Berizzo “Playing Against Huesca Will Require Patience And Persistence”
Eduardo Berizzo is looking to earn his second straight victory as Athletic Club manager and will have to face off with a motivated Huesca side on Monday night. The coach took the time to address the media on Sunday and admitted that he already has an idea of how he wants the team to line up, but also admitted that there are several options to replace Aritz Aduriz who will miss the game with a hamstring injury.
“I have the starting lineup in my head, but I will wait until tomorrow to make a final decision. I like to wait until the last moment to decide the team. We will be without Aduriz but we have options. Iñaki Williams can play there with Córdoba on the wing. Raúl García or Iker Muniain can play as a False 9, and Guruzeta is an option as well. We can also use two forwards and use someone like Susaeta as Iñaki’s partner up front.”
When asked about the ongoing situation with Alex Remiro, Berizzo made it clear that things haven’t changed and that the goalkeeper will still not be able to participate until he signs a contract renewal. The manager did admit that Iñigo Martinez could return to the starting lineup, but that he would like for the defender to get more training sessions first.
“We are going to follow the same policy with Alex Remiro that we have already laid out. The situation is the same as last week. I must acknowledge his professional behavior, although there is a situation that we are all aware of. His predisposition in training has been impressive and his behavior has been very good. Iñigo Martinez could also play, but he needs more training to give his best level. That is another decision to be made.”
Turning his attention to Huesca, Berizzo was quick to point out that they are a dangerous team and will be playing with confidence after winning their first ever Primera match to start the season. The Lions will need to have a patient attack if they want to win and will look to their performance against Leganés as a building block.
“Huesca are a dangerous team. They showed in their first game that they are well organized, play with confidence, and can move the ball from the wings to inside. It will require a lot of patience and precision to break down their defense. It will be a game of patience and we will have to be persistent. We can use the game against Leganés to prepare us for Huesca, Madrid, and other matches. I will be coaching against another Argentine who is doing well and is leading a strong team.”
Monday’s match will also see Xabi Etxeita make his return to the San Mamés after leaving for Huesca on loan earlier this summer. Berizzo praised the defender’s professionalism while at Athletic and also admitted that he had no plans of letting Iñigo Lekue leave for Real Betis. There have been rumors claiming that Mexico are interested in hiring Berizzo to be their manager, but he is only focused on Athletic.
“Xabi Etxeita deserves to play and do well. I wish him a great league year, but tomorrow he is an opponent. His behavior here was exquisite. I have a short memory, but we related well. He is a noble person, transparent, and deserves to be valued as much at Huesca as he was at Athletic. Iñigo Lekue? I know the media said he could leave, but I wanted Lekue to stay. He was having a very good week and I valued him. When he recovers he will have his opportunities. Mexico? I have nothing to say about it. My head and my position and seriously focused. I’m the coach of Athletic Club.”
As expected, reporters asked the manager about the recent video that surfaced showing Iñaki Williams having an argument with his girlfriend on the streets late Wednesday night. Berizzo wants to stay out of his players’ private lives, but also understands that they can negatively impact the club’s image. This specific issue has already been dealt with and the club and players have moved on to focus on Monday’s match.
“These are questions where private life is mixed with public life. There is a fine line that divides the two. As a coach, I try not to pay attention to a player’s private life. But, when someone belongs to a club like Athletic you must be more careful with public behavior because the image also affects that of the club. We have approached the issue intimately, both at the club level and at the team level. I am very respectful of the private lives of others, especially my players. Discussions have already taken place and Iñaki has apologized and I think it is noble to highlight that. There will be no punishments or sanctions. His behavior and attitude in training has been reliable and respectful.”
Huesca are off to a flying start in their first ever season in the Primera which makes them an unpredictable and dangerous opponent. Even without Aritz Aduriz the Lions will be able to put a very strong team on the field at the San Mamés and will be looking to take all three points for the second straight match.