Athletic Bilbao will go to Atletico Madrid to attack in their Copa del Rey meeting on Thursday.

Andoni Iraola told reporters that in order to beat Atleti at the Vicente Calderon – something they have not done for a while – Bilbao have to be on the front foot.

“We haven’t been able to beat them in the Calderon lately,” Iraola said.

“We want to do it this time.

“It’s two legs and we need to score because we know how difficult it is to recover.”

Iraola added he is happy with the team’s form over the past few months but feels Athletic need to up their game for the Cup.

“Since November the team has been well balanced.

“Atleti are terribly strong in defence but we need goals away from home and we will go after them.”

Iraola’s teammate Ibai Gomez, Athletic’s top scorer, believes that the prize of a place in Europe is enough to motivate the team ahead of the game.

“There is a place in Europe at stake and we look forward to getting it, even though Atleti are favourites.

“The first-leg is important because we’re at home and we’ve shown we are very strong.”

Athletic’s president, Josu Urrutia, agreed that Atelti are favourites but feels the the unpredictability of the Cup cannot be discounted.

“Atletico have proven they’re better than us,” Urrutia said.

“Not only because they’re ahead of us in the League but they’re ahead by a lot more points.

“But what happens in the Cup is different because you have to be better in two games and the gap gets narrower.

“Our chances increase and we are able to give a better performance.

“We must focus though. I’m sure we will.

“We’re optimistic we can go through.”

Tags Athletic Ibai Gomez Iraola Josu Urrutia