Iñigo Córdoba “We Will Compete Face To Face With Barcelona”
Several Athletic players have benefitted from the coaching change that saw Gaizka Garitano take over as manager back in December. Out of everyone, Iñigo Córdoba may the one who was helped the most. He quickly became an unrivaled starter and is now preparing for Sunday’s match against Barcelona. He told reporters after Friday’s training session that it’s going to be a challenging match, but that the team is confident in their ability.
“It’s going to be a very nice match with a lot of desire to play and reverse the result at the Anoeta. We have been in a good dynamic since Gaizka arrived and we have to continue. We will compete face to face with Barcelona and try to win. If Messi plays we will try to stop him with out weapons, but to those who are on the field beating the best player in the world is an extra incentive. Barcelona’s squad is very extensive and of great quality. Ernesto will put those on the field that he chooses and whoever that is it will be a very difficult team to beat.”
Córdoba went on to say that everyone is aware of how difficult the league has been this year and that Athletic are still close to the relegation zone. The team has been better and he’s enjoying playing under Garitano who is giving him more minutes and using his strengths in the new system.
“The situation of the team in the standings is complicated and we know it. With Gaizka we are playing differently and he asks me to send balls to the forwards. I have great respect for Eduardo, but with Gaizka I am having more minutes. I play more and have more confidence. We all like to play these games and we need to play a great game. They have a lot of quality, but we have to have a game with great intensity. The Mister is the one who decides who plays.”
If Athletic can take all three points against Barcelona they could move much higher up the table, but it’s going to be a massive challenge. A loss could see the Lions drop back into the relegation battle and that is the one thing that the players want to avoid. Despite not having Aritz Aduriz or Ander Capa the Zurigorri can still field a strong team and Garitano has been preparing all week for what will be another final.