Gaizka Garitano “It’s Always Good To Add Points Away From Home”
Athletic Club picked up an important point on Monday night as they played Deportivo Alavés to a scoreless draw. Both sides had great defensive performances which kept the offenses from being able to create many chances. After the game Gaizka Garitano told reporters that he expected the game to be this difficult and said that he was happy to make it difficult for Alavés.
“It was a very tight game, we fought and it was very close. They only had one shot from a cross and we had a very clear opportunity with Aduriz. There were only a few chances so we must take the points as a good thing. It’s always good to add points away from home. I think the result was fair, with a clean sheet. The game played out as I had expected. It was contested, with few chances and little football. It is a merit to them and to ourselves. I’m happy for that but not happy because we weren’t able to create.”
Garitano admitted that Athletic didn’t play as sharp as they did against Girona last week. He recognizes that matches at the Mendizorrotza are never easy and wants to see the team improve moving forward.
“We were inaccurate, less comfortable, and lost many balls, easy balls. But they make you uncomfortable. They didn’t let us play and neither did we. There was less fluidity than the other day. We had more touches today and we have to continue to improve. The other day we created very clear chances and today there weren’t that many against Alavés who haven’t lost at here in eight months. They are always alive until the end because they are a team that scores most of their goals in the final minutes.”
With Athletic fighting to get out of the relegation zone Garitano is aware that it affects how the team performs each game. The players have less freedom and more stress at the moment, but the point was a good result. Now the coach wants to build on it with a win against Real Valladolid on Saturday.
“I would have liked to create more in attack. We lacked precision and weren’t able to create as many chances as the previous two games, but I’m also happy because we kept Alavés from generating much. As I said, getting out of the situation goes like this, little by little, keeping clean sheets, and now we have to try to improve on this point by winning at the San Mamés.”
Iker Muniain has started all three games under Garitano on the bench and the manager was asked about the decisions. He said that he counts on Muniain to be an important player for the team, but also admitted that Iñigo Córdoba is playing really well.
“Each game is different. The previous game we created ten clear chances and finished with 20 opportunities, but Alavés are strong. In other situations you may play more loose, more cheerful, but the situation is what it is. Nobody comes here and has it easy. They didn’t create anything either and that leaves me satisfied because we made them suffer. Muniain is very important for us and I count on Iker. He is vital. It doesn’t mean anything that he didn’t start the game. He’s playing great, but so is Córdoba.”
Monday’s result leaves Athletic tied with Villarreal for 17th in the La Liga table and the Lions will have another opportunity to climb out of the relegation zone on Saturday when they host Real Valladolid. It will be another difficult game for the Zurigorri who are confident that they can get to safety before the Christmas holiday begins.