Escribá: I’m confident we can win, but a draw would be excellent too
Elche manager, Fran Escribá is confident that his side can shock La Liga by getting a victory over Barcelona when the two sides meet on Sunday but also admitted that he’d settle for a draw and a point that would guarantee survival in the Primera.
In his pre-match press conference, Escribá spoke about the upcoming match against a Barcelona side, who have a new lease on life, but the former Atletico Madrid assistant feels he can make things easier for his former club next week and ruin Barcelona’s title chances.
“I think we’re fine coming into the match, the league is ending at the best moment for the team and I see Barcelona as an extraordinary team. If they didn’t have any chance at winning La Liga, they’d coast through the match but we’re anticipating a very animated Barça side.
“I am confident that we will score, but we all know that a draw would be an excellent result. If we are mathematically safe this week, it’d be great. I think, overall, Elche deserves it, everyone says we deserve to survive and we hope we achieve that.
“In regards to Barça, in theory, you hope to find a team disconnected from the La Liga title race but the results of the others have thrown them back in the mix. They are a difficult team under normal circumstances, but now they’re even more so. In a footballing sense, they play at a very high level and one imagines that they will come out full of ambition from the first minute. They are an extraordinary group in every way, they have been treated unfairly and they deserve more respect than they’ve received. If we don’t put them under constant pressure, things will go south. We want to show them the respect that we did in the first leg and continue along those lines.”
Escribá went on to detail his game plane and hopes to have the fans support for the worldwide event.
“The quality of their players surprises you but we know their style by now. They will grow their game when given the ball, with a lot of players between the lines and attack with the ball. We aren’t likely to win the possession battle but we will fight back and we will focus on the set pieces which will be an important factor because that’s their weak point. The most difficult thing is to control the genius of their game.
“Having the game here is an extra weapon. It provides an extra degree of difficult for them. The team will compete and will have scoring chances.
“It’s difficult to send a message to the fans because they’ve given us a lot and the city knows what we’re playing for on Sunday. It will be very important and from the start until the final whistle, they will be animated. Hopefully we can celebrate our survival at home, I’d like to have our fans at the forefront.”
Escribá concluded by discussing the wrongly given red card to Alberto Botia, who was sent off after trying to clear the ball and slamming the ball into Malaga’s Iakovenko face.
“Botia’s situation is incredibly unfair because I’ve seen the pictures and the crime doesn’t match the punishment. He argued that it wasn’t his intent to do harm and the problem is that that’s a normal protest to this kind of punishment. If he had insulted someone, pushed or did something excessive it would’ve been justified.”