Yuri Berchiche “Since Garitano Has Come I Feel Better And More Confident In Every Aspect Of The Game”
Yuri Berchiche did not play well under Eduardo Berizzo but he quickly found better form when Gaizka Garitano took over as the Athletic manager back in December. On Friday he spoke to the media and admitted that the training demands under Berizzo were difficult and that he was tired. Now he believes he is playing much better but still wants to give more to help the team.
“I came from a club where we trained very little. Here, with Berizzo and his coaching staff, we trained every day and we trained a lot. That change hurt me and my legs were tired, although I kept my habits. Personally, since Gaizka has come I feel better and more confident in every aspect of the game. I think I have played some good matches from a defensive aspect. We have played half the season and I know I haven’t played my best and that I can give much more. My last three games were better physically and I owe it to the club and to my teammates to be the Yuri that I was the last two years in the league.”
The 28-year-old is happy with Garitano’s tactics and says that the team was given three specific areas to improve when the managerial change first took place. It’s clear that Athletic are playing better defense under the new coach and Berchiche says that the team has grown a lot over the past month.
“Every coach has his ideas. The important thing is to be strong in the head and Gaizka has come up with a fixed idea and gave us three issues to correct…being solid at the back, not taking risks in defense, and being direct in attack. I think the team has internalized these concepts well and we are in a good dynamic defensively. We try to play more compact and with small details the team has grown a lot.”
Berchiche would then highlight the defensive improvements under Garitano, saying that all of the changes have been for the better. The team defends as a group now which has also helped to quickly transition into attack when winning possession.
“The symptoms are the opposite of what they used to be. We are solid on defense and give up very few chances. The team has taken a step forward and we’ve changed for the better. We get back together, are very supportive when defending, and we have fast players who can transition from defensive to offense.”
Of course, it wouldn’t take long before Berchiche was asked about VAR review that ruled him offside against Villarreal and annulled Athletic’s winning goal. The left-back is still angry about the decision and says that he would like to get some clarity explaining why the ruling.
“What makes me angry about the VAR review is that there are a lot of people watching it on TV and they all believe it’s a goal. We went to the referee and he told us that it has been checked. There is still confusion. I want to think that they have made the right decision or that it will improve. I’ve asked to see the images and I hope that they will teach us why that decision was made.”
Going into Sunday’s match against Real Betis, Berchiche expects the San Mamés to roar the same way it did against Sevilla. The team will play for the support of the fans and will then travel to the Anoeta for a Derby against Real Sociedad. If Berchiche plays it will be a special game and he made it clear that he will give everything he has to help Athletic win.
“We are going to try to engage with the fans. The other day, against Sevilla, we did that and they showed us great support at the San Mamés which is a unique field. Fans pay to get into the games and they do what they want. If I play against Real Sociedad I will do my best to try to win. It will be special because I had three wonderful years there and if I am here at Athletic it’s because of the opportunity they gave me to play in the Primera.”
Several players has improved significantly under Gaizka Garitano and Yuri Berchiche is definitely one of thing. His role is more defined and he’s been able to defend better and be more productive when joining the attack. He’s formed a good partnership with Iñigo Córdoba on the left side of the field and the pair will need to play well to help Athletic take all three points on Sunday.