Gaizka Garitano “Qualifying For Europe Would Be A Great Feat”
Athletic currently trail 6th place by just three points going into Sunday’s match against Rayo Vallecano. The Lions will be back at San Mamés and know how important it is to take all three points with just seven games left on the schedule. Manager Gaizka Garitano spoke to the media following Saturday’s training session and admitted that qualifying for Europe is the ultimate goal.
“The team is facing this game with hope, knowing that there are few games left and we are close to the top positions. Qualifying for Europe would be a great feat. Every match is important for Athletic. We think that we can continue to be close to the positions that qualify you for European competition. I only see tomorrow’s game. It’s the closest target we have. Tomorrow we have a nice challenge. We’re playing at home again where we’re doing well this season.”
Rayo may be in the middle of a relegation battle but Garitano knows that they won’t be an easy opponent. They have talented players and are fighting for salvation at the moment. Still, Athletic are playing for something important as well.
“When we took over the team Rayo had more points than us or it was very close. They are a good team and there are no easy matches for us. They have dangerous players who are technically good. Paco Jemez is a very good coach and he has very skilled players, too. I am sure that this match it’s going to be tough. We have to try to take advantage of what they don’t have. We are also dangerous, no matter what we are playing for right now. We will not fail to have intensity and concentration.”
With Ibai Gómez and Markel Susaeta both injured, Garitano doesn’t have a lot of options on the right wing. “We have a lack of players on the right side and those from Bilbao Athletic can come into the team at any time”, he stated. “When there are a few games left there is no margin for error. If you lose a game it can alter your goals.” Winning on Sunday will be the only acceptable result for Athletic Club.