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.”