Unai Núñez (Sestao, 24 years old), thirteen times international with the Under-21 team and one with the senior team, is one of the alternatives that Marcelino García has for the central position. The Athletic coach has three on the squad, and they have all played a lot of minutes, so now, after some daredevils in which he threatened to leave, the Biscayan footballer feels satisfied with his role. Attend the interview by phone, according to Covid regulations before receiving Real Madrid this Sunday in San Mamés (18.30, Movistar LaLiga).
Question. Have you already forgotten the ups and downs around your renovation? There was a lot of talk about the matter and whether or not you were interested in continuing at Athletic.
Answer. In the end I renewed. All the commotion was mounted about whether he could leave or not, he responded with the facts and he had already said that he wanted to continue in Athletic. I was clear that I wanted to have more prominence in the team, and that is why I asked to leave on loan and come back with more experience, more done, but I also know that it is difficult to leave, because outside of here it is not the same. In the end, I stayed and participated a lot.
P. In the squad there are three centrals, and although you started, in principle, as the third, the opportunities have come to you.
R. I don’t consider myself the third central defender, and the season is long, there are many games and opportunities for everyone, the opportunity to play always appears and the important thing is to take advantage of it.
P. Although they have played two finals and won the Super Cup, in the League it has been quite irregular.
R. It has been a difficult year for everyone. We started with one coach and finished with another. It is true that we have played very good games and others not so good, and now, at the end of the championship, we have added many draws. What we have to learn is to be more regular and not miss opportunities and score all possible points to be at the top.
P. Europe has escaped them losing many points in the end against the teams below. Eibar, Alavés and Valladolid came out of San Mamés alive in the last few days.
R. Yes, you might think at first that we could lose to the greats and win the modest, but it has been the other way around. We have stopped winning very important points and this is something that we must improve, we have to be more consistent against all teams.
P. Has it been weird to play without an audience for more than one season?
R. And so much. The hobby is a fundamental help, especially in delicate moments. When they encourage you, even if you are exhausted, you dare to take one last race, to try one last cross against the striker, one last shot with the strength you have left. We miss them, even when you go to another field, and they yell and whistle at you, it helps you to be more put, more involved in the game. Let’s see when they come back.
P. Doesn’t the empty stands deconcentrate you?
R. We have already assumed it after so long, we have to play whether there are people or not.
P. And aren’t they a little fed up with this life they lead, stuck in a bubble?
R. Like us, everyone is, to a greater or lesser extent. What if we are fed up? Well yes, but it is what it touches. If to play they have to stick a stick up our nose every three days, what are we going to do? Other times will come.
P. You have come to play for the national team. Do you think you can come back?
R. The first thing I have to do is a very good job at my club, have continuity and play good games, of course. Improve and improve, and if it has to arrive, it will arrive.