Julen Lopetegui
First team

LOPETEGUI: "MALLORCA HAVE FOUND THEMSELVES WITH A REAL POSSIBILITY OF SURVIVAL"

"They're coming here in their best form of the season and they will make us dig deep, because the differences are minimal"

Julen Lopetegui is only focused on Mallorca. He demonstrated that in the first question of today's pre-match press conference, where he was asked about the Europa League draw: "It's not worth anything, the only thing that matters is the first game. It's something that has no value until it's achieved. For me, it's far away, what's near is the match against Mallorca, a tough opponent, who have found themselves with a real possibility of survival, they have a lot of energy and, of the sides lower down the table, they play the best football, without any doubt".

There is no news on the injury front, but he was asked about knocks: "It's big, we're not going to talk about it here but it's three games in six days plus the ones we've already had. We'll evaluate it tomorrow because every hour is important. We're all in a very difficult situation and that's why I said what I said about the Europa League before. The little energy we have, we have to dedicate it to the next match".

The manager was also asked about a drop in the team's performance late on in matches, something he disagreed with: "I don't see it exactly like that. Matches are worked on in momentsIn Bilbao I think the team had it under control at all timesand we tried to score the goal to seal the win without dropping back. We managed to be quite good but at every moment you have to work on it physically and mentally to go into it strongly".  

"On a physical level, every team is on the edge"

Lopetegui did not speak about records, numbers or qualifications. He is only interested in tomorrow's match: "Milkmaid stories are unimportant to me. We have to be pragmatic and the only dream is to go into tomorrow's game well. We are happy with qualification for the Europa League and now we are very excited about the Champions League, it is what moves us. Our opponents are coming into this strongly, in their best form of the season, they have good players and a good manager. We have to prepare ourselves for that. The rest of the issues are random and are consequences of what you do. You can't lose energy thinking about the consequences. Mallorca will make us dig deep because this is the First Division and the differences are minimal". 

Mallorca have the worst away record in LaLiga, but that does not make any difference to Lopetegui: "I see Mallorca as one of the in-form sides in the bottom half of the table. They had Villarreal on the ropes and there's a lot at stake. We have to be prepared, this is a team that tries to find the opposition's goal and has built its game around having the ball. They are interesting on a footballing level and we want to compete against them". Finally, he spoke about Bono's opportunity and his preparation: "He has been working all year to be ready. His alarm clock has rung and we wish him the best of luck because his luck will be ours".

Communication Department