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Los Leones' trainer has vowed to go all out in a bid to qualify for their first Copa del Rey final in over two decades.

Athletic Bilbao coach Joaquin Caparros has warned his Copa del Rey semi-final opponents, Sevilla, that his players are ready to die fighting to overcome a 2-1 first leg setback and claim their place in the final.

The return leg at the Basque outfit’s menacing Estadio San Mames is certain to generate an electric atmosphere but both camps have continued to add more fuel to the fire in the lead-up to the encounter.

“We are going to gamble everything on the Copa because we know how important it is to the club. It is necessary to fight and to believe in our chances of qualifying [for the final], otherwise things will go badly for us,” he said in a pre-game interview with AS.

“The players are all united and they are ready to fight. Sevilla have the upper hand but now, everything is up to us and we will give all we can on our home turf so that there are no regrets later.”

Caparros admitted that his young players lack experience in the crucial stages of a competition like this, compared to Sevilla, but he is counting on another element to lift his team.

He said, “Players like Gorka, Aitor Ocio, Inaki Munoz and David Lopez have experience playing in big games. But for the rest, this will be their first time, but even then, everyone must get their first chance somewhere. It is a day for them to grow as a footballer.

“This is just like a bullfight. Before the fight, the bullfighter will only think about the horns on the bull but once he is in front of the crowd and the battle starts, he begins to enjoy it. Our fans have to lift us. With the crowd behind us, we will be safe.

“I believe that my players will make history and we hope that things will go according to plan for us. I know the players are ready to die on the field. They have much confidence.”

Bilbao will be hoping to make the final for the first time since 1985, while Sevilla are looking to qualify for their second final in three years.   

KS Leong, Goal.com

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