Dani García “I Think Our System Is Very Good For Us”
With Athletic set to host Levante on Sunday the Lions will be in a position to climb several spots in the La Liga table before the start of the international break. The Lions have been very good at San Mamés this season, but also know that this won’t be a simple match. Midfielder Dani García spoke to the media following Friday’s training session and made it clear that the team must continue playing at a high level defensively to get a good result.
“I think our system is very good for us. At home we’ve had strong starts and have gotten ahead early. We know that we haven’t scored many goals and that we have to defend and work hard against everyone. It’s better for us to defend well, to be a team that fights together, because we aren’t as strong in attack. We create our chances and work well with the ball, but what gets us points is defending well. We are strong defensively and don’t give us many chances. That will be a key in this game. We can’t make mistakes.”
Last week the Basques defeated Espanyol 3-0 at the Cathedral to put an end to a five-game winless streak. García explained that the team knew that had to turn things around quickly, but never lost confidence. Sunday’s match will be an opportunity to build on recent results.
“It was more of a bump in results than our feelings. We knew we weren’t having results, but internally we were find. We had to turn things around and we did that. Now we are on track. The other day I was told the match with Espanyol was a final but I disagreed. Going into the break with 20 points makes Sunday’s game very important. It would be great to be in that position with 20 points.”
García has been quite outspoken recently about the negativity from fans and told Fuera de Juego that he doesn’t like seeing people leave the stadium early. When asked about his comments, the 29-year-old reiterated the same and stated that the support of the fans makes a big difference on the field.
“I would like for there to be freedom for everything. When they criticize me I accept it. You know what I said and you have to look at all sides. When we say that the fans are very important that also includes those 10 minutes at the end of the game when we need their support. Instead of looking at things from a critical side, you can give the team encouragement. We really appreciate the support.”
In the final minutes of matches fans have the capability of pushing the team further and creating an atmosphere that can lead to a goal or better result. García hopes that fans will choose to stay the entire game to give the players that important support.
“Those who leave in the last 10 minutes think we aren’t going to be able to turn it around, but having the team and the fans together and united is important. I think that Athletic fans are the best in the world. Giving us that support in the final minutes can help give us the punch that we need in those moments.”
Over the summer, García revealed that he had struggled with anxiety in his first season with Athletic. It was a lot of pressure for the midfielder who says that he is doing much better now and is happy with his performances thus far.
“Going from playing at Ipurua to San Mamés was a lot of pressure. It’s different from what I experienced each weekend in Eibar. It can be overwhelming but also make you stronger. I have more confidence and I’m getting fewer cards because I’m more concentrated and comfortable. Mentally I’m very well and much better than last season.”
Dani García has played every minute so far this season and will keep his place in the starting lineup on Sunday. Levante will be full of confidence following wins over Barcelona and Real Sociedad, so the Athletic defense will have to be at their best in order to silence the visitors. With the international break just around the corner, this weekend’s result could be a serious jumping off point for the Lions with even more difficult games in the weeks ahead.