Iago Aspas will return to action for Celta Vigo in the Galician derby against Deportivo on Saturday after completing a one-match ban. The 30-year-old spoke about the importance of the match, and expects hostility when he steps out at Riazor.
Do you look out for this match when the fixtures are released?
“Yes, of course. Both for me and all of my team-mates it’s always a special match. You always look at if you’re playing home or away first, the dates…”
What would you say to players who are experiencing the derby for the first time?
“I tell them that it’s a special match, a match that everyone wants to win. I suppose that in all of their respective countries they will have experienced a derby of some sort. I’m sure that in the city the players will be asked about the match throughout the week.”
Do you feel different to before other matches?
“Not at the moment. Maybe when you get on the pitch, because of your people, because of the fans that are behind you. After, when the match starts, you’re not thinking about what is happening off the pitch, just about what there is on it.”
After defeat to Villarreal, is this the perfect follow-up match?
“After a defeat, what better incentive is there for the players than the thought of a derby as the next match. There’s not much more to say. I suppose that the for the Deportivo players, who come from losing 4-0 at Barcelona and not giving a good account of themselves, their coach will be getting stuck in them, telling them that it’s an important game and they’ll be motivated.”
Are Celta the favourites?
There is never a favourite in a derby. They’re playing at home, they’re three points behind us and if they win, they’ll draw level with us. If we manage to win, we’ll open up a gap between us and the, and above all, between us and the relegation zone.”
It will be a bitter pill to swallow for the loser…
“Well, the loser will stay bruised because there’s a week of holiday after and two weeks until the next match. Whenever you lose, the thing that you look for is the next match, to try and turn it around.”
Hostility at Riazor
“I’m calm. I know that they’re not going to welcome me with flowers in A Coruña. […] When I’m on the pitch I only think about trying to win.”
Are Celta overly reliant on Aspas?
“No. I expect the team to win when I don’t play.