Ander Capa “It’s Good To Go Into The Second Leg With An Advantage But We Can’t Trust It”
Athletic secured an important lead going in the Copa del Rey semifinal second leg with a 1-0 victory at San Mamés, but there is still work to be done. On Thursday night the Lions will face a 90 minute battle against Granada with a trip to the Cup final on the line. Despite the advantage, Athletic will have to get a good result at Nuevo Estadio de Los Cármenes to advance.
“The important thing is that they didn’t score against us at San Mamés,” Ander Capa said in Tuesday night’s interview with Fuera de Juego. “It’s good to go into the second leg with an advantage but we must can’t trust in it. We must be plugged in from the first minute. If we score, the tie will be very difficult for them. They have the advantage of playing at home, but we will try to play our game and move on to the final. We have to be calm.”
Unfortunately, Athletic will be without midfielder Dani García who will be serving a suspension. “The loss of Dani is important but we have more than enough players who can take his place,” said Capa. “Roberto Soldado being out is important as well. It’s very good for us and a relief that he won’t play.”
Having spent most of his career with Eibar, playing in a Cup semifinal is a new experience for Capa. The right-back hopes that Athletic will be able to advance so that he will have the chance to compete for a title with the club he grew up supporting.
“I’ve never lived a Cup semifinal and hopefully we will reach the final. It would be a special experience. You could say that we are playing the season in one match, it’s our last bullet. I dream of many things. The first is to reach the Cup final and on 18 April, what can I say, to lift the trophy!”
Athletic ended a ten-game winless streak in La Liga over the weekend, defeating Villarreal 1-0 at San Mamés, and the victory has lifted the spirits within the team. Going back to a traditional 4-2-3-1 played a big role in the result and Capa admitted that he’s more comfortable in that system.
“Beating Villarreal took a weight off. It gives us a lot of confidence and we will go to Granada with better feelings. It we had lost it would be totally different. I feel more comfortable with four defenders because I have a teammate ahead to defend and attack with, but with five defenders I feel more protected. I’m comfortable with both systems.”
Athletic’s deep run in the Cup has certainly affected the team in other areas. Fatigue has been an issue that has hurt the Lions in league play with Capa and other playing heavy minutes. However, the 28-year-old says he’s had more time to rest lately and feels much better.
“The team has been tired. Many players have played a lot of minutes and it’s been noticed. It’s been a heavy load with little rest and little time to recover. Now I’m feeling much better. There was a stretch where I was more tired than normal and it affected me. I’m taking vitamins and now I feel stronger and better physically.”
Naturally, the possibility of Athletic and Real Sociedad meeting in the Cup final has everyone excited. There’s never been as a Basque Derby to decide the Copa del Rey champion, but that’s not really something Capa is thinking about. “As long as we are in the final the opponent doesn’t matter to me,” said the defender.
In closing, Capa was asked to weigh in on recent statements from Iñaki Williams who said that the team has decided to leave the field if he is racially abused again. “There has been talk of leaving the field if there are racist insults, but we shouldn’t have to do that,” said Capa. “There are people above us that should take action but if the last resort must be ours then so be it.”
Athletic aren’t taking anything for granted going into the semifinal second leg. The first meeting at the Cathedral was a good result for the Lions, but Granada will be determined to turn the tie around in front of their own fans. As Ander Capa points out, Thursday’s match will be one of the biggest games of the season and Athletic must be at their very best to advance to the Cup final next month.