Gaizka Garitano Considering Using 3 Defenders Against Girona
With the international break in full swing, Athletic currently sit just 3 points off of 7th place. The Lions have officially entered the battle for European qualification and it’s going to take the final 10 games of the season to achieve their goal. On 29 March Athletic will travel to Montilivi where a win against Girona is needed to keep pace in the race for Europe. Gaizka Garitano has two weeks to prepare for the match and could be introducing some changes.
In an attempt to counteract Girona’s three-man defense, Garitano is also considering doing the same according to a report from Ánder Cotorro of Marca. With Yeray suspended for the fixture, the manager has entertained the idea of using Iñigo Martinez, Mikel San José, and Unai Nuñez at the back with Yuri Berchiche and Ander Capa functioning as wing-backs.
If so, the lineup would be fluid. San José would be free to venture further up the field when Athletic have possession which would see the defense shift back into a traditional four. At this point, it doesn’t seem to be set in stone but Garitano is seriously considering the change as an alternative if necessary. This lineup would likely allow Iker Muniain to play more in the middle of the field as well.
Since Garitano took over as manager the focus has been on organized defending and direct attacking. The Mister hasn’t really deviated much in his lineup selections, but he has spoken freely about the need for the team to have other options at times. Athletic will be back in training at Lezama on Sunday and it will be interesting to see if the team practices with three defenders this week in the buildup to Friday night’s match against Girona.