Athletic Club will have to be at their very best in order to defeat CA Osasuna on Saturday, says Athletic manager Gaizka Garitano.
The Lions face Osasuna at El Sadar on Saturday (18:30 CET). The game coincides with the Pamplona-based outfit’s centenary celebrations and Garitano is hoping Athletic will be able to spoil the party.
After a bad run of games at the start of the season, Athletic seemed to have turned a new leaf with their emphatic 2-0 win over Levante. Yet, despite the victory, Garitano insists his squad’s mindset remains the same as always ahead of the clash with Osasuna.
“Winning doesn’t make us work in a different way,” Garitano said at his pre-match press conference from Lezama. “We must be at 100 percent in all aspects, because Osasuna are a very well organised and competitive team.
“We’ve trained well and we’re focused on tomorrow’s match. Winning is always on our minds.”
Saturday’s opponents Osasuna were the surprise package of LaLiga Santander in 2019-20, eventually finishing in 10th place. They currently sit in 11th, having won two and drawn one of their first five matches of the season.
Garitano said: “They’ve been doing good things for a while. Last season they were exceptional and this season they’ve started really well.
“They beat Celta and they had a good game against Eibar in Ipurua. They’re very intense when they press and in the challenge. They can go direct with [Enric] Gallego, they’ve got centre-backs who are good in the air and they’re difficult to catch off-guard. This is why Osasuna are where they are.”
The lions have been improving every week and Garitano admitted that it was a difficult pre-season in terms of injuries and illnesses.
“There were a lot of players that, due to illness or injury, weren’t with us for pre-season,” he said. “Now they’re getting some continuity and they’re performing better because of that.
“It’s true that this year we’re missing players that were important in previous seasons. But this year a lot of players are breaking through from the academy. We’ve got to be happy with the freshness and variety those players bring to the squad.”
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