Joseba Etxeberria “The Two Objectives Are Training Players For The First Team And Getting Results”
Last year was a series of ups and downs for Bilbao Athletic. This season, with Joseba Etxeberria now at the helm, the Katxorros will once again try to compete for a spot in the promotional playoffs. On Monday the team officially began preseason training which was preluded by a press conference from the Mister who is excited to be back at the club.
“I’m back home. I’ve been in football for many years, but as a coach it’s only been a very little time and if I’ve learned anything in this time, it’s that I have to be prepared for everything. I didn’t expect to help Valverde or the call from Amorebieta and, unless I had been there, I wouldn’t have been called by Tenerife.”
Etxeberria led Tenerife to promotion, but didn’t last long in the Segunda. Despite the difficulties, El Gallo says that he learned a lot about coaching and what he wants from his teams.
“Coaching Tenerife was the first time I had left Euskadi. It was only for 7 months, but it helped me mature as a coach. These experiences make you a better coach because it’s a club of great transcendence and a lot of pressure. I was constantly learning. It’s been a long time since September and I have had the opportunities to see other methods of work. I understand very clearly what I want from my players.”
Coaching Bilbao Athletic brings unique challenges. Not only does Etxeberria have to get good results, he’s also tasked with preparing the players for the first team. Athletic’s commitment to youth development brings the manager pride.
“Training Bilbao Athletic makes me very excited because I know what this club needs and the demands and goals that this club has with their young players. Youth should be the basis of the first team. I know the potential of this squad and my first goal will be to put together a solid team so that every player can give their maximum level and hopefully many of them can be in the first team next season. I hope all those who were promoted can stay with Gaizka, that’s the best thing. I don’t see many changes.”
Etxeberria hopes that the six players called up front Bilbao Athletic this summer will be given the chance to stay with the first team. He knows that Gaizka Garitano will give them the opportunity and already knows them well.
“It’s evident that the main core of the first team comes out of Lezama, but this club always takes advantage of opportunities to sign players. I hope the players from the academy convince Gaizka and Patxi. Trusting them is going to be very good and it will be easy to work with them.”
Preseason officially began on Monday, but with team pictures and other things the players just got a taste of training. Etxeberria says that the real work will begin tomorrow with two main objectives to accomplish.
“On Tuesday we will work hard in training because we want an intense team that, with the passing of days, will also lead to maturity in games. There are two objectives, training players for the first team and getting results. The more players and the more competing in the first team, the better, but we want to have a great season and I think we have the players to do it. Now it’s up to us to put together a competitive group. I want the players to know well from the start what we want. I hope to be fighting with the best because we have good players.”
The Segunda B schedule was also released on Monday which means Bilbao Athletic can start preparing for their opponents. “It will be a very strong group because the teams are all getting better”, said Etxeberria. “Burgos, Barakaldo, Cultural Leonesa, Amorebieta, Leioa, and Arenas are all becoming stronger. It’s good for us to face very good teams and I’m sure we’re going to be fighting with the best.”
In closing, Etxeberria was asked about his desire to one day coach the first team. “I’m not thinking about that right now”, he answered quickly. “I’m thinking about the day to day and today is quite special. Sincerely, my head is in this preseason and in making a strong and solid team. My commitment and contract are with Bilbao Athletic and I don’t wear myself out with other things. It’s a great challenge to coach Bilbao Athletic and I’m excited to get started.” The Katxorros are facing an important season and Joseba Etxeberria is ready for the challenge.