Amorebieta has starred in the great news of Basque football at the end of the 2020-21 season. Urritxe's team has achieved promotion to Second against all odds, beating Badajoz in the final at their Nuevo Vivero field. Iñigo Vélez de Mendizabal is one of the great architects of this feat. The former Athletic player analyzes next season in MD after renewing his contract as coach of the Blues, but already in the SmartBank League.
Zorionak for the promotion.
Thank you. It has been a very great feat for a club for Amorebieta.
More than two weeks have passed. What is the analysis that you do with more perspective?
We have already assimilated what we have achieved. We were all convinced that it was going to be a great year, not to the point of promotion, but as Second B progressed we saw that we were capable. In the second phase, knowing that we had to face Tudelano, Calahorra and SD Logroñés and that they had to play against Bilbao Athletic and Real, two very strong subsidiaries, we knew it was in our hands. Already in the promotion playoff, analyzing the Linares we knew that by playing our game we would be able to win, as it was. Against Badajoz we also saw possibilities despite all the inconveniences that it entailed: the draw was not worth us, we played in their field, with their fans in the stands, they were the best of the teams… We had a year round.
Did they see themselves with options against Linares and Badajoz?
Yes Yes. We were convinced because this team has been with very clear ideas for three years since I have been here. The first round of the first year was not so good, but from there we changed the system and brought in players. The team has won in very complicated fields and we were aware that we were always going to have chances because the team always goes out to win. It was not going to be less against Linares and Badajoz. It is clear that they were first in the group and had had a great season, but we came from a very complicated group as has been shown later. Calahorra entered as the best fourth, Real B has risen and Bilbao Athletic has stayed one game away from promotion. As we had competed throughout the year, we knew it was in our hands.
The team has won in very complicated fields, we knew we were going to have chances
What was the reaction of the players?
Of euphoria. The players were convinced of winning. At no point was there any doubt that the team was not going to win. It was clear that you could lose, but the players were aware that we were capable of winning, what they were no longer so aware of is that the repercussion of the victory took us to Second. Once the referee whistles we begin to assimilate that we were already in this category. There have been 102 teams and we have been one of the top four. The kids are excited and above all very proud.
Last week he renewed his contract and previously Asier Goiria, the sports director, had done it. Was it clear?
Yes, when the team ascends the priority is to stay at the Amorebieta, to enjoy the path that we are doing. It is the fourth year, I enter professional football and the club also tells me that it wants me to be. The figure of Asier was also very important to me, let him continue. It was a very simple operation.
Three years ago, when he took the Amorebieta, it was even said that his position was in danger. Was this success later expected?
It has been all progressive. The truth is that knowing that it is football and if you do not win, it is normal for the coach to go to the street, at no time, neither from the president nor from Goiria, did I feel that pressure. It was something more mine, knowing that this is football and that I had to react. But at no time did I feel the intention of dismissing myself, far from it. They trusted the work he was doing. It was clear that I was not doing well, that both the team and me as a coach had to be turned around. Asier has always trusted me, right from the beginning, which makes me inexperienced in Second B. And then you see the progression. I was convinced that the team had to go further and in the end we completed it with a promotion to Second.
What is the priority for the squad in Second?
The priority is to continue with the idea that we have carried out in recent years. Make a competitive team. It is clear that the level has to be higher, at the level of competition between the players and at the football level. I am convinced that we are going to build a great squad and we are going to compete in the Second Division.
Is the idea to keep last year's block with some important reinforcement?
Yes, we will keep the block. It seems to me that it is fundamental, it is the block that has given a promotion, they have earned it. It is clear that we have to improve some things, bring important people, but in this aspect we have it very clear.
There has been talk of the possible transfer of Artola by Athletic. Have you already contacted the rojiblanco club?
That theme is carried by Asier. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think he said a name. It is clear that Artola is a great player. Amorebieta is the only Biscayan team in the Second Division and the Athletic branch is one category below. We are all interested. We have always been nurtured by Athletic players and they have always performed very well and played. It is not good for everyone. Of course we have given them some names that can fit us. Let's hope Athletic players come for their personal growth and to help us complete the squad.
It is a benefit for both parties.
Yes, we are an agreed Athletic club. It has happened to us with Tascón, Oier Luengo, Jaso… They have already left us players who were not part of their plans at first and who have given us a very good performance. And for their personal growth it has been very good for them.
What players have asked Athletic?
That I cannot say. I can ask Raúl García, but from there to what could happen… I would be delighted to receive Athletic players. It is a club of which we are agreed, a special club for us.
I am convinced that we are going to build a great squad and we are going to compete in the Second Division
Is the idea to play only with Basque footballers?
We have always maintained a Basque bloc. Last year, due to the issue of the pandemic and the reduction in expenses, we realized that they were all players from Euskal Herria. This year the idea is the same, to maintain the philosophy of playing with footballers from Euskal Herria, which has given us good results.
It would be a very similar case in Second to Athletic in First, a unique case in all professional football.
I think so. Already in Second B it is difficult to see that philosophy. In this aspect we are delighted. The union that has been in the dressing room has been key. It has given us a very good result. With this philosophy we can make a very competitive team for the Second Division.
What is the goal of Amorebieta in Second?
The idea is the same, we all have to grow, both the players who follow as the technical staff. In a very demanding category in which there will be real teams like Zaragoza, Malaga, Eibar, Valladolid, Huesca … We have to have the same idea. To compete as we have done in Second B, defeating teams that for Amorebieta it was not feasible to win.
A shame not being able to play at Urritxe or being able to remodel it.
At the sporting level, the team always goes out to win against any rival and in any field. He has shown it in recent years and more in this playoff. But it is clear that we wanted to play for Urritxe, because of what it represents for the team and for the people. After a year that people have not been able to see us, it would have been great if he could have come to the stadium to see his team. They are the demands of the League, we cannot enter into that. We all would like to have a viable field to play in Second Division, but it is not like that. We will try to involve the fans and the people as much as possible