Athletic Club put in a masterful performance on Saturday despite losing 2-1 to Real Madrid. Following the match, Ernesto Valverde spoke about the game and highlighted the fact that Real Madrid made the most of their chances and Athletic’s mistakes. In the end, Txingurri believes that the Lions deserved more.
“This is a game of details and mistakes, sometimes you make those mistakes and sometimes your opponents do. They beat us in the two chances they had. Every time they passed midfield they created danger, but I think we did well. From the start we tried to dominate the game and we had chances going forward. We conceded two goals and the second hurt us because we wanted to settle back into the game. We are happy with our performance, but not the result. I think we played well and deserved more.”
Valverde went on to say that the only two teams to beat Athletic at home this season have been Barcelona and Real Madrid. That is a pretty spectacular feat, and something to be proud of.
“Both Madrid and Barca know that the San Mames is difficult. Today Madrid had to work hard in defense and they showed us a lot of respect. We deserved a lot more than a 2-1 loss. We had opportunities to score and earn points, but I’m happy that my team never gave up, they kept fighting. Real Madrid and Barcelona are the only team that have been able to win at our home this season. The match against Barca was a while ago but I remember them having more chances than Madrid had today. It’s clear that the two teams know we are strong at the San Mames.”
In closing, the Athletic manager touched on the performances of Inigo Lekue and Ander Iturraspe who he believes had strong games. With the game now in the books, the Lions will look ahead to their final 10 matches remaining this season.
“Like I said, I think we deserved more because we played well. As the season has progressed Lekue has continued to improve. I think he played a good game. I saw a strong performance from Iturraspe as well. In games that we have dominated this season he has always played a good role. Now we will look ahead and try to climb the table.”
Athletic Club will now have some time off due to the international break. Only three players were called up – Yeray, Inaki Williams, and Kepa Arrizabalaga – all to Spain’s U21 side. The Lions will be back in action on 1 April when they travel to El Sadar to face Osasuna in another intense Basque Derby.