Andoni Iraola “I Didn’t Want To Be Drawn Against Athletic”
Andoni Iraola is enjoying success in his first season as manager of Mirandés. After a slow start to the campaign Mirandés have climbed to 10th in the table and are a mere three points off of the top six. Los Rojillos have done well in the Copa del Rey as well and defeated Celta Vigo in penalties earlier in the week to advance to the fourth round of the tournament where they will host Sevilla.
While Iraola knew that Mirandés would have to face a team from the Primera, he was happy to avoid his former club. “I didn’t want to be drawn against Athletic because they would be a very difficult opponent and the cup is everything to Athletic,” Iraola told Onda Cero. “If it happens, they will come to Anduva with everything and a strong lineup so I preferred to face another opponent.”
While Sevilla will be heavily favored to beat Mirandés, Iraola says the team and fans have enjoyed the tournament. The win over Celta was a big moment for the club and the manager is hopeful that the same can happen in the next match.
“We are living the Cup with intensity and enjoying it. The first two rounds were against opponents from the Segunda B away from home and we were losing both in the second half. We managed to draw and reach extra time. Against Celta we made it through extra time and then were lucky to win the penalty shootout.”
As far as his coaching style goes, Iraola admits that he draws on his experiences. “In the end you tend to coach what has been good for you as a player. We have rhythm and are playing entertaining games with high pressure. We score goals and fans are enjoying it. We have a lot left and we’ll see how we finish.”
Of course, Iraola was also asked about coaching Athletic one day. “Those are big words,” he responded. “For me it would be more difficult because you know that you’re in a place that can affect you a lot. Right now it’s not something that I’m considering. This is my debut in professional football with Mirandés and this is enough. I’m 100% focused on Mirandés.”
Iraola and Mirandés will host Sevilla on Thursday where a victory would earn a place in the quarterfinals. If Athletic also win their match against Tenerife the two sides could be drawn together for the next round which would see Andoni Iraola face off with his former club for the first time ever in an official match.