After going eight games unbeaten to start the season, Athletic Club have lost their last two in a disappointing manner. Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat against Atletico Madrid exposed the Lions’ lack of finishing in front of goal, as well as the need for more creativity. After the game, manager Kuko Ziganda said that the second half changed everything because the visitors were able to take more control of the game. He lamented the fact that Athletic played the type of game that their opponents’ wanted.
“The penalty changed the game. In the first half Atletico were uncomfortable because they were not in control of the game. In the second they were better and the first goal cost us a lot. With this team you know that if they go ahead it is complicated to get back into the game. We continued to try, but we couldn’t turn it around. As they attacked in the first half we slowed them down then in the second half that happened to us. We weren’t able to generate danger and couldn’t do much with our opportunities. We played the game that they wanted and we were more exposed.”
Despite the losses, Ziganda said that the team has to move on and focus on Sunday’s match against Malaga. Every game is a measuring stick for clubs to know exactly where they are and the manager believes that this loss doesn’t take Athletic off of their roadmap for success.
“It’s time to move on and prepare for Sunday’s game in Malaga. We know how this works. Each game is a test and we have to be aware of where we are and take things as they come. We want to be more self aware and more consistent. We would have liked to have won, but this doesn’t change our roadmap at all. We know that there are a lot of curves on the road, but right now we have to take the right path and keep going. Now we have to be calm.”
Sunday’s match against Malaga will be another tough test but one that will give Athletic the chance to right the ship. However, they may be without Aritz Aduriz who was taken off late in the second half against Atletico Madrid with discomfort. The Lions currently sit 8th in the La Liga table but could climb as high as 4th with a win over Malaga. Regardless of what happens, Wednesday was full of great news when the club officially announced that Yeray has beaten cancer for a second time.