Ernesto Valverde has shared his thoughts on the Copa del Rey after seeing his Athletic team paired with Barcelona in the quarter-finals.
The draw means Valverde will come up against his former side, and he says that while it is a difficult fixture he’s glad to have home advantage.
“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 told reporters.
“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.
“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.
“We prefer to play in San Mamés because you avoid travelling and we know that playing away is a little harder. 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.”
There’s no doubt it’s a tricky tie for Barcelona, particularly given their recent form. Athletic are also playing well right now and are currently on a run of 14 games without defeat.