Athletic Club manager Marcelino is confident the Lions will be able to overcome Thursday’s Round-of-32 Copa opponents, UD Ibiza (19:00 CET).
After Athletic beat FC Barcelona 2-3 to win the Supercopa 2021 on Sunday, there is some worry the Rojiblancos might become complacent when facing a side from a lower division. But Marcelino is determined to ensure that does not happen.
“It would be a mistake to let up because we’re favourites,” Marcelino said at his pre-match press conference in Lezama. “Ibiza’s numbers indicate they are the best team in the Segunda B and they’ve already knocked Celta out of the Copa.
“We also have the case of Cornellá against Atlético Madrid. It will be a tough match, but we should go through.”
Furthermore, the boss said his side are ready to play on Can Misses’ artificial turf.
“We’re not used to that kind of pitch, but this is the reality of the situation,” he said. ” These are circumstances which we have to adapt to.
“There are no excuses, we must win this match.”
Marcelino is certain his charges will give the fixture and UD Ibiza the “respect” they deserve, while also hoping Athletic can make the most of their confidence-boosting Suercopa victory.
“A top team in their division, very intense and very direct,” Marcelino said about UD Ibiza. “We want to be consistent and continue performing at a high level.
“The best thing would be to take advantage of this high so that the team can keep improving.
“The team’s attitude is perfect to do that – we can improve everyday.”
Athletic have already played 10 matches since December, and with at least three more to play in January, Marcelino is planning to make changes to the starting line-up.
“We’ve come off the back of an immense effort,” he added. “And at the same time, the rest of the players are working in a formidable way on a daily basis.”
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