Athletic by Club’s 3-3 draw against Malaga on Saturday certainly didn’t feel like a draw. The Lions were up 3-1 late into the second half with a man advantage but allowed Malaga to work back into the game by taking advantage of defensive errors. After the match was over, manager Kuko Ziganda spoke to the media and it was very obvious that he was frustrated. He said that the team dropped two points in a game they should have won and that they need to learn from these mistakes.
“Today’s result is a big disappointment. When we were up 3-1 we let up and gave them life. They made it 3-2 and had all of the energy. We had a chance to add a fourth, but were not able to fully control the game. We lacked attention and today we lost two points. We threw away a game that we should have won. I’m very upset with the last 20 minutes and with the result. We know that it is going to be a long season and we have to learn from these things. Right now we have a bad taste in our mouth but we have little time to mourn.”
Ziganda went on to praise Iñaki Williams who scored two goals but also made it clear that Iñigo Lekue needs to learn from the mistakes he made against Malaga. He also revealed that Beñat did not feature because he wanted to see something different from the midfield.
“Iñaki scored two goals and played a great game today. He will score more for us. Lekue is young and he is going to continue growing and improving. It [the last goal] was an offensive play and we were beaten on defense. We have to be tighter and in more control. Beñat not playing? We have other options at pivot and we need to take advantage of rotations. We liked what we saw against Hertha when we rotated and I wanted a similar team today.”
Athletic Club will be back in action on Thursday when they will host Zorya Luhansk in their second game of the Europa League group stage. It will be interesting to see how Kuko Ziganda rotates his squad for this game. Beñat is expected to be back in the starting lineup, while Lekue will likely be dropped in favor of Eneko Bóveda. After an opening round draw against Hertha Berlin, the Basque giants will be looking to pick up a vital three points in pursuit of the top spot in Group J.