Gaizka Garitano “We Adapted Very Well To The Situation And Competed”
Athletic’s return to football ended with an impressive draw against Atlético Madrid, but it could have been more. The Lions played very well in the first half and opened the scoring before Diego Simeone’s side responded quickly. Even though the points were shared manager Gaizka Garitano was satisfied with the result.
“Yes, the draw is fair,” Garitano said after the game. “It’s a shame that at the best moment we scored the goal and then we conceded. It’s a shame not to have kept the lead longer. It was an even match with both teams alternating moments. I’m happy with the response the team has given over 90 minutes.”
For the most part Athletic controlled the first half, but weren’t able to enjoy as much success after the break. Garitano noted Atlético’s substitutions are part of the problem.
“We know that Atlético is a great team and that it’s always uncomfortable to play against them. There were complicated moments and on a physical level you notice things. The draw was a shame. That end of the first half and the beginning of the second were very good. In the end, their changes made a difference and we all had to come together.”
This was the first time a match has been played behind closed doors at San Mamés. Not having having fans in the stands is challenging, but Garitano was happy with the way the players handled it.
“The experience was positive. We adapted very well to the situation and competed. I was very involved. We missed out fans, especially in the last few minutes. It’s normal to be tired in those final ten minutes and San Mamés pushes us a lot at those times.”
For the first game in three months the players didn’t show as much fatigue as expected. That being said, many were spent by the end of the game. “Some of our players ended very tired,” admitted Garitano, “Iker and Williams especially. Yuri ended up with a cramp, but the team competed very well.” Athletic have to recover quickly as the Lions will travel to Eibar on Wednesday for a Basque Derby.