Berizzo “The Team Is Ready To Compete”
Athletic’s La Liga season is finally ready to begin. The Lions will be hosting Leganés at the San Mamés on Monday night and are hoping to get off to a roaring start to begin the campaign. Manager Eduardo Berizzo gave his pregame press conference following Sunday’s training and made it clear that his biggest goal is to make the fans proud of their team.
“We are really looking forward to starting the La Liga season at home and showing what we can do on the field. We like to start with our fans inspiring us at home. We trained at the stadium today because there are a lot of new players who weren’t here last year and we wanted them to train at the San Mamés so they could adapt to the pitch and absorb the spirit and its atmosphere. My goal is to make the fans proud of the team they have, how the team plays, and how we handle adversity. I have been waiting to start the season since I first took over. It is a pleasure and honor to play at the San Mamés.”
Berizzo went on to state that Iñigo Martinez will not be included in the squad list despite having returned to regular training. After missing over a month the safe decision is to give him more time to prepare. Still, the manager believes that the team is ready to compete although he still hasn’t made a decision about the starting lineup.
“To include Iñigo [Martinez] would be a great risk. His physical capacity is restored but it would be risky to include him in this game. Tomorrow we will decide the lineup. I like to wait until the last moment to confirm it. This team will keep growing. I don’t think we are at our ceiling because we can continue to develop things and increase our level of performance. The team is doing well and ready to compete.”
In closing, Berizzo highlighted the need for a strong attack in order to beat Leganés on Monday. He knows that their rivals will look to play a defense game and that the Lions cannot afford to give the ball away in dangerous areas. The goal is to have possession and be patient in order to break down the back line and create chances in front of goal.
“In order to attack well we need to build the game from the back. If we attack well we will defend well. I’m sure Leganés will defend very hard. Their manager, Manuel Pellegrino, and I are from the same province of Argentina. We know each other and it will be a challenge to beat him. His teams always have a clear plan, are defensively strong, and can transition into attack quickly. It will be important to have patience. We will have to be very careful about losing the ball and we have to play with a lot of intensity and rhythm so that we can be in control.”
Along with the absence of Iñigo Martinez, Iago Herrerín will also miss the match as he is still nursing a biceps injury. Alex Remiro will make his first team debut as the starting goalkeeper and has taken the Number 1 shirt left behind by Kepa Arrizabalaga. New signings Dani García and Yuri Berchiche are also expected to make their debuts as part of the starting lineups. On paper Athletic will be the stronger side, especially considering that they are playing at home, but Leganés will not be an easy opponent for Berizzo’s first match.