Gaizka Garitano “Qualifying For The Promotional Playoffs Will Be Difficult”
Bilbao Athletic finally got back to their winning ways on Saturday when they defeated Izarra 6-0 at Lezama. After the match manager Gaizka Garitano took a moment to recognize that the Katxorros have the youngest squad in the league and understands that it will be difficult to qualify for the promotional playoffs. He’s still confident in his team and was happy with the good performance at home.
“We have a very young team. For some players this is their first year as professionals, like [Asier] Córdoba and [Unai] Vencedor. Qualifying for the promotional playoffs will be difficult, but that is just the way it is. The matches that we’ve failed to win are the ones where we have played our best football. We played well today and are satisfied with the result.”
Victor San Bartolomé and Gaizka Larrazabal both scored a brace on Saturday and received words of praise from their manager. Garitano also explained why Jesús Areso took the place of Jon Sillero in the starting lineup, highlighting that the 19-year-old has been training at a high level over the past few weeks.
“We all want to see Victor on the field. He’s gone two or three years without playing often and this is important for him. He can continue to grow as a footballer. Areso started because he’s been training very well and has played less than he deserves. We have good coverage at the position with him and Sillero. Larrazabal is in his best form. Physically he’s very strong. He’s improved a lot and played a good game.”
There was one bad side of Saturday’s match. Asier Córdoba came on in the second half but was only able to play a few minutes due to an injury. Garitano is hopeful that the young winger won’t miss much time. He also pointed out the fact that Izarra had to compete without three key players and knows that the game would’ve been much more difficult had they been available.
“The negative side of today’s game was Asier Córdoba’s injury. He hurt his rib and had to come off because he was in a lot of pain. Hopefully there’s nothing broken. You also have to recognize that Izarra were without Eguaras, Laborda, and Cabrera who are their three best players. If they were on the field the team could be different and that was evident today.”
Bilbao Athletic had gone five straight games without winning before Saturday’s dominant performance and the Katxorros will be hoping to build on that momentum moving forward. Garitano’s side will be in for a difficult matchup next Sunday when they travel to face off with Racing who entered the weekend at the top of the league table.