Yuri Berchiche “The San Mamés Is One Of The Best Stadiums In The World”
Yuri Berchiche has been one of Athletic’s most important players this season, featuring in all but three games and accumulating nearly 1,300 minutes. It’s been a difficult year, but the former PSG star is confident that the Lions will get things right soon. Berchiche recently sat down for an interview with La Liga where he discussed the strength of the squad and how much he wishes other clubs followed a similar philosophy to that of Athletic Club.
“This is a formidable squad and from the first moment they helped me integrate. As a city, Bilbao is wonderful. The San Mamés is one of the best stadiums in the world and the fans are fantastic. It’s a field that I love and when I played with Real I was already impressed. Athletic has a restricted market and a particular philosophy that I share. It’s nice that the club has this philosophy, I wish everyone had it. The young players who come to train at Lezama every day know that they can have an opportunity tomorrow and that’s nice.”
Berchiche went on to say that Athletic has always been his club and that he is happy with how his first season is going despite the poor results. He understands that he can still play much better football and his personal goal is to help the team get away from the relegation zone as quickly as possible.
“This has been my club since I was little. We are doing well in the table, but I’m happy with how things are going. I am in a situation where I can obviously improve in every aspect of the game. I’m still trying to reach my best form. My personal goal is to help the team achieve salvation as soon as possible and live more calmly. Then we will try to get as high as possible, trying to add points, which is what is important. We want to have a better year that it has been until now.”
When the season first started the goal was qualifying for Europe. That has obviously changed and Berchiche says that right now the team is only focused on adding points to improve their place in the table. He admitted that the team has played some great games, but they’ve also had a lot of bad luck.
“To this day the objective has changed completely. First you have to secure those 40-43 points which are needed. Then we will see. We will try to get those points as soon as possible and start demanding more, which is where the club has to be. We have played very serious games. Real Madrid at home, against Betis we had bad luck, we played a great game against Barcelona. We are missing that bit of luck that sometimes a team needs. Honestly, we should have more points, but if we are where we are that means something. We have to correct mistakes.”
It’s been an excited year in La Liga with several teams challenging for spots near the top of the table. Berchiche said that it’s a nice thing to see, but that it’s not good for Athletic to be so low. The left-back is convinced that the team will change their situation and move higher up the standings.
“There are rivals that I like a lot. Obviously nobody expected to see Alavés as high as they are, or Girona, and everyone thought Real Valladolid would be going down after being promoted. I see four very strong teams in Sevilla, Barcelona, Atlético, and Real Madrid who can never be ruled out. It’s been a strange league, but at the same time it’s been beautiful. It’s nice to see so much competition. The sad thing is seeing us so far down, but I am convinced that we will reverse the situation and, sooner rather than later, we will see ourselves higher up the table.”
Athletic have yet another difficult test on Monday night as they will travel to Balaídos to take on Celta Vigo. If the Lions win they could move as high as 15th in the La Liga table, but it won’t be easy. Yuri Berchiche and the rest of the team will have to be at their best if they are going to take all three points from a very strong Celta team.