Gaizka Garitano Critical Of Athletic’s Attacking Woes Following Friendly Tournament At Lasesarre

Aritz Aduriz Alaves

Athletic struggled to create chances in the friendly tournament at Barakaldo (AC)

Athletic took the opportunity to compete in a friendly tournament hosted by Barakaldo over the international break where several players were able to enjoy important minutes. The Lions defeated Alavés 1-0 in the opening game before playing the hosts to a scoreless draw. With four points Athletic lifted the trophy at Lasesarre and Gaizka Garitano highlighted the importance of staying competitive during the break after the matches had concluded

“You can always draw conclusions but the important thing is that no one was injured. The two games had quite a rhythm, more intense against Alavés, which lets us see players that don’t usually have opportunities. We always have intensity no matter who is playing. This is what we want, for games to be the most competitive and see players who usually don’t play regularly.”

Garitano went on to explain that the two matches, which were played for just 45 minutes, were very different games. The Lions faced a strong Alavés side but things were much more open against Barakaldo. Athletic struggled to create scoring chances in both games which the Mister says has been a problem all season.

“Both games were different. Alavés were tougher and allowed fewer chances. There was a better flow against Barakaldo, however we couldn’t score. We created more chances but have trouble finishing and scoring. In the final third, it doesn’t matter if we are playing against a Segunda B team, it’s difficult for us to score goals. The more chances, the closer you are to scoring and winning games. The other day in the league we didn’t have chances so it was difficult to score, but if you have many chances, by insisting, you will end up with goals. Today we created practically no chances in ninety minutes.”

Gaizka Larrazabal Alaves

Gaizka Larrazabal scored Athletic’s only goal at Lasesarre (AC)

Athletic went into the previous international break fresh off of a dominant win over Real Sociedad. This time the Basques have lost two straight games and know that they must use this time wisely and improve several areas before the next match.

“After suffering a loss you want to play the next game the next day. We are coming from a game in which we didn’t play well and when there is a break, when there is 15 days until the next game, we know we have to improve. We are at the beginning of the season and we will always have things to improve. We already know what those things are and we must also continue to strengthen the things we have done well. We have to endure, improve, and be optimistic.”

Gaizka Larrazabal was the only player to score a goal at Lasesarre and received immense praise from Garitano after the tournament. The Mister also noted Cristian Ganea’s fine performance but explained that the Romanian has to improve defensively in order to get more chances this season.

Asier Villalibre Barakaldo

Asier Villalibre was Athletic’s most dangerous player against Barakaldo (AC)

“Larrazabal can score goals. We don’t have many players who can score goals and Gaizka can do it. I coached him at Bilbao Athletic and, although he doesn’t have a lot of chances, he’s very accurate with his shots. Ganea is a phenomenal kid. He’s very technical, but he has more problems being consistent in defense. He’s more of a attacking midfield player so it’s hard for him to play the sideline in the Primera.”

In closing, Garitano was asked about the situation with Asier Villalibre and Kenan Kodro who both started in the second game against Barakaldo. “Villalibre and Kodro did well”, Garitano responded. “I have many players in that position and I try to choose the best ones based on what I see, but everyone has had a phenomenal attitude.” The Mister also revealed that Ibai Gómez was kept out due to discomfort. “Ibai didn’t play because of some problems with his adductor.”

Athletic will now spend the next week preparing for the upcoming match against Real Valladolid who will visit San Mamés on 20 October. After going three games without a victory, the Zurigorri know it will be imperative to take all three points at home in order to keep pace at the top of the table and continue challenging for European qualification.

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