Aritz Aduriz “This Group Always Responds When Things Get Difficult”
Aritz Aduriz dreams of lifting the Copa del Rey before retiring at the end of the season, but his focus is clear. Before traveling to Granada for the Cup semifinal second leg on Thursday, the Lions will first host Villarreal at San Mamés this weekend. Having gone ten straight league games without a win, taking all three points at the Cathedral on Sunday is crucial for the veteran forward.
“We already know what football is like, it changes from week to week,” Aduriz said in Friday’s press conference. “The sensations, the optimism, the outlook all varies a lot even in the same game. Football is very instantaneous. We have to see things with more perspective, knowing that we are a consistent and strong team and that we want to reverse this moment.”
It’s not the first time that Athletic have been in a run of bad form. “This team has always responded in these situations,” said Aduriz confidently. “This group always responds when things get difficult. We will try to do it again, although sometimes the result doesn’t reflect the effort. The effort is always going to be at a maximum.”
Aduriz couldn’t point out one specific area that has caused the team to stumble. Many issues, such as fatigue and prioritizing the Cup, have led to poor performances in the league campaign but the team is determined to turn things around quickly.
“I wouldn’t know what to tell you the main reason is for the results. There have been several reasons that have prevented us from performing at a good enough level to be able to take advantage of games. There have been many games where we weren’t able to win and we’re aware that we have to try to end the streak. Due to different details we have lost many points and we will try to win again at San Mamés which is fundamental to us. We have a nice opportunity in this match.”
Even in the midst of the winless streak, Aduriz says the team is looking forward to the matches ahead. A win against Villarreal would certainly lift the spirits ahead of the Cup trip to Granada.
“Mentally we are very excited about what we have ahead of us. It’s clear that we are in a situation where I think the illusion is widespread, but we have to be aware that there is also illusion about reversing the situation in the league. By winning Sunday we will build confidence for what comes next. We have to be fully focused from here to Sunday.”
In hindsight, competing in two tournaments has been challenging for Athletic. “We haven’t been able to manage both competitions well,” admitted Aduriz. “We are trying to improve things we haven’t done well and we’re going to try to end the streak. There are still many points at stake.”
Aritz Aduriz also explained that the league hasn’t given clubs any specific information in regards to the ongoing Coronovirus concerns across Europe. For now, Athletic will continue to operate as normal and the players are fully focused on taking all three points at San Mamés before playing for their place in the Cup final later in the week.