Malaga boss Javi Gracia is looking to make history when Los Blanquiazules face Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.
The 44-year-old believes Wednesday’s first leg at La Rosaleda offers his side a great opportunity to progress in a competition which has traditionally been a miserable one for the Costa del Sol outfit.
“We are in a position to compete against anyone, although at first there was talk that we were on the easy side of the draw,” Gracia told a Press conference.
“For Malaga there are no easy teams and we always compete against sides from La Primera. In fact, in the last round [against Levante] we were made to suffer.
“Right now we’ve got the chance to compete and reach the semi-finals. It’s a historic opportunity for us and one that’s possible, so we have try and achieve it.”
Despite opponents Athletic having endured a poor season so far, Gracia is aware the Basques always tend to do well in the Cup.
“History tells us Athletic are good in this competition. I think they are a good team that will spare no effort, either in the Cup or any other game.
“They’ve haven’t got the results but this won’t be an easy match because I think they have a good Coach and good staff, so it will be very tough.
“Defensively they press well but we are ready to take advantage of any attacking action we get. It was very difficult to beat them in the first La Liga game of the season.”
Gracia confirmed he is keeping faith with Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa for the Cup matches, and he returns at the expense of Carlos Kameni.
“I’m happy with Guillermo’s work because the situation in goal is difficult. It’s a complicated division of minutes but he’s playing at a good level in the Cup.
“I’m not interested in external assessments over whether he’s playing or not. When he does play, he plays well,” he added.