Eduardo Berizzo Calls For Stability And Consistency Ahead Of Match Against Rayo Vallecano
Athletic are hoping to put Sunday’s embarrassing draw against Eibar in the past when they travel to take on Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday. The match was originally scheduled to take place in late September but had to be rescheduled due to stadium concerns. Playing the match now gives Athletic the chance to climb to 12th in the table with a win and Eduardo Berizzo said during Tuesday’s press conference that the starting lineup will be very similar to the one at Ipurua.
“Whenever we play away from home I like to take 19 players for protection. We have called up the same squad as the other day and have included Mikel Rico. Everyone must be on alert because nothing is guaranteed. The players must be attentive because if you lower your guard you could be left out. The starting lineup will look very similar to the one we used against Eibar, but there will be some changes.
Berizzo did take a moment to discuss the Eibar match one last time, highlighting the fact that Athletic had a game plan in place but their opponents did not let them play their style of football. Iker Muniain and Unai López both started in midfield with hopes of playing attacking football and the pair could be back in the lineup again on Wednesday.
“We imagined a match against Eibar and our intentions reflected that. The game did not go as we wanted and Eibar forced us to use a lot of effort in defense. We weren’t able to play our game, but we did well to earn a valuable draw. Our football didn’t show up, but we showed that we could survive. Iker Muniain and Unai López played together in midfield with hopes of attacking, but we weren’t able to do that. They could repeat as starters. The match at Vallecas is different so that is an option.”
With a focus on Rayo, Berizzo made it clear that he wants Athletic to impose their style of football at Vallecas. He hopes to see his team play good football and pick up three vital points, but won’t be satisfied with a victory if it isn’t accompanied by a solid performance. He says that the team needs consistency and that is what the Lions are trying to find at this point in the season.
“We are going to a field where our opponents need points, but we need them too. Picking up three points would give us a big jump in the table. We want to play our style, impose ourselves, and win while playing good football. We always have the same intention, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The result is important, but I don’t like to win just any way. I don’t celebrate winning in any way, because I want the team to play well and create chances. We must play better than our last game. With three points we would move into 12th place and three more would see us in 6th. We want to win three points in every game, but to do that you have to have consistency. Everyone wants to win by three goals, but we need to find that consistency.”
Turning his attention to the squad, Berizzo revealed that Beñat will be able to play again next week. The midfielder has missed time due to sickness but has returned to training and can be called on after Saturday’s game against Valencia. Toto also announced that Aritz Aduriz and Iago Herrerín will start again at Vallecas.
“Beñat will be back next week, after the match against Valencia. He is already back with us, but has been taking it easy. Aduriz began the preseason great and then suffered from injuries. He’s gone through a recovery process and played his first full game back at Ipurua. Aritz will start again at Vallecas. He’s an important player for us and we hope that he can help by scoring a goal. After Iago Herrerín returned from injury I saw the game at Ipurua as the right time for him to play. He did well and will start again at Vallecas.”
In closing the manager stated that he feels supported by the fans, saying that they have shown confidence in the team. The players were quick to adapt to Berizzo’s style of football and now he wants to see stability from the squad moving forward in the matches to come.
“The defensive errors hurt us against Eibar and I hope they disappear. Walking through the city of Bilbao you see that there is confidence from everyone. I walk through the streets and the fans show me that they are confident in this team. In the locker room there was immediate acceptance of our playing style. Now we must become more consistent and standardize our way of playing. I want stability in terms of our performances.”
Wednesday’s match against Rayo could be a huge turning point for Athletic. A win would see the Basques climb to 12th in the La Liga table, while a loss would have them still battling against relegation. With a relatively healthy squad going into a must win game, fans will not accept anything short of the full three points at Vallecas. There is pressure to turn things around quickly and the team must respond to this great opportunity.