Joseba Etxeberria “In These Difficult And Tight Games You Have To Know How To Win”
Bilbao Athletic responded to last week’s loss to Burgos in a big way. The Kumeak hosted Unionistas at Lezama where they won 4-1, but the game was much closer than the score would suggest. After the match, manager Joseba Etxeberria admitted that it was was a challenging fixture and that the team had to overcome adversity to get the three points.
“It was difficult. It was an awkward game and we knew that Unionistas would be an organized team. There were some fluid moments and others that were uncomfortable. Perhaps the score, 4-1, makes it seem simple but it wasn’t. There wasn’t much of a difference between both teams. There were specific moments in which we had to suffer.”
Heavy rain made it difficult for either side to control the game and Etxeberria was quick to alter the tactics to compensate. Bilbao Athletic began attacking down the wings and were able to create several scoring chances which made the difference over 90 minutes.
“The rain complicated things. We didn’t have much fluidity in the midfield so we had to focus more on the areas that allowed us to create chances, in this case outside. It’s not worth it to just have the ball, you also have to propose things and we had more quantity than quality. The team struggled so we had to change the tactics and counter attacks created danger.”
Once again, Iñigo Baqué started at striker with Ewan Urain and Andoni Tascón both sidelined with injuries. Etxeberria was full of praise for Baqué who has stepped up in a major way while playing out of position.
“We’ve had bad luck that our two strikers have been injured for so long at the same time. From the beginning Iñigo’s performance has been good. He’s an example for the rest because he empties himself every game, his disposition is very good, and he thinks more about the team than himself. He helped us with a goal when we weren’t playing well. In these difficult and tight games you have to know how to win.”
Bilbao Athletic have now scored 35 goals through the opening 13 matches which leads all clubs in the Segunda B. “It’s a very important number,” said Etxeberria. “Salado had been out of the team and scored. Players are working because they want to earn their place.” It’s been a full group effort with 12 players having scored at least one goal so far this season.
Apart from scoring a plethora of goals, Jokin Ezkieta has played a major role in the team’s success as well. “The truth is that Jokin kept us alive in those moments with his saves,” Etxeberria said about the goalkeeper. “The penalty save was a big moment and, in general, he transmits security to the entire team.”
Bilbao Athletic will be back in action next Sunday when they travel to Guijuelo in hopes of securing another three points. For now, it’s unlikely that Urain, Tascón, or Dani Vivian will be available for the match. Regardless of who is on the field, the Kumeak have been great this season and are already one of the favorites to earn promotion to the second division.