Joseba Etxeberria “We’ve Done Well, But You Have To Think Short-Term In Football”
Bilbao Athletic’s start to the season has been nothing short of extraordinary. The Kumeak’s 3-1 win over Logroñés on Sunday saw the team continue their run at the top of the table and increase their impressive attacking numbers as well. Joseba Etxeberria’s side have now scored 31 goals in the opening 11 games and are already one of the favorites for promotion to the Segunda.
“The result is very positive, especially considering our opponent,” Etxeberria told reporters after the game. “It’s always important to win and more so against one of the best teams which gives this value. In fact, they had won seven straight games and that gave them more confidence. The team was very strong with the ball and a step ahead in the defensive aspects. We were very organized and that helped.”
The manager went on to point out that there have been both good and bad moments in every game this season, but felt as though the win over Logroñés was the most complete performance so far.
“We’ve had peaks in almost every game, but today was a very complete game. Even when we scored the team continued playing the same way with fluid possession. There was good pressure after losing the ball and our organization gave security. It’s clear that we want more, we want to improve, but we have our feet on the ground.”
The Kumeak didn’t take their opponents for granted. Logroñés had won seven straight games before falling at Lezama and Etxeberria was pleased with the way his side made things difficult for their visitors.
“There is a lot of equality. Every game is different and we had a lot of respect for Logroñés and the way they play. We knew that we had to play a good match and that’s what happened. I’m very happy with how the team is generating chances. We were supportive in defense and fluid with the ball. We made things difficult for Logroñés. We want to continue this dynamic. It’s been eleven games. We know that have done things well, but you have to think short-term in football, especially with a young team.”
As always, Etxeberria was quick to highlight the fact that the ultimate goal of Bilbao Athletic is to get young players ready for the first team. Along with that, the team hopes to compete for promotion and the Mister sees a lot of desire in the squad to continuously improve.
“We have two parallel objectives: preparing players to settle into the first team and to compete for promotion. We also have daily goals and we won’t let anyone relax. It’s very difficult to reach the highest level and to stay there you have to be a very complete footballer. For that, players have to rely on the training if they want to be better. What I like is that the mentality I see from the players is that they want more. This will allow us to be more ambitious, but with humility of working every day to be better and not believing that you are better than anyone.”
Ewan Urain scored the opening goal, his third straight game finding the back of the net, but had to leave minutes later with an injury. Etxeberria explained that the striker had a blow to his pelvis and that Iñigo Baqué will continue to get minutes when Urain and Andoni Tascón are unavailable.
“He has suffered a blow to the ischium and will have more tests tomorrow. It’s a shame because we’ve run out of strikers. Tascón is almost fully recovered, but whoever plays has given a good level. We are always thinking of the group. We will continue with Baqué despite the fact that he isn’t a forward because he is giving us much on an offensive and defensive level.”
Midfielder Oihan Sancet put in yet another thrilling performance and scored the team’s third goal at Lezama. When asked about the 19-year-old, Etxeberria admitted that he didn’t want to focus on one player, but did highlight the importance of being patient with the starlet.
“The team is benefiting from many players doing well. There’s been a great collective level and I don’t want to individualize anyone because it was a very complete game from everyone. Oihan has continued to train hard and play at his level. He’s a different player, very good technically, but the Primera isn’t forgiving. Hopefully the higher he plays the better, but he must also have competitive minutes. We have to be patient with him and let his training mature.”
In closing, Etxeberria made it very clear that the team can’t relax in the matches ahead. “We want to continue in this dynamic because we know that the minute we lower our level a little bit any team will beat us. That’s what we are here for, the coaches, to demand more from the players every day.” Bilbao Athletic will be back in action on Sunday when they travel to Burgos.