Dani García “We Ended The Game With Our Heads Up”
Athletic were unable to match the intensity of Real Betis at the start of Sunday’s match and were under fire from the opening whistle. Betis opened the scoring in under two minutes and were ahead 3-0 before the half hour mark as the Basques struggled to get into the game. The Zurigorri eventually managed to get back into the game but failed to score an equalizer in the final moments.
“Every time we lost the ball our pressure was bad and we were caught all out of position,” Dani García told reporters after the game. “That’s why they hurt us. They took me out of my place until we tried to change that and put myself ahead of the center-backs, but when they switched play there was space on the left where Joaquin hurt us.”
Athletic were much better after the break, but it wasn’t enough to turn the game around. “I think we managed to correct the issues in the second half,” continued García. “We remained calm to get a goal and scare them, but we missed the last punch and I don’t think the crosses were good enough to create chances.”
While Athletic will be disappointed in the loss, García says the team can be proud of the way they found until the end. Moving forward, Sunday’s match will be an important learning opportunity.
“Turning around a 3-0 is difficult, but the positive thing is that we ended the game with our heads up and fighting to try to get the draw. It’s a shame that in those last minutes we had no clear chance or a corner for San José to hurt them. Everything will be useful for learning.”
After seeing their five-game unbeaten streak ended, Athletic will be eager to secure a big win in Saturday’s Basque Derby against Eibar. “I think they have important casualties and that it is a very important game for us to earn more points than we have. After that I know that the game at the Bernabéu will be very complicated so we will have to treat the Eibar game as a final.”
For his part, Iñigo Martinez agreed with García’s assessment of the match. “We were playing from behind from the beginning of the game,” the defender told Athletic TV. “The feelings in the second half were good and we fought until the end. We have to play another Derby next week and get three points.” A win against Eibar would put Athletic in a good position ahead of trips to Real Madrid and Sevilla in the following matches.