Berizzo: We Did Much Better In The Second Half, There Are Things To Learn From

Eduardo Berizzo

Eduardo Berizzo wants his team to continue improving (AthleticTV)

Athletic Club played their penultimate preseason friendly on Saturday against Hannover in what turned out to be a 2-0 loss for the Lions. Afterwards manager Eduardo Berizzo spoke to the media and was immediately asked about the departure of Kepa Arrizabalaga. He was quick to point out that you can’t think about players who have left and is confident in the goalkeepers that are in the squad.

“We’ve taken it calmly. A coach worries about those who are here because it doesn’t help to mourn the departure of those who are no longer in the team. I am in charge of looking for solutions and there is a possibility to cover his absence effectively because we have great goalkeepers. Kepa went because his clause was paid. He decided to continue his career at Chelsea and we must make sure that those who replace him are in the best condition possible. We must value those who are here.”

Berizzo then went on to praise Alex Remiro who will begin the season as the starting goalkeeper due to an injury to Iago Herrerín. The manager also revealed that Herrerín is still being evaluated and is hopeful that he won’t miss much time, although this specific issue can sometimes require surgery.

“Alex [Remiro] is composed and makes calm saves. A goalkeeper always has to be ready. The mentality of everyone must be that there are 25 substitutes and that the coach chooses and eleven for every game. You have to fight for your place. Iago? This weekend they are evaluating him to confirm the exact diagnosis and from there we will know the recovery time. An elbow specialist is evaluating him because he’s injured the tendon in the bicep, which requires a precise diagnosis. I hope it’s a short recovery but these injuries sometimes end with a minimally invasive procedure that extends it several weeks.”

Inaki Williams

Athletic struggled in front of goal but created plenty of chances (AC)

Aritz Aduriz also missed Saturday’s game and Berizzo revealed that the striker has been dealing with some pain in his hamstring. He has been able to train normally, but the coaching staff has decided to keep him out of games in order to protect him for the first match of the season against Leganés.

“Aduriz did not participate because of hamstring soreness. He came from Bilbao with that annoyance and we thought it was risky to play him. He trained today and will again tomorrow, but he won’t play tomorrow. We don’t want any setbacks and prefer to protect him for our first league match. Having a player like Aritz, who converts 85% of his shots, guarantees scoring. But, at the same time, scoring is everyone’s responsibility.”

Raúl García started the game as the striker in place of Aduriz and Berizzo admitted that the team lacked depth in attack. Iñaki Williams moved into the role during the game which saw the team create more chances. For now, the manager believes that García is still more efficient in the midfield.

“The team is used to playing with a traditional 9 like Aduriz, and I particularly like that too. Raúl can be our 8 or 10 and in the second half he showed that he can execute that position effectively. The team played ahead of him and that allowed us to use Iñaki up top. Iñaki was our center forward and with him the team was more recognizable. From my point of view Raúl was more beneficial in the midfield.”

Alex Remiro

Alex Remiro will carry the load at goalkeeper (AC)

In closing, Berizzo admitted that he liked his team’s performance as a whole, especially in the second half. He recognizes that there are still issues that need to be improved and that will be the focus over the next few days. The team is doing well to keep possession, but Toto wants the players to do more when they have the ball.

“I like the movement today, the surprise, and in the second half our attack was varied. Everyone had chances and having that variation in attack in what I like, although we need to convert chances. In the first half we have great possession, but without depth. The times we were direct we were more successful because when we had possession they were able to defend themselves effectively. In addition we suffered from two poor passes that ended in goals. I think we did much better in the second half and created more chances. There are things to learn from.”

Athletic will now travel to take on Augsburg tomorrow in the final friendly of the preseason. Berizzo will likely use a completely different starting lineup in order to keep players fresh and avoid injuries. He’s already confirmed that Aduriz will not play, which could mean that Sabin Merino will get another chance at striker. With nine days until the first match of the La Liga season there are still a lot of players fighting for their place in the team.

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