It has been a summer of change for Beñat. Not only does he have a new coach in Kuko Ziganda, he also has a new midfield partner in Mikel Vesga. After several years of partnering with Mikel San Jose, Vesga has been thrust into the starting lineup and, so far, things have been going very well. Following Thursday’s late training session at Lezama, Beñat spoke to the media and quick to point out that it really doesn’t matter who he plays beside because his role stays the same.
“It doesn’t change anything for me whether I play with one person or another, I will always try to do what I know and try to help the team. Vesga and San Jose have similar characteristics. Not to say they are the same, but they are both very good players. I just do my thing and what the coach tells me. The team is working very hard. Personally, I’m doing well and playing with confidence. Kuko’s system is very similar to the previous one, expect for the little nuances. The only things that have changed are small details. The ball work is going well and we hope that it will leave to a lot of goals. I always try to make the play or the pass that the coach asks for. We have to continue working hard and putting in the maximum focus if we want to do well. Athletic is always strong when we have the ball.”
When asked about the upcoming Europa League clash with Panathinaikos, Beñat said that if Athletic can play their best it will be difficult to not get a good result in Greece. He also looked ahead to Saturday’s Basque Cup Final against Deportivo Alaves, saying that the Lions really want to win this game.
“We want to continue in this tournament, to have a great season in all competitions that we are in. We know It will be a great atmosphere and we have to be very focused. If we go 100% it will be very difficult for us to not get a good result. We trust in ourselves. We want to go as far as possible in every competition and it all starts on Thursday. This Saturday will be a special Derby. It is a friendly, but perhaps the least friendly of all of the preseason games. We always go out to win and this weekend we want to play well and win this game.”
Saturday’s match against Alaves is still technically a preseason game, but it will be the last of the summer. After this weekend the Lions will officially enter the regular season and it will all begin with Thursday’s clash against Panathinaikos. A few days later Athletic Club will kick off their La Liga campaign when they host newly promoted Getafe at the San Mamés. Beñat’s importance to Athletic is undisputed at this time and it will be interesting to see how his partnership with Mikel Vesga grows as the season unfolds.