Eduardo Berizzo “Every Game Is An Opportunity To Improve”
Athletic Club will be looking to put an end to their streak of 10 straight games without a victory on Saturday when they travel to take on Atlético Madrid. Manager Eduardo Berizzo appeared in front of the media on Friday and made it clear that the Lions are going into the match with the intentional of controlling possession and winning. The results have not been positive this season, but Toto sees every game as a chance to improve the situation.
“Our goal is always to control the ball in every match. When we don’t have the ball we must recover it and have a reliable defensive system. When we do have the ball we must use it with intelligence. Our opponents will exploit mistakes and they are strong defensively. We are going to Madrid with the intention of playing our game and winning. When the team isn’t winning nobody is happy, but I notice the optimism and patience for things to work. Every game is an opportunity to improve. I am the first one who wants things to go well and for us to improve our place in the table.”
Raúl García was expected to miss the game with a sprained ankle but was able to train with his teammates the last two games and was called up. Berizzo doesn’t yet know if the 32-year-old will start against his former club, but will have to replace Dani García who is serving a suspension. No matter who plays, the manager still demands the same level of football.
“Raúl García came back from Barcelona with an ankle injury, but he has recovered. He hasn’t been able to do everything in training out of precaution, but he is with us and has the mentality that he wants to play. We’ll see how he is doing tomorrow. We will also be without Dani García who is suspended. Playing someone else in the midfield shouldn’t change our style. We will have to play with a mixture of possession and recovery because how you manage the ball in the middle of the field is fundamental.”
With Dani García unavailable many expected to see Ander Iturraspe back in the squad, but that wasn’t the case. Berizzo revealed that he was comfortable with Peru Nolaskoain who can play in defense or as a midfielder. He did confirm that Unai Nuñez will start in place of the injured Yeray and stated that Aritz Aduriz needs more help from his teammates to start scoring goals.
“The reason that Ander Iturraspe wasn’t called up is because Peru Nolaskoain can play in two position. We’ll see who starts in the middle of the field. Unai Nuñez will start. Every striker needs help from his teammates to score goals. Once Aduriz starts scoring goals he will explode. He is a constant danger and an important player for us.”
Turning his attention to Saturday, Berizzo understands that Atlético Madrid don’t need a lot of the ball to score goals. They are very strong defensively and will take advantage when opponents make mistakes. Athletic will have to control the ball and be wise with the passes if they want to cause problems for their hosts.
“Atlético don’t need a lot of possession to score goals. They will force us to play a very tight defense and will make it hard to control the ball. We cannot allow them to play comfortably. We must take control of the ball and make it difficult for their defense. We have to take control of the ball and keep it on their side of the field to do as much damage as we can.”
In closing, Berizzo refused to comment on the upcoming Presidential elections which will take place in December. He was thankful for the kind words from Josu Urrutia, but says that he has to stay focused on making the team better and improving their position in the La Liga table.
“I prefer not to participate or comment on the coming electoral process because all of my energy and concentration must be put into improving the team on the field. I fully understand the President’s decision as he told me it was the best decision for him and for the club. I appreciate the kinds words he had for me.”
Saturday’s match against Atlético will be a tough test for Athletic who have struggled to score goals this season. The Lions are desperate for points and will be hoping to take advantage of the fact that Atlético will be without several important players. It certainly won’t be easy for the Zurigorri but the players have said that they are ready for a fight and eager to get their season back on the right path.