Iñigo Lekue “We Are All Prepared For Whatever Comes”
It’s been a difficult year for Iñigo Lekue. After missing most of last season with a fractured ankle and needing back surgery, the Lezama product suffered a thigh injury in the preseason that sidelined him for over a month. Thankfully, the 26-year-old finally made his season debut by coming on for Iker Muniain late in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Alavés.
“I know what Garitano thinks about me”, answered Lekue after the game when asked how much he expects to play moving forward. “I know that he trusts me, that I’m a versatile player and have a role in the team. I have to earn my place so that he will play me. You have to work hard to prevent injuries and other things from happening to you as little as possible. I’m happy to return. I’m calm and I will continue like this.”
Lekue was obviously happy to made his season debut, but that wasn’t the most important thing on Sunday. “Winning makes everything even better”, he continued. “Obviously I’m happy to return at San Mamés, but even happier for the victory. Having more games in fewer days opens up the possibilities, especially for those of us who usually have less minutes. We are all prepared for whatever comes.”
Turning the attention to the Basque Derby win over Alavés, Lekue explained that the team knew it wouldn’t be easy to create chances in front of goal. The game opened up after the Lions scored a penalty and Lekue was quick to praise the overall performance at San Mamés and Athletic’s style of football.
“It was a difficult game. Alavés is a tough team and they prepared for the game well. They concede very little, but we had the patience to take things slowly and find the goal. Once we scored the first goal they came further up looking for their own goal. We have endured and we have taken all three points. This team is strong. We are giving up very little, not only at San Mamés. It’s important that you don’t give up many chances and then try to score goals. The idea of this team is still start with a strong defense and, if we have success, that’s how games will be won.”
With Sunday’s win Athletic now sit first in the La Liga table after the first five games of the season. Naturally, fans are excited about the start to the year but Lekue pointed out that there is a long way to go. “It’s still early. We are doing a good job, preparing well for each game, and showing our best on the field.” Athletic will look to continue their unbeaten on Wednesday when the Basques travels to Leganés.