Gaizka Garitano “We Were Very Superior To Our Opponent, But We Must Score Goals”
Athletic were in complete control throughout Sunday’s match against Celta Vigo but struggled to finish chances. After the visitors stunned San Mamés with a second half goal, the Basques managed to level the score with a late penalty. In the end, Athletic were unable to find a winner and Gaizka Garitano lamented the missed opportunity to take three points when speaking to the media afterwards.
“We were very superior to our opponent but we must score goals. The match was complete though the lack of goals or success in front of goal only allowed us a draw. We are annoyed with the result but we have to assess what we did well. To be high in the standings you have to kill opponents.
Garitano went on to explain that it was difficult for Athletic to find a flow which is exactly what the Galician wanted to do. “Celta came with the goal of stopping the game and not letting us have our rhythm,” said the Mister. “The referee has to intervene. There were 95 minutes with only 40 of actually playing. It was the same at the Bernabéu.”
There’s no denying that Athletic were by far the better side, but it didn’t result in a victory. “Sometimes you take points without deserving them and other times you don’t get what you feel you deserve,” Garitano admitted. “If we continue like this we will be closer to winning games. The team has transmitted security and good feelings.”
Finish was certainly Athletic’s big issue in Sunday’s draw. The Lions have had to play Raúl García at striker for most of the season which isn’t the 33-year-old’s natural position.
“We have a clear system and Raúl García has been playing up top. He’s not a center forward but is playing there out of necessity. Those shortcomings are noticeable in matches like this. We also did very little with corners and set pieces which is a shame.”
Apart from the draw, Sunday was a big game for Iker Muniain who made his 400th appearance for Athletic. “He’s gone two months without playing,” Garitano pointed out in reference to Muniain’s recent hamstring injury. “He was tired by the end but I’m sure he will catch the pace soon.”
In closing, Garitano made it clear that Athletic have already turned their attention to Wednesday’s Copa del Rey match against Elche. Playing games so close together will require rotations in the team. “We will have to make some changes because we play again on Saturday in the league. There is confidence in the whole squad and everyone has to contribute.” Regardless of who starts at Estadio Martínez Valero, Athletic will be favorites to win and advance to the next round.