Mikel Balenziaga “We Had The Opportunities To Score Goals”

Mikel Balenziaga started in place of Yuri Berchiche (EC)

A shortened summer created problems for Athletic going into the first game of the La Liga season. Several key players missed the preseason with injuries or illness, leaving Gaizka Garitano with some difficult decisions to make. With Yuri Berchiche having just recently recovered, Mikel Balenziaga started at left-back and played well despite the loss.

“We had the opportunities to score goals,” Balenziaga told reporters after the game. “I don’t think Granada had many chances, but the two they got went in. We’re frustrated because it’s not anyone’s desire to start with a defeat. Now we have an extra week to prepare and address what has to be corrected.”

In the end, the game was decided by two mistakes. “It was a very disputed game and hard to compete,” Balenziaga added. “In the first half we were more solid and in the second we had five or ten minutes in which they were better. It didn’t happen for us. They had more intensity and got more.”

Athletic’s next match against Barcelona won’t be played until January. As a result, the Lions must wait two weeks to take the field again. Athletic travel to Ipurua in 17 days for the first Basque Derby of the season against Eibar. Barring any unforeseen issues Yuri Berchiche will be expected to return to the starting lineup.

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