Joseba Etxeberría “Despite Being A Young Group This Team Has A Lot Of Quality”
Joseba Etxeberría will oversee his first game as manager of Bilbao Athletic on Sunday. The Kumeak will travel to newly-promoted Haro Deportivo with hopes of kicking off their season with a big win. The squad looks vastly different than last year, but Etxeberría is confident that the team will be able to compete at a high level.
“It’s true there have been many changes, almost half the squad is new. Despite being a young group this team has a lot of quality. We have a balanced squad, young but prepared. We will try to start well from the beginning and grow along the way. We are ready to start and hopefully we will see our best version on Sunday.”
Speaking to the press on Friday, Etxeberría acknowledged that the league will be very competitive. Several teams will be vying for a spot in the promotional playoffs and facing strong opponents will help the young players develop.
“There are teams who have reinforced well and have invested a lot of money. That’s what we want, to face strong teams at beautiful stadiums because it helps our players mature in these situations. It will be a very tough group but I think we are prepared to take on the challenge. I want the players to see each week and each month that they are more complete.”
This season both Oihan Sancet and Dani Vivian will split time between the first team and Bilbao Athletic. When asked about the situation, Etxeberría explained that the three coaches communicate well and are always looking to do what is best for the players.
“They are players who will help us a lot when they are available. There is a lot of communication between the first team, Bilbao Athletic, and Basconia. We will coordinate it all. There are some Basconia players who have cards to play with us and we have a good understanding from a sporting aspect. All coaches want players to play at higher levels, that’s the best thing for them, but we have to guarantee that they will be able to play. We have to be very careful with these players. They are the future and we want them to succeed in this process.”
Since taking over as the manager of Bilbao Athletic earlier this summer, Etxeberría has been very outspoken about the importance of preparing players for the first team. That will always be the ultimate goal, though the team also wants to win games and fight for promotion. It will be another challenging year and one that could bring plenty of excitement.