Gaizka Garitano “Our Place In The Table Is The Result Of All The Work That We Do”
Athletic extended their winning streak to three games on Sunday as the Lions downed Granada 2-0 at San Mamés. It was a difficult match for both sides with regular stoppages disrupting any flow or rhythm. After the match, manager Gaizka Garitano explained that his side knew how to manage the game and that made all the difference
“These are the types of games that you have to know how to play. Sometimes you can’t be so fluent and you have to catch up with the opponent It was a close game, with little room to play, and we have known how to adapt. Yes we lost balls on our side of the field, but at the same time we defended well. The key was continuity in the disputes and duels. This was a deserved victory. It was difficult to generate changes, but they had less.”
The Mister continued by saying that the game played out exactly how Athletic expected. With both teams being very physical, the players were prepared for constant stoppages and were able to make the necessary adjustments to secure the three points.
“We knew how the game was going to be, with many fouls and many challenges. There were a lot of stoppages and we had to adapt. In this league there are different types of matches and today we were able to take the ball forward. We are determined to not surrender chances. We’ve worked this week on set pieces, which is one of their strengths, and they didn’t score from a corner kick or foul. We were very safe at the back.”
Scoring the first goal was crucial to winning the game according to Garitano. The manager also reiterated that more players need to contribute in the final third which has been happening as of late.
“The one who goes ahead on the scoreboard first in games like this usually win. In the second half we didn’t give any scoring chances and that’s very difficult to do in the Primera. We need players to score. It’s a statistic where basically three players appear. The other day Capa scored and now Yuri. That is very important for us.”
Oihan Sancet made his second start for the first team and played well, but was also subject to constant challenges from Granada. The 19-year-old received more praise from Garitano after the game though the Mister once again called for patience.
“Sancet is a kid and has to learn from every experience. He has to play games because every time he plays he will be closer to his best level. I’m happy with him. He’s done good things but also lost balls. If there’s any club that has to be patient and bet on young players it’s us.”
In what was arguably his best performance in an Athletic shirt, Unai López provided the assist for the team’s second goal and tied everything together in the midfield. Garitano was quick to point out that López is starting to show his best level, but that the 24-year-old still has plenty of room to improve.
“Unai (López) is a player who is growing. Perhaps he played his best game, with and without the ball. He’s young and has much to improve, but I’m happy with his attitude and performance. He gives us that football we need in midfield and has learned the trade. It’s not just about the quality, but the job he’s doing with stealing balls, pressing, and crossing. He’s learned and he’s doing well.”
Now on a five-game unbeaten streak, Athletic are in terrific form. “The team has gained confidence,” said Garitano. “We are doing well and are in the growing phase with young players. We have to continue like this, being humble and working.” The Lions will look to secure another three points in next Sunday’s trip to Real Betis and getting a good result will all come down to preparation. “Our place in the table is the result of all the work that we do.”