Dani García “The Cup Is A Competition That Makes The Fans And Players Very Excited”
As Athletic prepare for Thursday’s Copa del Rey match against Barcelona the team is well aware that winning at San Mamés will require a perfect performance. Reaching the quarterfinals wasn’t easy either as the Lions were taken to penalties by both Elche and Tenerife in the previous rounds and managed to come away victorious. A bigger challenge awaits and the Zurigorri dream of reaching the final.
“The Cup is a competition that makes the fans and players very excited,” midfielder Dani García said Tuesday night on Fuera de Juego. “Reaching the semifinals would be incredible. Barça is one of those games that you prepare for a lifetime to play against them. This is a final. We have to give them very little, be attentive of Messi, and give everything we have.”
The 29-year-old also reflected on the strenuous matches against Elche and Tenerife, saying that the victories deserve more praise. It’s been a stressful road for the Basques who have found ways to get the job done when faced with adversity.
“We suffered a lot in the previous qualifiers. Everything was lost against Elche and in Tenerife we played the entire game with one less player. The win against Tenerife hasn’t been given much merit because they are a second division team and such, but it was an incredible thing to overcome that situation. I don’t know if another first division team would have done it.”
García took time to discuss Athletic’s league campaign as well. The midfielder shared that he doesn’t understand the negativity surrounding the team right now with Athletic still very close to the European zone of the table.
“We are three points off of Real and if you ask people they will say that Real are having an incredible season. We’re three points away from them and it seems like we are having a very bad season. I believe in my teammates to the fullest and I think we will be fighting until the end to qualify for Europe.”
Athletic defeated Barcelona earlier this season at San Mamés with Aritz Aduriz scoring an overhead kick to win the game late. The striker has missed nearly three months with a hip injury but returned a few days ago against Getafe and will be in the team to face Barcelona. “Aduriz deserves to go out big and I think he will have another day of glory,” said García. Reaching the Cup semifinals will be difficult, but Athletic are confident that they can topple Barcelona again.