Julen Lopetegui accepts Mariano Diaz ‘could’ve been an option’ for Real Madrid but insists ‘we posed Athletic Bilbao enough problems with Lucas Vazquez.’
“San Mames is a very complicated place to play because of the team Athletic have and what they offer,” the Coach said after his side’s 1-1 draw at San Mames.
“They’re a team who come looking for you, press high and make things complicated. We found it difficult in the first half but improved a lot after the break and deserved to win the game.
“It was a very intense match, which was very well played by Athletic, while we had a better second half.
“We played with too much haste in the first half, but we corrected that in the second. We were calmer, had more control and had more chances.
“In Isco we were looking for a player who could receive the ball in behind their midfielders.
“We created more chances and missed more of them than our opponents, who posed the threat we expected very intensely.
“We had no success with our finishing, in what was a very Athletic-esque match. When there’s an international break, you have to analyse your team player by player and from there you make decisions.
“Mariano could’ve been an option, but we felt Gareth needed a rest so we decided to bring Lucas on and we posed Athletic enough problems after that.
“Modric had a complex summer for many reasons, but he’s back. It takes time for a player to get back to a very good level and that's why he’s playing.
“We weren’t successful in dealing with the things they put forward at first and it’s a complicated place to play, but I think that in the second half the lads were much more successful and we created lots of chances.”