Gaizka Garitano “Beating Sevilla Twice In Four Days Isn’t Easy”
Athletic played a great game on Wednesday to beat Sevilla 1-0 at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán but it wasn’t enough to overturn the 3-1 deficit from the first leg. After the game Gaizka Garitano admitted that the result wasn’t what the team was looking for, but that he proud of the effort of his players and that they had chances to score more goals late in the match.
“We had a very unfavorable result, but we played a serious game and we grew little by little. We finished with good feelings. We must highlight the good work of the players because beating Sevilla twice in four days isn’t easy. In the last 20 minutes we had good sensations and almost scored the second goal. Our opponents handled the situation well and you must congratulate the players. It was difficult to come back. We were close at 1-0, but they are a great team.”
The starting lineup looked very different to the one used on Sunday and Garitano said that it was important to have fresh legs in the team. Every healthy player got minutes over the last two games and the manager believes that everyone in the squad is capable of contributing when called upon.
“We have played several games in a row. We needed freshness and the players have done well. We’ve used every player available in these last two games. They’ve shown that we can count on everyone, anyone can play and that’s a good thing. We’ll see what happens in the market. I like Unai [López] a lot, but we have a lot of players in that position. He started today and did well so we’ll see what happens with him in the days ahead. Ibai is a different player and he’s going to help us. He has a good shot, can play through the center, and on both wings.”
It was a special night for Markel Susaeta who made his 500th appearance for Athletic. The Captain assisted Gorka Guruzeta’s goal, which just so happened to be the striker’s first for the club at the senior level. Garitano said that it’s a source of pride to coach Susaeta and that he has big hopes of Guruzeta.
“Markel has played 500 games. I’m proud to train him, a player who stands out and is a reference for our club. Guruzeta and Nolaskoain have to look at him. I know Guruzeta well and I have high hopes for him. He’s young and has to take the steps and progress. He had chances tonight and a great goal. He has to grow and we have to give opportunities to these young guys because they are the future of Athletic. In January players can leave but right now with Raúl and Aduriz injured he will stay with us.”
Athletic may have been eliminated from the Copa del Rey but that only means that the attention will be placed fully on the league campaign. The Basques are currently 4 points out of the last European spot in the table and 3 points above the relegation zone. A win against Villarreal on Sunday would be Athletic’s third straight in La Liga action and would see the Zurigorri climb higher up the standings.