Berizzo: It Is An Honor To Defend The Values Of Athletic Club
After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, Eduardo Berizzo is officially the new manager of Athletic Club. The Argentine was announced on Thursday and presented to the media, during which he was not afraid to answer questions about what he wants to accomplish with the Basque giants. Berizzo began by saying that it is such an honor to be taking over as the manager of Athletic and even went as far to say that he will be working on learning Basque so that he can build his connection to the club.
“It is an honor to be here, an enormous challenge to defend the values we have. I appreciate the confidence that brings me here, I hope to return it with passion. I hope to make Athletic better, find a defined style that will allow us to win matches. I already have people asking what to call me. Berizzo? Berito? Beritxo? Call me Eduardo. Hearing all of you spear Euskera makes me envious. I will strive to learn and understand Euskera. I want to belong and be part of this club’s philosophy. I spoke with Bielsa before coming to Athletic. My desire is to belong to the atmosphere that surrounds the team, this stadium, this team, and this city.”
Berizzo went on to discuss his connection to former Athletic manager Marcelo Biesla, saying that it is only natural to bring up the topic after playing under El Loco and being his assistant coach. He made it clear that every coach is different, himself included, but also admitted that he has learned a lot from Bielsa who has helped to shape his philosophy as a manager.
“Bielsa is a mirror for me to look at. He’s played a big role in helping me develop my way of training. I enjoyed being his player and also being his assistant. Nobody can coach like Bielsa because they are not him. Every coach is different, but I have learned a lot from him. The personality of each coach is unique. I train my way, but I’ve also absorbed your football and your ideas. But every coach adds his personality. I pushed Bielsa to accept the offer to come to Athletic and now he has done the same for me. It is a special club. Marcelo has told me about the players. It’s been a while, but I know Athletic Club well and we have to make a strong squad.”
At this point Berizzo began to get question regarding last year’s team under Kuko Ziganda, but was quick to say that he was not going to comment on the team under different leadership. He understands that fans were not happy with how things unfolded in the previous campaign and is now looking forward to starting preseason training to be ready when La Liga starts in August. Berizzo also touched on his connection to Yeray after both battled cancer last year, saying that he is excited to get to know the defender better.
“I’m not going to give an opinion of the team last season, out of respect for the previous coach. I think everyone feels that it wasn’t the best season but now we have a new challenge. For any coach to develop a team having the whole preseason is fundamental. We do not play any games before the season starts so we have time to integrate. Yeray? I wrote him and congratulated him for winning his battle. I was glad when he came back and now I get to know him better. We faced the same disease and now I’m excited to fight on the same team.”
It is clear that big changes will be coming to Athletic this summer and the team has already signed Ander Capa and Cristian Ganea, with Dani Garcia expected to be announced soon. The Basques are also expected to make a big push for Newcastle midfielder Mikel Merino, while also showing serious interest in Ander Herrera and Yuri Berchiche. When asked about possible transfers, Berizzo said that he would not talk about other players, but is happy with the two current signings.
“I like the two new players who have been presented. We will sit down soon and discuss transfers. Llorente and Herrera? They’re great players but they aren’t here so we can’t talk about them. Speaking about players from other teams is dangerous and you have to be careful about doing so. I have watched every Athletic match so I’m focused on assessing the current team right now. We will meet soon to begin discussion the squad for next season. I haven’t asked for any specific signing. We will meet soon to discuss things like that. We have to build a team that isn’t focused on age. The only ambition is to win games.”
In closing, Eduardo Berizzo revealed that he was only interested in coaching at Athletic despite receiving interest from other clubs. Marcelo Bielsa also had a big influence on his decision to take over at the San Mamés, where the Argentine says he has always been amazed by the atmosphere and support of the Athletic fans.
“Marcelo told me not to hesitate for a minute to take the job. I wanted to coach here. I wanted to be here again and feel part of it again. With my other teams I always saw the San Mamés as something amazing. It’s also true that we almost always lost. I would love to see a team that controls games with possession. I want to see my team moving in attacking and playing together. I believe in the collective idea of football, but also using individual talent. I had no doubts about coming to Athletic. None. Hopefully in a year we will be able to say that I have achieved the goal of belonging to a great club like this and having responded well.”
Berizzo’s arrival is an exciting day for Athletic fans, but it also comes with heavy expectations. After studying under Marcelo Bielsa, Athleticzales are hoping to see the team play with the same passion and intensity as they did under El Loco and for the new manager to bring back the beautiful and passionate football that graced the San Mamés over the last decade. After a disappointing season under Kuko Ziganda, Athletic want to quickly get back to their winning ways and the club believes that Eduardo Berizzo is the man to make that happen. There Toto era has officially begun.