Unai López “I Know That I Still Have To Give More”
Unai López seems to have secured his place in the starting lineup. With each passing game the midfielder looks even better and Sunday’s 2-0 win over Alavés may very well be his best performance yet for Athletic. The Basque Derby victory saw Athletic move to the top of the La Liga table, but López was quick to temper expectations during Monday’s press conference.
“We are happy, but it’s too soon to think anything has been achieved. It’s too early to draw conclusions and we must not be in a rush. It’s time to be calm, to continue working like we have been, and not look beyond the next game. This week is very important because there will be six points at stake.”
It’s no surprise that López’s best football has come since Gaizka Garitano took over as manager. The Mister is getting the very best out of every player and tremendous results are following. López took the time to praise Garitano and says he’s happy to be helping the team now.
“The change has been great and I understand very well the work that Gaizka asks of me. I try to help the team to be better, the sensations are different. It’s not the same watching the game from the stands and being on the field. I’m very happy and grateful and I hope to continue like this. I feel important and that’s what I’ve needed. It’s a source to pride to help my teammates in training and in matches. I know that I still have to give more of myself.”
Athletic’s key to success has been defensive security. The Lions rarely give up scoring chances and López has had to improve that area of his game to get minutes. Athletic have the best defensive numbers in La Liga this season and López says that the team should be able to challenge for special things this year.
“We are good in many facets of the game. We have an awesome defense and show it every weekend. Everyone sees it, but the best thing about this team is that here we defend as eleven and then attack as eleven. Last year was a complicated year. We suffered a lot and we managed to turn it around. This year we’ve started well and it’s time to work for safety and fight for everything.”
The match against Alavés was the first of three games in six days for Athletic, meaning Garitano will have to rotate the team. At this point there’s no hints as to who the manager will bring into the lineup, but there’s certainly a chance that Unai López could be rested with someone like Beñat starting in his place. No matter who is on the field the Basques will be favored to take another three points although going on the road for a midweek game is never simple.