Valverde: Athletic want Valencia win

Athletic Bilbao Coach Ernesto Valverde doesn’t feel a draw would be a good result from Sunday’s game against Valencia.

The sides meet at Mestalla on Sunday and Athletic have a four place and 15-point lead over the hosts but despite the gap, Valverde considers Valencia a rival for a Champions League place.

“Valencia and Villarreal are both our direct rivals,” the Coach told his pre-match Press conference.

“These two games are very important.

“This Valencia team is one that tries to dominate you. We have to be focused in defence.

“Notice how I consider Valencia a rival even though we’re 15 points clear.

“There aren’t many differences between teams in this League. We’re still in fourth place but we’ve a lot of work to do.

“[Juan Antonio] Pizzi’s Valencia have a spirit that drives them. They are getting good results.

“We see beating Valencia as a big challenge. The statistics can’t tell you what will happen.

“No one will be happy with a draw. We’re going to win.”

Valverde spent a season on the Valencia bench before taking over at Athletic, and insists that while he was disappointed his time with Los Che ended prematurely, he doesn’t hold a grudge.

“I enjoyed it at Valencia and I have a lot to thank them for,” Valverde added.

“The working atmosphere couldn’t have been better.

“I see a resemblance to my Valencia team in this one. The backbone is the same.

“I was comfortable at Valencia. I almost renewed my contract but the project changed.

“All Coaches like to fulfil their contract, me included.”

Tags Valencia derby Valverde