De Marcos celebrating the Super Cup win at Camp Nou / ATHLETIC CLUB

For Oscar De Marcos, FC Barcelona will always be a special rival. He scored his first goal at San Mamés against Barça, something he will never forget. In an interview with fcbarcelona.com, the Athletic player looks back at the Spanish Super Cup and reveals his thoughts on Sunday’s league clash between the two sides.

How was the return from Slovakia [where Athletic lost 3-2 to Zilina on Thursday in the Europa League]?

“It went well, we are a little tired. We stayed overnight and we arrived in Bilbao at 1.30pm and this afternoon (Friday) we trained.”

Talking about Barça, what has changed between defeats against the blaugranes in the league and the Cup final last season and the events of a few days ago?

“It’s difficult to say. What I can say is that we didn’t think we could win the final. At first glance, it seemed more difficult, it was a two legged match with the return at Camp Nou against a side like Barça, we saw it as very difficult. But, we gave everything at San Mamés, it went our way and we got a great result. At Camp Nou we went out to hang on and we were able to win the trophy.”

Tiredness was mentioned as one of the factors for the 4-0 defeat for Barça. After the game in Zilina, could that go against Athletic now?

“Perhaps because it is pre-season but it is tough to recover but I don’t think it is fundamental. If there are players who are able to play two games in three days it Barça players, they have been doing so for years. In our case, we are doing it more and more.”

What kind of game do you see on Sunday?

“We will go out to win. We can’t change our way of playing nor our way of thinking. We have put in two excellent performances against a quality Barça side. We will try to do it again.”

Barça come into the game without several key players, is that good for you?

“Obviously yes. Neymar, Piqué and Mathieu are important players for them and will be missed. I hope Jordi Alba misses out too [he is in the squad in the end]. Nevertheless, they have a big squad and plenty of quality players. We also have players like Williams and Muniain missing.”

Are Barça favourites for the league?

“I see them as favourites. They have great squad, like Madrid. It will depend on Messi’s season and that of Ronaldo.”

Talking of Messi, how do you stop him?

“That’s really tough. I think Balenziaga did incredibly well against him in the two games. I have had to mark on a few occasions and it is very difficult. Even though you know where he is going, you don’t know how he will do it.”

Six years ago you scored your first goal for Athletic against Barça.

“Yes, it was one of the most special moments in my career. It was the day of my debut in San Mamés. After that there have been other unforgettable moments.”

Last season you were unfortunate enough to score an own goal in the 5-2 defeat.

“True, that best forgotten. If I think about the mistakes I make, and the ones I will make, I am a dead man. Better not to [laughs].”

To round off, a prediction perhaps?

“2-1 to Athletic.”

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