Athletic Club head-coach Marcelino García Toral stressed that his side must go one match at a time as they face Levante UD twice in an important week for the Club.
The Lions face Levante UD twice in the space of six days, starting with a LaLiga Santander match in Valencia on Friday night (21:00 CET). After that, the following Thursday, the two sides will battle it out in their Copa del Rey semi-final, as they seek a place in the final.
“The next match is the most important one,” Marcelino said at his pre-match press conference. “We’re focused on winning tomorrow. We have to be fully aware that we’re playing a match and our mentality should be to win that match, we can’t look too far ahead.
“We should have the mindset of wanting to win every match, no matter who we’re facing.”
Athletic are taking on a strong and confident Levante side. The Valencia-based outfit have not tasted defeat since the beginning of January and held the Lions to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Copa semi-final.
Marcelino admitted that Levante “are in top form”, but highlighted that Athletic are also playing well at the moment.
“The team is very competitive,” he said about the Rojiblancos. “The players are motivated and they’re training well.”
The manager emphasised his team’s performances in recent matches, saying: “We create more chances than our opponents, quite a lot more.
“The statistics show that in the last few games we’ve deserved to win more than the opposition.
“Of course we have to improve some things because the wins aren’t always coming, but we’re very happy with the level of competitiveness shown by the team.
“We know that we’re going up against a very good side, but we want to win this match.”
With Athletic and Levante facing each other three times in such a short space of time, Marcelino warned there’s no room for complacency.
“Only losing stresses me out,” he added. “I find everything else easy to deal with.
“The calender tells you who you’ll be playing next, we can’t control that.
“Maybe for some players it will be difficult to separate this match from the one after.
“But we have to try and focus on doing our best to win this game and then we’ll think about the next one.”
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