Valverde: Athletic not favourites

Ernesto Valverde insists Athletic Bilbao are not favourites against Valencia in their Last 16 Europa League tie first-leg clash on Thursday.

The Basques recently defeated Gary Neville’s team 3-0 at Mestalla in La Liga, yet despite that result Bilbao boss Valverde is taking nothing for granted and warned of the dangers that will be posed by Los Che at San Mames.

“Favourites? People can think what they want but Valencia are a club that has won this competition three times, a team that has played in the Champions League this season, and have players who can settle a game in two moves,” he told a Press conference.

“This team is not like last year’s, yet when they had a difficult tie against Monaco in the Champions League qualifying round they managed to get through.

“We are conscious of how difficult this match will be. There will be no over-confidence because of the 3-0 win or our good results of late. We know all about Valencia’s potential.

“Two years ago they were not doing so well in the League and almost reached the final of the Europa League,” warned Valverde.


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