Gaizka Garitano “We Have To Win And Keep Adding Points At Home”
Athletic will have the chance to move as high as 6th in the La Liga table with a win over Levante on Wednesday night and a few other favorable results around Spain. The Lions have actually been the 4th best team in the league since Gaizka Garitano took over as manager. Following Tuesday’s training session, the Mister addressed the media and made it clear that the Lions are only thinking about winning the next game.
“We are in a good dynamic and we want to continue like this. There are nine games left and they are all very important. I think we’ve managed to have an important consistency and we hope to play a good match tomorrow. I’ve always said that I don’t believe in long-term goals. Athletic’s goal is to win tomorrow, then recover, and win on Sunday at Getafe. I don’t see anything negative about fans being excited and happy. Quite the opposite. That’s our goal.”
When asked about the future of captain Markel Susaeta and other possible departures, Garitano quickly explained that he won’t talk about these situations in public. Every player knows what he thinks about them and he prefers to deal with these matters in person. Garitano also revealed that Aritz Aduriz could have been called up for the Levante match, but the club is giving the striker more time to prepare for his return.
“I’m not going to say anything about the futures of players. When I have to say something I will say it in person and never with a statement through a press conference. Everyone knows what I think because I do it face to face. I’m only allowed to put 11 players on the field and make three changes. Those who played on Friday did very well and we will see what will happen tomorrow. I’d call everyone if I could, but we have 28. If we wanted to risk it, Aduriz could have been called up. We have other players who are playing well and we have decided to wait and give him more time.”
Garitano is well aware of the fact that Levante will be coming to San Mamés with the intention of taking all three points. He admitted that the Lions will have to be careful with Levante’s dangerous forwards, but believes they can control the game if they don’t turn the ball over easily.
“Levante is a team that wants to win and they have good players like Morales, Mayoral, and Roger, as well as midfielders like Rochina and Campaña. They are good on the counterattack and can create scoring chances. They don’t like to settle for a draw, they always want to win. We have to be careful with their forwards. They are fast and if you leave them space they will kill you. We always have to have one defender back and attack with organization. If we attack well and don’t lose the ball easily their forwards won’t be as dangerous.”
With only nine games left every single point matters. “This match is a good opportunity to continue climbing positions”, Garitano said. “We have to win and keep adding points at home. Once you drop points the opportunity is gone, you can’t get it back. Athletic’s goal is to win tomorrow. Then we have to recover and go to Getafe to win again.” As usual, it’s one game at a time.