Dani García “I Don’t Like Seeing Fans Leave The Stadium Early”
Dani García’s first season at Athletic was much more difficult than the midfielder had expected. Over the summer he admitted that he struggled with anxiety and the pressure, but this year he’s played at a much higher level. On Wednesday night the 29-year-old was a guest on Fuera de Juego where he took the opportunity to address the negativity from the fans over the past few weeks.
“When the fans are with us I notice it and it gives us a higher level, but in the match against Valladolid and Valencia many left in the 80th minute…they don’t know how grateful we are to have them supporting us and knowing that they are with us to the death. I don’t like seeing fans leave the stadium early.”
No one has been subject to as much criticism this season as Iñigo Córdoba and when asked about it García explained the negative impact that whistling can have on a player. Each player has to learn from it, but fans must also recognize the harm it inflicts.
“Nobody likes to be whistled, but if you use it to grow and do your best then it suits you. If you go out and think you’re going to get whistled then it goes against you. It hurts you. It’s what you have to face in the Primera and as an Athletic player. There are young players who have a lot of potential that can learn from the situation. The support of the fans, or lack of it, affects the players and that was seen in the Espanyol match with Córdoba.”
This isn’t the first time that García has spoken out publicly against the negativity of the fans. The midfielder made it clear that the fans have the freedom to give their opinions on the players, but it isn’t fair that the players aren’t really allowed to respond or say what they think.
“I want to reaffirm that I’m very happy with the fans, but when talking about something like this it can be taken out of context. If I don’t like something I’m going to say it, even if I know it will go against me and that I could be criticized for saying it. It’s something that can be changed. Everyone can comment on everything about each player and we accept it, but I can’t comment on practically anything.”
Turning the attention to his struggles with anxiety last season, García revealed that he’s been much better this year. He’s adapted well to life at Athletic and understands the pressure of representing the club on and off the field.
“With respect to last year I am much better mentally. More and more players are coming out and saying that they suffer from this type of problem. You have to get used to it and use it to grow. My adaptation to the club was quick. I’m totally adapted to the club and I know what it means to wear the Athletic shield on the field. You have the pressure on going into each match and winning. You have to know how to live with that pressure and I’m delighted with it.”
Athletic recently ended a five game winless streak, though García admitted that the team never lost confidence. Now that they have picked up form the Lions are hoping to win Sunday’s match against Levante to be in a good position going into the international break.
“We’ve overcome a bump of results, but the feelings and trust never suffered. We defend together and people say it’s very hard to play against Athletic. It’s an area where we’ve really improved. After these last games we have turned it around and going into the break with 20 points would be very good.”
By far, the biggest issue plaguing Athletic has been a lack of scoring. García shared that he believes the team has done a much better job of creating chances, but that they still don’t want to take too many risks. The midfielder is confident that goals will come.
“I think we’ve taken a step towards combining play, but our idea is to not take risks in our area with the goalkeeper and center-backs taking the ball forward. The problem of scoring goals isn’t recent but it’s hard for everyone. Other teams have more problems when it comes to defending and that’s what we are good at. Hopefully we will score more goals, but it’s more of a streak than anything else.”
Athletic currently sit 10th in the La Liga, but just three points off of the European zone. A win this weekend could see the Zurigorri climb several spots before the international break and continue to build momentum with several big games coming up in the weeks and months ahead.