Raúl García “At Our Level We Can Beat Anyone”
Athletic and Real Sociedad have never met in the Copa del Rey final but that will change next month. On Thursday night Athletic overcame a 2-0 deficit with a late away goal from Yuri Berchiche to advance and set up a historic Basque Derby. It was far from the best performance from the Lions, though Raúl García believes that going through was fully deserved over the two legs.
“In the first half the team was fine and we managed to raise the game,” García explained to reporters after the match. “In the second half the feeling is that we backed down after the first goal but the team was confident. After their second goal we took a step forward. It’s fair that we are in the final because we deserved more in the first leg. We are one step away from making history with the club.”
Yuri Berchiche may have scored the decisive goal, but Raúl García pointed out that everyone has played an important role in the team’s Cup run. “We are all happy when a teammate does something well. Yuri put us in the final with his goal, but so did Williams for clearing one ball off the goal line. We all contribute at certain times and in different ways. We are a family, we live with a union that is only found in a few locker rooms.”
While everyone is now talking about the upcoming Basque Derby, Raúl García really doesn’t care about the opponent. The midfielder shared that playing a final is a unique opportunity and that Athletic must only be focused on what they need to do to win the title.
“Many things change in a final, many small details. I don’t care about Real Sociedad, I’m worried about my team and giving my best level. I’m worried about winning the final, not celebrating it. In a final you never have to look at the rival unless you aren’t playing well. I trust this group and at our level we can beat anyone. This will be my third final. I’ve won on, I lost another, and I want to get a title with Athletic because I don’t have one and because it’s the great hope of the fans.”
For his part, Mikel San José was full of excitement after the match. “There is much joy, not only for us, but for all these fans who have come, for all those who stayed in Bilbao, and for all who feel this shirt,” the midfielder told AthleticTV. “It’s a small step. Bizi ametsa, together we can.”
The Athletic fans have played a massive role in the team’s Cup run this season and will be sure to fill La Cartuja next month as the Zurigorri attempt to win a 25th Copa del Rey title and the first in over three decades.