Ernesto Valverde has warned his Athletic Bilbao players to beware of Valencia’s ‘consistency’ ahead of Thursday’s meeting at San Mames.
The Basques are looking to close the gap on seventh-placed Malaga as they seek a Europa League place, while a win for Los Che would see them within one point of Atletico Madrid in third.
“We have the chance to get within three points of Malaga so this is a very important game for us, although Valencia have lost just three games away from home, to Deportivo la Coruna, Levante and Malaga,” Valverde told a Press conference.
“Therefore, I’m concerned about the consistency they’ve shown and I think they are clear candidates to play in the Champions League.
“I’m expecting a game similar to the one at their place, although our aim now is to win every game we can and then prepare for the Copa del Rey final.”
The 51-year-old, a former Bilbao striker, also commented on the news that Iker Muniain is set to be sidelined for six or seven months after rupturing a cruciate ligament in the 2-0 weekend defeat at Sevilla.
“We kept hoping it wasn’t going to be as bad but in the end it wasn’t good news and it’s a big blow for us. It was just bad luck how it happened.”