Gaizka Garitano Emphasizing Ball Control In Preseason Training

Gaizka Garitano Training

Gaizka Garitano directing drills in training (AC)

It’s been nearly a week since Athletic began preseason training and the team has been hard at work preparing for the upcoming year. The goal is simple – qualify for Europe. After taking over the squad in December, Gaizka Garitano now has the entire summer to put his plans and vision into place and the manager has put a heavy emphasize on controlling the ball.

Wednesday’s morning session lasted about an hour and a half and the players trained with the football the entire time. From passing, dribbling, and receiving the team worked on keeping and protecting possession. Last season Garitano regularly stated that the Basques were at their most vulnerable when they lost the ball and this summer it appears as though he wants that to happen as little as possible.

Near the end of training the team split up into smaller groups with small goals to shoot on. At one point, Garitano exclaimed that the players were taking too many touches instead of trying to score, something that was an issue during some matches last season. It’s important to find a balance of keeping possession and taking chances on goal and that’s exactly what Garitano is trying to put into focus for his players.

Iñigo Lekue was the only player to miss training due to suffering a muscle injury in his right leg yesterday. He will undergo further tests to determine the severity. Meanwhile, the goalkeepers continued to mainly work separately with coach Aitor Iru. Athletic will be back in training tonight at Lezama at 6:30pm in a session that will be open to the public.

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