Espanyol boss Sergio Gonzalez believes next Monday’s game against Elche will be a defining moment in the club’s season.
Los Pericos are currently 12th in La Liga on 34 points and Sergio is aware three more could see them on the fringes of a European spot, while defeat might mean them looking nervously over their shoulders.
“The match against Elche is a very, very important one that will define the rest of the campaign,” he told Mundo Deportivo.
“At home we’ve always given a good account of ourselves and it must be the same against Elche. We want to finish as high as possible.
“It will be really difficult to get into Europe and if we can finish eighth it will be better than ninth, while seventh would be better than eighth, so victory could mark a before and after.”
Sergio feels the international break has come at a good time for his players and also revealed that, alongside director of football Oscar Perarnau, he is working on his squad for next season.
“The break has done us good as it’s allowed us to recharge our batteries. The last couple of months have been hard, with lots of matches, and it’s been very demanding.
“Even now we are working towards next year and the potential of this group of players needs to increase.
“I’m hoping that Sergio Garcia, Felipe Caicedo and Christian Stuani will all remain with the club, although you are always liable to have comings and goings. It’s intrinsic to football.
“However, I want to put together as strong a team as possible and there are certain players who will not be allowed to leave.
“In this sense the efforts of the club have been important with regard to contract renewals,” he added.