Joseba Etxeberria “I’m Happy With The Game And The Results”
Bilbao Athletic’s loss to Cultural Leonesa a few weeks ago was just the wakeup call that the team needed. Since the defeat the Kumeak have won three straight games by a combined score of 12-0 including a 5-0 victory over Osasuna B on Saturday. After the game, manager Joseba Etxeberria praised the team for such a strong performance and for not relaxing after taking a big lead.
“It was a very complete match, it’s not often possible to win 5-0. It’s easy to become relaxed in games like this, but the team was intense until the end. I’m happy about the good game and the results. We demand that nobody relaxes so that the concentration is always at a maximum. The first objective is that the players grow and move up. This is a close group, a close team, and that helps that growth. The players are improving and the prize is playing in the Primera.”
Etxeberria eventually brought up the loss to Cultural Leonesa and believes that the team has learned a lot from the embarrassing defeat. The Bilbao Athletic players were humbled and are now playing at a much higher level.
“We’ve won three games since the loss in León. In the long run, an accident may come in handy. It’s good to work with more humility and play with more intensity knowing that this is a young group. We have to try to have the least amount of bad moments as possible and help the players grow.”
Julen Bernaola made his Bilbao Athletic debut in the win over Osasuna after dealing with an injury. Jon Rojo also returned to the lineup with Imanol García de Albéniz unavailable. Etxeberria is confident that all three with make the team better.
Bernaola made his debut and we are testing him in the midfield. He’s good in the air and can contribute important things. He hasn’t trained because he’s had an injury, but he’s doing well. He’s one more that adds to the cause and no one is relaxing. Rojo came back into the team because Imanol is dealing with an injury. Both have done well.”
Despite the fact that Andoni Tascón is fully healthy again and Ewan Urain has returned to training, Iñigo Baqué started at striker once again. “We had both strikers, Ewan and Tascón, injured and at the time we had to improvise with Baqué”, Etxeberria began when asked about the situation. “The two have rejoined the group but you don’t want to change anything when it’s going well. Baqué’s work is an example for the rest, he’s sacrificed for the team.”
In closing, the manager was asked if he thinks Bilbao Athletic will be able to qualify for the promotional playoffs but refused to look that far ahead. “We are looking at the short-term and that’s what we will continue to do”, he responded. “The accident in León is not that far away. With the average age of this team we will have ups and downs. Not everything is black and white.” Bilbao Athletic will have the opportunity to increase their lead at the top of the table on Sunday when they travel to Arenas Club.