Beñat “We Have To Play The Same Way We Did Against Barcelona”
There was a bit of concern earlier in the week that Beñat would not be able to play on Monday night against Huesca. The midfielder was dealing with discomfort in his right thigh, but finally returned to training on Thursday and has been cleared for the match. On Thursday night he was a guest on the Fuera de Juego radio show where he stated that he is ready to go.
“I’m fine. Last week I had the flu for two days and I was a little weaker. This week I started a bit sore, but I’ve left that all behind. I’m ready to play. It’s a pity that every time I find my rhythm in the team I have the bad luck of an injury or getting sick and we have to work to that point all over again. Physically, I’m almost at my best level, buy you can always give more and learn to give much more.”
Speaking about Sunday’s draw against Barcelona, Beñat believes that Athletic left two points on the field. He thinks that the Lions were the better team and deserved more. Looking ahead to Huesca he recognizes that they have been playing much better football over the last three weeks and can’t be taken lightly.
“We did everything we could against Barcelona. They were able to play their football or create chances, but we played our football and did create chances. It was unlucky that they have a goalkeeper who stopped everything the other day. Huesca are playing well right now. They have added 7 out of 9 points and there is still a lot of league left to play. Nobody is dead yet, especially Huesca. We want to continue what we have been doing. A victory would be nice to help us keep moving up the table.”
Huesca may not be at the same level as Barcelona, but Beñat says that Athletic must treat them the same. That’s the only way that the Basques can ensure a good performance at Estadio El Alcoraz.
“We have to play the same we did against Barcelona. It’s difficult, but that’s what we have to do to go into this match more focused than we were for even Barcelona. It’s a vital match for us. Then we will have another opportunity at home against Eibar who are above us in the table.”
Athletic have been in fantastic form since Gaizka Garitano took over as the manager back in early December. Beñat admitted that his different style of play has been the biggest difference and the basis for the team’s recent success. Things were much more difficult under Eduardo Berizzo, however there are some similarities as well.
“Garitano has clear ideas. The only thing that is different is the style of play. We feel more organized, more protected. From there we try to create chances and, quite frankly, we are doing it. Both Berizzo and Garitano have asked me to do practically the same thing – to be present with the ball in the attacking game, and to try to be close to the other team’s pivot when defending. The previous system wasn’t just demanding for me, it was for everyone. With Berizzo we had to mark individual players. It was a different style, another way to play. Both are valid, but with this style we are more organized. There are similarities. With both we don’t stop running, but in different ways.”
Over the past few months Beñat has formed a terrific partnership with Dani García in the midfield. “Dani is a great player”, Beñat told Fuera de Juego. “He helps a lot offensively and defensively. Tactically, he’s almost perfect. We have a good rapport. When one of us moves the other has to stay in that position. We communicate well.” García will be unavailable for Monday’s game due to suspension so it will be up to Mikel San José to start in his place and help control the center of the pitch.