Little more than a week after Marcelino García Toral’s arrival at Athletic Club, we sit down with the new boss to find out what he makes of his new surroundings.
Whilst he is still getting used to life at Lezama and has not really had time to process everything due to the busy fixture schedule, Marcelino expressed his happiness at being in Bilbao.
“I’m very excited with the project we’ve started with this great, historic Club,” Marcelino told Athletic Club in an in-house interview. “In all honestly, at first it’s difficult to believe you could one day manage Athletic.
“We’re very happy this trust has been placed in us and we’re going to try and return that trust.”
When talking about his first impressions of Athletic and the Lezama training centre, Marcelino highlighted the spirit of togetherness that exists among the players.
“People had always told us about it and then when you’re here you really think about it,” Marcelino said.
“Nearly all the footballers feel a sense of belonging because their dream is to grow up in Lezama until they get to the first team.
“It’s something worth checking out and experiencing.”
The new boss also spoke about the close-knit changing room he has inherited: “You can see how well everyone gets along.
“It’s one big group. They’re united and have a clear intention to serve Athletic; to give everything for the Club they love.
“We’ve joined ourselves to that feeling and, together with them, we’ll try to get the players performing to their best so the fans can feel proud of all of us.”
Marcelino was born and raised in Villaviciosa, Asturias. His father was a timber merchant and Marcelino joined Sporting Gijón’s Mareo academy at 12 years old. He was keen to emphasise the similarities between his early career and that of Lezama’s youngsters.
“You can play for a lot of teams, but to play for the team in which you were ‘born’ as a footballer, for me that’s the biggest honour any player can have, regardless of their age,” Marcelino added.
“I’m passionate about football, about my job and I believe that what you feel is what you convey to the players.”
Marcelino may be new to the San Mamés home dugout, but he has been to the new stadium, and the old one, several times throughout his playing and managerial career. He admitted he always loved coming to Bilbao, despite the fact he has never won here as a manager.
“It’s a match against one of the greats,” he said. “I feel bad that I can’t properly enjoy being in the home dugout with fans in the stands.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to experience that moment soon.”
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