Gaizka Garitano “We Were In A Position To Win And I Think We Deserved It”

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Athletic were in position to win Sunday’s match against Real Valladolid as they led 1-0 late in the second half. However, tragedy struck when Unai Simón tried to parry a cross which rebounded off of Iñigo Martinez and into the back of the net. The game ended in a 1-1 draw with the player visible frustrated as they left the pitch. For Gaizka Garitano, a a victory was the deserved result at San Mamés.

“We are not happy with the result, but in long stretches the image was good because we played well and had several chances in the area. Their goal didn’t come from a created opportunity, it was a disgrace. Taking away the final 15 minutes in the second half Athletic was the better team because we were very strong, but it hard for us to score goals.”

The manager went on to admit that the team isn’t in good form at moment having gone four straight games without a win. Athletic will travel to face Atlético Madrid next weekend in what could be a pivotal game in the season.

“Of course there is concern because we wanted to win. We know we are in a small bump of results. There have been four games without a victory, but in those results you also have to see the positive things. We were in a position to win and I think we deserved it. We played well in long stretches of the game.”

When analyzing the game, Garitano noted that Real Valladolid didn’t make things easy in the second half. The Basques were forced to be more defensive but the manager thinks that judging the game based on the result alone isn’t a justified assessment.

“We came out of the break less strong than at the beginning. Our opponent also pushed up more. We wanted to do things but didn’t have the opportunities. We lacked that thrust from the beginning of the game. We gave a lot of energy and Valladolid has quality. Maybe we lacked a bit. When you don’t have the ability to score you have to keep doing things to improve. An assessment based only on the result wouldn’t be fair for my players.”

Inaki Williams Real Valladolid

Iñaki Williams scored Athletic’s only goal against Real Valladolid (AC)

Garitano also explained his decision to bring on Beñat for Iñigo Córdoba which greatly affected the team’s rhythm. “They brought more players into the midfield so to reinforce that area Beñat was added”, he answered. “Unai can play on the wing. We were losing the ball so we put the most quality we could in the midfield so we could have more possession.”

In closing, questions were raised over Yeray, who made a mistake which nearly led to a first goal goal, and Iñigo Martinez who was credited with the own goal. The Mister was quick to defend his players, highlighting that the real problem was the failure to score more than one goal.

“They are defenders who give us a lot of security, but you always have to assume that someone can make a mistake. I’ve already said that Yeray is a guarantee. I don’t think there’s a problem in that. The problem is that we only scored one goal with all the chances we created because keeping a clean sheet isn’t always possible.”

Having picked up just two points from the last four matches, Athletic will now begin preparing for Saturday’s visit to the Wanda Metropolitano. Failure to secure a positive result could see the Zurigorri fall to the middle of the table and force the team to re-evaluate the goal of qualifying for Europe this season.

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