Gaizka Garitano “The Match Was Out Of Control At The End And Anyone Could Have Scored”
Athletic were pushed to the brink in Friday night’s trip to Mallorca. Both teams hit the post and missed a penalty as the match ended in a scoreless draw despite several clear scoring chances. After the game, Gaizka Garitano explained that it was a very difficult fixture and that either side could have come away with a victory.
“There were phases where we suffered because they pressed us. We don’t usually allow so many scoring chances and there were two or three clear opportunities. There were also times where we pressed Mallorca well. We both wanted to win and that’s why the game was a little out of control. The match was out of control at the end and anyone could have scored a goal. Two posts, two penalty kicks, we both had clear chances.”
The Basques may not have won the game, but Garitano believes that a draw was still a positive result. In the final minutes the game could have gone either way and the manager admitted that Dani García and Unai López both receiving yellow cards really made things difficult.
“You have to take this point away from home as a positive result because we had to work for it and we knew how to suffer. They pushed us and were better than us at times, but we were also in control. We were in a position to win and we also could have lost. The biggest issue was the turnovers. We had a lot of the ball but gave away possession too many times. Having both pivots with yellow cards hurt us.”
Athletic have been one of the best defensive sides in all of Europe but struggled to keep Mallorca at bay. “We are a team that’s not used to giving up so many chances”, Garitano stated. “This team almost never gives up chances and since I came we’ve never allowed such clear chances. It was a complicated game.” Garitano also showed his support for Aritz Aduriz who missed a late penalty which would have won the game. Aduriz is in charge of taking penalties. He’s an experienced player who usually puts them in and he’s given us many victories with his penalties.”
Athletic will now begin preparing for next weekend’s Basque Derby against Alavés where changes to the lineup aren’t expected. “When you start well it doesn’t make sense to make many changes to the lineup”, Garitano responded when asked about rotations. “I trust those who aren’t playing and they will have chances because we are going to play three games in six days and will have to rotate people.”
With Friday’s draw Athletic have now earned eight points from the opening four matches and occupy second place in the La Liga table. The upcoming games against Alavés, Leganés, and Valencia will all be challenging fixtures but will be good tests for the Zurigorri to continue their strong start to the season.