Valverde: Not vintage Athletic, but…

Ernesto Valverde admitted Athletic Bilbao “weren’t brilliant” against Augsburg but was happy enough to secure Europa League progression with a 3-2 win.

A pair of late strikes from Aritz Aduriz on Thursday sent Los Leones into the knockout stages as Group L winners, and the Coach was relieved to see his side overcome a “difficult match” in Germany.

“We weren’t brilliant, but we won and the objective [of reaching the knockout stage as group winners] has been met,” he said after the game.

"We’re aware there are things to improve on and that Augsburg are a good team.

“Sometimes you deserve to win, sometimes you don’t and it leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth.

“We won and we’ll engage in self-criticism, but we won’t make [the details of it] public. We’ll look to take advantage of these circumstances.

“It was a difficult match, which constantly went to and fro. We settled down a bit after we went 1-0 up, but they came back into it by playing well and showing strength.

“We then got back on top and won by being clinical [with our finishing].

“[Substitutes Raul Garcia, Inaki Williams and Ander Iturraspe] greatly contributed to the team.

“Strikers live for goals. Aduriz didn’t have the best of games, but his goals fixed everything.

“We had more clear chances against Granada than [on Thursday], but we’ve been effective this time around.

“Qualifying gives rise to many things. The time will come, but it’s a possibility that more players will participate.

“We have a tough schedule, but we have many players who want to play.”

Tags Augsburg Ernesto Valverde Europa Leagu