Beñat “If You Go Out To Draw You Are Preparing To Lose”
Athletic only need a draw against Sevilla on Saturday to secure a 7th place finish in the La Liga table. However, a win would see the Lions jump into 6th and avoid the preliminary rounds of the Europa League. Beñat was a special guest on Fuera de Juego Monday night and made it clear that Athletic can’t afford to simply play for a draw at the Ramon Sánchez Pizjuán.
“After all we have done this season, we have to go to Sevilla to win. If you go out to draw you are preparing to lose. The team is doing well, playing great football and with a lot of confidence. We want to finish the season well and we will play a serious game in every aspect. This team has great players. At home we have been the best Athletic – creating chances, pressing opponents, and playing football that is difficult to beat. That is what we have to do to get the points.”
Qualifying for Europe was always the goal for Athletic, but the way the season started suggested that it wouldn’t be possible. The Zurigorri managed to turn everything around and it all comes down to Saturday’s trip to Sevilla.
“In the preseason I would have told you that we were going to fight for Europe, but then the season didn’t start like that. Now we have the chance to fight for the goal we had at the beginning of the season. The goal is to qualify for Europe directly, but the important thing is just qualifying. If we are 7th we will have to plan the preseason and won’t have as long of a break, but we played the early rounds with Valverde before and were able to advance.”
Beñat was sad to say goodbye to Markel Susaeta, Ander Iturraspe, and Mikel Rico following Sunday’s win at San Mamés. The midfielder admitted that his friendship with the trio will last forever and he hopes that Aritz Aduriz will continue playing football next season.
“Sunday I was happy about the match and result, but I went home thinking what a shame because I lost three great teammates. They will be friends for a lifetime. I’ve been playing with Susaeta for 17 years and I’ve known him for 22 years. He’s like a brother to me. I’ve shared a room and many experiences with him. It’s been a shame that we lost Aduriz for three months. We know how good a player he is and let’s hope that he continues as many years as possible and scores goals.”
Both Athletic and Sevilla have complained about the time change for Saturday’s match. The heat in Seville will be a major factor and the players aren’t happy about it. “The heat affects everyone”, Beñat said. “Playing in the heat isn’t good for anyone. I know from experience how hot it is in Sevilla and I don’t understand the timing of the game.” With so much on the line, dealing with another influential factor makes the match even more difficult.