Marcelino: “We’re going to the Camp Nou to win”

Marcelino: “We’re going to the Camp Nou to win”

Marcelino hopes Athletic will be at their best against FC Barcelona on Sunday in order to extend the team’s “good form”

Athletic Club head coach reiterated his mantra that the Lions’ must take things one match at a time, insisting he will not be overlooking Sunday’s LaLiga clash with FC Barcelona at Camp Nou (21:00 CET) despite the upcoming Copa semi-final second-leg match against Valencia CF.

Athletic are currently eighth in the LaLiga Santander table with 37 points, just five away from Barça, who are fourth with 42 plus a game in hand. A positive result on Sunday could be crucial for Athletics’ European hopes.

“We’re going to the Camp Nou to win,” Marcelino said his routine pre-match press conference on Saturday morning.

“We’re approaching this match as the most important one. It’s the most immediate objective and therefore the most important.

“I’m optimistic about our chances of winning. We’re playing against a team in very good form, as are we. Let’s see if we have the kind of accuracy you need to win when you visit a big team’s ground.”

With the Copa semi-final against Valencia CF coming on Wednesday, leaving the Lions with a matter of days to rest and prepare, Marcelino admitted he will have to make the most of his squad to ensure players are in the best possible physical condition for both matches.

He said: “We’ll try to make sure the team can perform at the highest level in both games from a physical point of view.

“We’ll make decisions so as not to affect our fitness for the Copa game. Being able to make five changes increases our possibilities in this aspect.”

Furthermore, with Nico Williams having overcome his hamstring string issue, Marcelino’s only major absence for the trip to Barcelina is Alex Berenguer, who is serving a one-match ban after racking up five yellow cards.

“Coaches always want to have everybody available,” Marcelino said.

“Players who have been out for a long time are coming back and that makes the team more competitive. It gives the coach more options and I’m very pleased about that.”