Iago Herrerín was the hero of Athletic Club’s Europa League group stage game against Hertha Berlin on Thursday, making six saves and helping the Lions to their fifth consecutive clean sheet. The Basques may have only earned one point, but that will be seen as a victory in the toughest road game of the group. Herrerín took the time to speak to the media after the game and was quick to point out that the team is happy with the point. He would not accept the praise for his strong performance, but is excited to play the next Europa League match at the San Mamés.
“We are happy with the point. The truth is that we are still in a good momentum. The first half was all ours and the second half was theirs. We have competed well against a difficult opponent in a difficult stadium. They will have to come to our house next where we have been very strong. They created chances against us today and we were able to keep them from scoring. I’ve always said that the day will come when a team will have two shots and score three goals, so every game is unpredictable. We are training every day for this, to get better and keep improving. There may only be five games left in the group, but it is long and one point is valuable. We will defend the San Mamés next.”
Herrerín went on to highlight the fact that he and Kepa Arrizabalaga are competing against each other every day in training. He believes that it will make the team stronger as a whole and that his work is speaking for itself among his teammates and the manager.
“While Kepa and I train hard and compete against each other, the Mister has to decide the one who will start. Our competition helps the team and that is important. I try to enjoy myself and I have been doing that for a long time. I think my work is recognized by my teammates and the Mister, because the life of a goalkeeper is like that. I do not like to be patted on the back when I make saves or killed when I give us goals. You have to be a little abstract and keep a calm head.”
Athletic Club will be back in action on Sunday against Las Palmas in La Liga action. Right now the Lions are tied for fourth in the league table, but a victory this weekend could see them climb as high as fourth. Kepa Arrizabalaga is expected to be back in the starting lineup after missing the last match with a fever. Kuko Ziganda’s team has yet to lose in eight games this season and will be looking to keep their strong start going.