Athletic Club manager Gaizka Garitano stressed the importance of beating Celta Vigo on Friday night (21:00 CET), as it would see the lions take a leap up the LaLiga Santander table.
The boss answered questions at the pre-match press-conference entirely in Euskera (Basque) as a way of participating in the International Basque Language Day.
“All the matches are important,” Garitano said about upcoming LaLiga fixture at San Mamés. “But if we beat Celta, we’ll jump up the league table. We’ve spoken to the players and they are aware of that.
“Home matches have an added importance and we must get something out of them.”
The lions will be gunning for a fourth consecutive victory at San Mamés, something which Garitano believes is feasible if Athletic continue the good form from their previous three victories at The Cathedral.
“The group has always been competitive and we have to continue in the same vein as we did against Levante, Sevilla and Betis,” Garitano added.
“It will be complicated, but our aim is to win a fourth consecutive match at home.”
Opponents Celta are currently in the relegation zone having only won two LaLiga matches so far this season. But with a new manager and plenty of attacking talents, Garitano warned that his players will have to concentrate on Friday.
“With the new manager, their style of play is different. They press higher and have switched to playing in a 4-4-2,” Garitano said. “The majority of their attackers play from the start. Brais Méndez, Nolito, Aspas, Santi Mina, etc, have a lot of quality.
“They’re a team with fast and talented players, we have to bear that in mind.”
The Athletic Club manager also spoke about the hectic festive fixture schedule which will see the lions play eight matches in 34 days.
“It’s not something I’m worrying about too much because we have a squad in which everyone can contribute,” Garitano said about the busy period. “From next week onwards, we’ll start to rotate the line-ups.
“There’s no fixed starting XI, so we’ll need all of the players. They’ve shown they’re up to the level no matter who plays.”
Full-backs Yuri Berchiche and Ander Capa both hobbled of the pitch in some discomfort during the match with Getafe, but Garitano believes they should both be in with a chance of facing Celta.
“Capa hasn’t trained as normal this week, but we’ll see how he trains today and if he can make the squad,” Garitano continued. “As for Yuri, he’s trained well these past few days and it seems he’ll be available.”
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