Gaizka Garitano “Every Team Has Something To Prove”
Athletic will have a terrific opportunity to put an end to their winless streak on Wednesday when they host Espanyol at San Mamés. The Catalans have been one of the weakest teams in La Liga this season, however a recent managerial change could complicate the match for Athletic. During his pregame press conference, Gaizka Garitano admitted that he isn’t concerned about the recent results and believes that Athletic have shown positive signs going into yet another big fixture.
“Every team has something to prove and so do we. In the last two games the team has done well but we didn’t have the prize of winning. Let’s see if we can do it now on the basis of imposing ourselves and playing a good game which are very important. You have to try to win and, above all, score goals. We have to be calm because we create chances and I’m not worried about that aspect.”
Despite the situation, Garitano doesn’t see Wednesday’s match as a final. The Mister has seen positivity in his players over the past two games and believe that they will put in a good performance against the Pericos.
“This game isn’t a final like the ones last year when it was one of the worst moments in the history of Athletic. We have to be calm and responsible. I knew that such a streak could come and it’s even more possible with a team like us, but when you look at the last two games you have to be calm. We are doing well and competing, we are close to winning. If I saw something different I would be worried.”
Garitano went on to explain that he was always aware that a poor streak could eventually happen. Now that the Lions have gone five straight games without a win, it’s natural that criticism has followed but a victory against Espanyol could set things right very quickly.
“Last year we took a sunken team and now we were used to winning. This streak has come and all you can do is work, reverse the situation, and win again. We have maximum optimism and strength. The sooner we turn it around the calmer everyone will be. Now we have this new opportunity. In the locker room they are optimistic and eager. It’s logical that when you aren’t winning there’s more pessimism and when you are winning there’s more optimism. It’s all subjective.”
When asked about possible rotations, Garitano explained that there won’t be many. The team has been able to recover well despite playing three games in eight days and he has no concern over playing those who have already seen heavy minutes.
“There won’t be many changes. Last time there were three games in five days and now there are three games in eight days. We have more time and the squad is fine, fresh, and can recover well. We will start those that we see best. I’m calm with both goalkeepers. I have confidence in Unai and Iago.”
In closing, Garitano reiterated that the team is full of confidence. Results have been negative over the past few weeks and the Zurigorri are determined to take all three points at home in what could be one of the most pivotal games of the season.
“We are calm. The mood around the team is very high. We have that as our standard. We have to stand tall because there’s no reason not to. We aren’t like Barcelona, Atlético, or Madrid who win constantly but we want to win as soon as possible. Goals are missing, but the team is creating chances and playing well. We hope that goals will come sooner rather than later. We need to continue along this path and continue to generate opportunities in front of goal.”
Athletic are in a precarious position just ten games into the season. A win against Espanyol could be the result that races the Lions up the La Liga table, but anything less will see the team edge closer to the relegation zone. The time has come to make a statement and San Mamés is waiting to roar again.