Ziganda: We Conceded Goals Too Easily
Athletic Club’s 3-1 loss to Real Sociedad on Saturday was the deepest cut yet for fans this season. It has been a disappointing year all around but the Basque Derby was a huge chance for the team to give the fans something to cheer about, something to cause excitement. Instead, Mikel San José scored two own goals and the Lions fell in an embarrassing way. After the game, manager Kuko Ziganda addressed the media and admitted that the team simply allowed goals far too easily to be able to compete with their rivals.
“We conceded goals too easily. Within the match I think we were equal, but in strategy we could have created more chances and caused more problems for our opponent. We wanted to control the game, but the second goal hurt us a lot. In the last minutes of the first half we were taking risks and they were playing with confidence. We tried our best, but it wasn’t to be. When you concede goals easily it is very difficult to get ahead. We have failed terribly in certain aspects of the game.”
Ziganda went on to say that, for the most part, both sides were equal on the pitch and that it was Athletic who beat themselves by giving away goals. In the second half the Lions took more risks trying to get back into the game and had a few chances that could have seen them tie the game, but it wasn’t mean to be. Athletic have shown flashes to brilliance this season, but just haven’t been able to play consistent football.
“Until the first goal we were equal. Both teams were playing with a lot of pressure, but they had not had any good chances. We gave them the lead and that hurt us. After it was 2-0 we had some bad moments and in the second half we wanted to take more risks and we did. The season has not been good and we have been inconsistent, but we had two good games away from home. We are capable of playing well, but we are neither regular nor consistent.”
In closing, Ziganda praised defender Iñigo Martinez who made his return to the Anoeta for the first time since leaving to join Athletic Club back in January. He said that the 26-year-old handled everything very well, while also making it clear that the Lions have to play their best in the final three games of the season because it is what the fans deserve from the team.
“Iñigo demonstrated the kind of player and person that he is. When you take responsibility you can make mistakes, but he played an important role for us. He has taken all of this well and with a lot of integrity. Now we have some hard and demanding matches left and we must decide above all else to play good games. It is impossible to fix this year, but you have to do your best as a team because that is what the fans deserve.”
Athletic Club will be back in action on Saturday when they host Real Betis at the San Mamés. It will be yet another difficult game for the Basques due to the fact that Betis have been one of the strongest teams in all of Spain this season. The Lions will be hoping to put the Basque Derby behind them at home, but that will be easier said than done. Oscar De Marcos and Raúl García will both miss the match due to suspension, but hopefully Aritz Aduriz will make his return after missing two straight games with a muscle injury.