Athletic Bilbao defender Mikel San Jose has warned of a backlash when his team face Barcelona at San Mames this weekend.
The Catalans suffered a surprise first defeat of the season in the 2-1 midweek Champions League loss to Ajax, but the 24-year-old knows the difficulties the Basques will face when confronted by Tata Martino’s men.
“We must be very intense and not let them play. We’ve got to get the ball off them because that’s their main weapon,” he told a Press conference.
“In the defeat to Ajax you could tell the Dutch team wanted it more and that Barca had already qualified.
“We are speaking here about a great team with a great Coach and one that is doing well. Apart from the fixture at El Sadar [against Osasuna] they have won all their other League games.”
San Jose is aware that Barcelona have injury problems going into the Bilbao clash.
“Like all football lovers I want to measure myself against the best. It’s not good news for this sport if [Lionel] Messi, [Victor] Valdes, [Jordi] Alba and [Dani] Alves are unable to play at San Mames, although for us it will mean fewer complications.
“Even so, despite these absences Barca possess a lot of top-level players. I’ve played against them three times in Bilbao and have still not tasted victory.
“Along with my teammates, I hope that win comes on Sunday,” he concluded.