Iñigo Martinez “These are the games that will give the team more confidence”
Athletic knew that Monday night’s match at the Mendizorrotza would be difficult. Basque Derbies always are. The Lions were locked in a battle that eventually ended in a scoreless draw and defense was the key for Gaizka Garitano’s side who have now earned three straight clean sheets. After the final whistle Iñigo Martinez did not hide the fact that it was a difficult game.
“We all know what a Derby is and it’s even more here”, he told Gol reporters. “With the atmosphere that these fans created you can hardly play football. It was a game of long balls and duels. The team played a good game. These are the games that will give the team more confidence. We should leave happy with the work that we’ve done.”
Without taking all three points Athletic still find themselves in the relegation zone, but Martinez was happy with the team’s performance. He also highlighted the fact that he had to play a physical game to match the intensity of Alavés forwards John Guidetti and Jonathan Calleri.
“We know where we are and that we have to win games to get out of this situation. The important thing is that they didn’t score and we didn’t allow them many chances. We were strong in every line. Guidetti and Calleri take it to the limit and you have no choice but to play with a lot of intensity. The work has been great.”
Monday’s draw pulls Athletic back into a tie with Villarreal for 17th place in the La Liga table. The Zurigorri will have another chance to move out of the relegation zone on Saturday when they welcome Real Valladolid to the San Mamés in what is already being called another final.