Gaizka Garitano “It Would Be A Mistake To Think That We Have Done Anything After Just Three Games”
Athletic have yet to trail for a single second this season as the Lions have picked up seven points from the opening three matches. With the international break now over, the Basques will be traveling to Mallorca on Friday night with hopes of continuing their exciting start. Mallorca may be a newly promoted side, but Gaizka Garitano isn’t taking this game lightly as he shared during Thursday’s press conference.
“Mallorca has come into the league with a winning mentality after their promotion”, Garitano began. “They have been winning for two years and with basically the same players. It gives them confidence in what they do and they’ve started the season very well. They beat Eibar and could have had another good result against Real. They also played well against Valencia.”
Despite Garitano’s respect for Mallorca, the Mister is also proud of how Athletic have performed so far this season. Athletic have been one of the best defensive teams in all of Europe but recognize that playing well through just three games doesn’t really mean much at this point.
“We are doing things well. We aren’t making many mistakes and when we do we correct them quickly. It would be a mistake to think that we have done anything after just three games. We have a balance and that is what allows us to play well and it helps us win. The competition of the entire season will put us in our place because three games isn’t enough to analyze.”
Apart from Oscar De Marcos, who is nursing an ankle sprain, Garitano will have his entire squad available for the trip to Estadi de Son Moix. When asked about the potential starting lineup, Garitano explained that there isn’t really much of a need to change things up after such a dominant win over Real Sociedad.
“When you come from a good performance and win you usually don’t make any changes to the lineup, but you can make some because each game has its own nuances. The lineup will look quite similar to the one we played with the other day against Real. We will have to play a good game because they’ve gone a long time without losing at home. We have started well and have been focused on what we need to do. We’ve worked hard in order to be at the level we are and we want to be even better.”
In closing, Garitano was once again asked about the situation with Unai Núñez. The defender has been exceptional this season, but Yeray and Iñigo Martinez are still the chosen pair for the lineup. Garitano shared that he is counting on all three center-backs and that he has full faith in all of them.
“Unai played the first two league games and was perfect, just like Yeray and Iñigo. I’m going to count on all three. Martinez is a starter for the National Team with Sergio Ramos and he didn’t go this time because he started the season with an injury. Núñez was called and Yeray has also been on the pre-list. I value all three very highly. I trust all three and all three will play. When I came Unai wasn’t even in the squad lists and then he played for us.”
Friday night’s fixture with be yet another big game for Athletic, but it will also be a special time for Aritz Aduriz. This will be the striker’s final season as a professional footballer and Mallorca will be honoring him at the match. Aduriz played for Mallorca from 2008 to 2010 and returning to Estadio de Son Moix as part of his farewell season will be a memorable moment for the Athletic legend.