Valverde still eyeing Europe

Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde says he is still eyeing a Europa League place following Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Almeria at San Mames.

Goals from Xabier Etxeita and Mikel Rico proved enough to overcome the struggling Andalusians, who replied through a Wellington Silva shot that deflected in off Mikel Balenziaga, with the Basques now just five points behind seventh-placed Malaga.

“We are not giving up on anything and are looking ahead of us in the table,” Valverde told reporters.

“The games coming up are hard and our next fixtures are against Sevilla, Valencia and Espanyol, so we need to respond, but we are playing well and want to extend our five-match winning streak.

“We must keep the spirit competitive right up until the Copa del Rey final with Barcelona at the end of May.

“Against Almeria we had to adapt to the needs of the game. If you see the scoreline is going in your favour then you have to remain calm.

“We knew how to read the game and it was a question of interpreting it correctly,” he explained.

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