Ernesto Valverde discusses facing former club FC Barcelona in Copa Del Rey

Jan 21, 2024

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Ernesto Valverde, the former manager of Barcelona, has shared his thoughts about playing La Blaugrana during the Copa del Rey. In the tournament’s quarterfinals, his Athletic Club team will take on the Catalan giants.

Barcelona advanced to the last eight after defeating Unionistas, a third-tier team, 3-1. Conversely, Athletic Club easily defeated Deportivo Alaves 2-0.

Ernesto Valverde said, “It’s a classic match against a tough opponent. We’re lucky enough to play the match at home in front of our fans. We’re excited and have high hopes.”

He added, “It will be a special and difficult tie for both sides. But first, we have to play Valencia. We are not going to say that we have been lucky because it’s a tough opponent, one of the worst there was. When there are eight teams left, none of them are easy because they have all done well to get through.”

The Athletic Bilbao manager spoke about the advantage of playing tie at home. He said, “They one of the favorites to win the Cup. They will also think that we are a tough rival. It is an attractive tie for everyone, beautiful to watch and fortunately we will experience it in San Mamés.”

The manager further said, “We prefer to play in San Mamés because you avoid travelling and we know that playing away is a little harder,” he continued. “But you always have to fight to get through. Last year, in this tie, we had to play at Mestalla and we went to the semifinals. We don’t know if that’s going to be beneficial or not, we’ll see how the game goes.”

From 2017 until 2020, Ernesto Valverde was the Catalan giants’ head coach. During his tenure, he won two La Liga championships, a Spanish Supercopa, and a Copa del Rey. He was one of the better managers of the club before the takeover of Xavi.

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