Julen Lopetegui
First team


"They have a great coach and have clear continuity with respect to last year"
Cuerpo Superior

Julen Lopetegui has given his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow's clash with Villarreal at the Ciutat de Valencia.

The coach began by commenting on the team's approach to the fixture.

"We're excited and looking forward to face a great team, they reached the UCL semi-finals last season and I'd say they play some of the best football in Europe. We are ready to respond against a top-class opponent, we know how tough it will be. It's our third away match in a week, and they'll all be totally different."

Julen then discussed team selection issues as some players make their return from injury.

"The team have the normal knocks from two straight matches, with different scenario that have not ruled anyone out, but we'll have to keep them in mind when we make our final decision."

"As for Marcao, when the medical team give him the all clear we'll work with him. He became an important player at Galatasaray and I'm sure he'll do it here."

"It won't be long before some players reach their best level. Suso hasn't started since November, Januzaj came here without a pre-season and Dolberg had his shoulder problem. Everything will come and they'll get stronger. In the meantime we have to compete."

The coach then spoke about tomorrow's opponents.

"Villarreal compete at a very high level in all aspects and they're very interesting. They have a great coach and have clear continuity with respect to last year. We have to focus on ourselves to be able to counter them. That's what has to drive us to play well."

Cuerpo Inferior

"There is still a lot at stake"

Lopetegui then discussed the team's objectives compared with their performances.

"In the last three years we've achieved a very important objective with a lot of hard work and sacrifice, which is reaching the UCL, lots of teams aspire to that. There are no words for what's happening this year. There is still a lot at stake, what looks grey now could be white and vice-versa."

"We have to work with confidence in the players, who are going to perform in line with the club's demands. I try to live my life with the excitement and ambition of working every day to help the team. Things that aren't under my control don't take away my energy."

To finish, Julen focused on one player in particular, Isco.

"He's a player who joined us late on but he's already getting to his level, he's got room for improvement and he's joined to make us better. It's important that he passes on his personality and self-confidence to his teammates to make our team spirit stronger."