Dani García “We Treat Every Match At San Mamés As A Final”
Athletic want to move on from last weekend’s disappointing loss to Real Betis and will have the chance to do so on Saturday when they host Eibar at San Mamés. Former Eibar captain Dani García is looking forward to playing against the club that gave him everything, but made it clear in Wednesday’s press conference that the only thing he’s concerned with is getting a victory at home.
“It’s more special when I play at Ipurua, but playing against friends is always special. They are in need of points, but we are always forced to win at home. We treat every match at San Mamés as a final. It should be a fairly level game. The only thing is that it can mentally hurt them if we go ahead on the scoreboard. In the situation they are in that would be really difficult.”
Eibar are currently in a precarious position just two points off the relegation zone. Despite their position in the table, García says they will still play the same style of football and that Athletic must be ready to deal with a high press.
“Whether Eibar comes leading the table or as they are now they always play the same way. The standings change nothing, Mendilibar doesn’t care about the opponent. They are an intense team that plays with high pressure. We will work to get out of that pressure. They are the team that uses the wings more than anyone in the league. With their casualties I guess they will play with two strikers, which is something we did the last year I was there. I suppose that this year will go the same way.”
Athletic may be coming off of their worst defeat under Gaizka Garitano, but García is concerned about the result. The midfielder defended that the team has played really well this season, though they must start getting better results in games outside San Mamés.
“The last game doesn’t worry me. The good thing about these results is to learn from them. We know that we make many mistakes in those kinds of games away from home, such as not matching the intensity of our opponent. It happened in Villarreal and they didn’t score against us, but against Betis we were fighting uphill. I hope it helps us to learn because we have matches at the Bernabéu and Sánchez Pizjuán next. If we don’t learn the lesson the same thing will happen to us against those opponents.”
Road games have certainly been the biggest issue for Athletic this season with the Lions registering just one win away from home. Saturday’s match will be the final game at San Mamés in 2019 and the Basques must find a way to get better results as they prepare to travel to Intercity, Real Madrid, and Sevilla.
“To be high in the table you have to win games on the road and we want to change that. We are doing very well and that has been seen, although not in the last game which didn’t go as we wanted. We are fluid, intense, and we create chances which was seen against Levante. Mentally we are very confident.”
The defeat to Real Betis is still a fresh wound, but Athletic are ready to press forward. “Whenever you lose you want the next game to come quickly to get the bad taste out of your mouth,” said Dani García. “Although it was a big blow, we are on the right path and must not deviate from it because of one match.” A win in Saturday’s Derby could put Athletic right back into 4th place in the La Liga table.