Gaizka Garitano “I Trust My Team, But It Won’t Be Easy”
With just 8 games remaining on the calendar Gaizka Garitano is well aware of the importance of Sunday’s match against Getafe. Just 4 points separate Athletic and the 4th place team in the table and a win could see the Lions climb into the top 6. During Saturday’s press conference the manager set the expectation that it’s going to be an extremely difficult game, but he has faith in his team.
“It’s not going to be easy to win in Getafe. They are a very good physical and tactical team. It’s not easy to score against them because they defend very well. They pressure very well and have three strong forwards in front. They are very strong and they don’t stop playing. There won’t be long sequences of passes, but we are also good and it’s a key game for us. I’ve seen their last few games and I see them as the same team they’ve been all season. Removing the three big teams, Getafe is the best team in La Liga. I trust my team a lot, but it won’t be easy.”
There was plenty of excitement as Aritz Aduriz was called back into the squad for the first time since suffering a knee injury back in January. Garitano admitted that the striker has been working hard to get back on the field and that could happen very soon.
“Aduriz has been training for weeks. He’s been doing very well. He’s called up and can play. It is a joy that Aduriz is back with us because he was looking forward to being back. It’s great for the team also. He’s important because of his experience and I hope we see him on the field as soon as possible. We have been without Aduriz and we have done well. We have known how to survive, and this speaks very well of the team. For next year, we will talk to them, but now we are only thinking about Getafe. Ander Capa will be out for a few weeks and Muniain is suspended, but I have a great staff and I even leave out players who deserve to be called up. I can’t call everyone.”
Athletic have been in great form over the past few weeks. “We come from winning three games in a row”, Garitano explained. “We have to continue with the same intensity, with the same hunger.” The Zurigorri have a realistic shot at qualifying for Europe despite being 18th in the table back in December. It’s been a remarkable turnaround under Garitano and Sunday’s match will likely set the tone for the remainder of the season.