Ernesto Valverde advises Athletic Bilbao to treat the Europa League second leg against Valencia ‘as if the game was 0-0.’
Los Leones in fact lead 1-0 from the first leg but Valverde warned at a pre-match Press conference that the lead was too slender to rely on at Mestalla.
“We defend a lead that isn’t excessive. We know it’s a defining game and they will try to pressure us,” he predicted, AS reports.
“We have to go as if it was 0-0, in the League. We can’t speculate when the advantage is minimal. It’s not like having a 3-0 lead.
“A final for Valencia? It is for us too. One team will be knocked out and we don’t want it to be us. We have the same hopes. They have a great team, great individuals, and when they compete, they compete well.
“I’m surprised they’re so low down. They’ve played in the Champions League and they’re fighting to get higher up. They’ve been a little out of sorts in recent games.
“I expect a Valencia willing to compete and to gamble. Two years ago they were within a minute of the Europa League Final and it’s been similar in the League.
“Favourites? The players never feel they are or aren’t favourites. That’s influenced by the betting. I don’t feel we’re favourites because of Valencia’s potential.
“They’re in a bad run but that doesn’t do us any good.”