Ernesto Valverde believes Athletic Bilbao’s visit of Villarreal in La Liga on Saturday is “crucial” to their unlikely Champions League hopes.
Back-to-back wins have fired Los Leones into the top six, but they remain some 10 points behind the Yellow Submarine, who occupy the last Champions League place, and the Coach admits his side can ill-afford to fall further behind their opponents.
“Villarreal have a significant lead [10 points], but our intention is to cut it,” he said at a Press conference.
“It’s important not to fail at certain times of the season and this game is crucial.
“This game is one of the keys to reach the final leg of the season with a chance of qualifying for the Champions League.
Valverde’s sentiments were echoed by his Villarreal counterpart Marcelino, who claimed the match was “very important for both teams, but more decisive” for Athletic.