Yeray “Some People Call Themselves Athleticzales, But They Criticize Instead Of Supporting”
Having a two week break after losing the first game of the season isn’t ideal. In addition to the awkward stoppage, Athletic fans have had plenty of time to criticize the team for the poor performance against Granada. Carrying over from last year, the players seem to be getting tired of all the negativity.
“We support the coach and and we know the situation we’re in, but we don’t like the pessimism,” Yeray told Cope Bilbao on Wednesday. “We have to be united, which is what we are. We are Athletic, not Real Madrid or Barcelona. We come from the Cantera and have first class players, but not world class quality. In each game we try to leave everything on the field, we fight for something every season. The two years that we have been with Gaizka we’re been close to achieving it.”
Iago Herrerín has already asked to leave the club this summer because of the way he’s been treated by fans. Yeray has grown frustrated with the constant negativity, emphasizing that the players also need support to be successful.
“Lately fans spend more time messing with your teammates or they mess with you and there are people who only criticize. Some people call themselves Athleticzales but they criticize instead of supporting, they criticize everything. It’s morbid, be it Iago or anyone, except the young players.”
Yeray warns that even the young players become subject to criticism once they reach the first team. It doesn’t take long before the demand becomes higher.
“Debuting is the prize for young players, but the difficult thing is to stay and play 40 good games. Once you go up they see the good and with more games they see the bad and put the good aside.”
Athletic reached the Copa del Rey final last season and are looking forward to competing for the title at some point this year. Still, Yeray feels as though that accomplishment has been overshadowed by the negativity.
“The results haven’t come, but they are going to come. We are fighting to be up there and last year we reached the Cup final. People aren’t valuing our work, they don’t appreciate what we do, because it’s reached a point where everything is criticizing and criticizing. People like to mess with players. Lately they mess with the whole team and it looks ugly.”
In the past having the support of the fans, especially at San Mamés, has been a key component to the team’s success. Now, Yeray emphasizes that the players must instead overcome the criticism to achieve their goals.
“We have to be strong in the dressing room and not let it influence us. We have hope, we have the Cup final, and this season has just begun but it seems like the world is ending. I think it will be one of the best seasons, a spectacular year. I don’t know how we will end up in the league. I hope we qualify for Europe and are close to the Champions League positions. It’s going to be a spectacular year and the fans have to know that.”
On another note, the defender was asked about his teammate Unai Núñez who recently revealed that he’s asked to leave on loan. Núñez said that he would sign a renewal if he was allowed to leave for the year, but the request was denied by the club.
“It’s not something that affects me. There’s always two or more players in every position. Some have to play some games and others have to play others. There will always be people for Yeray and people for Unai Núñez, but they aren’t the ones who decide. The coach is the one who decides, not the ones on Instagram or Twitter.”
Ultimately, Yeray agrees that Núñez has the right to choose his own path. “Each player has his own career and and his own thoughts,” he said. “If Núñez thinks like that, I’m not going to speak up. I’m not going to give an opinion on this, I’m neither in favor nor against it. If he wants to leave on loan, that’s his decision, it doesn’t affect me.”
Yeray is entering his 5th season with the Athletic first team having already made 117 appearances. If not for two battles with cancer the 25-year-old would be close to the 200 mark. This season Yeray hopes to lift the Copa del Rey title and take the Lions back to Europe after a three year absence.