Ismael Urzaiz Praises Gaizka Garitano’s Leadership At Athletic Club
Gaizka Garitano’s impact on Athletic since taking over as manager has been nothing short of extraordinary. The Basques have established themselves as one of the strongest defensive sides in all of Europe and currently sit at the top of the La Liga table. Club legend Ismael Urzaiz was recently asked about the state of the team while attending the World Football Summit in Madrid and was full of praise.
“We’ve only had a few matches in the league and when you have a good start you can see yourself perched in the top positions”, Urzaiz began. “It’s certainly much better to see yourself first than last, or something like eleventh or twelfth. If Athletic are at the top it’s because they have started strong, they are solid, and have conceded few goals. It’s a team with an intense rhythm.”
Urzaiz went on to explain that he believes the currently style of football fits the strengths of the players and has been a big reason for the recent success. Garitano has brought back traditional Athletic football in a truly fantastic way.
“I like the characteristics of the Athletic players and the style that prevails right now goes more with the traditional football of the club. A coach always has an influence on how things are done. I think that perhaps this very intense and more direct football of Garitano favors the strengths of the players. It makes opponents uncomfortable and that’s why the results have been good.”
Athletic may currently occupy first place in the La Liga table, but Urzaiz made is clear that qualifying for Europe on some level must be the first result. The chances of actually wining the league title are minuscule, however, a club like Athletic must always be challenging for special things.
“Qualifying for Europe is the objective that this club has to have. Athletic is a big club which should compete for realistic things and being in Europe is a realistic goal for the club. It’s very positive to set a goal because you will go for it. I think that the goal of the team is to be in Europe next year. It would be a success to play in the Champions League, but being in Europe in general must be the first goal.”
Athletic will have the chance to continue their exciting start on Wednesday when the Lions face off with Leganés at Butarque. The Basques have drawn their first two games on the road this season and are eager to take all three points away from home.