Valverde: Schedule hurts Athletic

Ernesto Valverde isn’t happy Athletic Bilbao are the early game on Sunday when they also play on Thursday, in the Europa League against Partizan Belgrade.

Valverde used his pre-match Press conference to criticise the scheduling of the game against Espanyol, which will kick-off at 11am local time.

“The times are bad for us. We’re the first match on Sunday. We all complain, but I don’t understand why we can’t play in the afternoon. It hurts,” he said, AS reports.

“The games are very close together, with only a few hours to rest. It’s bad for us. We’ll see how we end up [against Partizan].”

Valverde, who also confirmed injury absences for Iker Muniain, Mikel Rico, Ibai Gomez and possibly Ander Iturraspe, added that the visit of the Serbians could be ‘decisive.’

“It’s the fourth round and usually it is decisive. In these short mini-Leagues, everyone [achieves their goals] by the fifth or sixth round,” he continued.

“To have options or to qualify, it is quite important to win. Last year we were eliminated by Porto in the fourth round.

“Whoever wins will have a lot of possibilities. We’re level on six points.”

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