Iñigo Martinez “We Have To Focus On Adding Points Every Game”
Iñigo Martinez was not happy after Athletic’s 1-0 loss to Espanyol on Monday night. The defender was tasked with marking Borja Iglesias on the winning goal late in the first half and told reporters that going behind made it extremely difficult to get back into the game. The Lions did better in the second half, but it wasn’t enough.
“We are a team that presses high up the field and we didn’t do well enough with our pressure. It is a difficult situation for all of us and we don’t like being where we are. We know that we didn’t play well, especially in the first half, and we were playing from behind once again which makes it hard to turn things around. We improved in the second half. We aren’t getting the results we want, but we are together and our heads are up.”
When asked whether or not the team is still looking to qualify for Europe, Martinez was quick to point out that it is still early in the season. Right now Athletic are focused on taking it one game at a time and understands that there are no easy matches in La Liga.
“You have to focus on adding points every game and showing that at the end of the year you deserve to be higher up the table. We can’t talk about qualifying for Europe or permanence right now. It’s too early and there is a long road to reach the end of the season. The talk should be about every game. You can see that nobody is an easy opponent this year.”
Despite the poor run of form, the players remain confident in manager Eduardo Berizzo. Martinez says that the Athletic players should hold their heads high and work hard to start stringing together some wins and climbing further up the La Liga table.
“We have full trust in the coach who is working hard every day, and with the other coaches as well. We are professional footballers so we can’t hang our heads on where we are in the table. We lack points and need to get a pair of victories to be higher. We are in a bad time and what we have to do now is win, which would be good for us.”
In closing, Martinez was asked about the fact that Spain coach Luis Enrique was scouting at the match Monday night. The 27-year-old said that he is only focused on Athletic right now and didn’t really have much to say about the matter.
“There is no need to clarify anything. The important thing is my team and whatever happens will happen. Being in the National Team is special, but I’m not thinking about that right now. ”
Athletic Club will be back in action on Saturday as the Basques travel to the Wanda Metropolitano to take on Atlético Madrid. The team could be without Yeray and Raúl García who were both injured against Espanyol, while Dani García will certainly be unavailable after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season. The Zurigorri are desperate for points right now and will have to be at their best if they want to take anything home from their trip to Madrid this weekend.