REAL SOCIEDAD Merino: “The Champions League is possible, we are ambitious”

Mikel Merino is almost indestructible. And listening to him speak you understand reason. The Navarrese midfielder wanted to explain how he finds himself with his many problems and why he doesn’t want to stop.

-Touched, not sunk. “I’m good. With minor annoyances and injuries that are a nuisance at times, but that are not stopping me from helping the team and continuing to play. I am happy in that sense. It seems that I am knackered, but within what is possible I am better than when everything I have is said. But it’s my way of being, no matter how bad it may be, if I can help I’m going to do it, because otherwise when I go home it’s going to hurt, and I’m going to have regrets”.

-The fissure of the foot, what worries him the most. “What worries me the most is the toe. It is what is giving me the most trouble, because it is what I have contact with the boot on the field and it bothers me a lot when I put it on. But at least he’s letting me play while they take care of me during the week. It’s about enduring the pain, and then the physicists take great care of me, putting in many hours of rehabilitation, so that the inflammation goes down as soon as possible and I stop giving trouble soon”.

-With the blow to the head he already had to stop. “It happened to me especially with the subject of the head. It wasn’t in the best condition and I myself realized that I still had to stop for a few days to come back. It was brief because then you get the desire to want to return. With the head it was dangerous and yes you have to have a little conscience and decide to stop a bit”.

-Will you go with the National Team if Luis Enrique calls you? “I expect nothing. I’m still pending. They haven’t released the list yet. At the expense of what the coach says, but hopefully I can be on that list because it’s always nice to go with the national team”.

-What to improve in Seville. “We know that playing against Sevilla at their ground is very difficult. Because each time they show that they are closer to competing in the league. We always go there with a positive mentality. If I was clear about what we should change, I would have said it and we had already done it. But we have to go there to compete, because they have a great team. It’s about being technically successful in attack and continuing with the same security in defense”.

-Add intensity to the match because Sevilla play in Europe. “Many times we have suffered from that handicap of having previously played a very intense game. But they have a long and high level squad, so that reduces the fatigue they may have. But even so, we must set a very high pace because if you keep your pace, that always brings you closer to winning”.

-Physically, how is the squad? “I see it well. But it has been a long season and we have accumulated a lot of fatigue, because there are many games and it always costs more to reach the end when you accumulate so many games and at such a high level. Despite that, the team is fine, and within the negative of staying out of Europe, at least you have clean weeks that are very noticeable to arrive with fresh legs to each league game. We will arrive with a lot of energy to each match to fight for our goals”.

-Imanol says he is the best player in LaLiga. “These are strong and very beautiful words. That gives me a lot of confidence. I understand that you think like that and that gives me a lot of morale and the desire to grow even more, at no time does it overwhelm me”.

-Angry with the goal. “The important thing for me is to find myself in those situations, because they are facets of the game that I haven’t experienced as much in my career and the more you have, the better prepared you are for the future”.

-A of Champions. “Mathematically, of course it is possible. I personally don’t want to focus on the goal of the Champions League, because it’s very complicated. But we have the ambition to be able to achieve it. We are making historic years because things are being achieved that have not been achieved for a long time, and now we have the motivation to continue doing so. We want to keep our feet on the ground, but we also know we can do it. I don’t want to focus on the goal of the Champions League, but on the fight for Europe in general”.

-Less goals than other seasons. “For whatever reason, we are not scoring as many goals as other seasons, I don’t know if that affects the points compared to other years. But the team matures in the way that it feels more secure in defense and I don’t know if that can affect the attack. We are having the chances and that is important, so while they arrive we have to be calm”.

-Future of Januzaj. “I see him well. I see him as always, because he is very calm and does not talk about his future. We don’t know what he’s going to do, at least I haven’t discussed it with him. The club and his agent are talking to see what is best for everyone, but I think he is clear that Real is like his home, that he is loved and that we always welcome him with open arms. I don’t know what will happen, but that is clear to him.”

LaLiga Santander

*Data updated as of March 16, 2022