Gaizka Garitano “I Don’t Care Who Are The Favorites, On The Field Is Where You Do Your Talking”
Gaizka Garitano will oversee his first Basque Derby on Saturday when Athletic travel to the Anoeta to take on Real Sociedad. The Lions come into the game having played seven La Liga matches under the manager and have yet to lose a single one. La Real hold a one point lead over Athletic in the table and their coach has admitted that they are the favorites, but that doesn’t bother Garitano.
“I don’t care about who are favorites, that doesn’t get you points. It’s not important. On the field is where you have to do your talking. It’s going to be a beautiful game. There are three points at stake and they are important for us, and for them as well. The matches between Athletic and Real are always different and special. That’s why there is desire. This is a healthy and beautiful rivalry. It’s always important to win the Derby.”
Garitano has played in plenty of Basque Derbies, but admitted that he doesn’t know how the game will go. Both managers have been working all week to put together a game plan, but matches are constantly evolving and the team who adapts better is usually the one to take the points. It’s true that the Zurigorri have been doing very well over the past two months, but Garitano made it clear that they haven’t accomplished anything yet.
“I don’t know how the game will go. We each make our game plan, they have their and we will play ours. We have worked every day to reach the Derby in the best shape possible. In your head you have the match planned out, but it’s doesn’t always go that way. You have to adapt to what the game requires at all times. This game at the Anoeta is an opportunity to aim higher, but not forget the problems we have had. There are many teams close to each other in the table. There is a lot of equality. If you win you are in Europe and if you lose you are in the relegation zone. We can’t think we have done something until the season is over. We have to keep playing 100% and keep adding points.”
In closing the manager warned that La Real have dangerous players, yet said that he isn’t focused on their team. His job is to get Athletic ready to play the match and he hopes that the Lions will continue to play well on the road like they have over the past few games. It won’t be easy, but a win could see Athletic climb into 7th place in the La Liga table.
“It is of little use if you are playing well at home but on the road you can’t find a way to add points. In that aspect the team has done well because we have good results at home and on the road we have been comfortable. We hope to do it again at this difficult field. We are doing well. I’m not thinking about the other team, my entire mind is focused on our team. La Real have a good team, well coached, and it will be difficult to win. They have good players who have quality so we will have to be careful.”
Gaizka Garitano will be without Aritz Aduriz (injured) and Oscar De Marcos (suspension), but did include Raúl García in the squad list. The midfielder returned from a muscle injury one week ago and is ready to play again. Mikel Rico has also been cleared to return to the field but was left out of the team, as was new signing Kenan Kodro.