Athletic Bilbao face Real Sociedad this evening and coach Marcelino stressed before kick-off that Athletic are a gentlemanly club and as appropriate will give the Copa del Rey champions a guard of honour when the pair lock horns just three days after La Real beat Athletic to win the Copa.
🗣️ "Este es un grupo unido. Encontraremos, entre todos, el camino adecuado para recuperar nuestras condiciones"
🗣️ "Confiamos en este equipo igual que antes de la final"#RealSociedadAthletic #AthleticClub🦁 pic.twitter.com/OuftvNepuw
— Athletic Club (@AthleticClub) April 6, 2021
“We’ve taught a lesson in how a team must suffer through defeat, with a lot of pain but absolute respect,” Marcelino said in comments carried by Cope. “You always have to treat others as you want others to treat you.” The man from Asturias was true to his word, shining light into a gorgeous Anoeta before kick off.
Athletic’s game with La Real last weekend was the long-delayed 2020 final, a game both clubs had hoped to have been able to play with their supporters in attendance given it was historically the first-ever Basque derby with a title directly at stake. Marcelino and Athletic get another bite of the apple the week after next, however, when they face on-fire Barcelona in the 2021 edition.
Athletic Club's players give Copa del Rey winners Real Sociedad a guard of honour just days after they faced each other in the final 👏
This Basque derby isn't likely to be as friendly once it gets underway, though! 👀
Watch it LIVE now on LaLigaTV 📺 pic.twitter.com/sPY2Qqrde0
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) April 7, 2021
Athletic have been flying since Marcelino took over at San Mames at the beginning of January, winning the Supercopa de Espana at the expense of Barcelona. They still lag ten points behind La Real in the league table, however, a distance they’ll look to trim tonight. La Real sit seventh, while Athletic are down in tenth.