Real Betis have room for improvement points out Coach Pepe Mel, but they fully deserved their 5-3 win at Athletic Bilbao today.
The Beticos ran out winners in an astonishing eight-goal thriller that saw Mel’s side throw away a three-goal lead at half-time before then securing the three points with two late strikes.
“This result against a terrific rival was just in the overall manner of the game. It was probably unexpected before kick-off, but maybe not on a different stage,” reflected the tactician post-match.
“Athletic worked a great deal to draw level from 3-0 down, but still, this is a day for our players to be proud. Against a great team and on a big stage, we have the stature, like always with Real Betis.
“It is not normal to come away to San Mames and win with a stroll. We have suffered, made mistakes. With Benat I had to remove him because he could do no more, whilst the rest also finished the game very tired.
“But I’m happy and it is a day to draw positive conclusions.”
Mel was asked about the inability of his side to defend set-pieces, as Mikel San Jose’s two goals highlighted today.
“Last year we were the second shortest team in Europe. That is still so. But, the important thing is that the football at Betis will make up for that gap.
“For the defects we have, there are many virtues in which we are ahead and we are happy.”