Athletic Club manager Marcelino García Toral reiterated that advancing in the Copa del Rey and playing matches every three or four days is not necessarily detrimental for the Lions.
Despite having had little time to rest since their penalty shootout win over Real Betis in the Copa quarter-finals, Athletic are back in LaLiga action on Sunday afternoon, taking on Marcelino’s former side Valencia CF (16:15 CET).
“You have to consider each competition as its own thing. It’s difficult, but that’s what the schedule requires,” Marcelino said at his pre-match press conference. “I’d rather be in this situation than not.”
“Knocking out Betis was a mental boost. If anyone deserved to go through, it was Athletic. So we’re in good spirits.”
“Winning [against Valencia] would put us in a very good position, and we’ll make changes with that in mind. It’s a match with a lot of incentives.”
It will be the first-time Athletic’s boss has taken on his previous side Valencia, the side with which he won the Copa in 2018-19.
“For me, it’s a special match,” Marcelino admitted. “I have great memories of Valencia, the fans and the players.
“But now I’m the Athletic manager and Valencia is in the past.”
Marcelino stated that his side can take nothing for granted against Valencia on Sunday, saying: “We have to be intense, direct and try to hit them on the counter-attack.
“They’re a side that will push us to the limit.”
Marcelino ruled out calling up players from Bilbao Athletic, to reinforce his depleted squad, as the reserve side played a physically demanding match on Saturday evening, but he insisted he won’t put any player’s health at risk.
“We’ll try to hold out physically as best as we can. We must focus on the present. These three points are very important,” he added.
“We’ll analyse the workload of each player, we won’t take any risks.
“What is undeniable though is that the team will be competitive and they’ll make us proud.”
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.