Athletic Club played their fourth friendly of the summer on Friday when they flew to Belgian to take on Club Brugge. Thanks to a brace from Raúl Garcia, the Lions won 2-0 and put on a brilliant display. The defense earned their third consecutive clean sheet in the process as well. Following the game, Cuco Ziganda spoke to the media and made it clear that this was more than just a friendly. He praise his player’s for their attitude and resolve in a difficult match.
“This was a real practice game, not just a friendly. In the second half they were squeezing us and I don’t know if it was because we were playing with a lead or just tired. It cost us a lot. The players had a great attitude, order, and resolve. Iago Herrerin did great to keep them from scoring a goal. I hope that this will give us confidence, reinforce the good things, and show us what we need to improve. It is normal that we need to improve, but we can still rely on ourselves because we have a lot of quality. I see everyone very focused and the attitude isn’t lacking. This isn’t guaranteed to be the lineup next week because there could be two or three changes. It is not easy to say that this eleven are it. I want to wait for Saturday’s game against Valladolid to shore up plans. For me, it is an important game and I want to see some things.”
In closing, Ziganda confirmed that he isn’t planning on taking Inaki Williams to play against Dinamo Bucuresti next week due the winger just coming back from vacation. He understands that the season is long and doesn’t want to risk anything. The manager also refused to comment on possible departures to trim down the squad.
“We are not going to count on Iñaki for the game in Bucharest. We have other players and we are not going to rush him because he is an explosive player and the season is very long. Possible departures to trim down the squad? They will be communicated to you when something is concrete.”
Athletic will play their fifth friendly on Saturday against Real Valladolid. This will be the last tune-up game before taking on Dinamo in Romania next week. Ziganda’s team has grown a lot over the last few weeks and have looked very solid. It is clear that there have been defensive adjustments and fans have a lot to be excited about going into the new season.