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Reyes: “There’s still plenty of season left and we’ll fight to play well”

“Our goal is to qualify for Champions and we’re just two points back”

José Antonio Reyes returned from the Christmas break with his batteries well-charged. After enjoying a few days in his native Utrera (Seville), the ‘rojiblanco’ footballer was ready to get back under the orders of his manager, Quique Sánchez Flores, to prepare for the rest of the season. In the remaining six months of the campaign, the ‘colchoneros’ hope to continue with the positive results of last year and reach the goals that they set for themselves at the beginning of the season with hard work and effort.

Reyes is confident of the team’s chances and acknowledged that “so far this season we’ve had good and bad moments,” but recalled that “we’re two points back of Champions League spots, which is our goal.

“We had a poor week with the losses in the Europa League to Aris and in La Liga against Espanyol and Levante. We’re a strong side and we know how to overcome bad times; now we’re close to our goals again. It’s really hard to play at a good level all season long and all teams have ups-and-downs. We’ve made mistakes, but we’re working now so that we don’t make them again,” he asserted.

The former international with the Spanish national team asked for a wish for the New Year: “I want injuries to leave us alone.” Furthermore, the Atleti ‘19’ emphasized that “we still have plenty of season left ahead and we have to do things well. We can’t get ahead of ourselves. We’re working on it and we want to get back into La Liga with force.”

Atlético doesn’t just want to climb back up to the top in La Liga, as Reyes is also banking on playing a good role in the Copa del Rey, following the form of last year when the ‘rojiblancos’ made it to the final against Sevilla. “I think that the return leg against Espanyol is going to be a very similar match to the one that we played at the Calderón. It’s going to be a tough game, as they’ve put together a strong team that is sure of its chances. We have a one-goal lead and have to make it stand up. We have a good squad and can fight until the end in this competition,” he said.

“I believe that we can’t get ahead of ourselves and think about the next round, in which we’d face Real Madrid. We have 90 minutes at Cornellá-El Prat and they’re going to be hard. Espanyol is going to leave it all on the pitch in their stadium to win the qualifying tie and we have to be very focused and try not to make mistakes. Yeah, it’s true that derbies are always special, as they’re games in which we like to play. Hopefully we’ll be able to speak about that match shortly,” he highlighted.

Personally, the Atlético de Madrid footballer said that “I want to improve a lot. I like it when the supporters tell me that they’re pleased with my work, but I have to be demanding with myself and continue getting better at Atlético. I’ve been here for a few years now, I’ve won titles and the fact is that all of this has been great, but I don’t want stop there; I want to experience more.”

To finish, Reyes highlighted his connection with Spanish-Argentine Kun Agüero. Both of them are lethal in front of the goal and form a partnership that all opposing teams fear. “Kun is a great player and a great person. We’re always on the same page on and off the pitch and I think you can see that. It’s interesting, but when I see him run I already know where I have to send the ball so that he can shoot. Playing football with him is very easy,” he concluded by saying.