Garitano: I Still Believe In My Team
Bilbao Athletic kicked off their promotional playoffs on Sunday when they hosted Villarreal B at the San Mamés for the first leg of their matchup. Despite a strong showing things did not go their way as the visitors surged to a 3-1 victory. Being down by two goals and allowing three away goals is not a good place to be and mounting a comeback will be difficult. After the game manager Gaizka Garitano said that the first goal is what decided the outcome and that he should have responded by playing with more space.
“The key to the game was the first goal. It came in the last minute of the first half when we could have been ahead. That changed things. In response we should have played with more space and trusted our good defenders, but it went the other way. There were chances to score, but the truth is that each time they attacked they had players with great quality that made things difficult for us. We controlled the game in the second half, but their counter attacks were strong. You have to consider the opponent that we played against. I still think we played a good game. Even if the result is not good, I’m very proud of the team and think we did some good things in the game.”
Garitano went on to say that he doesn’t believe that Bilbao Athletic are out of it yet. Despite the disappointing result, he saw things from his team that make him think that they have a chance to turn things around. The players were understandably upset after the loss, but they are refusing to give up. Garitano still believes in his team and is ready to fight in Saturday’s second leg.
“If we had been able to score first things could have been different. The squad is very disappointed in the result, especially after the year they have had. It is hard to qualify for such an important game at home and lose. On Monday we are going to turn things around fast. We have another match on Saturday so this isn’t over yet. You never know what can happen and in football we never give up. This team is very competitive and they aren’t thinking about giving up. I still believe in my team despite being down 3-1 against a great Villarreal B.”
Regardless of how this round plays out, it has been an incredible season for Bilbao Athletic. Many of the players have taken a major step forward in their development and Gaizka Garitano has turned the Cachorros into a serious promotional candidate. Whether or not they earn promotion, Garitano has already made it clear that he will continue as the manager next season which should bring joy to all Athletic Club fans because he has truly done a spectacular job to this point.