Kuko Ziganda is busy preparing for his first official game as the manager of Athletic Club. The Basques have traveled to Romania to take on Dinamo Bucuresti in Europa League play and there are now less than 24 hours until kickoff. Following Wednesday’s training session, Ziganda spoke to the media and made it clear that he is only focusing on one game at a time. He admitted that the preseason has been short, but believes that his players are ready to impose their style of play.
“We want to go as far in the Europa League as possible. It is good that we have ambition, but my focus is on right now. As a coach, I see nothing further than what we are going to do day by day. We know that the test will be tough. The preseason has been short, but it has also been intense. We’ve played against strong opponents and we able to face the challenge. Now we will face another strong team, one of the strongest that we could have drawn. We know Dinamo, their trajectory, their style of play. We will go to Bucharest to impose our way of playing and leave with a good image of ourselves.”
In closing, Ziganda admitted that he knows the players have fresh memories of losing the 2012 Europa League final in Bucharest and hopes to turn that around. He was also asked about midfield target, Mikel Merino, reportedly joining Newcastle and wished the player well.
“I imagine that the players have fond memories of the last time that they were in Bucharest, despite it being a painful memory. Mikel Merino joining Newcastle? I have little to say about it. I know his father and as far as I’m concerned I can only wish him the best.”
Thursday’s game is going to be very difficult for the Lions. Dinamo is no easy opponent and will push Athletic from the very first whistle. The players believe that they are ready to get the new season underway and are hoping for a strong start to the year. The Basques want to go as far as possible in the tournament and it all starts in Romania where their hearts were broken in 2012.