Mendilibar: "Eibar must make 7 to 8 signings"

"You could sign until October 5, you have to be calm, but we can't sleep. It would be bad to start the league on September 12 and have 5 players missing," he says.


José Luis Mendilibar, Eibar coach, announced on Friday that "you have to make 7 to 8 signings" for the 2020-2021 season. The Zaldibar coach made these statements to the social networks of the Gipuzkoan First Division club, without questions from the media. Mendilibar has not granted a face-to-face press conference with journalists since the league was stopped in March due to the coronavirus.

The Barça squad began training individually on Thursday to avoid contagion at the Atxabalpe facilities, in Mondragón, and after having carried out PCR tests to detect COVID-19 on the footballers of the first team, coaching staff and employees of the entity necessary to carry out these work sessions. These tests on Wednesday gave a negative result, although Eibar informed the health authorities on Monday (made it public to the media on Thursday) that there was a positive for coronavirus in a member of the staff who was going to join previously to preseason, so he had no contact with any teammates. The affected person is isolated at home, where he must pass a quarantine, in good health.

Eibar has returned to activity with 18 players who were active last season (2019-2020) -of the seven who finished their contract, only Pedro León renewed-; in addition to players who were on loan to other clubs, and six men from the subsidiary (CD Vitoria, from the Third Division). To compete, you need a good number of reinforcements, because, in addition, there is already a long-term injured, José Angél 'Cote' Valdés, who suffered a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and a partial tear of the internal meniscus of the same joint in the last league match, Villarreal-Eibar (4-0) at the Estadio de La Cerámica (El Madrigal) on Sunday, July 19. The left-back defender from Gijón underwent surgery on July 30 and will be out for many months.

"We will have to make many signings, 7 or 8 players will have to sign. We have not signed anyone yet, but there is time," said Mendilibar. Due to COVID-19, "a preseason has started without the previous season having finished," said the coach, referring to the fact that due to the epidemic, the Second Division has not yet finished (a third promotion is yet to be known after having risen and Cádiz and Huesca), nor two European competitions (the Champions League, and the UEFA League) .

The transfer market is stopped, because until the outcome of the competitions is known, the clubs are not going to make a move. "Everything is going much slower. The important thing is to bring people that interest us, we like them. Nothing happens if it takes a little longer. In the 2020-2021 campaign the preseason will be a little shorter than other times, so we cannot sleep. Although then we have until October 5. But it would be bad to start the league on September 12, and if we are missing 5 players. We have to be calm, but we cannot sleep, "he warned.

The rest has been half that in previous summers, since the First Division footballers have only enjoyed three weeks of leisure, when other times they enjoyed a month and a half off. "Having spent less time without training than other summers, footballers lose their physical form" .

The case is different from the one experienced last year, when in March the league stopped due to COVID-19 and the footballers, like the rest of the people, had to be confined at home for two months. So, they had to exercise at home with a work plan designed by the Barça physical trainers. "It is not the same, because during confinement they exercised at home without knowing when we were going to train again, without knowing how long the confinement was going to last. The players got ready to train. Now, although we have not sent them that work to to do at home during the holidays, as the downtime has been less, I think they will be fine. Nowadays professional athletes do not lose much physical shape during the holidays, they worry about staying in shape, "he explained.

The most important thing for the Zaldibar coach is that his players assimilate the concepts of the game as soon as possible. "Above all, let them take the ideas that we want to instill in them as quickly as possible. Last season this cost us more. This campaign we have to train the players so that in the preseason games we have clear ideas. If we get that, we will start well the campaign. If not, it will be more complicated. If we change our thinking about the game, we will slap ourselves ".

The sole objective of the Eibar team is to achieve permanence in the First Division. He is going to start his seventh season in a row in the top flight and the goal is to get one more season (the eighth). "The idea of Eibar is to stay in the First Division and achieve the eighth season. With that conviction and that mentality, we all went out," he said. The Catalans suffered last year (2019-2020) to avoid relegation, but after the league break they improved and reached the goal in advance, with two league days left. Now, again, "the objective is permanence," declared Mendilibar, who will complete his sixth consecutive season on the Ipurua bench.

Friendlies against Mirandés, Rayo Vallecano and Leganés in August

Eibar announced their first three friendly matches against Second Division rivals in a preseason in which they plan to play six games. The first of the preparation duels will be against Mirandés, on Friday August 21 (6.30 pm) at the Atxabalpe facilities, in Mondragón, where the Eibar team usually trains.

Both the second and the third game will be played in Madrid on the last weekend of this month. On Friday, August 28 (10 am), the azulgranas will visit Rayo Vallecano in the sports city of the Vallecano team. On Saturday, August 29 (10 am), Mendilibar's men will face Leganés in the sports city of the 'pepinero' club.

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