The summer is right around the corner. That is what Athletic fans keep reminding themselves. This season has been a huge disappointment and manager Kuko Ziganda is viewed as the biggest reason for that and will pay for it with his job. When the campaign officially ends he will be relieved of his duties and replaced, reportedly by Eduardo Berizzo. Despite the negativity surrounding Ziganda, several players have spoken out in his defense. After Saturday’s 2-0 win over Real Betis Iker Muniain was asked about his manager and made it very clear that the players are in full support of Ziganda.
“We aren’t talking about that here. The players are, and have always been, with the coach to the death. Despite the bad results, the coach has always worked hard to find solutions, give us faith and confidence, and push us to be better. To my knowledge there has not been any problems between the players and the coach. We know the rumors because they are typical things to hear during times like these. When it comes to transfers, anyone who comes in to make the team better is welcome with open arms. You have to take stock of the season and prepare for the next ones. You want to start stronger and be more consistent.”
To say that the Athletic players like Kuko Ziganda would be an understatement. He has been around the club for years and many of those in the team have had a great relationship with him for quite some time. In fact, last summer sources claimed that players like Muniain even pushed for Ziganda to replace Ernesto Valverde who left to take over at FC Barcelona. Even though the players appreciate and respect Ziganda, they are also aware that a change needs to take place after the season in order to get things back on track.
According to reports, Berizzo and Athletic have been in advanced negotiations for the Argentine to become the new manager this summer. He has even rejected other clubs, telling them that he intends to sign with the Basque giants. Fans have been impatiently waiting for Berizzo’s hire to become official, but that won’t happen until the current season has ended. The former Sevilla boss has chosen to not sign anything right now out of respect for the current coach, but the paperwork has been all drawn up. Unless something changes over the next few weeks, Eduardo Berizzo will become the next manager of Athletic Club.