Our coach Diego Alonso spoke ahead of our fifth Champions League matchday where we will face PSV Eindhoven. The Uruguayan began by saying "Most importantly this game is a final. This is a must-win game to have a chance of qualification on the final matchday. We are determined to fight to reach the last 16 and we are going to fight to win tomorrow."
"The game is a final for everybody; players, coaches, staff and the fans... It is a final for the club and we are going to treat it as one. I take the criticism as part of the job and day-to-day when the results are not as we would have hoped. We have to accept it. I can feel the players' confidence and they are 100% wanting to turn the situation around. They know that the reward will come from the work that everybody is doing. What will happen depends on us, not on anybody else. If we want to continue pushing on or not. If we stop fighting, if we stop trying to push on, then of course it won't come."
"In San Sebastián we worked to improve our defensive solidity and I think that we did that"
Alonso wanted to clarify an answer from after the Real Sociedad game. "I said that it was one of the best games that we had played, not the best, but the message was not only for the press but for my players too. We worked for two weeks to come back more solid and defend better and I think that we did a lot better. We conceded two very unlucky goals. The rest of the game we did well. We lacked a bit in attack but we improved the defensive solidity and in the second half we were the stronger side and we will continue playing better."
"To have still not won in LaLiga or in the Champions League isn't the situation we wanted nor expected to be in. We feel the need to win and there's a lot to play for due to unexpected results in other games. I have to disconnect myself from the outside noise and give the players the necessary confidence and positivity because that's the mindset we need. We will demand a big performance from the team and it's my job to make sure that when we're on the pitch we can produce our best football. Hopefully, tomorrow is the turning point we are looking for in order to take a step towards qualification for the Champions League round of 16."
"The atmosphere around the group is really good even though recent results have hurt a lot"
The head coach was also asked about the atmosphere in the dressing room: "The atmosphere in the group is great. Of course, the way games have been going is very difficult to take, but the only way to turn things around is to put in the work. We have to embrace the challenge and you can see the hunger on the players' faces. They're ambitious and that's what you'd expect; we're talking about qualification for the knock-out stages of the Champions League. We will not back down in any way. If you stop fighting the results will not come no matter how close you think they might be."