Marcelino has claimed that Villarreal showed more desire than Athletic Bilbao during their 3-1 La Liga victory at El Madrigal on Sunday.
Goals from Bruno Soriano (penalty), Mario Gaspar and substitute Leo Baptistao fired the Yellow Submarine into third place, level on points with Real Madrid, and the Coach was delighted with the manner in which his side dispatched their Europa League rivals.
“It was a very hard-fought victory. [Athletic] are a very good team and asked the utmost from us,” he said after the game.
“We surpassed them in intensity and from there we began to win the match.
“The first half was intense and very tactical, but we managed to kill the game off in one of the best second-half displays I’ve seen here.
“I think [Athletic’s rotations] were necessary as they’re competing in several competitions.
“We all want things to go well and stay well ahead of the final stretch of the season.
“Roberto Soldado has a muscular problem in the abdominal region, so we must wait and see what the tests say. [Cedric] Bakambu, on the other hand, has a sprained ankle.
“We didn’t want to concede a goal, but the match was difficult, so we were obliged to maintain our intensity levels.
“Nonetheless, I thought we were outstanding defensively before we scored and that was key.”