Forget Real Madrid, Athletic Must Win At Butarque

Athletic must move past Real Madrid and focus on Leganés (AC)

Athletic’s 3-0 loss to Real Madrid on Sunday was certainly disappointing. After a promising first half, the Lions were very poor in the final 45 minutes and made several mistakes which decided the result. The Basques did have their chances, but it wasn’t enough as they were sent back home to Bilbao empty handed and barely holding on to 7th place thanks to a tiebreaker over Alavés.

There’s no denying the fact that Athletic have been in terrific form over the past few months. Sunday’s result didn’t reflect that, but playing at a high level at the Santiago Bernabéu is always difficult. There’s a reason why the Basques haven’t won there in 15 years. Still, the other results around Spain worked in Athletic’s favor so that the loss wasn’t detrimental.

When it comes to playing the big three, especially on the road, it’s important to have the right mindset. After a loss, you have to move on quickly and that’s exactly what Athletic must do in this situation. It was a poor performance, but it’s over and another big test is just around the corner. The game against Real Madrid wasn’t a must win, but Wednesday’s clash with Leganés definitely is.

There are only five games remaining on the La Liga schedule and every single point is crucial. Athletic currently control 7th place and are in a position where they can control their own destiny. That makes every single match a final for the Zurigorri who hope to qualify for Europe which would be an amazing feat considering they were drowning in the relegation zone just a few months ago.

The trip to Butarque won’t be easy. Athletic will be without Raúl García due to suspension as well as Ibai Gómez, Ander Capa, Oscar De Marcos, and Dani García who are all recovering from injuries. Gaizka Garitano has never hidden from challenges and he won’t start doing so now. Forget Real Madrid, Athletic must beat Leganés.

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