Unai Simón “We Will Play For All Three Points”
Unai Simón has played a big role in Athletic early season success. The 22-year-old has been one of the best goalkeepers in La Liga and, with a strong defense in front of him, the Lions have enjoyed one of the best starts in recent memory. Simón took the time to address the media following Tuesday’s training session and explained that he knows he has to be at his best every game.
“We have good feelings because the results have been good and we have conceded very few goals. My goal is to do my job and stop as many shots as I can. Against Valencia I was able to make saves to keep the team alive and give the confidence to overcome the scoreline. Goalkeepers have to give their best possible each week.”
When asked how his life has changed since becoming the starting goalkeeper, Simón quickly answered that it really hasn’t. “Life goes around a lot”, he began. “Football gives you opportunities and takes them away. It all depends on how you handle those moments. I enjoy playing for Athletic. My life is the same, maybe I know more now, but life is the same and I have the same friends.”
Simón has only missed one game so far this season as Gaizka Garitano chose to start Iago Herrerín against Leganés last week. The 22-year-old pointed out that he was in no position to question the manager and understands that he still has a lot of areas that he needs to improve.
“The day before the game the coach gave the starting eleven and that’s when I found out. I respected his decision and supported Iago. The coach doesn’t have to explain why he plays one or the other. We both want to play as many matches as possible and, of course, I was excited to play again in the game against Valencia. I’m working to improve when I have the ball at my feet. It’s an area where I have a lot of room for improvement and I’m going to get better at it. That’s why we train during the week, to get better.”
Despite an incredible performance from Simón, Athletic suffered their first loss of the season last weekend against Valencia. Many immediately questioned the poor performance but the goalkeeper was quick to highlight that one bad game doesn’t erase all the good the team has shown throughout the year.
“We are the same as when we faced Barcelona on the first day and were leading the table. There are things to improve, but one match doesn’t change the dynamics. I don’t think we gave a bad image of ourselves because we fought until the end. We still haven’t been our best away from home. We want to get the three points and we will go with everything in Vigo.”
Athletic have drawn all three games on the road so far but are eager for their first win away from home. Simón is wary of Celta Vigo’s plethora of attacking options, but says that the Basques are ready for whatever they face and are determined to take all three points this weekend at Balaídos.
“Celta is a team that creates a lot of danger and they are organized. They’ve had bad luck at the beginning of the season but in this competition anyone can beat you. Celta’s position and situation shouldn’t matter to us. We will face whatever they put in front of us and will play for all three points. The objective is to keep them without a goal and try to add three points.”
Depending on other results throughout the weekend, Athletic could move up several places in the table with a win over Celta Vigo. With the international break just around the corner, taking all three points on the road would give the team a massive boost moving forward. It won’t be easy, but the Zurigorri are confident that they can get the job done at Balaídos where they have won five of the last six visits.