Although supporters cannot attend the match, Williams insisted the derby will not lose all of its magic and that the spirit of the fans will still be felt.
“A derby is always special,” the forward said during his press conference at the Lezama training centre. “It’s a shame people can’t be in San Mamés, but we know they’ll be encouraging us and cheering us on from afar.”
The pacey striker, who scored his third goal of the season last Tuesday against Villarreal, said the occasion means he will not be in need of any extra motivation.
“The Basque derby is passion,” he explained. “I like playing these kinds of matches, I like playing against la Real because it motivates me.
“The whole team is desperate to finish the year well and give fans the New Year’s Eve they deserve.
“Hopefully we can get a good result and start the year the way want to.”
Even though Real Sociedad have now gone one month without picking up a win in any competition, the Donostia-based outfit are still third in the LaLiga Santander table with 26 points.
“We know what we have to do on the pitch,” Williams said about the lions’ game plan. “If we want to go head to head with them, we have to press high and make them feel uncomfortable about playing out from the back.
“They try to play with the ball on the floor and perhaps in the last few matches they haven’t had much luck in front of goal. But they’ve dominated a lot of matches and that’s what we have to stop, we can’t let them get comfortable.
“When we play in the opponents’ half, we’re dangerous. We have great players who can do damage and we’re going to go for it.”
Iñaki’s younger brother Nico Williams was called up to the first-team squad for the first time against Villarreal and Iñaki is hopeful they will soon play alongside each other for Athletic.
“For me, my brother and my family, us playing together for the first-team has always been a big dream,” Iñaki added. “And the truth is that it’s close to becoming a reality.
“It’s exciting being able to train with him the past few days, being able to work with him, help him… be a support for him. With hard work and effort, his opportunity will come.”
Raúl García: “The more difficult the challenge, the better”
After extending his contract with Athletic Club until 2022, Raúl García expressed his intention to keep going “as long as he was up to the task of competing for this Club”
Raúl García signs contract extension until 2022
The agreement includes an option for a further season depending on a number of targets.
Berenguer in top goalscoring form
Athletic Club’s most recent signing is our current top goalscorer with six goals, four coming in his last five appearances
Highlights I Athletic Club 1-1 Villarreal CF (LaLiga Matchday 24)
Athletic pick up a point in a tightly-contested match against the Yellow Submarine at The Cathredal
Marcelino: “Athletic deserved to win”
Marcelino praises the attitude of his Lions, despite the draw against Villarreal
Berengeur on target in draw with Villarreal
Athletic’s current top goalscorer equalised after Gerard Moreno put Villarreal in the lead
Confirmed line-ups: Athletic Club vs Villarreal CF
The XIs for tonight’s LaLiga Santander match against Villarreal CF at San Mamés (21:00 CET)
Global TV Guide: Athletic Club vs Villarreal CF
The various TV broadcasters and global kick-off times for Athletic Club’s upcoming LaLiga clash with Villarreal CF
Marcelino: “The team is happy and motivated”
The Athletic Club manager looks ahead to Sunday night’s clash with Villarreal at The Cathedral
Squad list: Athletic Club vs Villarreal CF (LaLiga Matchday 24)
The 23 players called up for Sunday night’s clash with Villarreal CF at The Cathedral