Gaizka Garitano Isn’t Worried About His Contract Renewal Right Now
Athletic Club have found their man in Gaizka Garitano. After Kuko Ziganda and Eduardo Berizzo failed to bring positive results, Garitano has been the one to turn things around. Since taking over as the manager back in early December he’s turned the Lions into one of the best teams in all of La Liga. The improvements are evident, as are the statistics, and the plan is for him to continue in the role next season.
Garitano was hired as the Bilbao Athletic coach last season and that contract will expire in June. He’s already proven himself capable of leading Athletic over the past few months and it’s only a matter of time before he signs an extension. “Our priority is to sign Garitano to a renewal as soon as possible”, said Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta in a recent interview. However, he would also go on to explain that the club will be patient while waiting for Athletic to move clear of the relegation battle.
With Saturday’s 1-0 win over Eibar it’s fairly safe to say that Athletic are no longer in the battle against relegation. The Lions are 10 points clear of the drop zone and just 4 points away from European qualification. Garitano’s Athletic have even been the best defensive team in the league since the coaching change, conceding just 5 goals since then which is better than any other club in La Liga. They’ve also earned four straight clean sheets at the San Mamés, something that hasn’t happened since 1999.
There is still a lot of season left to be played, but Athletic already know that they want Garitano to continue as the manager moving forward. It’s not a question of if he will be offered a renewal, but when. In the meantime, the Mister isn’t concerned about his contract. “I’m not worried about it”, Garitano said after Saturday’s win. “I was promoted from Bilbao Athletic to try to help. We have very good players and fans. The club will decide when the season ends. If we achieve our goals we are at the disposal of the club, but the first thing to do is finish this work that isn’t finished.”
Whether or not Athletic will actually be able to qualify for Europe, Garitano has done an even better job than anyone could have imagined. He’s taken a squad that was lost with no confidence and turned them into one of the best teams in Spain. With Garitano at the helm the future looks bright for Athletic, but he’s not thinking about that. Garitano’s success has come through hard work and taking it one game at a time. As he likes to say, “We aren’t looking up or down, we’re looking forward.”