Julen Lopetegui has given his pre-match press conference on the eve of the match against Osasuna in Pamplona. The manager began by stating that "we are going into this match as we must do, we're really excited about a competition where you have to be at your best in 38 matches. We're facing a good team, who are on an upwards and positive run. They have one loss in the last six LaLiga matches, it's a very good spell and they will have a very good mentality. They really know how to attack, they can either play a 4-4-2 with Budimir and Calleri or use just one striker. They're physically strong, brave and they will make us go to the limit".
LOPETEGUI: "OSASUNA MADE THINGS DIFFICULT FOR US IN THE REVERSE FIXTURE"
After acknowledging that Koundé is available, the manager wanted to leave to one side all talk of the league table: "I'm not talking about sums, the only thing that requires our attention is Osasuna. We're only focusing on tomorrow's match against a team that made things difficult for us in the reverse fixture and it's very difficult to win at El Sadar. At this stage of the season, we want to be capable of competing well, be focused, and able to impose ourselves on the match. We're not focusing on anything else".
As usual, he refused to give any clues about his starting eleven: "We'll announce our team tomorrow. We'll see who plays and who could help us later on. There's a starting eleven and five more players who could be decisive on either a positive or negative level. What's important is that everyone brings something and helps us to achieve our goal".
"We want to compete well and be focused. We're not focusing on anything else"
Lopetegui also commented on the differences between the refereeing in domestic and European matches: "In some matches in Europe the bar is set very high, and you have to adapt. Each referee interprets actions in a certain way and what you have to do is interpret that bar and raise that frequency because you fall behind. Some referees blow for one dispute and others don't. That has an impact and you have to adapt. It would be good if the interpretation was the same but it isn't simple, and sometimes the rules are a bit lax and give room for interpretation".
To finish, he emphasised the need to focus on each match: "Assessments are made at the end of the season, but our objectives are clear. We have to reach the final straight with the possibility of achieving our aims. We are on a path at the moment and the next obstacle is Osasuna, there's nothing else".