Raúl García “I’m Feeling Very Important In The Team”
For Raúl García, Saturday’s match against Atlético Madrid will be very special. The midfielder spent 8 years playing for Los Colchoneros but now he is loyal to Athletic and looking forward to facing his former club. In the buildup to the match, García spoke with Athletic TV where he explained just how important it will be to take all three points.
“We are very much looking forward to the match for the mere fact of trying to win, not to tie like the previous match, and get a victory that gives us peace of mind and helps us in the table. Against Atlético Madrid it’s always more complicated. They defend very well, they are very aggressive, which is something that Madrid and Barcelona don’t have. It’s always an uncomfortable match.”
Athletic have been playing great football under Gaizka Garitano and Raúl García believes they must continue doing the things that have brought positive results. Being without Aritz Aduriz has made it much more difficult to score goals, but that means that others have to step up in his place.
“We are working very well. The team did everything we had to do to get a better result against Espanyol but we couldn’t get it. We still trust in what we do. It has given us results and we think that it has to continue like this. We have full confidence that by doing things well we will win. The fact that Aduriz isn’t there can influence that we aren’t scoring many goals since he has always provided a lot. The team wants him to be here and for him to be in the best condition to help us, but when he isn’t then everyone has to contribute. We have to take a step forward. Players who don’t usually score half to try to score. This is a team effort.”
Things have changed a lot for Athletic since Eduardo Berizzo left his post. García explained that he was asked to play a different role at the beginning of the season, but he’s happy to be helping the team more by scoring goals.
“At the start of the season, under Berizzo, I was often asked to do different things, other things that maybe I’m not doing now but used to do. Now I’m scoring goals and I’m feeling very good. I’m feeling very important in the team. Right now we can’t think about the issues of Europe like people are talking about. It isn’t the time for that. We have to think about the next game.”
Since joining Athletic in 2015 Raúl García has struggled in matches against Atlético. Some have even gone as far to accuse him of holding back against his former club. The 32-year-old made sure to address those thoughts, saying that he always wants to win and those who think otherwise don’t know him at all.
“I think that, on one hand, it’s normal for people to think that in the sense that we haven’t won. When you don’t win these thoughts come easier, but those who say that know less than nothing about me because it doesn’t matter who I play against, I want to win. I’ve played matches against Osasuna and I’ve wanted to win and things have gone better. I try to do the right things. When things don’t go well there are no excuses. You don’t have to think about me not wanting to win because, obviously, those who know me know how I am and there is no doubt.”
Athletic are currently 9 points clear of the relegation zone and 5 points off of Europe. With the international break starting next week, Saturday’s match against Atlético Madrid will go a long way in determining what the Lions will be playing for the rest of the season. Athletic are up for a battle, but the team is confident that they can get a good result if they play their football at San Mamés.