Gaizka Garitano “We Will Try To Be At Full Strength”
Athletic welcomed Eibar to Lezama on Saturday for the last friendly of the summer. The Basque Derby ended in a 2-2 draw with the Lions dominating the first half, but struggling after the break. Ultimately, it was a good final test for the team ahead of the La Liga opener against Granada on Friday.
“I’m happy because we’ve brought back many players that hadn’t played yet,” Gaizka Garitano said after the game. “They haven’t been here and are getting better. In that sense we can be happy. We will try to be at full strength in order to get off to a good start in Granada.”
In preparation for Friday’s trip to Los Cármenes, Garitano started a strong lineup and only made three changes in the second half. “Almost everyone played 90 minutes and ended up very tired,” he pointed out. “The game against Eibar was a game of two different halves. In the first we were very good and in the second they were better.”
Several key players missed most of preseason through injuries or illness. As a result, many young players were given valuable opportunities, but Garitano is optimistic that the stars will be ready to compete in six days.
“The ability to adapt to the problems we had at the beginning is essential to start the first game well. The good thing is that the players who started later already have minutes in friendly matches. They are doing morning and afternoon session in training and are getting better. We hope to have the maximum number of players to play Friday.”
Athletic kick off the La Liga season on Friday with a trip to Granada. After ending the previous campaign with an embarrassing loss at Los Cármenes, the Zurigorri are eager to rise from the ashes and start the new year with a convincing victory away from home.