Dani García “The Goal Is To Get Out Of The Relegation Zone Before Christmas”
Athletic have won two straight games since Gaizka Garitano took over for Eduardo Berizzo as manager. The team is playing much better and Monday’s win has given the players much joy. During Friday’s press conference, Dani García told reporters that they are playing for the history of the club and were glad to take a step forward with the victory over Girona.
“We were very happy because we had not won for a long time, but we know that we are in a delicate situation. We have suffered a lot. The happiness, the relief, and the way we celebrated the victory was all because of everything we had gone through. This was the first step towards the change that we all want. We are playing for the history of the club.”
The only objective at this point is getting out of the relegation zone and García says that the team wants to do it before Christmas. Athletic will have two games to achieve the goals as they will face Alavés on Monday night followed by a home game against Real Valladolid on Saturday, just three days for Christmas.
“The goal is to get out of the relegation zone before Christmas. Three more points on Monday would give us life. We will go to Vitoria to win and getting out of the relegation zone before Christmas would give us a lot of confidence. It will be a very intense and equal match. I hope that you will see the Athletic of the other day, at our best. This is a Derby and with their fans there is always an atmosphere. There is also the added challenge that they have not lost at home this season.”
García and Garitano are quite familiar with one another from their days at Eibar. Garitano helped lead the club from the Segunda B to the Primera and García was one of the team’s key players. The midfielder says that the new style fits him better and that the new manager has done things well since taking over for Berizzo.
“Garitano has had me as a player for three years. He knows how I play, he knows me well, and Berizzo did too. The style of play, being more defensive, is better for me but I felt important with Berizzo as well. He is aware that we can’t change everything in a week. He has tried to things as normally as possible and has given us three guidelines which the team has done well since the first day.”
In closing, García made it clear that Athletic were a different team against Girona. The Lions were more direct in attack, secure in defense, and have a defined style of play. He highlighted the importance of supplying crosses to Aritz Aduriz and Raúl García who are the focal points of the team’s attack.
“It was a different Athletic against Girona. We have nearly 40 crosses and got the ball into the box more than 20 times. If we spend more time on our opponent’s side of the field we will create more chances and they will have less. Having Aduriz and Raúl up top to feed them to score goals is an important asset for us, in addition to being secure defensively. We have to send balls into the box to score goals.”
Monday night’s game won’t be easy. Alavés have been a strong team this season and Basque Derbies are always unpredictable. That being said, Athletic are finally playing their best football of the season and are desperate for more points. Winning the match could see the Lions climb out of the relegation zone so fans should expect a motivated Zurigorri to show up to the Mendizorrotza.