Dani García “We Have To Bet Everything On The Cup”
Athletic traveled to Mendizorrotza on Sunday in hopes of ending a nine-game winless streak in La Liga but the story was much of the same. Despite scoring first, the Lions quickly conceded an equalizer which was followed by a winner from Alavés in stoppage time. The disappointing result left the squad frustrated once again.
“We have good feelings but if we don’t finish games then it doesn’t matter,” Dani García told reporters after the game. “We’re in a bad streak and this time we left with nothing because of the final play. The defeat hurts because we were better than our opponent and it came on the last play. It seemed like the game was going to end in a draw and then a silly foul prevented us from adding a point.”
The midfielder went on to say that he believes the team should have more points based on recent performances. In the end, Athletic will have to put their faith in winning the Copa del Rey to qualify for Europe.
“The league is very important and we’re worried about going ten games without winning. It bothers us because in many matches we deserved more. It’s a bad day but in a few days we have the challenge of the Cup and beating Villarreal at San Mamés which would give us the confidence for Granada. We have to bet everything on the Cup and try to finish well in the league with good feelings. Our morale is high, but we’re making mistakes that we didn’t make before.”
Of course, the refereeing decisions of Mateu Lahoz were a major topic of concern after the match. At one point Iñaki Williams was taken down while running into the box and only a yellow card was given. “There are many games like this with this referee,” said García. “There are many things that we don’t understand. For me it was a clear chance on goal and should have been a red card.”
Mikel Vesga agrees that Athletic deserved more from the performance. “In general, we were much better than the other team,” he said. “It’s a pity that the last play of the game left us with nothing. They didn’t create many chances, but when it seems that the game was going to end in a draw I made a silly foul and that gave them all three points.”
Athletic will now have the entire week to prepare for Sunday’s match against Villarreal at San Mamés. Ending the winless streak is very important, but it’s also likely that Gaizka Garitano will rest a few key players with the Cup semifinal second leg just days later. It’s no secret that Athletic are prioritizing the Copa del Rey, but it has had a significantly negative affect on the league campaign.