Athletic Club manager Marcelino García Toral acknowledged CD Alcoyano will be tough opponents on Thursday night (21:00 CET), but reiterated that the Lions are desperate to reach the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.
The Rojiblancos came through a tough encounter with UD Ibiza to reach the Round of 16, whilst CD Alcoyano have already knocked out First Division teams in SD Huesca and Real Madrid.
“We know it’s going to be difficult,” Marcelino said in his pre-match press conference. “But we want to be in the draw for the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.”
“Alcoyano like to play direct football and look for opportunities from the second ball,” Marcelino said about what he expects from the Segunda Division B team. “They play with a high level of intensity. We’re prepared to suffer a bit.”
Spirits at the Club are high, something which Marcelino says he finds preferable. The Gaffer came to Bilbao at the beginning of January and, apart from his first match in charge, against FC Barcelona, the Lions are yet to lose with him in the dugout.
“After the Super Cup, we’ve managed to maintain a high competitive level,” he said. “That being said, in these matches, the result is what sees you through to the next round.
“We always prefer to go into games from a positive place, instead of a place of uncertainty.”
With his squad and the busy fixture schedule in mind -Athletic have already played six matches in January- Marcelino will look to make changes to the starting line-up.
“All the players are massively important,” he added. “Even those who participate less, because for us it’s essential that everyone feels like they’re involved and they’re part of the group.”
Highlights I Levante UD 1-1 Athletic Club (LaLiga Matchday 25)
A game of two penalties, as both sides get a point
Marcelino: “A victory for us would’ve been fair”
Marcelino bemoaned the defensive mistakes that led to Levante’s goal
Athletic held to frustrating draw by Levante
Despite constantly threatening, Athletic only pick up one point from a match where both goals came from the penalty spot
Confirmed line-ups: Levante UD vs Athletic Club
The XI’s for tonight’s LaLiga match at the Ciutat de Valéncia
Global TV Guide: Levante UD vs Athletic Club (LaLiga Matchday 25)
When and where to watch Athletic’s upcoming LaLiga match against Levante UD
Marcelino: “We’re focused on winning tomorrow”
Marcelino looks ahead to Friday night’s LaLiga Santander match against Levante UD
Squad list: Levante UD vs Athletic Club (LaLiga Matchday 25)
Marcelino has called up 23 players for Friday night’s clash with Levante UD at the Ciutat de València
A big week against Levante
Athletic will face Levante twice in six days, starting with a LaLiga fixture on Friday (21:00 CET)
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.