With the international break coming to a close, Athletic Club is hard at work preparing for Sunday’s match against newly promoted Girona. The Lions have four points from the first two La Liga games and will be hoping to pick up three more at the San Mamés and continue their great start to the season. Following Tuesday’s training session, Markel Susaeta spoke to the media and praised the team’s first month of action, while also warning that Girona can be a dangerous opponent.
“The rest has done us well, to take stock and recover after playing several games. We accomplished our goal of getting into the group stage in Europe and we have put in a good image in the league. We have been at a good level for a number of year. We are competing at a high level and that’s where we want to be. The match against Girona will be more open than Getafe. They seem brave and have good players in the midfield. It will be a difficult game. Gorka [Iraizoz] was with us for ten years and he is a good friend. It will be weird playing against him, but we will try to score some goals.”
When asked about his playing time, Susaeta said that he is happy and that the rotations are helping the team play well. The winger has appeared in the eighth most matches in Athletic history, but recalls his debut against Barcelona as if it just happened. With two years left on his contract, Susaeta isn’t thinking about a renewal at the moment.
“We are alternating with rotations and I am happy. My first game was against Barcelona at the Camp Nou and I was lucky enough to score a goal on my debut; it seems like yesterday. It was a nice moment. Reaching 500 would be a nice number, but I am focused just on Girona. I have two years left on my contract and I am very happy. Talking about a renewal right now doesn’t make sense. I’ve lived all my life in Lezama.”
In closing, the Lezama product refused to compare Kuko Ziganda with former manager Ernesto Valverde. He did say that the team is playing great defense, but needs to improve their attacking and finishing. Susaeta is also excited for Ander Capa to join the team next season from Eibar and believes that he will add more competition to the squad.
“Kuko wants to get the ball out quickly and with intensity. We must improve in attack. I do not want to make comparisons. Defensively we are doing very well, but we need to improve with more goals and in our passing lanes. Capa joining next season? He has been playing very well for a few years now and he will be more than welcomed here. He is sure to get great here. The competition is always a good thing that helps raise everyone’s level.”
Now that Susaeta has made the eighth most appearances for the club, he is looking for more and could continue to climb the list. However, he isn’t the only one chasing milestones. Ander Iturraspe could feature in his 200th La Liga games for Athletic on Sunday, joining several other teammates who have surpassed that mark. Regardless, Sunday’s match at the San Mamés is going to be very difficult. Girona have proven that they cannot be taken lightly and will come in full force. The Lions could greatly benefit from a full three points and that will be the goal this weekend.