Valverde: Athletic have hope

Ernesto Valverde says Aritz Aduriz’s goal against Barcelona gives Athletic Bilbao hope for the Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg.

Munir El Haddadi and Neymar put La Blaugrana into a two-goal lead but a Dani Alves mistake gave Aduriz the chance to halve the deficit and the Coach told reporters post-match that it could be a pivotal goal.

“The fact we scored gives us more hope. We know their power and that’s why it’s difficult. We have to increase our options, but the goal makes it better within that difficulty,” Valverde said, AS reports.

“It’s true that they were very good in the first half and in the second, based on persistence, we scored the goal. We didn’t let them combine much. They were better in the first half.”

Valverde denied the game was overly rough, arguing the only booking Athletic received was wrongly given, and dismissed complaints against his players.

“It wasn’t a game of a lot of fouls. We came to win and we wanted to cut the game,” he acknowledged.

“We were even shown a card, to Mikel San Jose, that wasn’t a foul. Everything looks different on television. There weren’t as many fouls as it seems.

“I don’t want to evaluate anything because everything is as it is on the pitch. I won’t criticise the players for going too far, but we don’t usually do that.”

Tags Ernesto Valverde