Gaizka Garitano “The Only Thing That Counts Is What We Do In The League”
Athletic wrapped up their preseason on Thursday with a 2-1 win over Mirandés at Anduva. Gaizka Garitano rested most of his key players who were in action against Roma the previous day but was still pleased with the performance. As the Lions prepare for the La Liga opener against Barcelona, the Mister believes the team is in a good place.
“We competed well because Mirandés pushed us until the end. These games help us too. We’re going into the season strong and doing well. We’ve had no serious injuries and the players have done well. We’ve been able to score goals, which is important, but this was the preseason and now they are worthless. The only thing that counts is what we do in the league. I’m proud of the team’s ability to compete.”
Garitano went on to praise his squad who have been constantly working since the start of preseason. Now the focus will be on Barcelona, although it’s still not clear if the game will be played on Friday or Saturday.
“There have been intense weeks and the players have not stopped. They were on the grass 90 minutes after arriving in Italy. That shows hard work, commitment, and dedication. It’s in our DNA. I haven’t decided on the lineup for the first game. Depending on which day it’s scheduled we may have to change our training schedule. Right now we plan to train Friday, play Saturday, and rest on Sunday.”
Cristian Ganea was given his first minutes of the season against Mirandés and has impressed Garitano. “He has been a true professional”, said the manager in reference to the Romanian’s attitude despite being told he will be sent out on loan. “He’s been an example in each training and was rewarded with minutes.”
In closing, Garitano was asked why Ibai Gómez was kept out of the matches against Roma and Mirandés. “He has been dealing with calf discomfort and didn’t recover in time”, explained the manager. “We hope it’s nothing serious”. If Gómez is able to overcome the issue he could be in line to start against Barcelona.