Dani García “We Have Found A Style Of Play That Gives Us Results”
The move from Eibar to Athletic wasn’t an easy transition for Dani García. Playing at San Mamés comes with much more pressure and it took the midfielder time to adjust. In a recent interview with Iñaki Ugalde of Mundo Deportivo, García admitted that things didn’t go well last year but that he’s doing much better in his second season in Bilbao.
“Last year we looked at the table and we had 10 or 11 points and an unpleasant feeling. Unfortunately, things went badly and they had to change coaches. Thank God we managed to turn the situation around. When you come to a team that has played in Europe for so many years, you think it will be different and then you find another reality. There are so many differences between Athletic and Eibar, but lately there’s been more equality in the league. You have to maintain regularity.”
García expected things to be different when he joined Athletic, but that wasn’t the case. The midfielder had already faced a relegation battle with Eibar and shared that the situation wasn’t the same in Bilbao.
“When you arrive as a new player are in the relegation positions, it’s not easy. I had already been through something like that with Eibar, but there were people who were having a hard time here. I didn’t understand why they were having such a bad time, but now that I have spent more time at Athletic I understand it.”
Battling relegation wasn’t as serious of an issue at Eibar. García explained that the two clubs have different objectives and that fans always expect Athletic to be competing for a place in Europe.
“It wasn’t as bad at Eibar because the fans are different. They know how hard it was to reach the first division and saw the reality that the team could go through bad times. Fans here have a different objective. Outside the locker room the demand is always Europe. We know that we have to go game by game, even if it sounds repetitive, and at Eibar the goal is permanence. If you can compete for something more, then that’s even better. Here, if you aren’t competing to be near the top of the table then it’s seen as a bad season.”
Athletic have found success with Gaizka Garitano’s defensive style of football and García has regularly defended the system because it brings results. Every team has their own way of playing football. In this situation, García firmly believes that this style best suits the squad at Athletic.
“It’s already been seen that this style can be good. Atlético Madrid and Getafe manage to qualify for Europe and they have done so with great defending. When I hear people say they don’t like how Getafe play, I don’t understand it. I think that what they do, they do very well. I also see teams that play tiki-taka and it works for them, but I don’t agree that a team that focuses on defending doesn’t get good results because it’s not true.”
Despite all the negativity surrounding Athletic’s style of play, García is a big fan of Garitano’s tactics. The midfielder also shared that he fully believed in the system under Eduardo Berizzo last year, but in the end it didn’t yield positive results.
“We have found a style of play that, like more or less, gives us results. I like this style and hope that we continue this way. Berizzo had his ideas and when he told me to bump into the wall, I’d crash into it. I totally believed in his ideas. The truth is that he spoke very well and convinced you. We had bad luck and didn’t get the results which are everything in football.”
García has been one of the most important players at Athletic this season and has played every single minute. When asked about it, he admitted that he thought there would be more rotation but is very happy to have the confidence of Garitano.
“I thought that the coach would choose to rotate me in matches during the week, but I’ve been good physically and giving a good performance. The Mister has kept me in the team. I’m thankful for his confidence. I’m trying to improve my scoring and I know it sounds bad to say, but it’s not my job. If the day comes where I score a goal, then that’s good. I know I’m not good at it and I’m trying to improve, but I have other tasks. I like the work that I do.”
Both Ander Capa and Iker Muniain have scored tremendous goals over the past few weeks. García says that it’s good that they were in position for the shots because they are much better than he is in those situations.
“I’m worried because I still haven’t had a shot on target, but I’m not obsessed over it. The other day the ball fell to Capa and he put it in. The same happened to Iker in the previous game at home and he scored. It’s better that the ball falls to them. I still have years on my contract and I want to score a goal. For the record, I believe in Capa’s shooting ability more than himself. He was more surprised about the goal than I was.”
Whether or not Dani García scores a goal soon, he’s been integral to Athletic’s success under Gaizka Garitano. The Lions currently sit 6th in the La Liga table and will have the opportunity to climb even higher next weekend when they travel to El Sadar. Getting a positive result on the road against Osasuna will be far from easy, but the Zurigorri will be ready for a battle.