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Aug 23, 2014

Elustondo wary of Eibar "warriors"

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Real Sociedad defender Gorka Elustondo is certain his side will not be in for an easy ride when they take on Eibar in the promoted Basque minnows' first ever game in the Primera Division.

La Real finished seventh in the league last season and are on the verge of qualifying for the Europa League, but Elustondo is wary of the threat his side's neighbours pose, especially as the game is at their tiny Ipurua stadium, which holds just over 5,000 spectators.

"I'm sure it's not going to be easy and that it's going to be a very tough game," he told reporters.

"Eibar are a very competitive team, their 11 players will defend every ball and then counter-attack a lot, and if they are at home and you let them play they also know what to do.

"We all know that Eibar play like warriors, they play a lot of long balls and go for the second balls, they stick together, and press their opponents a lot at home. They are going to be practical and try and exploit the aerial play, and we will have to try and settle down in Ipurua."

The game with Eibar comes just 48 hours after La Real beat Russian side Krasnodar 1-0 in the first leg of their Europa League play-off tie, but Elustondo is not worried that his team will be feeling the effects of that match when they take on Eibar, or will have the second leg in Russia in the back of their minds.

"We're all focused on the Eibar game now, in getting in tip top shape as if this game was our last one, and we will have time to think about Krasnodar," he said.

Eibar goalkeeper Xabi Iruretagoiena shares Elustondo's view that no team is going to relish travelling to face the newly-promoted side.

"No-one should think that they're going to come to Ipurua for a stroll in the park and will pick up points easily," he told reporters.

"This is our first game in the top flight and we are really looking forward to it."

However, the goalkeeper does not believe the fact the game comes in the middle of two European ties for La Real works in his side's favour.

"We'll be doing ourselves a disservice if we think La Real are going to give everything on Thursday and not on Sunday," he warned.

"Those who play against us are going to be 100 per cent fit. It's wrong to think that Sunday's game is going to be easy."

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