Rafa Alkorta “Athletic Need To Win As Soon As Possible”
It hasn’t been the season that Athletic Club fans expected. The team is currently in a battle against relegation, having only won one game, and desperately need to turn things around quickly. Former player Rafa Alkorta recently spoke with Radio Marca Bilbao and said that he believes the team has problems on offense and defense, while also recognizing that it isn’t easy to get back on the right track because of the mental aspect of the game.
“The team has problems in both areas and when you have these problems the team can’t be in a good position in the table. They need to win as soon as possible. Now every match is very complicated and for the players it isn’t the same playing with 10 points as you would with 20. Then there will be players who struggle mentally and other who don’t, which happens in every team. You have to change the dynamics and get some good luck. Right now you have to have many things go right to win a game and that is complicated.”
Alkorta also pointed out that Athletic have played well against attacking teams, but have struggled against defensive sides. Due to the ages of Aritz Aduriz and Raúl García he thinks the team needs to protect the ball much better because opponents will try to take advantage of turnovers.
“The team has played well in matches where they have been able to press against opponents who come out trying to attack. Against all of the opponents that play defensively Athletic have had problems because they have had issues without the ball. If you are going to attack and your best scorer is 37 and the other is 32 and playing on the wing, you have to take care of the ball. As long as they continue like this opponents will have advantages.”
Getting the season back on track takes a group effort and understanding of the team’s identity, says Alkorta. He doesn’t see any issues with the physical state of the players, but is worried about the mental strain after suffering so many disappointing results to start the year.
“A professional team in this situation must first know what they want to do and understand it clearly. They have to capture that idea, then you need players who are doing well. There are many factors. I look at the mental rather than the physical. The team is physically well. They play phenomenal football and are a better team than last year. I think they should be higher in the table but they all have to come together.”
When asked about the upcoming Presidential elections, Alkorta admitted that he is disappointing at the fact that it looks as though no one outside the former board will be running. He personally believes that the Socios want to have the chance to vote and he doesn’t know who will step forward as candidates.
“I’m not surprised. Those who step forward from outside the board have to guarantee a lot of money, even though the club is in a good economic situation. I’m sorry that it looks like there won’t be elections, because I think the Socio want to vote and the last time they didn’t have that chance. It doesn’t look like there are going to be elections, but I don’t know who the President is going to be.”
It was rumored that Rafa Alkorta was in line to become the club’s next Sporting Director if José Antonio Jainaga won the Presidency, but he has since decided not to run in the elections. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Athletic right now and fans are hoping to see the team give them some optimism when they host Getafe at the San Mamés on Sunday.