Joseba Etxeberria Defends Players After Disappointing Loss To Leioa

Joseba Etxeberria

Joseba Etxeberria defended his players after Friday’s loss to Leioa (AC)

Last month Bilbao Athletic sat at the top of the league table but in football things can change very quickly. On Friday the Kumeak fell 1-0 to Leioa which was the team’s third straight game without a win, though manager Joseba Etxeberria isn’t worried about the recent dip in form. Speaking to reporters after the game, the manager backed his players and said that the team has played very well despite the results.

“The game wasn’t decided by an early goal,” Etxeberria stated at the start of the press conference. “We had very clear chances, with a very fluid game, but we weren’t able to take advantage. Now it seems that we are in a negative dynamic. In a positive dynamic, with these clear changes, we would have won the game.”

Etxeberria was quick to defend his players after the match and was pleased with the effort. “There is nothing to reproach the players for because they emptied themselves and tried until the end. They never lowered their heads. We faced an organized team and the key was poor definition in the first half.”

With one draw and two defeats in the last three games, Bilbao Athletic are in desperate need of a win. “We have managed one point out of nine but the team continues to play well and create chances,” said Etxeberria. “With very little opponents are hurting us. If you lose a match when the rival team is better than you the assessment would be more critical.”

Injuries have played a major role in Bilbao Athletic’s struggles this season. Etxeberria has had to manage without both strikers and key defenders and admitted that the absences have been challenging to overcome.

Gorka Guruzeta Eibar

“He’s acquiring the competitive level that he had before.” (AC)

“There have been many injuries. Sillero and Vivian, who would be the starters at the back, have been unavailable and we have the casualties with the strikers as well. Ewan Urain will be out for a long time and Tascón isn’t ready yet. Victor San Bartolomé joins that list as well. The season is very long, but it’s clear that losing players hurts us because we are talking about players who are destined to make a difference.”

With Ewan Urain and Andoni Tascón both injured, the return of Gorka Guruzeta has been a relief for Bilbao Athletic. “I saw him well and he’s continuing the process,” said Etxeberria analyzing the striker’s first start of the season. “He’s been recovering from a long injury for a long time and now he’s accumulating minutes and getting positive sensations. The injury is forgotten. He’s acquiring the competitive level that he had before.”

Bilbao Athletic will have the opportunity to put an end to their winless streak next Saturday when they host Barakaldo at Lezama. “Every opponent is tough. We said that at the beginning when we were winning. We all have good and bad dynamics and it’s been hard for us to win. There is a lot of equality. It’s difficult and you have to be consistent in front of goal.” Bilbao Athletic now trail leaders Logróñes by four points but are determined to get back on track with a big win at home next weekend.

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