Dani García “If We Don’t Qualify For Europe It Would Be A Failure”
Dani García is closer than ever to playing in Europe for the first time in his career. It didn’t look possible with the way the season began, but that all changed when Gaizka Garitano took control of the team. Despite the early struggles, García told beIN that not finishing in the top 7 would be a failure because Athletic have the opportunity to control their own destiny.
“It’s a dream. I’ve never played in Europe and I’m very excited. When you come here you think you’re going to be fighting for what we’re fighting for now. That wasn’t the case when the season began, but we have turned it around. If we don’t qualify for Europe, being where we are now, it would be a failure. Looking back to where we came from it wouldn’t be a failure, but seeing the present I think so.”
After everything this team has gone through, beating Sevilla would be the perfect way to complete the turnaround. García knows that this is Athletic’s last chance to achieve their goal and is confident that the Lions can take all three points.
“Winning at the Pizjuán would close a historic second half of the season. It’s going to be a tight match. Sevilla have quality players, but we can do a lot of damage with our intensity and speed. This is the last effort we have to give and it would be a special finish to qualify for Europe.”
Many have suggested that the two teams should relax and play for a draw. That result would give Sevilla 6th place and Athletic a spot in Europe with 7th, but García says the team can’t look at it that way. There is still a lot on the line and the Basques are only thinking about winning.
“We aren’t going into this game thinking about that because if we win we wouldn’t have to play in the earlier rounds. We would have a longer vacation. We’re playing for a lot. Our plan is to go for the three points, although we will be happy to finish 7th and be in Europe. If it’s a tough game and we manage to draw you have to see it as a good result, but we have to go for the victory.”
Athletic haven’t won at the Ramon Sánchez Pizjuán in league play since November of 2011. That doesn’t bode well for the Lions, but this team has shown that they will fight until the end no matter the odds. Europe will be on the line Saturday and the Zurigorri have every intention of finishing the season in a huge way.