The election of Jon Uriarte to the Presidency of Athletic Club came with various changes to Los Leones, but the chief one was a different manager. Although in Ernesto Valverde, they could barely have found a familiar face.
The Basque manager is member of Athletic and returns to the hot seat at San Mames for the third time. The previous two occasions between 2003-05 and then from 2013-2017, make him the most experienced Athletic manager of the 21st century and as sure a bet as there can be.
“It’s Athletic, it means a lot to me, I know what lies behind this room and this stadium. I have taken the decision to try it, it’s a stimulating challenge. You can work with this team, I know many of the keys of the dressing room of Athletic, although I’m aware you have to do a lot to earn points.”
He was also asked about the style of play he would try and implement, especially in light of Uriarte’s use of the rock and roll slogan for his campaign.
“They don’t play a lot of jazz the group they have…. the style of the team is one of rhythm, the one we have tried to bring. We know what gets our people going. We know that at times we have to go in for collisions.”
“Here I have played with a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3. It’s about maintaining an idea that identifies us and ensuring we have fluidity and a roundness in the play in order to create chances and ensure they create few.”
Valverde often came under pressure for his style of play at Barcelona, but within the limits of his resources, has always sought balance above all with his teams. Neither has it been unattractive to watch for most of his career, with success accompanying him in most of his positions.
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