Gaizka Garitano “I’m Happy With The Team’s Performance Against One Of The Best In Europe”
Athletic put in one of the team’s strongest performances of the summer on Wednesday, playing Roma to a 2-2 draw in Italy. It was a great opportunity for Gaizka Garitano to test what could be his starting lineup against Barcelona and the players responded well. After the game, the manager lamented Yuri Berchiche’s red card but praised the overall work of the group.
“I’m happy with the team’s performance against one of the best teams in Europe. It was a pity not to be able to play the second half with eleven because when we had all our players we did very well. We are arriving well at the beginning of La Liga and we’re looking forward to the league starting.”
Garitano then turned his attention to Unai López and Unai Simón, both of whom could start against Barcelona. The Mister had words of praise for both but refused to say whether or not they will be in the lineup. He also revealed that he’s decided who will leave between Kenan Kodro and Asier Villalibre but hasn’t had that conversation at this point.
“Unai López is a player who has the quality to play in the midfield positions. This year he is showing it and he’s doing well. I wanted to test Simón against a strong team. Whoever plays will play, but I’m calm because we have two good goalkeepers. I’ve already made a decision about forward will leave but I haven’t talked to the players yet.”
In closing, the manager was asked about the recent rumors which claim that Manchester United are willing to pay Iñaki Williams’s €88 million release clause. Garitano has no concern over the future of the striker who has always been vocal about wanting to stay at Athletic.
“I’m worried about Williams because of an infection he has in a nail that forced him to leave the field. When the market is open anyone can leave if their clause is paid, that’s not a subject I can control. The player hasn’t told me anything and we don’t know anything about Manchester United.”
Athletic will play their final preseason friendly on Thursday against Mirandés and with then put their entire focus on next weekend’s La Liga opener against Barcelona. The Lions understand the importance of starting the season strong and are determined to get a result against the reigning champions.