Lucas Ocampos sat down with Club Media on Saturday evening. The Argentine gave his impressions following the first training session in Lagos: 'We've finally been able to have a normal preseason like two years ago and I'm happy because we have more time and we can work on more things.'
OCAMPOS: 'IF WE WANT TO KEEP GROWING, WE NEED TO BE AMBITIOUS AND BELIEVE IN OURSELVES'
Speaking about himself, Lucas said he was in top shape and ready to pick up minutes in the coming friendlies: 'I'm feeling good, working hard and I can't wait for the season to get started. I'm getting ready for a good year. With the coming friendlies the wait is getting ever shorter as we already have to be focused. I trained for the first time the other day - the pitch seemed a bit larger than usual but it was good to get minutes in and get the legs moving.
'I feel I made a big jump in the last two years and I'm feeling the same for this season'
Moving on, Ocampos discussed Argentina despite not being in the squad that won the Copa América: 'At the end of the day I can't make these decisions. But I'm happy for all the guys, my teammates... It had been a while since Argentina had won something. It was tough for the country. Every cloud has a silver lining and I guess I now have extra time to prepare to play at the highest level for the Club and my country should the opportunity arise.' Ocampos said the time off has helped him recharge batteries: 'I'm the kind of player who needs to be 100% physically and this will help me a lot. I'm happy and confident it will be a great year. If I played so many games last year it must be for a reason and I'm happy with my work and what I did for the team and I'm sure this year we'll achieve great things. I feel I made a big jump in the last two years and I'm feeling the same for this season.'
The Argentine winger, who said he feels fully at home in Nervión after so many seasons and with the current group, also spoke about the much-awaited return of our fans to the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán: 'At times it was strange playing without our fans for so many months. We need them - they are part of football. Every player dreams of playing with their people and for a year and a half we couldn't and we all felt it. We know we're not 100% back to normality just yet, but it would be amazing if the fans could get back into stadiums.'
'We play to get better. The base is in place and we won't rest on our laurels'
Offering a bit of self-criticism and admitting that his time under Julen Lopetegui has made him mature in various aspects, Ocampos spoke about last season: 'Amongst the players we know we could have achieved more. We did all we could, we were so close in various competitions... we could have won more but football is what it is and it wasn't to be. We hope we can do even better this year and we're even more motivated. All this forms part of the growth that the Club wants. We play to get better. The base is in place and we won't rest on our laurels.' During the interview, Ocampos was asked about some of his teammates, such as Jesús Navas: 'It goes without saying Navas' renewal is really positive. He is part of Sevilla and he is an example for all of us - for the academy players and us more experienced ones. Seeing a player who has won all he has won coming into every day with the same desire... he's a great guy.'
Looking to the immediate future, Ocampos spoke about Tuesday's friendly against PSG at the Algarve Stadium: 'It will help both of us as it will be very demanding. These kinds of games will help us improve.' Speaking more about the long-term future, Ocampos said 'we need to keep our feet on the ground. We didn't win anything in the last two seasons. If we want to keep improving, we need to be ambitious and believe in ourselves. I'm sure we will.'