Iturraspe: Champions League is hard

Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Iturraspe has said he is under no illusions regarding the difficulty of qualifying for the Champions League.

Ernesto Valverde’s side are currently fourth in the League table, with a six point lead over Real Sociedad.

But Iturraspe has told a Press conference that Athletic won’t take a place in the competition for granted despite their advantage.

“We know it will be very complicated,” he told reporters.

“We will work hard until the last day. No one can be in the Champions League every year.”

Athletic’s last game saw them draw 1-1 with Villarreal, who are also in contention for a top four place.

Villarreal were leading for much of the second half but a late Aritz Aduriz goal delivered a point.

Iturraspe added that the games against the Yellow Submarine have been hard this season but he doesn’t care that it took until seven minutes from the final whistle to restore parity.

“They were two very tough games. We know it is very difficult to win there,” Iturraspe said of El Madrigal.

“It’s true it took us a little longer to score in Villarreal. Now we have to put in good performances.

“There are many points at stake and we can’t just think about winning home games. We have to add away points.”

Athletic host Getafe this weekend and despite El Geta’s lowly position, Iturraspe warned they still present a danger.

“Getafe [Athletic’s next opponents] are a team with high quality. Earlier in the season nobody thought they would be where they are.

“Pedro Leon is one of the best dead-ball takers in the League.”

Iturraspe concluded by praising one of his teammates and admitting he feels he needs to improve his performances.

“Benat provides quick ball movement. He’s an important player who makes a difference.

“I have to try to improve the turnovers. I need to avoid them as much as possible.”

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