Marcelino and his coaching staff are already preparing for the 2021/22 season with the same group of players (except for Petxarroman, who joins the players from the reserve team already training with the squad). The Asturian works for what will be his first entire season at Bilbao. José Carrascosa, the psychologist and pedagogue, has also joined the first team. He worked for more than two decades in different football clubs, including Valencia, Sevilla, Levante UD, Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano. “I had so many damn nightmares with the lost finals,” the Asturian coach said spontaneously in his first press conference, in which he repeatedly stressed the “ambition and enthusiasm” the coaching staff has for this new campaign.
Marcelino García Toral ends the 2020/21 season with a title, a sub-championship and several prestigious wins. A campaign that lasted 5 months, 5 months since he signed for Athletic Club.
The Asturian coach and his staff arrived to Bilbao in January. It was the perfect beginning. From 14 to 17 of January, Athletic beat Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup (Semifinals, 1-2) and FC Barcelona (in the final, that ended in extra time, 2-3).
The Super Cup held in Andalusia was Athletic’s second title since 1984. A fantastic achievement that led the way to the 2020/21 Copa del Rey final. UD Ibiza, CD Alcoyano, Real Betis and Levante UD were successively eliminated by the Basque team, which specialized in comebacks before the decisive match against FC Barcelona.
Koeman’s team, very inspired, cut the aspirations of Athletic Club. Despite the defeat, there was the consolation of qualifying for the next Spanish Super Cup, where Marcelino and his men will seek to reissue the title. It will be in January 2022, in Saudi Arabia, with FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid as adversaries. The recent LaLiga champion will be Athletic’s rival in the semifinals.
Another aspect that is always evaluated in a coach at the Palacio de Ibaigane is the management of the footballers raised in Lezama. Nico Williams, 18 years old, became the first youth squad to make his debut with Marcelino at the end of April 2021. Another young player, the Navarrese Oihan Sancet, has taken center stage in the final stretch of the course. Proof of this is his call for the final phase of the European Under-21. Asier Villalibre is slightly older than Nico and Oihan, but these months have allowed him to take the most important leap of his career. The goal against FC Barcelona in the Super Cup final illustrates well their progression.