Athletic Bilbao: All or nothing at La Cartuja

An entire season can be decided in 90 minutes. It may sound unfair or even dramatic, but it is. At this point in the course no one remembers the Super Cup, no matter how much merit it had to win it and the way it was done, but right now it is irrelevant. Over time it sure gets even more valuable, but not at this time.

Everything that is not winning will mean shelving a season that has had everything, even a change of coach. The irregular trajectory of the rojiblancos in the league prevents them from maintaining the illusion for something tangible beyond the final. With almost no European options and virtually saved, the focus is on Sevilla again after the blow of the first final from which the ‘athleticzales’ have not yet recovered.

Everyone had in mind that the “affordable” final was that of the Real Sociedad and it escaped through their fingers like beach sand. Many are beginning to put on a face of 2012 with those two finals lost in a painful way. We still have time to avoid it.

The challenge is complicated, no doubt, but not impossible as the lions already demonstrated in January during the Super Cup. It is true that catching them twice in a final is against the statistics, but neither did the eleven villagers think that that historic final of 58 at the Bernabéu could be theirs, or rather, they did.

Now the dressing room needs to believe it and be the one who pulls the fan’s car. Unlike what happened on the 3rd, I am convinced that we are going to see a competitive Athletic that is going to play Barca as you. I don’t know if it’s going to be enough, but if I were a Barça fan I wouldn’t uncork the cava yet.

We said it 15 days ago. A final can be won or lost, but how is important. A great team will be in front, but not unbeatable according to what has been seen this season.

The Catalans arrive in the role they like the most, that of victims, that of a team persecuted by arbitration and all because they were not awarded a non-existent penalty against Real Madrid. What to see and hear. Amazing.

Those of Marcelino they must forget about those issues, the referee, their past and all external factors that distract them from their goal. They should focus on stopping Messi, the speed of Dembélé or the irruptions of Griezmman, who always seems extra motivated to the people of Bilbao.

That will be the starting point. From there it will be necessary to build an attack plan and have a waist in case it has to be changed, something that failed against Real Sociedad. The 11th of the first final was clear to me, in this case I think there will be changes.

I would not rule out Dani García and Vesga in the middle of the field, Capa on the right and even Villalibre from the start. On Saturday, at the La Cartuja Stadium, in Seville, we will all leave doubts

In a soccer team, as in any company, there are certain individuals designated as leaders due to their role, salary, experience or any other factor that should force them to appear in these types of appointments. We know that Barca has more of those than Athletic, but Williams, Muniain, Raúl García, Berenguer or even Iñigo Martinez have to give their best version. They must lead and make a difference in the key moments of the final, although we all know that victory will be thanks to everyone’s effort. Second and last chance (for this year) to win a cup 37 years later.