Gaizka Garitano “We Only Care About Winning”
Gaizka Garitano passed his first major test on Monday night as the new manager led Athletic to a 1-0 win over Girona. Not only did the Lions pick up three important points, they played fabulous football and were clearly the better team. After the game Garitano told reporters that he was happy with the result, saying that winning is the only thing that matters right now.
“I’m happy with the result. We needed it. What you have seen these two games is what I intend to continue doing. Today there were some different nuances because they played with three defenders. It was not easy, but this is how we have to play. We played a serious and complete match. We needed this win and that’s the only thing that matters to us right now. We only care about winning.
The victory is sure to give the team confidence moving forward which Garitano sees as something important and needed. He was proud that his players didn’t break even when Girona were attacking well. Above all else, he’s happy for the players who finally ended their 13 game winless streak.
“Winning starts with the defense. Other than the one slip from Nuñez we did not concede anything easy to our opponents. I’m happy because we didn’t break, even though we left holes. We did not lose our plan or order. In this situation you have to have a cool head and we did. This result will give the team confidence. When you aren’t winning you lose confidence. We have added three important points. The team has not won in months and I am very happy for the players, they have been working hard for this.
The manager was also asked about his decision to start Iñigo Córdoba over Iker Muniain and said that it was all about balancing the team. He trusts every players, but will select the most balanced lineup for every match. Garitano also stated that Iñaki Williams’ shoulder injury isn’t anything to worry about and that he brought on Markel Susaeta for tactical purposes.
“We want to balance the team. There is speed, hard work, and players who have a spark. I count on everyone, but we want to have a balanced team. Iñaki had a blow and was in discomfort, but that isn’t why he was taken off. He was fine, but with Girona playing so deep he was struggling to find space. I thought Markel [Susaeta] could play well with Capa on that right wing.”
Perhaps the biggest story of Monday’s win was the atmosphere at the San Mamés. The fans came out in full force to support the Lions which made a big difference. “I want to thank the fans because they pushed us a lot”, said Garitano. “There was great communication between the team and the fans. We have to give it to the fans so that they can give it to us.”