Gaizka Garitano “We Are Not Afraid Of Anyone And We Will Go For The Win”
Just days after beating Celta Vigo 2-1 at Balaídos Athletic are already preparing for another big game. The Basques will host Sevilla at the San Mamés on Thursday in the first leg of the Copa del Rey Round of 16 and it’s going to be a difficult match. Manager Gaizka Garitano spoke to the media on Wednesday and said that the team is motivated and admitted that there will have to be changes in the lineup.
“This week there will not be enough time to take rest and disconnect from match to match. However, the team looks good and I believe playing a Cup match is going to be a motivational aspect. It is necessary to make some changes in the lineup, both because there are some who are injured and others who need to rest. There are some who will have to play again because we don’t have enough players to field an entirely different team. Anyway, tomorrow will decide who will be in the lineup.”
It’s been made clear that the league campaign is Athletic’s priority, but Garitano refuses to devalue Athletic’s focus on the Cup. The manager said that no matter who is on the field Athletic will be playing to win and advance to the next round with the hope of reaching the final.
“The Copa del Rey is a competition that we like and we will not devalue it or waste this opportunity. We are going to play against a big team. We are not afraid of anyone and we will go for the win. This is an attractive competition that we don’t want to leave on the side. The priority is the league, but the cup is still a dream and a goal. We have three straight games against Sevilla; surely the matches won’t resemble each other. We want to play for our supporters tomorrow. The encouragement we receive is priceless.”
With several players injured and others in need of a rest the manager has called up Bilbao Athletic starlet Iñigo Vicente. Garitano asked for patience from the fans and also explained why the club decided to send Cristian Ganea on loan to Numancia earlier in the day.
“Our team will be recognizable because we will be playing to advance to the next round, no matter who is on the field. Yes, Iñigo Vicente will be in the squad but we all have to have a little patience with young players. Iñigo is a talented player. We have a good assessment of Cristian Ganea but we believe the best thing for his future is to have minutes that he won’t have here. He is a phenomenal player but he hasn’t had a place in the team so the best thing is for him to go to the Segunda and enjoy playing. I don’t know anything about Remiro.”
While Garitano refused to say who will start against Sevilla there is at least one player who is a guarantee. Unai Simón will continue as the Cup keeper but the other positions are unknown at this point. Garitano didn’t suggest that Vicente would start but there is belief that Gorka Guruzeta, Peru Nolaskoain, and Mikel Balenziaga could be in the lineup on Thursday.