Gaizka Garitano “They Haven’t Told Us Why The Goal Was Annulled”
Athletic were only able to take one point from their match against Villarreal as the game ended 1-1 at Estadio Cerámica. The draw was enough to see the Lions move into 13th in the La Liga table, but they aren’t happy with the result. A missed handball allowed Villarreal to score the equalizer and VAR incorrectly ruled Iñaki Williams’ winner offside. After the game Gaizka Garitano said he didn’t want to talk about the two calls, but they were hard to ignore.
“I don’t want to talk about the VAR review but there were two key plays, a handball in the box before their goal and our goal that was annulled. I was on the bench so I haven’t seen the replay but I’ve been told it was a goal. I don’t know what to say about it. I don’t know. They haven’t told us why it was annulled, we don’t know why. Those were key moments and it’s difficult to analyze the game when those all went against us.”
Garitano believes that the referees made a mistake with the two calls, but he understands that there is nothing Athletic can do about it now. The manager didn’t want to take his criticism too far for fear of punishment and said that the team must now turn their focus to the next match.
“The referees were wrong. They made a mistake and I don’t see any other solution than to go home and think about the next game. They said it wasn’t a goal but it seemed like it was. What am I going to say in the heat of the moment, they will suspend me. The referees sometimes make mistakes like us. There’s nothing else we can do but keep going and forget about it. It’s over. They aren’t going to give us the goal and we can’t do anything to fix it.”
As far as the rest of the game is concerned, Garitano was proud of how his team played. The Lions were strong in defense and created chances. The Mister believes that Athletic are getting better with every game and he’s hoping to continue adding points.
“We fought well and were good in defense. We created chances and I think we played a good game. They used all their forwards but didn’t create chances. Their goal came because of a handball that was missed. They didn’t make us uncomfortable and at a field like this you have to be happy about that. The entrance of San José gave us more in attack, as well as De Marcos. In the last few minutes we hovered around the box. We move forward well and I’m proud of the work of the players.”
Despite the result Garitano highlighted the fact that Athletic must be happy with the draw because taking points at Estadio Cerámica isn’t easy. He firmly stated that the team is doing very well as of late, but warns that they must continue improving because Athletic are far from safety in the table.
“We added a point on a difficult field. They have great players. Villarreal is a team that should be higher and we have worked a lot. They have a lot of quality. We have to keep in mind that we are a solid team and that we have added a point. We had possession, moved the ball, created chances well and scored a goal that wasn’t put up on the scoreboard. If you can’t win it’s important not to lose. We must value the point because we maintained distance from a direct rival. We are doing well. From defense we are growing in attack. We are a solid, compact, and generous team. We have to keep going because we aren’t safe yet.”
It’s difficult to look past the refereeing decisions against Villarreal, but Athletic must quickly shift their focus to the next match. The Zurigorri are now 6 points off of the European zone of the La Liga table and will host 7th place Real Betis at the San Mamés on Sunday. Athletic are in for another challenging game but are confident that they can get a positive result and continue their unbeaten streak under Gaizka Garitano.