To many, this season has been a disaster for Athletic Club. The Lions sit in the bottom half of the table and look poised to miss out on European competition for the first time in four years. However, there is one player who has surprisingly had his best season yet – Enric Saborit. The defender recently spoke with Alberto García of Mundo Deportivo and admitted that he understands the frustration of the fans, but insists that the team has not given up hope of climbing the table.
“I understand the fans. We are sad, but not depressed. We are Athletic Club and we will fight like always until the end. We would love for the situation to be better and more enjoyable, but it has been this way all year. Thankfully, this team never loses its strength and never surrenders. The criticism may be fair, but we must be aware of the good seasons that we have had and strive to reach that again. We have hope.”
Saborit went on to say that there is still hope that Athletic can qualify for Europe, but that it will be very difficult. He refuses to allow all of the blame to be placed on manager Kuko Ziganda, saying that everyone is to blame for the poor form and results.
“We have conviction that Europe is still possible, although it will be difficult. We have always given our best and we must continue to improve. We are all to blame. The shouts against Ziganda? It isn’t just him, it is all of us. We have not managed to play the game we wanted to. We always want to be in the opposing end and create more, but we have struggled. There are nine games remaining and we are still fighting to climb as high as we can. We have not given up.”
With nine games remaining this season Athletic will need to make up eight points if they are to qualify for Europe. Many players have pointed out that next weekend’s game against Celta Vigo at the San Mamés will be the deciding factor on which way the rest of the campaign with go. That being said, there is no more room for failure. From now on every single game is a final.