Mikel Vesga “We Want Europe And We’re Going To Leave Everything On The Field To Achieve It”
San Mamés will be empty on Sunday as Athletic host Atlético Madrid. The return of football after a unprecedented three months will be terrific, but not having fans in the seats will be beyond strange. Regardless of the situation, Athletic will have eleven games to fight for a top seven finish and the players are determined to end the season with celebration.
“We all know that Europe is a very difficult goal, but the team is clear about it,” Mikel Vesga told Radio Popular. “We want it, I want it, and we believe that we can get it. We’re going to leave absolutely everything on the field to achieve it because after a difficult year like the one we’ve experienced, such a joy would be a very nice thing.”
Athletic currently trail the top seven by five points. Overcoming the deficit won’t be easy, but it’s far from impossible.
“It’s a very, very difficult objective, but why not believe that we can achieve it. The first thing we have to do is look to Sunday’s game, beat Atlético, and from there we will see things a little better.”
Facing Atlético Madrid in the first game back is a challenge. The Lions aren’t taking anything for granted following the stoppage and Vesga admits that getting a good result will require an excellent performance.
“Atlético aren’t an easy opponent at any time of the year. It’s a team that, because of what their coach transmits and how the players are, can be very similar to us. They’re always ready for everything. It will be a very uncomfortable match. We will have to give our best version to face them and get the three points.
When asked to give his prediction Vesga didn’t want to answer, but eventually did so humorously. “I don’t like doing it” he said, “but since you asked me I will say 2-0. I will have to score the first goal, but it’s good news that we will be allowed to celebrate as a group. I wouldn’t want to celebrate a goal alone.”
There’s only goal for the rest of the season. Qualifying for Europe is the ultimate prize for Athletic and Vesga made it clear that the team will do everything possible to make it happen.
“Our idea is to finish as high as possible because we’re very clear about what we want and to achieve it we have to go one hundred percent. We’re going to have to be very plugged in to achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves.”
Including Sunday’s match Athletic will play a total of four games in ten games. The schedule will be grueling and demanding. More so than ever before the entire squad will have to contribute for the Zurigorri to accomplish their goal.