Iñigo Córdoba “I Will Always Try To Make The Most Of My Minutes”
Since the arrival of Gaizka Garitano last December, Iñigo Córdoba has become a very important player for Athletic. Standing out for his excellent work rate and the balance he brings to the team, Córdoba has earned regular minutes but knows that he must continue performing to keep his place. In a recent interview with Jose Manuel Monje of Onda Vasca, the winger explained that he has to make the most of his opportunities.
“Whenever I play it’s as a starter. I don’t come off the bench so when it’s my turn I have to make the most of it. The coach is the one who decides. I must be more consistent in order to have more chances and not be on the bench or in the stands. I will always try to make the most of my minutes but you don’t always get to participate as much as you wish.”
Above all else, the biggest contribution Córdoba brings to the team is work rate. The 22-year-old is constantly working and he shared that this strength has helped him find a role at San Mamés since being promoted to the first team.
“I tend to be one of the best in physical tests. I run for attack and defense because football requires you to give everything, attacking and defending. When I’m on the field I’m fully myself. I always try to do the best I can and every player has different strengths and things that they contribute. Playing on the wing requires taking more risks than in other positions.”
Now in his third season with the first team, Córdoba wants to take another step forward in his career. Gaizka Garitano has given the winger several chances already this season, though Córdoba made it clear that the success of the team is by far the top priority.
“My first few games needed improvement and now I’m trying to maintain a high level of play. Garitano asks me to be vertical, run into the area, and put in many crosses. That, apart from helping in defense and associating with my teammates nearby, is my responsibility. When something different needs to be done and the Mister decides to take me off, although I would like to continue playing, I want what is best for the team. I hope to play in Madrid. This is my third season with the first team. I hope for this to be an important year for me.”
Doubts have been raised over the past few weeks with Athletic having gone four straight games without a victory. Despite the poor run, Córdoba doesn’t believe there’s a crisis. The team has to improve, but panic won’t help the situation.
“No, there’s no crisis or mini-crisis. The results haven’t been what we’ve wanted but we must not be alarmed. We have to work the same way and continue on this path. Of course we aren’t satisfied but in the Primera it’s difficult to win games. I think we played a good game against Valladolid but the downside is that we didn’t close it. It’s not easy for any team.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s match against Atlético Madrid, Córdoba remarked that it won’t be an easy match, especially on the road. The Lezama product also commented on the fact that both teams are defensively focused, saying that there are many ways to find success in football.
“It’s a difficult field and a complicated opponent, but we want to get the three points and reverse the last results. We will try to make things difficult for them. I prefer a good victory over a good game but they don’t play badly. They play with their idea of football in attack and defense. They know who they are. Having possession of the ball doesn’t mean you are playing well, everyone has their own way.”
In closing, Córdoba was asked about the ongoing situation with his best friend Unai Núñez who has barely featured over the past year. Córdoba admitted that it’s not easy to go long stretches without seeing the field, but says that Núñez is confident and ready to seize the chances he’s given moving forward.
“We are very good friends. We’ve been together for many years and we have a lot of personal confidence in each other. It’s the manager who chooses the eleven so some are always left out, but he is calm and confident. When Unai has the opportunity he will take advantage of it. We are people and our goal is to play. The money for me is set aside. I’d prefer to earn less and play more. Football is what I like. I would take less money for more minutes. Here, we are at home with family and friends. It’s a pleasure to train here at Lezama. Every day is super comfortable with everyone, we are like a big family.”
Iñigo Córdoba could continue in the starting lineup this weekend, although it will be up to Garitano to decide the team. Getting a positive result at the Wanda Metropolitano will be a massive challenge for the Lions, but it’s far from impossible. Athletic are motivated to put an end to their four game winless streak and will travel to Madrid with determination and fire.