Valverde: Athletic lacked freshness

Athletic Bilbao Coach Ernesto Valverde believes his players were tired in the Copa del Rey defeat to Atletico Madrid.

The 2-1 reverse was Athletic’s first defeat at the new San Mames and saw Atleti reach the Copa semi-finals, where they will play Real Madrid.

Valverde told reporters after the match that although he felt there was a foul in the build-up to the first goal and that his team’s performance merited a better outcome.

“I don’t think the referee saw it but there was a foul by Miranda on San Jose,” Valverde said.

“But I can’t say too much. Everyone makes mistakes.

“We’ve tried from the first minute. We’ve played with a good tempo and deserved more.

“Atletico defended very well in the second-half. We lacked freshness.”

Valverde attempted to change the trajectory of the match with a tactical shift but acknowledged at his post-match Press conference that the desired effect was lacking.

“I brought on Sola and played with two strikers but then we missed options in the centre, but that is the merit of Atletico.”

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