Eduardo Berizzo “Tomorrow’s Match Is An Opportunity To Rebuild Confidence”
Athletic Club will have the opportunity to take their focus off of their league struggles on Wednesday as they host Huesca at the San Mamés in the first leg of the Copa del Rey round of 32. During Tuesday’s pregame press conference Eduardo Berizzo said that the team needs to play with conviction to get a good result and that everyone is singularly focused on the Cup fixture.
“One is always finding encouragement to feel whole again. A depressed coach doesn’t exist and a depressed leader doesn’t exist. We are building the spirit to get a victory. As a coach you are always walking a tightrope. I am part of a situation that isn’t pleasant, but I think what we have to do is focus with energy on tomorrow’s game and get a complete and solid victory. We need to play with conviction to take a step forward. This match should be seen as an opportunity. Playing again so soon gives us the chance to respond quickly.”
Berizzo went on to admit that going 12 straight games without a win can really affect the confidence of the team. He recognizes that the mental aspect of the game needs to be improved and for that to happen the Lions need to win a game to start rebuilding their confidence and positivity.
“When a team doesn’t win the confidence it hurt. The feeling of winning makes you overprotective and it turns against you. Sometimes teams are in a mood that strengthens the moment and other times that strength is weakened by the lack of victories. The last minutes of the game against Getafe should have been managed better. When confidence is weakened it makes you unstable. We must try to strengthen ourselves and for that to happen it is necessary to win.”
There has been a lot of talk over the past few weeks about Berizzo’s future with the club. Many fans are already asking for a coaching change, but the Argentine stated that he recently met with Josu Urrutia and feels secure in his position. He doesn’t think that he is playing for his job at the moment and has every desire to help Athletic turn the situation around as quickly as possible.
“I never thinking about what happens if I do badly. I’m positive and the Cup game is a very important match that we want to win. I spoke with Urrutia this morning and he told me that there are situations that we have to go through together. It’s a typical phrase in football to say that ‘We support the coach’ minutes before firing him, but if something is different about this club it’s that results are not all that matters. I feel supported and respected, so I don’t think I’m playing for my job. I have every desire to turn the situation around. We are in a situation where everyone should be able to take a step forward because it’s a challenge for everyone to straighten our course.”
Berizzo’s recent comments about refusing to change the way that his team plays have been received with criticism. Toto took a moment to clarify what he meant by saying that he has to coach the team in a specific way to play, but that is happy to win games however that happens. That being said, he will remain faithful to what he knows.
“I do not choose the way to win. I build a way to play. Everyone wants to win and that is why we train every day. I do not have a style, I have a way of playing football, but if we win a game in the 96th minute I will celebrate no matter how we won. I’m not naive. I want to be loyal to my system, be true to what I think is best for the team. Let me be clear when I say that I want to win. I love winning and that is our goal. The way forward is to be true to what I believe. Whether I am criticized for being incoherent or faithful to what I believe, let it be the second.”
Despite just played three days earlier against Getafe Berizzo revealed that the starting lineup won’t change too much. He wants to build on the continuity and believes that everyone has recovered well from Sunday’s match.
“There will be some rotation in the lineup, but not much. It will look similar to the Getafe game. Continuity in the lineup is necessary so hopefully everyone has recovered well from the weekend. We will take the time to evaluate the players tomorrow. There is energy and a desire to move up the table. I am convinced that we can play in any way. Each game has been marked by mistakes that hurt us and that’s why we have to get a complete and solid victory tomorrow.”
In closing, the manager went over injury updates for the squad without any real surprises. Raúl García and Mikel Rico will not be available, but Yeray could start the game on the bench. Aritz Aduriz has a chance of returning to the lineup as does Unai Simón who is expected to feature as the club’s Cup keeper moving forward.
“Raúl García will not play tomorrow because he isn’t available. He has some inflammation and, if everything went well, he could be there Monday but we won’t take that risk. Aduriz is doing well and he’s getting better. Maybe he will start tomorrow and find his best form. There may be a change in goal and Yeray can play, but I doubt he will start. He’s recovered, although he still lacks some football rhythm. Mikel Rico trained today, but he needs some more days. He had a foot injury and I don’t know when he will return. It all depends on his recovery.”
With the current situation at Athletic Club the team desperately needs a victory to start building their morale and confidence. Wednesday’s Cup game presents the perfect opportunity to make a statement at home before jumping back into La Liga action on Monday night against Levante. It won’t be easy, however this is an opportunity that the Zurigorri can’t afford to waste.