Yeray “We Want The San Mamés To Be A Fortress”


Yeray is enjoying playing in Gaizka Garitano’s system (MD)

Yeray has quietly been one of the best center-backs in La Liga this season. He’s played very good football and his partnership alongside Iñigo Martinez has blossomed under Gaizka Garitano. On Wednesday the 23-year-old spoke to the media ahead of Sunday’s match against Real Betis and said that the team feels much more comfortable playing in the new system.

“We are continuing in that good dynamic that we have been in since Gaizka arrived. The team is very close. The work comes from the forwards all the way to the goalkeeper. We are very strong and solid, we’re very comfortable. This is going to last. We have to go game by game, little by little. We have good feelings and we are a little more comfortable. It’s clear that the other style of play was more demanding on the center-backs and fullbacks. We were exposed in duels and if we didn’t win the other team scored goals.”

Looking ahead to Betis, Yeray highlighted the fact that they play with three defenders and two wingbacks. He admitted that it’s something more teams are doing this year and that the team must be prepared to play against it. One of the most important things will be having a great atmosphere at the San Mamés.

“This year several teams are playing with three center-backs. This we we are working on how to counter that. The first game against Real Betis our approach was good, but this home game will be different. I think everyone will be better. We want the San Mamés to be a fortress and that we are all united, the fans and the players. We want to be closer to those UEFA spots in the table.”

Gaizka Garitano

Athletic have yet to lose a league game under Garitano (LaLiga)

Yeray has played heavy minutes this season but there are other center-backs in the team as well. He understands that the manager is the one who decides who will start, but says that everyone encourages each other to do their best no matter who is on the field or on the bench.

“There are four of us in the same position. The ones who play are going to give everything. Everyone competes here and on the weekend the coach decides who will play. We all hope that the ones who play do their best. The VAR decision? In the end, it was a decision that hurt us but other times it’s been in our favor. Everyone saw what they saw. Whoever you play you have to go into it with the mentality of winning.”

Athletic will have the chance to move up several places in the La Liga table with a win on Sunday but know that it’s going to be a difficult game. Real Betis currently sit 7th and are enjoying another good season under Quique Setien. The Basques will have to be at their best to take all three points and Gaizka Garitano already has the team preparing for what will be a thrilling match.

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