Williams: “The Basque derby is passion” | Athletic Club
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Williams: “The Basque derby is passion”

Iñaki Williams looks ahead to New Year’s Eve Basque derby at San Mamés against Real Sociedad

Williams: “The Basque derby is passion”
Williams: “The Basque derby is passion”
Dec 29, 2020

Athletic Club forward Iñaki Williams said the lions are “desperate” to see off 2020 on a high by defeating Real Sociedad in this Thursday’s (Kick-off, 14:00 CET) Basque derby at San Mamés.

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.”

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