Pablo Orbaiz Confident That Athletic Will Improve Under Gaizka Garitano
Despite making 318 appearances for Athletic over 12 seasons, Pablo Orbaiz was never able to lift a trophy with the Zurigorri. This season the Lions will be playing the Copa del Rey final against Real Sociedad and Orbaiz hopes to see his former club bring the coveted trophy back to Bilbao.
In addition to having a chance to win silverware, Athletic are also hopeful of qualifying for Europe after missing out for three consecutive seasons. “The team can aspire to Europe because of the squad and because there is a strong eleven,” Orbaiz told Roberto Basic of El Correo.
Athletic fell just short of European football under Gaizka Garitano the last two years, leaving many fans to question the manager’s future. Changes need to be made for the team to take a step forward and Orbaiz is confident that Garitano will have the answers.
“The team has had its up and downs, but its strong and they will do well. The team will continue on the path set by Gaizka and he will improve certain aspects. I am confident. It will be difficult to make up for Aritz Aduriz who has been a great reference in attack. They will adapt. Someone or some players will be in charge of assuming the role of Aduriz. Athletic always comes out ahead.”
Aduriz isn’t the only key player to leave the club in recent years. Markel Susaeta, Ander Iturraspe, Mikel Rico, Mikel San José, and Beñat have all moved on, though Orbaiz trusts the new leadership.
“Muniain is the reference and takes center stage, just like Williams. The only thing that can be asked of Iñaki is a little more success in front of goal, but his attitude is exceptional. The team is in good hands.”
Since retiring from football Pablo Orbaiz has moved into management and currently serves as a youth coach for Osasuna where he grew up. The Pamplona native cares deeply for both Osasuna and Athletic and hopes to see both clubs succeed in the season ahead.