Gaizka Garitano “We Have To Focus On Adding Points And Winning”
Athletic are coming off of a 3-1 Copa del Rey loss to Sevilla but are in a unique situation where they will play the same team three straight times. The two will face off at the San Mamés on Sunday in La Liga action and manager Gaizka Garitano told reporters that he expects a different result. The Lions made mistakes in the first meeting but are aware of the adjustments that are needed.
“Every game is different, but Sevilla usually carries the initiative, especially away from home. They like to take advantage of counter attacks too. In that sense I expect a similar game, but with a different result we hope. We will try to attack with order and not let them be as effective as they were the other day. Every time they attacked they were able to score and it’s difficult to play against that. We made some mistakes that we can’t make again.”
Garitano went on to highlight the fact that Athletic didn’t lose the ball very often, but Sevilla took advantage the few times they did. He knows their opponent is one of the best teams in the league and that makes the Basques work harder to get a good result on Sunday.
“The other day they took the ball from us very few times, but the times they did they created chances and scored goals. You also have to give credit to an opponent and the quality of their players. We are talking about one of the best teams, not only in the Spanish league, but in the world. They have won in Europe three times and have international players. We respect that. They are high in the league standings, but we are doing well and are sure that we will face them and play a good match.”
It will be a difficult match for Athletic who will be without Aritz Aduriz and Raúl García due to injury. Luckily, new signing Ibai Gómez has been called up for the game and is expected to see the field at some point.
“We have injuries and few forwards, but also players to replace them. We will try to play the best match with a plan in mind to win and get the best possible performance from the players we have. Aduriz and Raúl García are not able to play, but Ibai [Gómez] is ready. He is in the squad. I didn’t like the result of the previous game but it was good to be able to see other players. I was able to take notes and they did too. Playing every three days there are nuances to change and things to correct.”
In closing Garitano once again reiterated that it doesn’t matter where an opponent sits in the standings, Athletic must worry about themselves and playing their best. He was appreciative of the fan support in Thursday’s match and knows that it will be the same again at the San Mamés.
“I’ve always said that looking at the standings or the opponents doesn’t tell absolutely everything. You have to focus on what you do, on your own, on adding points and winning, because we need points. The Athletic fans are splendid. We’re very identified with them and they with us. We all go together and we have no complaints about anything. They will support us at home once again.”
Due to other matches around Spain on Saturday Athletic will end the weekend clear of the relegation zone no matter the result against Sevilla. That being said, a victory could see the Basques climb several spots in the La Liga table and move closer to safety. Defeating Sevilla will be extremely difficult, but the Zurigorri are playing much better under Garitano and are ready for another battle.