Yeray “Llorente Is a Very Good Player”
Yeray has been one of the best center-backs in La Liga this season and is playing at a very high level. Despite his age, the 23-year-old has already become a leader in the back line and is now focused on helping Athletic climb out of the relegation zone under new manager Gaizka Garitano. He was recently a guest on Radio Popular and was first asked about the potential signing of Fernando Llorente.
“He [Llorente] is a very good player”, Yeray answered “but I think that Aduriz and Williams will gradually score more goals. I think that, with what there is in the team, he would come in handy.”
The defender then admitted that he could barely watch Aritz Aduriz’s penalty against Girona although he was confident that the striker would score. “I didn’t look at Aduriz’s penalty until just before he kicked the ball. There was a lot of nerves because it was the last minute. We all trusted that he was going to put it in and when he scored we all said ‘Ole! Your balls!'”.
The victory over Girona could be the turning point in Athletic’s season. The Lions are now level with Villarreal for 17th in the La Liga table and could climb even higher with a positive result on Monday night against Alavés. Yeray admitted that the win at the San Mamés brought relief and highlighted that the team was able to be more effective offensively.
“I think we all needed it, the players and the fans. It was a very important win because we had not won since the first game of the season. The coach made us work on his ideas and we had little time to adapt. Gaizka has clear ideas. He knows what he wants us to do and that is being seen in the matches. We created more chances than we have in a long time. These are two different styles. Before we were playing more individual defense and felt alone so if you lost just one duel it could cost you a goal, but now we are more protected at the back.”
The team is very happy that things are going better, but the players do feel responsible for Eduardo Berizzo losing his job as Yeray explained. “The whole group felt guilty about Berizzo’s dismissal. It was a bad moment for everyone. We have tried to do our best until now. Everyday, whether better or worse, we were training hard but things didn’t work out.”
Aside from the league, Athletic have now advanced to the Copa del Rey Round of 16 following their 8-0 aggregate win over Huesca. “The Copa del Rey is a competition that Athletic likes and so do we”, Yeray stated. “It’s important and there are always high expectations. No matter how much we are down we will not let the opportunity pass.” Then, when asked about the club’s upcoming Presidential elections the 23-year-old put the attention back on La Liga saying, “The only thing that we are thinking about is getting out of this situation.”