Fran Escriba is celebrating 100 days in charge of Villarreal but insists “our best is yet to come” ahead of Sunday’s match against Athletic Bilbao.
Victory over Athletic would send Villarreal third in La Liga, just five points behind leaders Real Madrid, and Escriba – while acknowledging the difficulty of a trip to San Mames – is quietly confident about his side’s chances.
“The balance sheet of these 100 days is very positive,” the Coach said at a Press conference.
“Since my first day here, I’ve felt a lot of support. On a sporting level, it was hard at first but the team have reversed the situation. In general, I see more light than darkness.
“We have very good players and a great coaching staff. The past has been good, but I always think that our best is yet to come.
“I’m not looking at the table. I know we can go third, but we also know that the gaps are very short. Every game is important.
“There are stadiums that are special and San Mames is one of them. Athletic are much stronger at home than away. Ninety minutes is very long there.
“It will be a very physical match in Bilbao, then we have another very complicated game in Zurich.
“Athletic are a great team. If we rely on the physical aspect, we won’t have nothing to do, and if we camp near our box, it’ll still be complicated.
“Direct play is very difficult to defend, but our idea of the game is that we don’t get ourselves pinned back.
“Aduriz is a great player, but we obviously have a plan to combat all their forwards. We mustn’t concede set pieces that aren’t necessary. He and Raul Garcia are one of Europe’s best attacking partnerships.
“I see the team to be very calm before this run of games. The most important thing is to think about the first one, which is Athletic.
“The team are very good physically and I think we’ll manage to hold out well.”