Gaizka Garitano “We Moved The Ball, But We Didn’t Create Chances”
Athletic had the chance to jump into 7th place in the La Liga table with a win over Valencia on Sunday, but it wouldn’t be easy. The Lions have only won twice in their last 30 trips to the Mestalla and once again it proved an overwhelming venue. Valencia pulled off a 2-0 victory which saw the Basques remain in 11th and after the final whistle manager Gaizka Garitano admitted that the team struggled to create chances.
“It was a very even game. We played more of a game than ever, but without depth or clear chances. We moved the ball quite well throughout the match, although we didn’t create chances. Valencia have fast players and it’s hard to counter attack against them. They weren’t superior. They used the wings, but not as much in the final 30 minutes. After 70 minutes they were tired and we were dominating them. We had the ball, but we lacked the finesse on the last passes.”
Garitano went on to say that Athletic had to take risks because they were unable to create enough scoring chances. That gave Valencia more space to attack and led to the goals. The Mister was also asked about why he brought on Mikel San José for Beñat and explained that both midfielders offer something different to the team.
“We played an offensive team and we had to take risks. We were involved for the full 90 minutes. When we win I’m not asked about the substitutions. San José can play a few meters ahead and he has more presence. Beñat can do more with the ball. San José is a possible goal-scorer and we have very few goal-scorers. Both players are very good and either one can play.”
Despite the loss, Garitano says that Athletic are looking forward to the next game. They know that they can’t expect to win every game, but need to start preparing for Saturday’s match against Espanyol.
“We will continue with the same enthusiasm. We have gone from being a team that never won to a team that you always want to win. That’s very difficult. We have won a lot of games and have played well. Today is a small disappointment, but tomorrow we will only be thinking about Friday and continuing to march forward, which is very good.”
One of the biggest stories of Sunday’s match came in the first half when Raúl García was taken down in the box. Replay showed that the defender didn’t touch the ball and VAR ruled that it wasn’t a penalty. “I didn’t see the replay of what happened to Raul García”, Garitano said when asked about it. “I can’t evaluate it until I see it.” The Mister isn’t concerned about the referee and is already moving on to Espanyol.