Gaizka Garitano “We Have A Strong Team And We Played A Solid Game”
Gaizka Garitano oversaw his first game as Athletic Club manager on Thursday, leading the Lions to a 4-0 win over Huesca in the second leg of the Copa del Rey Round of 32. After the game he told reporters that he was happy with the debut and result, but made it clear that he is already thinking about Monday’s La Liga clash with Girona.
“I’m normal, as always. I’ve been in this profession for a while. It’s special, but only one match. I’m happy about the victory, but now I’m already thinking about Monday’s game against Girona. It’s important to change our course in the league and we have to turn things around. We have a strong team and we played a solid game, except for a few minutes where Huesca made us suffer.”
The goal in Thursday’s match was to not give up any easy chances, which Garitano believes was achieved. He went on to say that he thought the team showed what they are capable of, while also revealing that Ander Capa played while sick.
“Apart from creating chances and scoring goals, it was important not to allow any danger. That was the goal. I think we have achieved that, except for those five minutes in which Huesca made us suffer when they had a penalty and another occasion. We had to give a feeling of solidity and we demonstrated that we are a solid team. Ander Capa came off because he asked for a change. He had been vomiting earlier but he still played. He made a great effort but just couldn’t play anymore. He wasn’t feeling well.”
Moving forward the new manager stated that he expects Athletic to be a solid team against any opponent. He wants to improve on the things they did well and correct what they did wrong against Huesca. The focus has now shifted to Monday’s match against Girona and he hopes to get a similar result at the San Mamés.
“I expect to be a solid team. In the league we need to correct what we have done wrong and strengthen the things that we did well. This is going to be a long process and we have to start seeing improvements in the team, especially in the form of earning points. We have another war on Monday, in the league, and that is where we are suffering. It’s important to have a result like this in the league too.”
In closing, Garitano said that he trusts the players in the squad and knows that he will have to make several changes in the lineup due to suspensions and injuries. He will only have two center-backs available – Yeray and Unai Nuñez – and is confident in their partnership.
“I’m calm. We have good players and we have commitment. Everyone was prepared to play and on Monday we will have to make several changes for different reasons. I trust every player because I don’t doubt their commitment. I have two center-backs and those are the ones that will play.”
Monday’s match against Girona will be Garitano’s first real test as Athletic Club manager. The Lions are currently four points away from safety in the league table and desperately need to pick up three points at the San Mamés to end their 13 game winless streak and start climbing the standings. With several key players unavailable it will be a difficult fixture for the Zurigorri, but Garitano’s first match in charge has left fans with excitement and hope.