Yuri Berchiche Praises The Support At San Mamés After Win Over Barcelona
Yuri Berchiche was arguably the best player on the field in Athletic’s 1-0 win over Barcelona on Friday night. The left-back shut down the Barcelona attackers on his side of the field and didn’t put a foot wrong throughout the entire 90 minutes. After such a great performance, Berchiche took the time to address the media following Monday’s training session and was sure to highlight the importance of the fans at San Mamés.
“If San Mamés is filled for every match the way it was for Barcelona surely we won’t lose a game. The reaction of the fans when Aduriz scored in the final moments was a feeling that stays with you for a lifetime. Every time I get home from a game I always tell my wife what a stadium San Mamés is. It’s amazing. Last year, when we were having a bad time, the fans gave us great support. Thanks to them we overcame a very difficult situation.”
The wonder goal from Aritz Aduriz sent San Mamés into a frenzy of celebrations and Berchiche got to witness the strike from just yards away. The defender admitted that the emotion was special and beating Barcelona gives confidence. However, the Lions refuse to set long-term goals this season and will continue to take it one game at a time.
“I saw Aduriz’s great leap up close. I felt great emotion for us, but above all for him because he deserves it more than ever. He’s a player who will give us a lot. The goal and the victory give you confidence, but you have to go step by step. When we get to Christmas and have another press conference maybe we can talk about goals. Beating the champions fills you with courage and you face what comes next with greater confidence.”
On a personal level, Berichiche knows he played well against the Catalans. Even without much possession the Lions were able to push Barcelona but Berchiche wants to be even better. Gaizka Garitano’s system allows for the fullbacks to be able to join the attack and the left-back is happy to be able to contribute going forward as well.
“I was much better in the first half than in the second. We didn’t have much of the ball after the break, but in general I think I looked good. I always want to be better. Last year the season was short because I didn’t start playing well until after Christmas and I wanted to play more. I wanted to continue that form and I felt good against Barcelona. For me, the most important thing is being well physically because it allows you to do more things, to take more steps. Things are going well. Garitano is a coach who gives Capa and I the freedom to attack. When one goes forward the other has to stay behind, but we have the freedom.”
Last year’s poor start to the season put Athletic in a relegation battle but Berchiche says that the team is in a different place going into this season. The preseason was a good time for the squad who have gotten better and are looking strong with Garitano at the helm.
“We had a normal preseason in every way. The workload was normal, without exceeding our limits, and we had good results. I think the team came into the season physically strong or at least that’s the feeling that I have. The feelings at the beginning of this season are completely different than last season. There is a difference. The team has improved and we wanted to build on last year’s sensations.”
Athletic will look to build on their win over Barcelona this Saturday as the Lions travel to face off with Getafe. A win would see the Basques keep pace at the top of the table but a Basque Derby against Real Sociedad will be looming just days later. It will be yet another difficult match but Garitano’s team will be up for the challenge.