Julen Lopetegui during the press conference
First team


"We've only had two and a half days to rest and prepare for this game"

Julen Lopetegui gave his press conference in the build up to the home game with Osasuna this afternoon: "We're going to play four games in ten days, with two and a half days to rest and prepare as we played on Thursday at 9 at night, and we're playing again tomorrow at 12. This is the situation that we're faced with and we have to prepare to face a team who have been preparing all week for this fixture. We have to go from zero to 100 in two days and this is going to require us to put in a lot of effort".

For Lopetegui, the starting XI for tomorrow's game is far from being known: "We'll see. We haven't been able to evaluate the state of the squad today 100%. Tonight in the hotel, we'll study it a bit more to see what eleven will start. Given the premature nature of the game and the little time we've had to prepare for it, we have to wait as long as possible to see who'll play. However, what is true is that we have full trust in the whole squad and we will wait to choose what will be our most competitive team".

Questioned on the lack of time in between games, the coach decided to look ahead: "That's a good question. I don't know why there's very little time in between the games and I'm not in control of it. But we can't stay on this topic or else we'd be making a mistake. We have to adapt ourselves to the situation and focus fully on the game ahead. The prize of the three points on offer is a massive incentive but we can't stop to look around at the table. What we have to do is focus on playing our best game against a team who have been preparing the whole week for it". In addition, he said: "Mentally, at the end of the game the team were comforted with the fact that they went through, which was the objective from the start and this has to be given merit. Above all else we have to recover physically, because we have plenty of ambition and will to win the game tomorrow. There are players who are more tired than others, but until tomorrow or tonight, we won't know the starting XI".

"Above all else we have to recover physically"

He also spoke about the whistles from the crowd at the end of the Cluj game: "The demands are at the maximum level for these players. The fans are the most important people to us and we hope that tomorrow they will back us. We are where we have to be in La Liga and in the Europa League and it's important to come into these next matches with a cool head and togetherness. That's how teams reach their objectives, and especially those that win trophies". That being said, he made one thing clear: "We always want to play in front of and please our fans, who are the most important people to us as they help us so much. Tomorrow they'll do so again because it is what everyone wants. The lack of energy that the players could have tomorrow will be eradicated by the lift they'll get from the fans. They help us in our most difficult moments and they lead us on to victory. I have no doubt whatsoever".

He confirmed that Vaclík would not feature: "Vaclík won't be available. He continues to have a few problems and we have full confidence in Bono. His return will depend on how he recovers. We're close with him, but when one door closes, another opens and we're happy with Bono. I'm not sure if he meant what he said the other day, but what is sure is that tomorrow he'll be concentrated before, after, during the game and at half-time".

"Vaclík won't be avaialble and we have full confidence in Bono"

Talking about Osasuna, he thinks that they haven't had problems even with the absence of Chimy Ávila: "They're a good side. They've changed a few things and in the last game away from home they won 1-0 away at Bilbao. They've changed their system a wee bit and have been playing with a back line of 5, with more alternatives and finding solutions to their problems better. Without Chimy, they're still a very competitive and complete team". In addition, he believes that the Getafe game is now firmly in the past: "Wins are always nice when they come, but the season goes so quickly to talk about these sorts of things. We have to be prepared to be flexible in these situations and whether we win or not, we know we have our objectives ahead of us and what we need to do to make them. We must be strong and united, knowing that objectives are achieved when they're achieved".

The team struggled to find the back of the net on Thursday and the only thing left to do is keep working hard: "You can analyse it all you want, but the truth is that we created a lot of chances but couldn't finish them off. This means that in some way, the chances for the opposition go up. We have to keep plugging away, there's no other thing for it. We have to keep generating chances, like we did in Getafe". Lastly, he stayed confident despite what has been said about the coronavirus and its impact on football: "The only thing that we're focused on at the moment in Osasuna, but we're not completely alien to what's happening and we have full trust in the message to remain calm and to not worry about something that we'll learn to live with in a short while. I'm convinced".

Communication Department