‘Athletic must enjoy EL adventure’

Ernesto Valverde hopes Athletic Bilbao can “enjoy and make progress” in the Europa League this season after topping their group on Thursday.

Los Leones headed into Monday’s last-32 draw as Spain’s only seeded team in the competition, their 2-2 draw with AZ enough to wrap up Group L, and the Coach maintains he has no preference over who his side will face.

“I don’t have any preferences [for Monday’s last-32 draw],” he said after the game.

“That’s what it has to be. I hope we enjoy ourselves and make progress [in the competition].

“In the first half [against AZ], we had difficulties because they were very defensive in the positions they took up and tried to make us feel uncomfortable.

“In the second half, we were more settled, yet when we seemed in control of the game, a surprising ending followed.

“We didn’t start the game well and for that I’m not happy.

“There were players who did well and some not so, but these are issues that will remain private.”

Tags AZ Ernesto Valverde