Julen Lopetegui began his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow's clash with Granada CF by talking about Koundé, who is unavailable due to testing positive for Covid-19: "Koundé is following the appropriate protocol and is logically unavailable for this match and a few others. This is what this scenario is, that in addition to the usual injuries we have these losses at specific times. We have to be ready and trust our solutions. There are some players with problems and we'll see if they're part of the squad and if they can all be available because we're short in some positions".
LOPETEGUI: "GRANADA GIVE YOU VERY LITTLE AND THAT MAKES THEM VERY COMPETITIVE"
The return of the international players brings different issues: "Some are more tired than others, with very long matches and journeys. Some have problems, so we'll see how they go. We are in a scenario of competitive intensity plus Covid and we'll have to wait until the final moment for the travelling squad and the starting XI. Navas was not able to train today, so we'll see".
The manager also acknowledged that Carlos Fernández, like En-Nesyri and De Jong, is in contention to fight for a place in the starting XI, before talking about the threat that tomorrow's opponents pose: "What bothers us is facing Granada, a solid side thanks to their good work in the top-flight. They're a good side and will make it complicated for us".
The Basque manager again stressed the need to go one match at a time: "You don't decide based on squad management, you decide based on the challenges. The only one we have is Granada and then the next one will come, by approaching each one thinking about the best team possible based on the circumstances. The only way, and this is not a cliché, is by thinking about the next game. Granada are demanding, they've become very strong at home and have a solid team with attacking options. They give you very little and that makes them very competitive".
"Idrissi is injured and we hope he recovers as soon as possible"
He also confirmed the absence of one of the new signings: "Idrissi isn't training with us because he's injured and he's working separately. We hope he recovers as soon as possible to join the group. Rekik is training and he is another option". He also hoped to see the return of fans as soon as possible: "I hope the fans can enter as soon as possible. Everything has to be based on a scientific certainty but hopefully it will be as soon as possible because football means more with fans".
To conclude, he did not want to complain about the lack of rest, with the side playing the first match of the weekend: "I won't offer an opinion because it could be misinterpreted. We have to accept the decisions and it is true that we have very little time because everything is more stretched out, but we have to adapt without dodging the issue. If it's time for us to play at 1pm, 1pm is ok".