Ander Capa “The Cup Has Been Incredible, But Now We Have The Derby”
The elation of eliminating Barcelona from the Copa del Rey last night can’t go on forever. Athletic have now been drawn against Granada for the Cup semifinals where they will have to survive two legs in hopes of moving on to the final at Estadio La Cartuja. The players were back in training on Friday and in were in good spirits, but are fully aware that there is still work to be done.
“Eliminating Barcelona is very complicated,” said Ander Capa during Friday’s press conference. “We played at home and that helped us a lot. Before the draw there was tension to see who we would play and if the first game would be at home, but in reality we didn’t care who we played. Granada are a strong team who have been doing things well in the league and Cup, but we hope to leave San Mamés in a good position and then go there with everything.”
Looking back on the win over Barcelona, Capa admitted that it was the biggest moment of his football career. The fans created a fantastic atmosphere which stunned the right-back before the game had even started.
“I have never lived football at these levels and it’s an extra motivation. The truth is that I didn’t expect that atmosphere last night. When I went out on the field and saw San Mamés I got goosebumps. I didn’t expect it to be like that, although a friend told me on the phone that I was going to be blown away.”
Capa went on to say that he will never forget last night and highlighted the celebration following Iñaki Williams’s goal as the best moment of the game. Like other players, Capa says he was shocked and his reaction was pure emotion.
“At the time I went to the ground on my knees, I couldn’t believe it. Then I got up and ran to celebrate with my teammates. I didn’t know what to do. I will always remember everything about last night. If I had to pick one moment, it would be that moment and how San Mamés roared when the goal was scored. It was amazing. To tell you the truth, I can’t compare that moment to anything else I’ve ever experienced. I lived everything like a child, like a little kid, and I’m enjoying it.”
Athletic will host the first leg of the Cup tie against Granada at San Mamés, but they can’t think about that game yet. First, the Lions will travel to Real Sociedad on Sunday for a massive league game and Capa says the squad will have to overcome tired legs in order to secure another important result.
“The Cup has been incredible, but now we have the Derby. We are aware of what we did last night. We’ve gotten into the semifinals, but we must leave it alone until after the match with La Real. We must focus only on the Derby. We already know how good they are and, above all, the game will be played at Anoeta. It will be complicated. There have been many games during the week and the weekends. There is fatigue, but RFEF now we have the spirit and we must draw strength from anywhere.”
Real Sociedad have also played a lot of football over the past few weeks and knocked Real Madrid out of the Cup just minutes before Athletic kicked off their match against Barcelona. Both sides will be dealing with fatigue, but La Real have the advantage of playing at home.
“They will also be tired, but they’re playing at home with their fans. We know what Derbies are, with a lot of intensity and tension. They have been doing things well and play nice football with quality players. If I had to single out one or two players, I would say it’s the forwards Oyarzabal and Isak. They are both great players and there is also Odegaard.”
The victory over Barcelona gives the team a lot of confidence moving forward, but will mean very little this weekend. “I wouldn’t say this victory helps up in the Derby because you always have more desire to play and win Derbies, said Capa. “We want to win and feel like the leaders of Euskadi, so to speak. We are going to Anoeta and we will try to cut the distance that we have with them in the table.”
A win on Sunday could lift Athletic into the top seven of the La Liga table, but may also be a sign of things to come. If both Basque clubs win their semifinal ties they would meet in the Copa del Rey final for the first time in history. For now, neither will be looking past this weekend’s clash at Anoeta.