April 4, 2019 / 10:31 AM / in 17 days

Coach Garitano rewarded with new contract at resurgent Athletic Bilbao

FILE PHOTO: Eibar coach Gaizka Garitano reacts during their Spanish first division soccer match against Real Madrid at Ipurua stadium in Eibar November 22, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent West

(Reuters) - Athletic Bilbao have renewed coach Gaizka Garitano’s contract until June 2020, the Basque club said on Thursday, rewarding him for taking them from La Liga relegation candidates to top-four contenders.

Bilbao were in serious danger of losing their status as the only La Liga team apart from Barcelona and Real Madrid never to be relegated when Garitano succeeded Eduardo Berizzo, who had managed only one victory in 14 matches.

Under Garitano, who has also coached Eibar, Valladolid, Deportivo La Coruna and Athletic Bilbao’s reserve side, they have won nine out of 16 games and lost only twice, climbing to eighth in the standings on 43 points.

Bilbao are four points behind fourth-placed Getafe, who they visit on Sunday in a game that could make or break their chances of returning to the Champions League for the first time since 2014.

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by David Goodman

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