Gaizka Garitano “If We Want To Move Forward We Have To Go Through Tougher Opponents”
Athletic had no trouble defeating Intercity and Sestao River in the opening rounds of the Copa del Rey but the tournament will continue to increase in difficulty. On Tuesday, the Lions were drawn against Elche for the Round of 32 and will travel to Estadio Martínez Valero on either 21 or 22 January with the goal of advancing.
“Elche have been drawn with us and we already know that the opponents are becoming more difficult after playing two teams from the Tercera,” Gaizka Garitano told AthleticTV after the draw. “Elche are one of the strongest teams in the second division. It’s a single game and we know that if we want to move forward in this competition we have to go through tougher and tougher opponents.”
Interestingly, this will be Athletic’s second cup match at Estadio Martínez Valero after playing the opening cup game against Intercity in Elche. Garitano noted that the team felt comfortable on the pitch.
“Now we will play a team from the Segunda, at their home, and we already know the field because we played there against Intercity. It’s a field with good dimensions and will be fine. There will be no excuses.”
Garitano is taking the Copa del Rey very seriously this season and the Zurigorri believe that they have the quality to challenge for the title. The Mister scouted Sestao River ahead of last weekend’s match and will do the same with Elche. Garitano is traveling to El Molinón later today to watch Elche face Sporting in order to better prepare Athletic for the upcoming cup fixture.