Athletic Club is busy preparing for the first official match of the season which will take place on Thursday against Dinamo Bucuresti in Europa League qualifying. After five friendlies we now have something of an idea of what the lineup will look like, but it is certain that Iago Herrerin will be the starting keeper. On Monday following training he spoke to the media and admitted that Kuko Ziganda told him that he is counting on the 29-year-old this year.
“On the very first day Kuko told me that he wanted me here. There is Kepa, Simon, and myself and the Mister will make the decisions. Kuko told me that he wants the keepers to compete. I have returned to the club where I have always wanted to be. Last season I wanted to prove that I was a Primera goalkeeper and I am pleased that I have done that. At Leganes there was pressure to save themselves from relegation and that is what drew me there.”
Herrerin then turned his attention to Thursday’s game, saying that Dinamo Bucuresti will be no easy opponent. He also revealed that Ziganda has added new ideas to the system and that the players are doing well.
“Dinamo is a strong side but we know we have to get a good result in Bucharest. There are no favorites. You have to give your best and compete hard to get the best possible outcome. Kuko knows the good things we accomplished with Ernesto and he likes intensity. What we have under Kuko are new ideas to the same system. I think the team has picked up on things well. It has been great playing the preseason and if I play on Thursday it will be fantastic. I will do everything I can to help the team.”
The Lions will make the trip to Romania on Wednesday before playing against Dinamo the following day. The return leg is scheduled for the next week, 3 August at the San Mames in what will be a packed crowd of Athleticzales. Athletic knows that they have to get a good result in the first leg if they want to advance to the next round but it certainly isn’t going to be an easy contest. Ziganda will be without Iñaki Williams and Kepa Arrizabalaga but trusts that the rest of the team is ready for the match.