While I wait to hear news my job is to do what the coach asks and show the club that they can trust me. The club will have its own position or way of seeing things and it doesn’t have to seem good or bad to me.”
In closing, San José was asked about the fact that Athletic will be playing four straight games at 2:00pm on a Sunday and he’s not thrilled. “I don’t like them, but what am I going to do about it? The schedule is what it is. It’s not a schedule that I like, but there’s nothing I can do.” Regardless of when fixtures are set, Athletic must be prepared and this weekend they will be looking for three important points against Levante.