‘Espanyol motivated by staying up’

Espanyol midfielder Victor Sanchez insists staying up is the team’s motivation, not depriving Barcelona of the title.

The season’s second Catalan derby takes place on Sunday at Camp Nou and Barca need to win to maintain their position at the top of La Liga, with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid primed to take advantage of a slip, but Espanyol need to win as well, to stave off the lingering threat of relegation.

“Our fans are motivated by [hurting Barca] but for us the motivation is staying up. That’s our challenge and we want to do it now. We have to go the death, with the fans’ support and always try to win. But we have to think of ourselves. That’s what we care about, not Barca,” Victor said in an interview with AS.

“It was important we won against Sevilla. We’d be calmer for other results. It’s clear: We need a point and we want it against Barca. We have to repeat what we’ve been doing. I think we did well in the last two derbies, in the League and the Copa del Rey. We have to be strong in pressure and close off the passing channels. If we steal the ball and break, we can do damage.

“They’re human. They know they had the League won a month-and-a-half ago, although they say not, and now have no margin for error. That can weigh them down. I’m sure they’ll get nervous if we keep it at 0-0, 0-1 or 1-0.”

Tags Victor Sanchez