Mendilibar maintains faith

Osasuna Coach Jose Luis Mendilibar is confident that his side can finally get off the mark for the season when they entertain Mallorca in Pamplona on Sunday.

The Navarran outfit have endured a difficult start to the campaign, with a narrow 2-1 home loss at the hands of Barcelona being sandwiched by away defeats to Deportivo and Celta prior to the international break.

With Mallorca arriving at El Sadar this Sunday in second place, Osasuna could scarcely have asked for a tougher challenge, but Mendilibar does not see things that way.

“We only remember the last game, but we shouldn't forget about the pre-season, which was good, and the first two matches, which were not bad either,” the Coach said at Saturday’s Press briefing.

“I have everyone's confidence and we are not going to start thinking everybody is worthless just because of three League games. The most important thing is to make sure we compete.”

The former Athletic Bilbao and Valladolid boss admits he has sensed a feeling of nervousness in the air in recent days but believes the typically hostile atmosphere at El Sadar will help Osasuna take something against a Mallorca side who are still unbeaten.

“People come up to you and say: ‘You have to win, no?’ But this team and our support are always willing to stand up and be counted when things are not going well.

“We have a great support here and they are not the type of people who stop backing the team when things are not going well.”

Mendilibar has named a 20-man squad for the game, but must do without suspended duo Alejandro Arribas and Patxi Punal. Arribas serves a ban following his red card in the 2-0 defeat at Celta two weeks ago, while Punal must still serve three matches of his suspension for a red card against Barcelona last month.

“They have started very well,” Mendilibar added when asked about Mallorca’s impressive early-season form.

“They are an experienced top-flight side and we must respect that. It seems like they've not a penny too, but then they go out and sign quality players such as Giovani dos Santos.”

Osasuna squad to play Mallorca: Andres Fernandez, Riesgo, Damia, Lolo, Bertran, Miguel Flano, Nano, Oier, Ruben, Cejudo, Annan, Armenteros, Lamah, Loe, Roberto Torres, Sisi, Timor, Llorente, Nino, Kike Sola.

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