Real Madrid assistant boss Aitor Karanka has dismissed suggestions that his side got lucky in Friday’s Champions League semifinal draw by being paired with Borussia Dortmund.
Madrid only managed one point from six against the 2011/12 German champions when they met in the group stages earlier this season and Karanka believes they can learn from their 3-2 defeat to Galatasaray in the second-leg of the quarterfinals, despite still progressing 5-3 on aggregate.
“They said Galatasaray was easy and then you saw how hard it was in the return-leg,” he told a press conference on Saturday.
“We weren’t able to beat Borussia in the group stages and anyone who thinks it will be easy is mistaken.”
Before concentrating on the Champions League though, Madrid face their last ever trip to San Mames to face Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
The Basques are moving to a new ground next season and having spent the majority of his own playing career with Athletic, Karanka knows how special a venue it is for football.
“San Mames is a difficult place to go to, but at the same is a great place to visit as a footballer. Although Athletic have players out, the players that will play are of a high standard. For example, no one is going to discover (Fernando) Llorente now.”
However, Karanka did not confirm or deny whether Iker Casillas will return in goal at the ground where he made his Real Madrid debut 14 years ago.
“For any player the San Mames is special. Obviously for Casillas it is for having made his debut there, but I can’t say yet whether he will play.”
Finally, Karanka also touched on his own future given the on-going speculation about whether Jose Mourinho will continue in the Spanish capital at the end of this season.
“I have almost three years with this coach, learning and enjoying every day more than the last.
“The day this ends, whenever that may be, I will decide what I will do.”