Gaizka Garitano “This Is The Most Difficult Moment Since I’ve Been Here”
Athletic’s league form is teetering on the edge of collapse. Following Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Alavés the Lions have now gone ten straight games without a win and have fallen into the bottom half of the La Liga table. If not for the incredible run in the Copa del Rey the story would be even worse, though manager Gaizka Garitano admits this is the most difficult situation he’s faced.
“The work you do has no reward and conceding in the 91st minute is a cruel way to lose,” Garitano said after the match. “This is the difficult moment since I’ve been here and the blame is mine. We weren’t facing trouble and the game was in the process of being a draw. The last 20 minutes we were having some fatigue with the forwards, but the game was going to be a draw. Then they were successful from a set piece.”
Garitano lamented the fact that both goals conceded came from issues that the team had worked on preventing. The manager shared that he doesn’t think opponents have outplayed Athletic over the past three months, but that finishing chances has been a major problem.
“Both goals were very avoidable. The first goal came from a counter attack and the second from a set piece. Yesterday I said that these were their two weapons, it’s what we talked about. I haven’t seen that other teams have been better than us, but their finishing has been better than ours. Starting tomorrow we have to train with the greatest motivation in the world and recover from this defeat. We have to change the dynamics as soon as possible and look forward to winning the next game.”
Historically, Athletic have struggled to win games refereed by Mateu Lahoz but Garitano had no desire to discuss the officiating. “We haven’t won for a long time and I’m not going to make excuses or blame referees,” he declared. Athletic will have another opportunity to put an end to the winless streak when they host Villarreal on Sunday, though the upcoming Cup semifinal second leg is also on the horizon.