Berizzo “Our Pressure Helped To Make Our Opponents Uncomfortable”
Athletic Club defeated Real Sociedad 1-0 on Saturday to win the second Basque Cup Final. The Lions were able to control possession and make things difficult for their rivals with their pressing style which led to a strong showing at Stadium Gal. Afterwards, manager Eduardo Berizzo said that he liked the performance from his team and is still open to players fighting for their place in the starting lineup.
“I liked the match. At the beginning of the game we adapted well to the field and we managed to circulate possession well and build from the back. We had chances and our production was good for long stretches. We have to work on keeping it for the whole game. I can’t say this same lineup will start the league, I don’t want to rule out anything and we have a lot of training sessions left. The idea is for everybody to be ready and to form a solid group. We are always thinking about the team as a whole.”
Berizzo went on to say that he believes Athletic were the superior team, praising the success of the team’s pressing. The goal was to shut down Real Sociedad’s midfield and the manager said that the trio of Dani García, Unai López, and Iker Muniain were able to make the difference in the game.
“I believe we were superior, especially in controlling the game. Our pressure helped to make our oppo uncomfortable so that they were not able to play. We knew that if they were able to use their two pivots they would play well, but our midfield was very strong, tight, and had great movement. Dani [García] and Unai [López] have been able to keep the flow in the midfield and Iker [Muniain] benefited from that.”
After two years of struggling in front of goal Iñaki Williams has looked very confident this season and Berizzo expects the 24-year-old to score more goals like the one against Real Sociedad. Toto understands just how important Derbies can be and is happy to have brought joy to the Athletic fans.
“Iñaki’s goal was good. The important thing is that he found the movement to be in position to score. He will score more goals like today, hopefully many more, but we have to take advantage of his speed. The success of today will give confidence and security. We also had some headers in the box, without a goal, but with power. That is a facet that we have to control and dominate. These are matches that every player wants to play in, to experience. They are passionate and contagious matches. I am happy because winning the derby is a source of joy for the Athletic fans.”
In closing, the manager was asked about possible roster cuts and continued to say that he is in no hurry. The coaching staff will take all the time needed to make the best decisions possible. He did make it clear that Peru Nolaskoain will stay in the squad, but will also spend some time with Bilbao Athletic when he isn’t need in the first team.
“The confidence in our squad is growing steadily. I’m counting on everyone and I’m giving everyone the chance to be involved. At the end of the month we will make decisions about the squad, but today everyone is part of the team. Peru [Nolaskoain] will continue with us and when he doesn’t have the opportunity to play he will be with Bilbao Athletic so that he is still close. His performance today confirms all the good things he has done this preseason.”
Saturday’s Basque Cup victory has left fans with plenty of joy and excitement ahead of the next season. There will surely be celebrations, but the players have no time to relax The Lions have already traveled to Germany to compete in Sunday’s Opel Cup against Mainz and Fiorentina. Athletic are hoping to lift two preseason titles in two consecutive days so the focus is on putting in another strong performance.