Athletic Bilbao Coach Ernesto Valverde joked it must be ‘easy’ to win the Europa League and confirmed three injury absentees.
Iker Muniain has been out since April after a knee operation and Inaki Williams and Mikel San Jose have likewise struggled for fitness, Valverde telling reporters they’d be missing as Athletic host the Germans.
“San Jose didn’t train on Tuesday as a precaution. He’s only just back from injury and we must be careful,” the trainer said, AS reports.
“Muniain is listed for the Europa League just in case he can play by Christmas. He’s had an injury where even if he feels fine, you have to keep a keen eye on it.
“His work is excellent. I’m optimistic because I see him and he’s working hard. We’ll still take it easy.”
It was put to Valverde that after beating Barcelona to the Supercopa de Espana, success in Europe is the next logical step.
“Yes, it’s so easy! Tell our German visitors this often happens in Bilbao,” he instructed the translator.
“They say we can win the Europa League when we’ve never done before. We haven’t won it so it must be easy to do so.
“That’s a joke…it’s true that we have enthusiasm this competition but so does everyone else involved in it. Winning it isn’t the target because we don’t know how it will go.
“We know what can happen when you have a bad day in a tournament like this. You can’t have a difficult moment. The goal is to reach the next round and see how it goes.”