Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde conceded he is in a positive mood before the La Liga opener at Real Valladolid on Saturday.
The Basques have not had a particularly impressive pre-season but Valverde insists that counts for nothing once the real action gets underway this weekend.
“I have all the typical feelings for when the competition is about to start, the ‘bug’ that gets to you when matches are due to begin and the moment of truth arrives,” he admitted to reporters.
“The pre-season was good in that we polished a few things and results also counted, but it’s not the same. The players are more careful about everything now and we know what we are playing for.
“Overall I feel positive but once the serious stuff starts we will see that the pace of things is different.”
Nonetheless, the 49-year-old says he does not want to set any targets for the forthcoming campaign.
“That’s always a bit tricky, particularly for a Coach. The team has had some difficulties but Bilbao can compete to be higher in the table, but I’d like us to be in Europe next year.”
Valverde also referred to one of the team’s problems in the friendlies, a lack of goals, but does not consider it a major drawback.
“What I ask for is to make chances, which is what gets you goals. Maybe sometimes we’ve failed to create opportunities, and that’s something we need to put right, but not at the expense of conceding more goals.
“Even so, I see more good things than things I have to correct. I’m happy with the team, with the spirit, and those two go together, which works well,” he explained.