Gaizka Larrazabal “Whistling A Player Doesn’t Help Anything”
Athletic finally managed to put an end to their winless streak with an impressive 3-0 victory over Espanyol on Wednesday night. The Lions had only managed to pick up two points over the last five games and the great performance at San Mamés has put Athletic back into the race for European qualification. Speaking to the media before Friday’s training session, Gaizka Larrazabal explained the importance of beating Espanyol and how it will help the team going into Sunday’s trip to Villarreal.
“We knew that we had to win because a draw wouldn’t be worth much. We went out to win and the victory gives us strength to go to Villarreal and face the game with more motivation. They are a good team that scores many goals. They have players with a lot of quality up front who can score goals. We have to take advantage of their weaknesses and the moments when we have the ball. They will be a good test for us and maybe we can do well because we have a strong defense.”
Despite the victory, many fans at San Mamés whistled Iñigo Córdoba every time the 22-year-old touched the ball. Larrazabal was quick to defend his friend and made it clear to everyone that these types of things do nothing to help players improve and negatively impact confidence.
“It’s not easy. We all go out to give 120 percent and taking the ball and hearing the murmurs or whistles doesn’t help. What should be done is encouraging because the only thing whistles achieve is lowering a player’s confidence and making him uncomfortable. We are a family. When someone has a bad time we support each other. I understand that it is not easy for him to hear the whistles but we trust Iñigo and know what he is capable of. With confidence, he is an incredible player and capable of doing very well on the field.”
Larrazabal recently made his San Mamés debut in a 1-1 draw with Real Valladolid and took a moment to reflect on the special moment. The 21-year-old admitted that he was really looking forward to it and when he found out that he was coming into the game he had many thoughts run through his mind.
“It was incredible. Other times I had warmed up but didn’t know if I was going to play. That day the coach called me and told me I was going on. I thought about where I was, what I had to do, and, above all, what came to my mind was fulfilling my dream of debuting at home. It was a very happy moment. I was playing a lot away from him and now I’m also having minutes at San Mamés and I’m happy about that. It’s the result of har work and sacrifice every week.”
Although Larrazabal hasn’t had many chances this season, he knows the most important thing is to continue learning. The winger is focused on getting better every day and doing whatever the manager asks in order to earn more chances moving forward.
“As a newcomer. I’m learning a lot and I still have a lot to learn. There are great players here and only 11 can start. If I do what the coach asks me, I may have more minutes. There are people who say I should play more, other who say I’m playing enough, and those who think I should play less. I think that by doing things well, working hard, and learning the coach will count on me more and more. I’m happy with the chances I’ve had so far and feel confident going out on the field.”
In truth, Larrazabal didn’t know what to expect this year. “In the preseason it’s difficult to get an idea of exactly how you are going to perform but I’m happy with my situation”, he said near the end of the press conference. “I’m training happily every week and learning from those around me. I want to take it one game at a time to continue learning and have minutes.” The young winger could have yet another chance to play in Sunday’s match at Estadio de la Cerámica.