‘Espanyol will want Copa revenge’

Ernesto Valverde has warned Athletic Bilbao that Espanyol will want revenge for their Copa del Rey exit during Sunday’s La Liga meeting.

The Basques set up a Camp Nou final with Barcelona on May 30 courtesy of their two-legged triumph over Los Periquitos last month, and the Coach believes his side will have their work cut out when they rematch this weekend.

“Espanyol will want revenge [for their Copa exit],” he said at a Press conference.

“This game will be different because [our last meeting] was a final result.

“The tension overshadowed the atmosphere and we travelled [to Cornella-El Prat] on the back of a draw in the first leg.

“Now we start from 0-0 and both teams will try to win, but with more freedom and less stress.

“We dealt with the pressure [in the Copa semi-finals] well and it showed our strength.

“I was surprised [by Espanyol’s win at Villarreal], not because they triumphed against a team of a very high level or had sufficient resources to win, but because of the ruthlessness in their finishing.

“I think the Copa result [a 2-0 defeat in the second leg] affected them because they went four games without a win after that, but Espanyol have potential.

“They gave a very assured performance against Villarreal with intensity and did a lot of damage.

“We dream of closing the gap on Malaga [in the race for seventh].”

Tags Ernesto Valverde