Gaizka Garitano Faces Challenging Task As Athletic Prepare To Play 3 Games In 6 Days
The arrival of Gaizka Garitano has taken Athletic to another level. Back in December the Lions were deep in a relegation battle and the managerial change not only saved the team but saw them challenge for European qualification. After having the entire summer to prepare for the new season, Garitano’s Athletic have been even better. The Basques are unbeaten through the opening four matches but will now face a huge test to continue their exciting start.
A major factor of Athletic’s success has been Garitano’s system. The Lions are dedicated to organized defending, physical football, and direct attacking. Returning to traditional Athletic football has brought out the best in the squad, though so far Garitano has put his faith in a select group of players. The Mister has only rotated the lineup due to injuries but that will now change as Athletic will be playing three games in six days.
“I trust those who aren’t playing and they will have chances because we are going to play three games in six days and will have to rotate people”, Garitano said after Friday night’s draw with Mallorca. Athletic will host Alavés on Sunday, followed by a trip to Leganés on Wednesday before Valencia visit San Mamés on Saturday. All three are winnable games but anything can happen in such a busy week.
This stretch of games will likely create some distance in the La Liga table. At the moment, fourth place and the relegation zone are separated by only five points but that gap will grow quickly. Garitano has already acknowledged that rotation will be necessary and it will be up to the Mister to get the decisions right. Athletic have been one of the most consistent and strong teams to start the season and will have to prove it during this difficult run of games.