Iñigo Lekue “We Are Strong At Home But So Are Our Opponents”
The last 18 months haven’t been kind to Iñigo Lekue. Last year the defender fractured his ankle during preseason only to return to training and be quickly sidelined again because of lower back surgery. This summer Lekue suffered a thigh injury which saw him miss the entirety of the preseason but now he’s fully healthy again and hoping to contribute to the team.
“I am 100%, without discomfort, and I hope to continue like this for a long time”, Lekue told Fuera de Juego on Thursday night’s radio show. “Gaizka (Garitano) is giving me opportunities although it’s not easy to give chances to a player who has been injured for a long time when the team is doing well.”
With Yuri Berchiche currently recovering from a dislocated shoulder Lekue could have more chances to see the field. “I would be happy to play on Sunday even if it was as a goalkeeper”, he said looking forward to the upcoming match against Celta Vigo, “but I think having we are more than covered with Mikel (Balenziaga) who is a pure left-back.” Oscar De Marcos has recently returned from an ankle sprain which will give Gaizka Garitano more options to choose from.
Despite last weekend’s loss to Valencia, Lekue believes that Athletic have everything necessary to have a great season. The team has been working every day to improve, though the 26-year-old recognizes that winning games on the road is always difficult.
“I see the team training well to stay up high in the table. We have a great squad, a great team, despite the defeat against Valencia. The manager has highlighted the need to improve crosses into the box, but always in a positive sense. This team can have a great year, we are very excited. It’s difficult to play away from home and get points. We are strong at home but so are our opponents.”
Athletic have won five of their last six visits to Balaídos where fans tend to travel well. “We are very proud of the fans we have”, answered Lekue when asked about the support. “They make us stronger.” Celta will also have the support of their fans which will create a difficult atmosphere for the Lions. A win could see Athletic climb several places in the La Liga table so winning the first game away from home this season couldn’t come at a better time.