Roberto Ríos: ‘Now Athletic cannot decline’

Roberto Ríos was at the Athletic concentration hotel on Saturday before the Cup final. The former defender and now coach lives in Seville after finishing his tour with the Las Palmas team as second to Pepe Mel. He saw a lot of enthusiasm in all the rojiblancos estates, an illusion that was later frustrated with the painful defeat conceded against Barça. Now, Marcelino’s team has to recover. The first opportunity is to play a good game tomorrow against Betis, his other former team.

What body has the defeat left him in the Cup final against Barça?

It’s a shame these two endings got away. Athletic has been greatly affected by the blow of losing the first when facing the second.

Could that be one of the keys?

Soccer, regardless of the form each team has, are states of mind. It hurt Athletic to lose to Real. There has been little time to play the other, regardless of whether everyone really wanted to vindicate themselves and remove the thorn, but it was difficult and unfortunately it was not possible to achieve.

Barça also proved to be very good.

Yes, but to win at Barça you have to be well. If not, it is very difficult. Unfortunately, in these two games Athletic has not been at the level we understand it to have.

Unfortunately, this moment of doubt has caught Athletic at the crucial moment, with the two finals

What atmosphere did you see in the Athletic concentration hotel on the day of the final?

Much illusion, it was seen in all estates. There are still people who are still from the time I was at Athletic. Wanting to remove the thorn of the defeat against Real Sociedad and give joy to the fans, but in the field it could not be. Regardless of these two results, Athletic’s season has been very good. Playing three finals in three months is not easy. Now, what Athletic cannot do is decline. He’s going to have a bad time, but he’ll get up for sure.

The team improved with the arrival of Marcelino, but lately it has left doubts.

Yes, soccer are states of mind. When you manage to win, we all see it in a different way and when it is the other way around, you see failures that when you win you don’t. They are streaks. Unfortunately, this moment has caught Athletic in the crucial phase of the season, when there were two finals at stake.

What could happen to them?

Athletic faced a team that has the best player in the world. When they are in good dynamics, the first pass enters them and you do not reach the pressure, it costs you much more. They were very good. The game was very different with 0-0 than when they scored the first goal. The head does not give you what you want. It is difficult to maintain those emotions.

You who have been a player and are now a coach, what do you have to do to get the team back?

Now you have to clean your head as soon as possible to get a good dynamic and finish the season well. As long as you don’t finish well, the start of the next campaign can be tough. Athletic has to try to recover those sensations and finish the best it can.

Tomorrow, he visits his other former team, Betis. How do you see it?

Betis is in a very different situation than Athletic is currently. In good dynamics, with the possibility of achieving the goal set at the beginning of the season. The game is going to be difficult for Athletic. Surely it will be competed, but the rival is not the best that Athletic could have at this time to raise its head.

Betis is not the best rival that Marcelino’s team could now turn to raise their heads

It was difficult for Betis at the beginning of the season, but now Pellegrini has managed to find the key.

This season is the third time these two teams have met. In the game of the first round, the dynamics of both were similar, neither had achieved the necessary regularity. Both Athletic and Betis were doubtful. However, the two teams were in a good moment of the season when they met in the quarterfinals of the Cup. Athletic had good results, had won the Super Cup and Betis were also on a good streak in the League. Now, Pellegrini’s team is in a better state of mind than Athletic due to the blows suffered by the rojiblancos in these two weeks.

What are the main virtues of the Verdiblanco team?

It is a team that tries to maintain possession, with Canales in a great moment of form. Much of his football goes through the Cantabrian or Fekir. Canales have been punished for injuries, but he has shown his quality and great willpower to recover. His performance is being extraordinary at Betis.