Osasuna are just hours away from one of the biggest matches in their history against Athletic Club, as they pursue a second Copa del Rey final appearance in the 21st century. Beaten by Real Betis in 2005, the Navarran side are looking to win their first ever Copa del Rey.
Los Rojillo come into this off the back of a morale-boosting victory away to Sevilla, winning 3-2 in the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Ahead of the game, manager Jagoba Arraste gave MD the message that everything was done now, and all that was left to do was play the match.
“Here and now, there is no more. We are prepared, the team has already played matches of this type this year and they have done well. The mood is good after the last victory. All the incentives are there so that we can play a good game tomorrow. We want to play the final, for that we have to deserve, play two great games, tomorrow is the first, let’s go for it.”
He asked his side to display their personality in the first leg at El Sadar.
“What I want is for a recognisable Osasuna to be seen. Sometimes you know that the result can be capricious, but we have to do everything in our power to get a good result. The idea is to go out and win and then we’ll see from there”.
🎙️ PRESS CONFERENCE | "It is a special and historical game. We are ready and excited," head coach Jagoba Arrasate.#BigatHeart | #LetsGoRojillos | #OsasunaAthletic | #CopaDelRey
— C. A. OSASUNA (@osasuna_en) February 28, 2023
Although he did admit his side had been bested by opponents Athletic Club of late.
“Athletic have been a step ahead of us in recent clashes. That’s the way it is. Last year they beat us both games. This year we tied at San Mames but they were better than us. We have to learn from that and draw conclusions.”
Osasuna would not be doing anything differently ahead of the game though. Arrasate asked his side for composure and passion in equal measure.
#BigatHeart ❤️🏆#LetsGoRojillos | #OsasunaAthletic | #CopaDelRey pic.twitter.com/oVsCdlyxHG
— C. A. OSASUNA (@osasuna_en) February 27, 2023
“It is better to prepare the game naturally. If we start doing thigns differently, it would be the first step towards making mistakes. We need the best version of Osasuna. It is true that it is a special match and that Athletic has more experience than us, but we are excited. You have to be rigorous on the field because bad decisions can be decisive, such as an error, a sending off… You have to play with a cool head, but with fire in your heart, we need to feel the encouragement of the fans.”
Pamplona is certain to rocking ahead of the match, with a cold El Sadar one of the most difficult places in Spain to visit. Despite being a first leg, neither side are likely to sit back too much.