Gaizka Garitano “Winning Has To Be A Habit”
With the international break currently ongoing Athletic played a friendly against Toulouse in Baiona on Thursday. The Lions surrendered an early goal but scored twice, including a late penalty, to secure a 2-1 win in France. After the game manager Gaizka Garitano explained that the team wants to win everything and was happy to be able to give minutes to players who haven’t had many chances so far this season.
“Even in training and friendlies we always want to win. We are competitive and although we started losing we were able to turn it around. The victory has anecdotal value, but we always like to win. Winning has to be a habit, it’s a good culture. It was good to be able to give minutes to the players who have had fewer opportunities. The field wasn’t very good, but the most important thing was to add competitive minutes and for there to be no injuries. The attitude was good and I’m happy.”
Garitano went on to share that he tried some players in different positions to see how they would perform. The Mister was also pleased with Inigo Lekue who made his season debut after struggling with a thigh injury throughout the summer.
“Defensive midfielders were able to player further forward and then we forced Unai Lopez and Sancet, who aren’t used to playing alone, to defend more. We were exposed to a high paced game and it was good to do some tests. I saw Lekue very well and playing with high pace and energy. The most important thing for him was to not be injured again. It’s good to see him playing again and doing well without discomfort.”
The transfer window closed without Athletic being able to find loan moves for Cristian Ganea or Asier Villalibre. When asked about the situation, Garitano stated that he will count on both players and that they understand their chances will be limited.
“From day one I have treated Ganea and Villalibre like the rest. I have demanded from them the same level that I have from the rest of the squad. I will keep treating them like this because they are two magnificent players and they train well. They’ve known what their situations are for a long time, but we will count on them. When they have to play they will play and when they don’t have to play, they won’t play. There isn’t room for everyone with Kodro, Villalibre, Aduriz, and Williams. It’s difficult to use everyone at once.”
Despite leaving behind several key players, the trip to Baiona was good for Athletic to stay sharp. Inigo Martinez’s red card was certainly a confusing part of the match but the opposing coach quickly took off one of his own players to even the field. I want to thank the Toulouse coach for his nice gesture to remove a player after Inigo Martinez was sent off”, Garitano was sure to share. “It was better for both teams to play ten against ten.” Athletic will now begin preparing for next Friday’s match against Mallorca.