Juan Ignacio Martinez has taken the pressure off of his Levante players going into 2012-13. “We shouldn’t compare ourselves to last year’s team.”
Levante were surprise early leaders in La Liga last term and for a number of weeks held a top four position in the table. Eventually finishing sixth, the Granotes qualified for Europe for the first time in their history.
However, Martinez does not believe that this should push expectation on to the team for this coming season, which gets underway this weekend.
“Last year we asked little of the fans, but they must understand that they cannot enter into comparing anything to last year,” warned JIM in today’s Press conference.
“It was great and the icing was getting into Europe, and we now have to enjoy it this year. Our main goal is to have three teams finish behind us. We are going to have to work because to win a game in the Primera Division is very difficult.
“I ask for patience when things do not go well.”
The Coach assured that the Europa League will not be a distraction to his men this year.
“It’s all very attractive, but we are preparing for Atletico. Focus cannot be lost because it could come back to haunt us.
“Atletico is a candidate to finish at the top of the League. They have very talented players who in any moment of play can decide a game.”
Levante will host Atleti at the late kick-off time of 11pm.
“It is a perculiar hour, but playing at noon or at four in this heat in the middle of August was detrimental to the show. Finding a balance has been difficult.”
Martinez is preparing for the game without last year’s top scorer Arouna Kone, who was sold this week to Wigan Athletic.
“With the players we have we should be competitive. Already knew last season that Kone was a treat. We are sitting here waiting to see if another player will arrive instead.”