Gaizka Garitano “Every Game Is Important And Vital For Us”
Athletic have been busy preparing for Sunday’s match against Villarreal at the Estadio Cerámica and they know taking all three points won’t be easy. Gaizka Garitano told reporters during his press conference on Saturday that this is a big game for both teams and that Athletic haven’t accomplished anything yet despite playing very well over the last month.
“I usually don’t look at the standings. Every game is important and vital for us and for them as well. We have more points but the situation hasn’t changed. We are still in a bad situation. Villarreal are direct rivals. These points are worth double. The most important thing now is to win and get the three points. At the moment we are getting enough points in the last few games, but we have to keep winning and advancing. We cannot relax one bit.”
Villarreal won the first meeting 3-0 earlier this season at the San Mamés. This may be a reborn Athletic team, but Garitano is wary of the quality in the Villareal squad. He highlighted the fact that they have several players who can score goals and that the Lions will need to be strong and organized defensively to get a good result.
“The first game serves as a reference for us because they won 3-0. We played at home. I am optimistic but I am also cautious. It will be a difficult game. Villarreal has a lot of danger from the midfield to forwards, any player can score goals. They have players who have the ability to score alone so we’ll have to be careful. We expect the most complicated scenario against the most complicated team. They are doing well in UEFA and we have to give a very high level to win there.”
Ander Capa is expected to start again at right-back, but who plays in front of him is a different question. Oscar De Marcos has done well in that role, but newly signed Ibai Gómez is also a dangerous option. “Ander Capa can play”, Garitano said when asked about the situation, “De Marcos, Ibai, and Susaeta too. We will see who starts based on how they are looking. I like versatile players a lot because they give us more options in the game.” No matter who starts Athletic have looked great under Garitano and will be looking to win their third straight league match which hasn’t happened since April of 2017. A victory could also see the Zurigorri climb into the top half of the table if other favorable results take place over the weekend.