Gaizka Garitano “We Weren’t At The Level That We Have Been”

Gaizka Garitano

Gaizka Garitano knows Athletic didn’t play their best in the Basque Derby (AC)

Until Saturday Athletic had not lost a league game under Gaizka Garitano. That all changed when the Lions fell 2-1 to Real Sociedad in the Basque Derby. Afterwards the manager admitted that the team didn’t perform at the level they have so far this season and they have to do more with the ball going forward.

“Winning is always difficult and today we weren’t at the high level that we have been, we have to recognize that. We didn’t play well, especially in the first half hour. We did things wrong and our opponents were very good. They have good players who can make the difference one on one and we weren’t able to do enough with the ball.”

Going down 2-0 before halftime was difficult to overcome. That being said, Garitano was pleased with how his team responded although it wasn’t enough to get back into the game before the final whistle. Athletic weren’t able to come away with anything positive and must start preparing for the next match.

“It was difficult for us to react. We went down early and we are used to things going well, but we have also known how to react when things don’t work out. We just couldn’t do enough to turn it around. It’s not an excuse, but their first goal was an isolated play and in that moment they did much better than us. It was difficult to do things with the ball although Córdoba had the opportunity to tie the score with a great header. Then it became 2-0. The second half was more balanced, but not enough to get two goals and get something positive.”

Ander Capa Mikel Oyarzabal

Mikel Oyarzabal’s opening goal forced Athletic to play out of their comfort zone (RSC)

Once Athletic scored their goal in the 82nd minute Garitano admitted the only way they would find an equalizer was to send crosses into the both, but it didn’t work out. He also revealed that Alex Remiro will now be available for games after being held out all season due to an unresolved contract dispute.

“After we scored the goal there was no way to get back into the game without centering the ball into the area to Raúl García and Guruzeta. We have Ibai Gómez and Beñat who can both take free kicks and crosses. They are both good and they decide between themselves. Alex Remiro’s situation has changed because his situation has been dealt with. Under the former Directors he wasn’t able to be called, but under the new Directors he can now be called.”

A victory would have seen Athletic climb into 7th place in the La Liga table, but instead they could fall back down closer to the relegation zone. The Zurigorri need to continue adding as many points as possible but it’s not going to be easy with Barcelona visiting the San Mamés next Sunday for what will be a very important fixture for both clubs.

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