Gaizka Garitano Happy With Bilbao Athletic’s Performance Against Racing Despite Loss

Gaizka Garitano

Garitano is proud of his young Bilbao Athletic team (MD)

Bilbao Athletic had a wonderful opportunity to climb further up the league table on Sunday as they traveled to take on top-placed Racing. Asier Villalibre scored in the first half to hand the Katxorros a 1-0 lead, but their hosts mounted a comeback after halftime and eventually won 3-1. After the match Gaizka Garitano was asked if he was happy with the performance. The manager admitted that he was pleased with how his team played, but will never be happy with a loss.

“I’m not happy after losing, I’m angry. But we have to be proud of the match we played. The team showed their best face, with very young players, and we had Racing on the ropes for 70 or 80 minutes. I think we were better than them in the first half, but they were obviously better in the second half and took risks. We played a great first half, then we conceded the first goal. I thought we were going to be able to hold on, but Racing created more chances. They were able to score again and made it difficult for us to create chances.”

Despite having the lead at halftime, Garitano knew they things would be much more challenging in the final 20 minutes. He acknowledged that Bilbao Athletic were playing against a real first team even though they are mostly teenagers. He was proud to see his sides made things hard for Racing even though they couldn’t get a positive result.

“We knew that the last 15 or 20 minutes would be more physical and that there wouldn’t be much of a rhythm. Their entire team are adults and we still have a lot of teenagers. The good things is that we put Racing on the ropes and the disappointing thing is that we weren’t able to hold on until the end. We have come a long way and showed that we are a different team.”

Jon Sillero

Jon Sillero in defense against Racing (RRC)

In closing, Garitano openly stated that he believes Racing are the best team in the league. He’s watched every one of their games and said that he hasn’t seen anyone make it as difficult for them as his Bilbao Athletic team did over the weekend.

“Racing are, by far, the best team in the league without a doubt. I think that we have give Racing the most trouble of any other team this season. I’ve seen all their games and there hasn’t been anyone else who made it as difficult for them as we did. We were close to taking the game and getting something positive, but the last few minutes cost us.”

Bilbao Athletic are currently four points off of the promotional playoff zone of the table. They will be back in action this Sunday as they host struggling Cultural Durango at Lezama and will be hoping to take all three points.

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