Iñigo Martinez “When You Work Hard And Persevere Good Things Follow And That Is Happening To Us.”
The arrival of Gaizka Garitano has brought out the best in several players, especially the defenders. Iñigo Martinez is in his best form since joining the Lions last January and that has helped the team become one of the strongest defenses in La Liga. After Thursday’s training session the center-back addressed the media saying that the players are more comfortable after climbing out of the relegation zone.
“Obviously when the results are good, one is more comfortable and happy. We knew this squad would fight to death, it has not been easy. The team now transmits other sensations and our opponents have more respect for us. We have to continue strong at the back and fully trust our strikers. All the matches are very important. The goal is to climb the steps. We all want to be higher up but we have to go match by match. The most important thing at this moment is to win at Valencia.”
Martinez has a lot of praise for his manager who has been the catalyst for Athletic turning the season around. The defender hopes that Garitano will stay at the San Mamés for a long time and continue to bring success at San Mamés.
“The work of the team on a defensive level has been spectacular. The good work belongs to everyone, not only the four defenders but all of us. With Gaizka the team is more protected. We have to keep playing like this and giving 100%. What Gaizka has done in a few months has much merit, not only because we were down in the table, but because we had very low morale and he has helped us a lot. I hope Gaizka stays here for a long time, the results are there.”
Martinez isn’t the only defender playing at a high level. He and Yeray have arguably become the best center-back pairing in the league and Martinez said that he sees something special in his teammate. The duo have played a massive role in Athletic’s success over the past few weeks.
“I really enjoy playing with Yeray. He has been demonstrating his worth for some time, what kind of player he is and what he can give Athletic. Yeray has the potential that very few have. I try to help him in every way that I can. The main thing for me is to defend well, to mark others. If I can help my teammates that’s a good thing. It’s nice to score but that’s not my thing. I’ve had good times and not so good. Now I’m comfortable. I’m happy in the position where I play and I feel more confident. The treatment I’ve received since my arrival has been a marvel both on and off the field.”
There has been a lot of talk about Athletic being able to qualify for Europe. The Lions are just three points off of 7th place and a win this weekend could put them there. However, Martinez was quick to point out that no one is looking past Valencia right now. They will continue to take it one game at a time which is what has brought the best results.
“Inside the changing room no one is looking past the next game and that is helping us out very well. The only focus right now is Valencia. We have to be aware of who we are, where we come from, and what we are doing. We are going to fight the entire 90 minutes to the death and take the three points. When you work hard and persevere good things follow and that is happening to us.”
Iñigo Martinez’s incredible form could make him a serious contender for the Spain National Team. “My first priority is my team, 100%”, he said when asked about it. “If I can contribute for the National Team then that’s good, but that’s secondary to me.” The former Real Sociedad captain is enjoying life since making the switch to San Mamés and his only concern at the moment is helping Athletic be as successful as possible.