Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelino: Valencia Copa clash will be wonderful match

Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelino expects a “wonderful match” tonight for their Copa del Rey semifinal against Valencia.

Athletic take on Valencia CF at Mestalla on Wednesday night for a place in the 2021/22 Copa del Rey final. The first leg saw the sides draw 1-1 in Bilbao.

“We have to be more proactive than we were in the first leg,” Marcelino said at a pre-match press conference on Tuesday evening.

“We need to take control and move the ball around at a high tempo. We’ll try to close out the match within the 90 minutes. If we don’t we’ll be giving our opponents even more of an advantage.”

He continued: “This is a wonderful match, on the doorstep of a final, between two great teams with the same goal and aspiration. It’s a privilege to play in a game like this.

“May the best team go through. Hopefully it will be us, we’ll give it everything we’ve got to win.”

Having previously managed at Valencia, leading them to Copa glory in 2019, Marcelino is fully aware of the difficulties entailed in coming back from Mestalla with a victory.

“From experience, I know they will have an extraordinary crowd supporting the team,” he added.

“It’s something we know well, we’ve seen it at San Mamés. We recognise that and we know where we’re going to be playing. There are no excuses, we have to show we’re the better team on the pitch.

“It won’t be easy as they have a very experienced squad, but we’re convinced we can do it.”

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