Elustondo relaxed for Europe

Real Sociedad midfielder Gorka Elustondo says he is relaxed over who the Basques draw in the qualifying round of the Champions League.

“The Champions League is very nice and we are all very excited. You like to play against the great teams, the ones with lots of prestige, but the easier the draw the more chance there is of entering the group stage.

“It doesn’t matter who you get. It will be a tie played over 180 minutes and we will have to sweat to qualify,” he told a Press conference.

The 26-year-old [pictured, left], who has been with the San Sebastian club since he was a youngster, commented on Asier Illarramendi’s recent departure for Real Madrid.

“You never expect these things to happen but we all know how football is. The reason ‘Illarra’ has gone is because of last year, the great season the team had and what he did in the [Under 21] European Championship and La Liga.”

Illarramendi’s absence means La Real could be left a little short on numbers in central midfield, while the Basques have also been hit hard with the loss of two key players in pre-season.

“Last year there were times when we had a couple of central midfielders injured and we adjusted by playing three inside. Any reinforcements coming in must take that on board and it will be for the good of everybody,” he explained.

“We’ve had some bad luck with injuries to Diego [Ifran] and Mikel [Gonzalez] but the rest of us are aware we’ll have to work harder to cover their positions. Nonetheless, we are looking forward to the start of the season.”

Elustondo’s 2012-13 campaign was marked by a succession of injuries and he made just eight La Liga appearances. However, he is now looking to put all that behind him.

“I just want to be available and try to train to the maximum. My mentality now is to have some continuity, forget all the problems I’ve had and get stronger for the start.

“At first I was a little fearful of training again but that has disappeared. Every day I feel better. I can’t look back. I have to be positive.

“I see this coming year as a challenge. Being physically fit gives everyone a chance because there will be loads of competition.

“There will be lots of matches and the boss is going to need to call on everybody,” he concluded.

 

Tags Elustondo Ifran Illarramendi Mikel