Mikel Oyarzabal in squad to face Real Mallorca, Javier Aguirre assesses Real Sociedad ahead of Copa showdown

Real Sociead host Real Mallorca in the second leg of the Copa del rey semi-finals at the Reale Arena this evening, with kick-off set for 21:30 CEST. The first leg in Mallorca finished goalless, setting up another tight encounter between the two.

The big talking point for Real Sociedad has been Mikel Oyarzabal’s fitness. The Txuri-Urdin captain has missed their last five games with muscle damage, but has been included in the squad by Imanol Alguacil. That was the first question Alguacil was asked, as covered by Marca.

“How long is Oyarzabal ready for? Tomorrow your doubts will be answered. He has entered the squad and that is already important. Obviously he hasn’t played for a while, but the captain is eager [to play].”

Alguacil refused to be drawn into calling Mallorca defensive, and stressed that he wanted his side to hem them in.

“I don’t agree with describing as Mallorca ultra defensive, because they are a team that sometimes plays very good football, what happens is that if you don’t let them play, you don’t see that good offensive football they have. What I do insist on is a team that competes very well.”

He also sent a rallying cry to the Txuri-Urdin fans.

“I hope that tomorrow the Reale Arena shakes and I hope that together we achieve a victory to advance to the final. To begin with, I am going to tell the driver to try to go along Avenida de Madrid, that the fans give us the reception they gave us on the day of Mirandes, because that’s when the game starts to be won. And then I hope that the public will be with us, as in the big events. Today the Bultzada [support] were already there, they are the driving force, and there is no doubt that there will be a great atmosphere and that atmosphere is going to be a plus for the players.”

Meanwhile Javier Aguirre said that personally reaching the final would mean a lot to him, and would be a way of ‘showing his gratitude’ to Mallorca for trusting in him. He was happy with how his side looked.

“That we are prepared to play the game, that I see a lot of enthusiasm in the team and that we arrive in a good emotional, physical and football moment.”

Despite the gap between the first and second leg, Mallorca is feeling the cup fever.

“I see and notice the affection of the people, even going to make the purchase that my wife ordered me, people stop me and encourage me, the people on the street are excited and the least we can do is make them feel proud of our work”.

In terms of the game itself, Aguirre was expecting La Real to have the ball, and is keen for his side to hold the ball well.

“Well, they have the ball, entering from the wings and giving good crosses, and we need to improve possession with constructed attacks and not just playing in space and on the counterattack.”

The pair have met twice in the month of February already, following a 0-0 draw in the first leg which saw Umar Sadiq miss three golden chances to put Real Sociedad ahead. The second, also in Palma de Mallorca was a 2-1 win for Real Sociedad, Mikel Merino powering a header home late in stoppage time after a hard-fought match. It looks set to be another tight encounter.

Tags Copa del Rey Imanol Alguacil Javier Aguirre Mikel Oyarzabal Real Mallorca Real Sociedad
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