Gaizka Garitano “It Was A Good Test Against A Good Primera Team”
Athletic are one step closer to being ready for the start of La Liga following Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Alavés. Iker Muniain and Jon Morcillo found the back of the net to give the Lions the win in what was an impressive friendly performance at Lezama. Gaizka Garitano was pleased with what he saw from the team.
“These training games are very useful to us because in the end it was a good test against a good Primera team,” the manager told Athletic TV after the match. “It’s one more training where we can see players, catch a little rhythm, and test ideas.”
Once again several young players enjoyed important minutes with so many first teams players still unavailable. “We have returned to play with very, very young players today,” Garitano acknowledged. “We have two working groups, the first that has been here from the beginning and the other, that is working separately, that can’t play the games at the moment. I’m happy with the work we’ve done.”
The manager was quick to praise the group of young players who have done well this summer. Many have shown the potential to reach the first team, and some may be ready now.
“These are very, very young kids. More than half of the players who are playing with us right now are young kids from Bilbao Athletic and Basconia. Nico Serrano comes straight from Juvenil A. The young players have responded well, they are the future of Athletic and also the present. What they have done has merit.”
Of course, Garitano is also looking forward to having the rest of the squad available again soon. “Little by little we have to recover the players who are out. La Liga is close and thankfully there were no injuries today. We have done a good job on a very hot day, so we are happy.”
In a bit of good news Oihan Sancet was able to return to training on Wednesday. “Today is his first day and now he has to be here, living practically all day at Lezama in the morning and afternoon,” Garitano emphasized. “Perhaps he won’t be ready for the first game, but he will try to be ready by the third.”
The countdown is on for the start of La Liga. Athletic will travel to Los Cármenes next Friday night to kick off the season against Granada. When asked about the schedule that was recently released, Garitano really didn’t have much to say.
“Granada are the ones that we have to play first, we can’t change it or do anything about it. In that aspect, Granada has played well against us. We will to prepare to go there to try to win the game. The calendar is what it is and we have no complaints. We don’t care. Last year we started against Barcelona, this year against Granada. You have to be prepared for every game.”
Before traveling to Granada the Lions will have two more friendly matches. Athletic will visit Real Oviedo this Friday before hosting Eibar at Lezama the following day. The La Liga season is right around the corner and Athletic have just nine days left to prepare.