Jon Uriarte’s election as Athletic Club president brought with it various changes at Los Leones, but the main one was a different manager. Although in Ernesto Valverde, they could hardly have found a familiar face.
The Basque coach is a member of Athletic and returns to the hot seat at San Mames for the third time. The two previous occasions between 2003-05 and then 2013-2017, make him the most experienced sports manager of the 21st century and as safe a bet as possible.
Despite this, Valverde described it as a stimulating challenge for Diario AS.
“It’s Athletic, it means a lot to me, I know what’s behind this room and this stadium. I made the decision to try it, it’s a stimulating challenge. You can work with this team, I know a lot of the keys to the Athletic dressing room, although I am aware that you have to do a lot to earn points.
He was also asked about the style of play he would try to 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 band they have…. the style of the team is that of rhythm, the one we tried to bring. We know what motivates our people. We know that sometimes we have to deal with collisions.
“Here, I played with a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3. It’s about maintaining an idea that identifies us and making sure we have a fluidity and a roundness in the game to create chances and have them create few.
Valverde has often been under pressure for his style of play at Barcelona, but within the limits of his resources has always sought balance above all else with his teams. Nor has it been unattractive to watch him for most of his career, with success accompanying him in most of his positions.
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