With preparations for next season already well underway, Maccabi head coach Oscar Garcia insists he hasn't forgotten about tomorrow's Tel Aviv Derby against Hapoel: "We'll show them exactly why we're the Champions"
Maccabi Tel Aviv held their weekly press conference with the 141st Tel Aviv Derby a day away and the end of the season just seven days later. Head coach Oscar Garcia arrived at the conference together with striker Rade Prica, who will play his last game of the season at tomorrow's Derby before flying home to Sweden on Thursday to be with his family. So far the league is concerned there would appear to be nothing riding on tomorrow's match, but everyone at the club is aware that a derby is still a Derby: "It's been clear to me from my very first day at the club how important the Derby is. We're not playing for the statisitics, we'll be playing to win this derby just like we've won other derby matches this year, with the same mentality that has won us so many games this season, to show everyone just exactly why we're the Champions".
Regarding the preparations for next season the coach had this to say: "(Sports director) Jordi (Cruyff) and I talk every day, and of course we've started planning for next season, because now is the perfect time to do it. It's mostly Jordi's work but we're in touch every day. I'm sure we'll improve because that's the right way to go, to get better year after year. I hope and in fact I know the Maccabi team of next season will be better than the Maccabi team of this season, and even better the season after that".
The Swedish striker Rade Prica, who arrived in the January transfer window and scored his maiden goal for the club in the Tel Aviv Derby, told the press: "Derby matches are the same everywhere, it's an important match for your club to win. You can feel the excitement in the terraces and in the whole city, you simply know something special is happening, even if the league has already been decided. In the last two derby encounters we showed what a good side we are, but a derby is a derby and even though it's regarded as an away match it's still our home venue. So we'll be ready for it, it will be difficult but we're a good side. If we play the game our way we'll win".
Tomorrow Prica will say good-bye to the fans and fly home to relax before returning for the busy summer schedule that awaits the club: "Tomorrow will be my last game of the season, I haven't seen my family in five weeks so I'm flying home Thursday night. I feel young and I'm really looking forward to having a short break. But still, we have a match tomorrow and we have to get ready for it. I think my next step is to return home to Sweden to play, but right now I have a year's contract here and who knows, maybe I'll decide to stay here with Maccabi, but let's just wait and see".