Joseba Etxeberria “I Think That We Have Taken A Very Important Step Forward”
Bilbao Athletic got back to their winning ways on Sunday, defeating Calahorra 3-2 on the road to pick up an important three points. After taking an early lead the Kumeak fell behind 2-1 and needed a late goal from Imanol García de Albéniz to secure the victory. Joseba Etxeberria praised his team following the match while also recognizing the magnitude of the result.
“We knew it was a difficult opponent and that they hadn’t lost a game at home,” Etxeberria told reporters. “Calahorra are an organized team that plays well with and without the ball. We had to play a complete match to win here. This victory has great merit because, in addition to being a good team, Calahorra played well and have been very consistent at home.”
Analyzing the match, Etxeberria explained that Athletic were able to come away with the points because they never strayed from their system. It took the entire 90 minutes to decide the match, but Bilbao Athletic were strong in the final third.
“It’s true that this game had a little bit of everything. In the first half we took the lead early and as time passed Calahorra were in control of the game. They took the lead and we managed to tie before the end of the half. In the second half we continued with the idea of playing in the final third and creating chances. We were able to take advantage out wide and attack the space. It helped us when they lost a player but we had to handle it the right well and stay organized. In the end, we insisted on winning.”
It’s already been a long season for Bilbao Athletic who currently sit third in the table. The team has improved in many facets, though Etxeberria believes the most substantial growth has been organization.
“Regardless of the scoreboard we continued to insist on what we do well. We were organized and worked together. I think that, unlike the other day, we have taken a very important step forward. Being organized allows you to defend well, but then also attack well. I think we managed to improve a lot in that area today and hopefully we will continue like this.”
Bilbao Athletic now sit just three points off of second placed Cultural Leonesa whom they will host at Lezama on Sunday. The first meeting ended in a 5-2 defeat for Etxeberria’s side, though the manager says much has changed since then.
“The first game was painful for us. They were much better than us and we conceded five goals. They passed the ball well and could have scored more goals, but the first half of the season has ended and I think we are much better now. Hopefully we will play a good game. We know that in order to beat Cultural Leonesa we will have to do a lot of things well and I think we are prepared.”
A win this weekend would put Bilbao Athletic firmly in the race for the top spot in the table but there is still plenty of games left to play. For now, the Kumeak remain one of the favorites to qualify for the promotional playoffs and must continue to improve in order to have a chance to compete for a place in the Segunda.