Alex Berenguer was one of the most prominent players last season. In his first season as a lion, he finished as top scorer in the League, being a regular in Marcelino’s line-ups although at the beginning the Asturian did not line him up as a starter. Now he hopes to confirm this good performance and even improve it. “This year I hope to raise the level even more,” he says from the concentration that the team is doing in Switzerland.
How’s the preseason going?
The team is working well. We are responding to what the coach asks of us. That is what the preseason is for, to pick up the physical tone with the aim of reaching the highest level the day the League begins.
How did you feel in the games you played against St. Gallen and Dynamo Kiev?
I have found myself fine. Little by little we will all pick up a better physical tone. It is for what the preseason is worth, to get to the premiere in the best possible way.
On Tuesday they improved a lot compared to the first game.
Yes, as training goes on we will have better physique and more peace of mind with the ball. I think that at the end of the preseason we will all be in optimal shape.
Against Dynamo Kiev they offered a good image.
Yes, we have a very good team. We can play football very well as we have shown. We worked very well on the pressure and the counterattacks like in the goal that Willi scored on Tuesday. There is the basis of our football. Now we have to file those little details that take away the points. If this year we do better and refine those details, we may be fighting for Europe.
In both games he has continued to play on the right wing.
Yes, I adapt to what the coach wants and needs. Luckily I can play for both bands. It is true that I have always played on the left, but last year I did it on the right and I am already very used to it, I have the mechanisms taken. I am an errand, as they say, and I do what the coach asks of me.
Has Marcelino spoken to you again about the position on the field?
No, I think last year it was already clear. Last season I played a lot of games and I played most of them on the right. I am very established in that band and there is no problem.
We have a very good team. We can play football very well and we work the pressure and the cons very well
Isn’t it a bit sad that you don’t play in your preferred position?
Luckily I am a fairly versatile player. In my career I think I have played in almost every position. It is not a thing that worries me very much. I am lucky to be able to use both legs well. I have to do what the coach asks of me and what the team needs. I feel good on the right wing.
With the departure of Ibai, do you think you may have less competition in that position?
I do not know. I know that I have to keep working on a day-to-day basis, earn my job because if you don’t work the coach won’t give you anything. The kids are pushing hard, that’s what they have to do. I have to work hard like I did last year to earn the job.
Nico Williams also plays on the right wing. What opinion do you deserve?
Competition comes in handy because unconsciously you relax. Nico is a young boy who has yet to gain experience with matches, but I see him very well. He is a player with a lot of quality, very fast, who is going to give us a lot.
You were the third outfield player with the most minutes among the three competitions last season. To be his first campaign as a lion, he played a lot.
Yes, that’s why they booked me. They asked for goals and assists. Last year I worked a lot and I think well. The results were seen. The confidence of the míster also was reflected in the field.
And that with Marcelino did not start as a starter. He had to earn it.
That’s like everything, nobody gives you anything. As I have said before, I have to work every day to have the position. I did not have to participate as much in the first matches, but with the daily work I reached that level, I stayed and this year I hope to raise the level even more.
In addition, he was the top scorer of the team in the League.
It’s what the team asked for. I had never scored so many goals. I don’t know if luckily or because of work, or a bit of both, everything went well and this year I am working to make it much better.
Did you imagine that you would perform at that level in your first year?
Nor did I think much about the level I had to give due to the expectations created with my signing. I came here to enjoy myself, to play soccer, which is what I like, and to help the team, which is the most important thing.
Didn’t the pressure for the cost of your transfer weigh you down?
No, luckily this did not cause me any concern. I am very calm for these things, I do not have pressure and that was reflected in the field.
His most important goal was in the Cup semi-final against Levante.
Yes, because it meant the pass to the final. So far it has been the most important goal, not the most beautiful but the most important.
How did you experience the defeat in the two finals?
It was a pretty tough stick. You plant in two finals in 14 days with great enthusiasm. It couldn’t be, but afterwards the team got back on well because there were still quite a few league games left. By filing a little the small details that have taken away a lot of points, we will be fighting for Europe.
We will be fighting for fourth, fifth or sixth place. This year we can reach Europe
How do you have to improve to fight for a continental place?
Above all, improve the small details that make the difference and that in Primera give you or take away all three points. The whole team has to be more focused, that we be a pineapple, which we already are. And above all, the back part does not grant chances and those at the top put the opportunities we have.
How do you see the next season?
I see it as a very exciting season. We have goals. Enjoy, don’t think too much and get to Europe.
Do you see it feasible to achieve a European square?
Competing with the big three is difficult because they are very regular, with long squads. In the long run it is difficult to compete with them, but we will be fighting for fourth, fifth or sixth place. Without any problem, I have all the confidence in the team. I see that he works well, we have very good players and this year we can reach Europe.
It will be Athletic’s fourth season without playing in Europe. How do you see it?
The League has many very powerful teams. It is difficult to get to the European posts. This year the group has worked well for seven months with the coach. We are going to be able to enjoy the football that the coach asks of us, we are going to give everything. There are many possibilities to enter Europe.
His name rang for a long time to get to Athletic. In the end it could be achieved.
The name of Berenger has always been heard in Athletic. I really wanted to come. I am here, I am enjoying a lot with my colleagues, I have the closest family. I hope this year is very nice.