Gaizka Garitano “I’m Happy With The Victory, But It Wasn’t Our Best Match”
Athletic may not have played a great game against Huesca on Monday night, but they did enough to pull off a 1-0 win and take all three points back home to Bilbao. After the match Gaizka Garitano spoke to the media and praised his team’s ability to handle the difficult moments against a strong opponent. Winning a game on the road is always a great thing in La Liga.
“I’m happy with the victory, but it wasn’t our best match. It’s very difficult to win without suffering. I don’t see anyone who does that. We put ourselves ahead and then had the clearest chances with Iñaki to score the second. We weren’t able to get it and they overturned everything. Our opponents played well. We ended up suffering, but we endured well and we won. Anyone who thinks it’s easy to win a game in this league away from home is wrong.”
Garitano admitted that Huesca started the game much better. Athletic also struggled to keep possession which made things even more challenging. Regardless, the Lions were very strong defensively which proved to be a key factor in the outcome of the match at El Alcoraz.
“They started the game better and we lost the ball too many times which forced us to defend perfectly, without making any mistakes. We lost a lot of easy balls, so we had to suffer and we did it well. I think the key to the game was finding a way to score. We also had chances for a second. Defensively we were good, although they pushed us a lot. We ended up suffering a lot, but without giving them clear chances. They are a team that is doing very well right now.”
Monday’s victory saw Athletic move into 11th place in the La Liga table, just 4 points off of Europe. When asked about it Garitano was quick to say that no one should be talking about Europe right now. The Basques must focus on adding points one game at a time and they will immediately start preparing for Saturday’s Derby against Eibar.
“This team has gone twelve days without winning until today. With this win we have 30 points and we should enjoy it and keep adding. I am amused by those who speak of Europe. We can’t think about that now. We are winning matches with speed and organization and we hope to win against Eibar. That’s what we will try to do. You have to go step by step and win the next game to get out of the bottom. If we win we will be closer to the top spots, but reality is reality.”
Athletic’s season has drastically changed under Garitano. He’s taken the Lions from drowning in a relegation battle to becoming a contender for European qualification. There is still a lot of season left to be played, but there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the Zurigorri who will have the chance to climb into the top half of the table with a win on Saturday.