In the run up to the historic Copa del Rey tie between UE Sant Andreu and Club Atletico de Madrid at Narcis Sala on Saturday 7 December, andreuenc coach Patxi Salinas shares his thoughts.
This article is a translation of an interview published in Mundo Deportivo on 6/12/13
It's a thrill ... a dream ... achieving something that many people dreamed about is now a reality. Playing against the Liga leader, against the Copa del Rey champion, against possibly the best or second best team in Europe ... the truth is we've won the lottery.
For me it's an enormous challenge taking on such a great team with a great coach, who in a short period has achieved incredible success. For me, El Cholo is the mirror in which those of us involved in football should look. Furthermore, as a footballer I played in many first division grounds but as a coach I haven't been to a Primera ground yet and this is my first time in El Calderón ... another dream. Just like the players, I'm living out another dream.
With my feet on the ground I'd say it was practically impossible. We've got to be realistic. We could sell you any line but what we are going to do is to give it all we've got, with all the enthusiasm in the world.
For many games you have to motivate the players, you have to be on top of them and you spend the whole week talking about the game but for this one I can be sitting comfortably in the stand and the team will run itself. They have a unique opportunity, all of them want to play and the motivation is inspired by the importance of the team that's coming. It's the quietest week I'm going to have all season.
Without a doubt. We'll have the ground full of our supporters cheering us on. You can't imagine what the ground will be like against Atlético. If I could, I'd love to help the team but as I can't, I'll do it from the bench.
Yes some have. For them, a few years or months ago this was unthinkable ... it's a dream come true. You think you might play against a Primera club one day but when it happens you ask 'Is this real?' All of them want to play against Atleti and in El Calderón. I can tell them what I felt but they have to experience it themselves.
No, because you have to be prepared to fight understanding that we're a little fish and they are a whale. What's more, they scored 7 against Getafe so just imagine. If we go out feeling frightened, it's the worst thing. I told the lads that they should enjoy this game. We've got to go and play, give it all we've got but whatever happens the ustn't feel frustrated but rather happy for having got this far. Now, whatever happens, they mustn't feel sad or guilty or frustrated. They have to enjoy it!
I hope not! The team has looked good all year and we've done a good job just getting here. It's a prize for a job well done and the lads deserve it. I don't think it will affect us whatever happens in the game. The team has to come out of this match even stronger. Nobody can criticise us for anything because we're going to give it our all and when someone does their best, they can feel proud and I feel very relaxed because I know the lads are going to try their best.
I'd keep all of them if I could but if I chose one, it would be David Villa. He's a spectacular player. Yes, I'd love to count on David Villa.