Mikel Vesga “We Didn’t Start The Way We Wanted”
Mikel Vesga came under criticism following Athletic’s 2-0 loss to Granada to start the season. Fans have grown frustrated over seeing Vesga partnered with Dani García in the midfield and the results continue to disappoint. Speaking with Radio Marca Bilbao on Wednesday, Vesga admitted it was a bad way to kick off the new year.
“We didn’t start the way we wanted. What we wanted was to make up for last year, but this has just begun and we’re looking forward to the next game. The preseason was strange because of all the protocols, because there was nothing normal, and now we have this break because of the postponed match against Barcelona. The team is well and wanting to play again to get a good dynamic.”
Fans seemed pessimistic about the new season before the first game was even played. When asked about the lack of support early on Vesga called on fans to have more optimism despite the poor end to last year.
“I imagine it also has to do with how last season ended. You have to think that this is a new season and with Athletic it’s always exciting. This year is very motivating and should create hope in fans because we want to enjoy everything. I don’t understand how anyone can start the season without enthusiasm. What lies ahead is very exciting.”
Vesga has been one of the players most criticized by fans, though he says he doesn’t pay any attention to it. Instead, he’s focused on improving and promises that the entire team is working to get better.
“I don’t read the criticism, the good or the bad. Fans can have very good things to say or very bad things to say. Everyone has a right to their opinion and the right to whistle if they don’t like what they see. I do self-criticism and try to correct mistakes to improve. As a team we see the mistakes that we make and analyze how we can be better in attack and defense. We always criticize ourselves and are looking to improve.”
With the transfer window still open through 5 October there’s a chance that Athletic could strengthen the squad. Vesga is already happy with the young players that have come up, but is open to others.
“Anyone who comes up – Vencedor, Morcillo, Zarraga, anyone – has a lot to offer. Competing with them is the best. We’re calm and everyone is working well. Any reinforcement that may come will be welcome because help is good.”
Athletic’s success as a club has always been tied to the support of the fans. “I would like to encourage the fans to trust us because despite everything last year was beautiful and what is coming is very exciting,” said the midfielder. With his contract set to expire in June, this could very well be Mikel Vesga’s final year with Athletic.